Deputy raises eyebrows by wearing anti-Communist Party slogan in Chamber

24-11-2004

The government's commissioner for human rights, MP Svatopluk Karasek, raised a few eyebrows on Tuesday when he wore a tie bearing a strong anti-Communist Party message to the Chamber of Deputies. But it wasn't the first high-profile outing for the rude slogan.

Given that MP Svatopluk Karasek is also a priest of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren it was perhaps surprising that he turned up in parliament wearing a rather rude tie. Underneath a drawing of an upraised middle finger "flipping the bird", it read, in English, F**k the KSCM (the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia).

The same tie was sent to all of the country's 200 deputies by the protest group S komunisty se nemluvi, or Don't Talk to Communists, with the request that they wear it at the first Chamber session after the 15th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution. Svatopluk Karasek, who is also the government's human rights commissioner, said he was embarrassed to discover he was the only MP who had done so.

Not that there were too many regrets from the former dissident (and singer-songwriter - he really is a man of many talents): Mr Karasek said the Communists tried to present themselves as progressive, but in reality they were "old fogeys still attached to Gottwald and Stalin". Meanwhile, Communist Party MP Jiri Dolejs said it would be one thing if young people wore the logo in the street, but a public official ought to be more "diplomatic".

Tuesday's lower house session was not the first high-profile public appearance of the "F**k the KSCM" emblem, which was designed by Czech artist David "Pink Tank" Cerny; in September last year Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones wore a t-shirt bearing the logo when the group played in Prague. It had been passed on to the famous guitarist by former president Vaclav Havel.

24-11-2004