Prague, Feb 20 (CTK) – A high number of French historians, scientists and writers protested against the dismissal of Jean-Gaspard Palenicek from the post of head of the Czech Centre in Paris, weekly Respekt writes yesterday.
It is rather uncommon for the release of a Czech clerk to cause such a strong reaction among the intellectual elite of a foreign country, the magazine writes about the letter signed by 162 French personalities, including National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) director Marie-Elizabeth Ducreux, political scientist Jacques Rupnik and Xavier Galmiche, expert in Czech culture.
The letter in support of Palenicek was addressed to the Czech ambassador in France, Petr Drulak, and several ministers of the Czech government. The idea of the letter came from French historian Antoine Mares, author of a new book about Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes, Respekt writes.
Palenicek, 38, is a music composer, poet and curator whose father is Czech and mother French. He worked for the Czech Centre in Paris for 13 years. As the centre’s deputy director, he won a tender for its new head last summer.
However, the new director of the network of Czech centres, Jan Zavesicky, did not appoint Palenicek to the post and he dismissed him last month due to “redundancy,” Respekt writes.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek did not react to the French letter, which asked about the reason of the dismissal. Zaoralek’s spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova told Respekt that the Czech Centres lacked a long-term concept. As Zaoralek expected Zavesicky to improve the situation, Zavesicky has the right to select new people, she said.
Zavesicky did not provide an explanation of Palenicek’s dismissal, Respekt writes.
Czech writer Patrik Ourednik who is based in France said Czech culture has become more promoted in France under Palenicek.
On Thursday, an exhibition of engravings of Czech poet Bohuslav Reynek (1892-1971) will be opened in the Czech Centre in Paris. Reynek’s wife was French poet Suzanne Renaud.
The centre has been temporarily headed by its assistant Katerina Divisova since February 1 and a new tender is likely to be declared soon.