Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 6th Feb 2012 21:44 UTC
Legal It would seem that freedom of speech and the open web are in better hands in Eastern Europe than they are in Western Europe. After Poland, the Czech Republic is the second country to suspend the process of ratifying ACTA. "A wave of protests against the international agreement, including hackers' attacks, has swollen in the world as well as in the Czech Republic. 'By no means would the government admit a situation where civic freedoms and free access to information would be threatened,' [Czech PM] Necas said." Anyone from either Poland or the Czech Republic care to comment on how serious we have to take their politicians? If a Dutch or an American politician said something like this, I'd be weary and mistrusting.
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I think using the term Eastern Europe in connection with the Central European countries should be considered a big no no and avoided as much as possible. I also didn't quite understand the allusion that the Western Europe should perhaps have some automatic patent for freedom of speech (as compared to what is wrongly considered Eastern Europe in the news article).

Apart from that, it looks like either the Czech government either didn't know what it was signing or it found some clearly populist incentives to reconsider the ratification. By the way, there was an anti ACTA demonstration in Prague last week.

Reply Score: 3

radix Member since:

I actually believe they did not really know what they were signing. Which is no big deal considering that signature means in this case so little.

Reply Parent Score: 1

flynn Member since:

I think using the term Eastern Europe in connection with the Central European countries should be considered a big no no and avoided as much as possible.

I'm afraid I have to disagree.

I'm from Poland and I have never in my life identified myself as a 'Central European', I have always thought of myself as eastern. Now in the interest of fairness I should mention I've met other Poles who steadfastly refuse to consider themselves Eastern Europeans and only identify as Central. To me however, this is inane and stemming to what I can only ascribe to the animosity towards Russia amongst the general populace and the longing to be accepted as part of the west.

Some people avoid a east/west split in order to not rile up any post war sensibilities, but what they fail to see are that the eastern countries have common cultural and historical identity that gets totally disregarded when you start to lump Poland together with Germany just because they are both near the center. Culturally and historically, Poland has way more in common with Lithuania (a traditionally eastern country), than with Germany. Maybe the Czechs have a different perspective due to their historical ties with the Holy Roman Empire, but as far as Poland is concerned the only thing that ever really tied us to the west was Catholicism.

Reply Parent Score: 1

zima Member since:

I don't particularly want to be seen as part of "the West". Also, I often strike down stupid bile directed at the Russians (sure, they had and have some problems, and our relations were and are... complicated; but nothing really justifying the level of blind, irrational slandering they often get in Poland)

And I still think central is the more sensible label - you are at the geographic centre of the continent, in an area culturally distinct from vast region to the east up to Ural, sharing your history primarily with neighbors.

Paraphrasing: what you fail to see is that central countries have common cultural and historical identity that gets totally disregarded when you start to lump, say, Poland together with Russia just because they are both to the east of Germany.

We do in fact have lots of historical ties with DE, why you in turn disregard that? (heck, I am partly German - and that's not something unusual, however some would like to deny cross-border connections over centuries - long before the recent concepts of national borders, rise of nationalisms in XIX century; there were even many "German" areas in what was otherwise considered core Poland, my childhood city was like that before XX century)

Funny you mention Lithuania - not only it isn't even Slavic, also Baltic states in general (though maybe Lithuania the least of them) have an immense cultural and historical connection with... Germany.

You see Pepiczki* as more subjugated to the Holy Roman Empire, while forgetting Poland was at times also mild vassal to it - heck, the approval of Holy Roman Emperors was crucial in the establishment of Kingdom of Poland (or, even more so, reestablishment of it with the use of borrowed German warriors, after Pagan Reaction in XI century - too bad not a lot about that in schools though, which generally cherish the myth of "national baptism" in X century).
Your view on the Church also seems simplistic - it was the political organisation for large part of our history (one could say it's again that in PL...), your "only thing" was the thing in the past - it must be seen akin to the European Union nowadays (can you say it would be sensible if somebody, in few centuries, would say "the only thing that ever really tied PL to the west was EU and NATO"?)

Yes, Poland or Czech Republic absolutely aren't part of Western Europe - but also not Eastern (and BTW, DE also isn't monolithic, the areas of former East Germany would be "closer" for example). You think you belong to the East probably also because most of your life you were told that, because that was in turn the "proper" thing to claim (well, maybe it also becomes one now, vs. "the morally rotten West" for example)

*for non-PL speakers: that's one colloquial description for Czechs, basically simply just "cute" one ;) (perhaps partly related to how the Czech language tends to sound "cute" to Polish native speakers, how every single Czech or Czech-dubbed movie is hysterically hilarious - though it also means they don't want to bring me to cinema with them ;) ...well, at least not on "sad serious dramas" and such)

Edited 2012-02-14 00:15 UTC

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