Michal Havran

    is a writer and founder and editor-in-chief of the Slovak online current-affairs website Jetotak.sk. He lives in Bratislava. He studied Protestant theology in Strasbourg and political theology at the École pratique des hautes études in Paris. A feature-length film, based on his bestselling novel Kandidát (2013, The Candidate), co-authored with Maroš Hečko, was adapted into a feature films. In 2015 he published a collection of critical essays, Besnota (Foaming at the Mouth) and his first novel, Analfabet (God is Illiterate) is coming out in 2016. He hosts “Dinner with Havran”, a weekly discussion show on Slovak public TV. “Intellectual crime doesn’t exist and splitting open the stomachs of gay people with bayonets and intimidating Roma children with photos of bullets is no longer classified as a crime, just an opinion; idiocy has gained a place in the world of ideas: it is no longer something to be ashamed of or to hide but something you can freely cultivate and spread in the name of the love of European culture, you can write your hands sore by pointing out who’s a Jew and who’s a Gypsy, about your plans of ‘optimalising’ the media and the Roma, you can register as an NGO because you know your organisation has long been on the security services register and is on file somewhere. And meanwhile I naively keep waiting for the police to protect us and help us instead of aiding and abetting anti-Semites; hoping the law won’t stoop to collaborating with them like the Slovak State Railways, who tolerate neo-Nazis patrolling our trains on the same lines on which Jewish families were deported during the first wave of ‘optimalisation’; hoping that the police will ban neo-Nazi marches in Central Slovakia just like the police would in any other European country; that the police will understand what is meant by the rule of law and the duty to defend democracy and that they will ensure we don’t find ourselves in a situation akin to that of the Weimar Republic when the state enjoyed no authority while fascist phalanxes enjoyed complete dominion. I’d like to know what all those specialist courts and training seminars and meetings with German extremism experts are for, what are official government statements for, if the state is incapable of putting a stop to statements that represent a clear assault on free society? How is it possible that the Slovak Republic cannot take a decisive and practical stand against the crudeness of these latter-day proponents of European culture and civilisation? What needs to be done to make these people understand that not only should they feel ashamed of their views – which they have already learned, for legal reasons – but that they also have to be held responsible before the law, just like those who slander and scheme on social networks, spamming and threatening people because they believe that Facebook has turned our country into a pub toilet where you can hit anyone in the face and then go back to the bar and dip your unwashed hands into a bowl of nuts.”