13-05-2007

Today in Mailbox: a Czech TV documentary about our January mystery person, Georg Joseph Camel; the planned Czech national memory institute; and more. Listeners quoted: Bernard Deprez, Mary Lou Krenek and Lynda-Marie Hauptman.

As every Sunday it's now time to quote from your letters and e-mails. You may remember that one of the mystery Czechs in our monthly quizzes has been Georg Joseph Camel, a botanist, pharmacist and Jesuit missionary in the Philippines. One of the lucky winners that month was Bernard Deprez from Belgium and he has now sent us this query.

"I was wondering whether the planned movie about Georg Kamel, to be shot by the Public Czech Television has been finished yet. If so, could you please send me more information about it? Thanks a lot."

The Czech TV documentary "Georgius Josephus Camelius" was made in 2006 and premiered on December 21 last year. But I must admit, I missed it on that day, so I hope Czech TV will repeat it soon.

A regular contributor to this programme, Mary Lou Krenek from Texas, USA has sent us this note on how powerful a medium the internet is.

"I just wanted to let you know that my comments published back in November 2006 about the Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution were read in Israel. It was a surprise to receive a copy of the Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture sent to me in the mail. It is a joint publication by the Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals in the hopes of resolving some of their issues and bringing the world's attention to their issues. It is an effort on their part to do this in a civil way and make some progress which all of us in the world community would like to see."

Thank you for letting us know. And another faithful lady listener from the United States, Lynda-Marie Hauptman has responded to our recent reports on the planned national memory institute that is supposed to gather documents and analyse the country's totalitarian history - both the Nazi occupation and the Communist era.

"Bravo! I think this is an EXCELLENT idea! Especially since it was the brutal actions of both the Nazi and Communist regimes which served to shape the Czech Republic into what it is today. My dad left Czechoslovakia, under fire, in the 1950s, and I grew up getting an earful about the incredible cruelties BOTH invaders inflicted upon the Czech and Slovak peoples. This will serve, I think, to show the whole world that OUR people, - I consider daily my Czech heritage, and consider it MY country, though I have never been there - are made of. In spite of all of the evils and indignities heaped upon us, we are still a strong, vital people who will NOT be owned, by anyone... Let the left wingers oppose it - after all, there are two sides to every debate, and again, this shows the greater moral fiber of the Czech people, that welcome debate, even if they feel the 'other side' is 'wrong.' Please, let us NEVER lose sight of that!"

Thank you very much for your comment, Lynda-Marie. If the Senate now approves the bill and it is signed by the president, we might have all documents and archive material relating to the totalitarian years between 1938 and 1989 under one roof by the end of the year.

We only have a little time left to repeat our monthly competition question:

 

Many of you will have heard of the great English Oriental scholar TE Lawrence or "Lawrence of Arabia" as he is known to many. But although he is not so famous today, Lawrence's contemporary and great rival as the leading Arabist of his day was a Czech parson who travelled extensively in the Middle East in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is perhaps best remembered for being the first Westerner to discover the Islamic monument - the Qusayr 'Amra lodge in Jordan. He was also a member of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, the personal confessor of the Habsburg Empress Zita and a botanist who discovered several new desert flowers. We'd like to know the name of this mystery Czech.

The address for your answers is as usual Radio Prague, 12099, Prague or english@radio.cz. The deadline is May 31st. In the meantime we'll be looking forward to your answers and interesting details you might find about our mystery person. Mailbox will be back next week, same time, same place.

13-05-2007