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Zdeněk Velíšek: Them Up Close, Us Under the Microscope

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 24, 2017, 19:00 – 21:00

The phenomenon of migration has accompanied the history of mankind through the ages. And intensively and in a helter-skelter manner here in Europe right now.

Zdeněk Velíšek’s book Oni zblízka, my pod drobnohledem (Them Up Close, Us Under the Microscope) was mostly written in 2016, when the flood of refugees entering Europe reached a climax and, simultaneously, the responses of European nations and governments to the unexpected situation began to differ. Here in the Czech Republic all we perceived was a crowd, rarely faces. In particular when fences were erected between “us” and “them”. We were unable to respond to the sense of threat either by highlighting the experience of migrants on our territory or with information regarding their nascent integration in neighbouring states. Next to nothing was written about that, prompting the author to set off for nearby countries to gather knowledge at first hand and then pen a testimony about immigration and integration that might not be definitive but would be objective. Aspects of the book serve as a warning. Others show that migrants are not changing the identity of Europe and are not visibly striving to Islamisize it.

On the occasion of the publication of the book, which is subtitled A testimony about migration and integration, Zdeněk Velíšek and his guests will share their experiences and views.


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Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„I am a child of the age of conceptual, rather than mystical, thought and therefore my god as well – if I am compelled to speak of him (which I do very unwillingly) – must appear as something terribly abstract, vague and unattractive. But it appears so only to someone I try to tell about him – the experience itself is quite vivid, intimate and particular, perhaps (…) more lively than for someone whose “normal” God is provided with all the appropriate attributes (which oddly enough can alienate more often than drawing one closer). And something else that is typical of my god: he is a master of waiting, and in doing so he frequently unnerves me. It is as though he set up various possibilities around me and then waited silently to see what I would do. (…) His Last Judgment is taking place now, continuously, always – and yet it is always the last: nothing that has happened can ever un-happen, everything remains in the “memory of Being” – and I too remain there – condemned to be with myself till the end of time – just as I am and just as I make myself.“

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, August 7, 1980

Václav Havel’s Prague