I am Ondra, I live in Prague, and I am currently a personal director of a dance school InDance, recently have been Secretary general of International Young Naturefriends.
What drives you and motivates you in the situation in your country? Or what frustrates you so much that you just can’t let it be? (if you’re an activist, or a person engaged in some kind of struggle, or you see something very specific not working properly in your community/family?)
I think, despite some general sentiments, frustration and “ostalgy” in the Czech society which brought in 2013 to power populistic movement ANO and, paradoxically President Miloš Zeman (who was in background of a lot of what frustrated people who voted for him afterall), Czech Republic is on a good path towards becoming a well-developed Western-style country. However, those described trends are pushing against this tendency. I believe that it is a struggle between the conservative part of the population, the older people still raised during communist times, and the younger people of my generation and younger, but we can ́t rely just on this.
I think most of the challenges our society faces, are connected with this - e.g. we can adapt to the climate change (draughts etc.) way more efficiently, when there is a good will for that and ability to take the personal responsibility. I wouldn ́t say I am an activist. It ́s hard to instigate my heart into strong topics and generally I have always been the “invisible leader” in the background - rather using my rational skills for writing projects etc., so people with stronger desires could have space for being activists. Sometimes I am even a bit cynical about this. My approach is rather psychological than political - we need to work on cultivating ourselves, on our ability to accept our inner shadow, and therefore the responsibility for our actions, which will then allow us for efficient social change.
Since we’re trying to understand the political context and why people vote for populist politicians in the Czech Republic, I’d like to ask why are these so appealing these days? What needs, dreams, ambitions do they promise to fulfill?
I think there ́s almost no constructive ambition - they simply promise to keep things as much as they are, as possible. Kind of like pretending that there is no time floating and we can stay the way we always were - no immigrants, no need to learn new technologies, no need to adapt ourselves to anything. “Give me your voice and shut up,” is a paradigm those people will gladly accept, since it takes the personal responsibility from them, and they are just fine with it. Some old people have never grown up from being children, and they are a great target groups for the populists. You can see it now with Mr. Babiš who is himself acting like a child with all the affairs, the trial that is on him etc. - just kicking things away and screaming, but those people don ́t see it as a problem, since that ́s exactly the approach to the responsibility they would take themselves. So we circle back to the matter of responsibility.
Are Czechs positive about their future? What’s the spirit in the country nowadays, and how has it been changing over the past years?
Not really sure. I think the momentum of the democracy building has been lost some time ago, and there is rather scepticism about the way we are going to develop - maybe also in the light of the immient climate crisis which will probably hit CZ quite hard.