Thanks to Gateway Pundit

  • Update: Today, Gateway Pundit‘s concludes descriptions of various participants, heroics of Iraq’s Mithul al-Alusi and Garri Kasparov with the understated: “Certainly, Prague is not short on heroes this week.”

Countering the posts we’ve been doing on Cuba and Venezuela, across the ocean Sharansky, Havel & Aznar organized Democracy and Security: Core Values and Sound Policies.” (In Prague, June 5-6, hosted by Prague Security Studies Institute, Jerusalem-Based Shalem Center’s Adelson Institute For Strategic Studies and Madrid’s Foundation for Social Analysis and Studies.) Gateway Pundit is covering it and includes a moving speech by Lieberman and a rather rousing one by Bush – described by Gateway Pundit as “Bush Rocks the Czernin Palace”. The conference is full of people who have taken great risks and lost much for the cause of democracy and liberty.

This doesn’t seem to be getting the coverage one would think it should. For instance, dissidents from seventeen countries sat in the front rows for Bush’s speech – these people are, by their presence, interesting. The stories need not really say that Bush met with them privately or that he got a standing ovation – we understand why that is not news.

Having just shipped off to our newly wedded daughter and her Czechophile husband our framed posters of the old Masaryk, lifting his hat in a salute to the camera in that lovely old sepia style, matched with another of Havel, I was especially pleased to see Bush’s words.

It is fitting that we meet in the Czech Republic — a nation at the heart of Europe, and of the struggle for freedom on this continent. Nine decades ago, Tomas Masaryk proclaimed Czechoslovakia’s independence based on the “ideals of modern democracy.” That democracy was interrupted, first by the Nazis and then by the communists, who seized power in a shameful coup that left the Foreign Minister dead in the courtyard of this palace.

Through the long darkness of Soviet occupation, the true face of this nation was never in doubt. The world saw it in the reforms of the Prague Spring and the principled demands of Charter 77. Those efforts were met with tanks and truncheons and arrests by secret police. But the violent would not have the final word. In 1989, thousands gathered in Wenceslas Square to call for their freedom. Theaters like the Magic Lantern became headquarters for dissidents. Workers left their factories to support a strike. And within weeks, the regime crumbled. Vaclav Havel went from prisoner of state to head of state. And the people of Czechoslovakia brought down the Iron Curtain with a Velvet Revolution.

Many say Bush has not made his case – but this is hardy a forest in which he has uttered these words, it is in the center of Europe. Sure, we might wonder if a tree makes a sound when it falls and no one can hear it – but how are we to hear it if our ears, journalists, do not perform the simple function of listening.

The Czechs are, certainly, wonderful. I may be getting tired of my younger daughter’s Forman festival this summer (an obsession I put on a rough equality with her affection for “Snake Farm” by Ray Wiley Hubbard – Netflix and cheap used cds have their downside). As you might suspect, this isn’t my culture and after a good deal of my life immersed in it, it still seems, well, foreign.

But, in the midst of a family that treasures those heroes and that aesthetic, I understand they could do worse. Those heroes – from all those 17 nations – are heroes. This is a culture with virtues, many virtues. And they are ones Bush recognizes, though our newspapers don’t appear to share this understanding. I watched for it to be a topic on tonight’s Lehrer Report; searching the web sites of Fox and CNN I see nothing about it, either. Is it just me or isn’t this a pretty big, interesting, event? And, by the way, does anyone know how Gateway Pundit became so knowledgeable and so cutting edge here, as he was in the stories of various other Slavic events?

(Corrected; which goes to show I should always do Amazon links to stop me from such stupidity: Ray Wylie Hubbard, not David Allen Coe, sings “Snake Farm” though I can’t imagine why you care. This is my daughter’s idea of a cheerful way to greet the day.)

4 thoughts on “Thanks to Gateway Pundit”

  1. The local liberal rag around here didn’t even mention it. The only reference to Prague was a picture of some anti-Bush demonstrators. Par for the course.

  2. You shipped off your daughter? UPS? as regards the general tenor of the post: Bush has little credibility, whether you think this right or wrong, and that perhaps is why the event, hardly a frontpager, did not make it in the media. As for the comment above mine, I assume that it is redundant for you when you say “liberal rag.” Since there are so few of them–papers mostly owned by conservatives–I would be curious as to the name of this lefty paper.

  3. Mr. Still,
    I don’t see your point – indirect objects structurally come before direct ones. And I can’t for the life of me see why Bush’s popularity has anything to do with covering an event like this. I can, I believe, understand why you would consider such an event unimportant. However, those of us who prize and respect those who have been willing to take risks, suffer torture and the absence of those they love, who believe that certain values are more important than their own comforts find such an event both heartening and interesting. I can only say that not feeling this is a loss I don’t envy you.

  4. “Bush has little credibility, whether you think this right or wrong, and that perhaps is why the event, hardly a frontpager, did not make it in the media. ”

    David, imagine former pres. Clinton or the current Senator Clinton speaking to the same group. The coverage would have been intense. Personal stories re. members of the group would have been given extensive print space. These stories of personal risk and idealism would be interesting. I really don’t know how Bush’s credibility relates to the story (your statement about his cred. does relate to your prejudices though) – after all, he wasn’t providing information in an administrative capacity was he? The simplest explanation is that the media is shallow and prejudiced against the sitting president to such an extent that if affects the selection of which stories they present (and, in other examples, the way they present them). A conscious decision had to be made not to cover such an event and skeptical readers/viewers can be forgiven for believing that the guiding motivation was that the story might not project the president in a negative way.

    One can give the media the benefit of the doubt and not say that the media present felt that there wasn’t enough press release and it wasn’t simply too much trouble to put some research and interviews together to create an interesting story.

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