Prague, Sept 14 (CTK) – The committee of the Czech PEN Centre association of writers yesterday joined an appeal in which legendary Czech athlete Vera Caslavska called on the Czech public to help refugees and reject fear, indifference and disrespect for the lives of people who are in need now.
Former gymnast Vera Caslavska, 73, issued her appeal last week. She called on the people to get rid of fear of immigrants. It would be a shame if the only voices heard from the Czech Republic were those of populist politicians, extremists and xenophobes, she said.
Caslavska said those losing human dignity are not the people on the run but those who refuse to help by not letting in the tired refugees staying before their closed doors.
In 1968, Caslavska openly protested against the occupation of the country by Warsaw Pact troops led by the Soviet army, for which she was politically persecuted.
Caslavska said it were the Europeans who started two deadly wars that plagued the world in the 20th century.
The Czech PEN centre’s committee members said they were alarmed that they can see nationalist and xenophobic moods rather than helpful human solidarity and aid to the refugees.
The centre’s 12-member committee is headed by Jiri Dedecek and includes writers Ivan Klima, Jiri Stransky and Tomas Zmeskal.
A recent opinion poll showed that 93 percent of Czechs shared the view that the refugees should be returned to their home countries.
Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic insist on rejecting mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees across Europe.
In August, over 3300 Czech scientists and academics supported a statement calling on the citizens to stop being afraid and indifferent. This call was criticised by President Milos Zeman and former president Vaclav Klaus who released his own petition against immigration that has been signed by more than 60,000 people so far.