Intervention of Hon. Nina Nováková, member of parliament of the Czech Republic, at the Opening Session of the Think Tank 2022 Forum on 1 February, 2022.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
I am very honoured to participate in your conference. At the same time, I am well aware, like all of you, that it is taking place at a time when the attacks of evil, whose only aim is to divide humanity by all possible means, are getting stronger and stronger.
I am from the Czech Republic, very far – 8 249 kilometres – from Korea, but our countries are close to each other in our shared experience of having had our borders redrawn as a result of war.
As a child I heard from my family how they used to feel at home not only in Czechia, but also in the large central European monarchy, where people of eleven different nationalities and believers of different faiths, including Judaism and Islam, lived together in peace and harmony. This ended with the collapse of the monarchy at the end of the first world war when the geopolitical map was redrawn and new, small, independent states came into being. Within twenty years, within just one generation, however, many of them, including my own country, Czechoslovakia, succumbed to the Nazi totalitarian regime.
At the end of the second world war, the Allied powers decided to redraw central Europe yet again. The main line was a division between the Soviet block and Western Europe. Only three years later, our country, a highly educated, industrially developed pluralist democracy, ended up on the side where civil liberties quickly disappeared and a one-party system, the rule of the Communist Party, was embedded into the Constitution.
The fate of our nearest western neighbour, the so-called East Germany, was even worse. The iron curtain divided not only the nation, but also families, for forty long years.
Let me share an interesting fact with you, to illustrate how European countries are strongly aware of their national identities. When the Communist block collapsed and my country, the Czechoslovak Federal Republic, regained its freedom, the nation ethnically closest to us, the Slovak nation, decided to go its own, separate way. That is what they decided to do, but despite our separation we have remained the closest central-European partners, our languages are very similar and thousands of families both in Czechia and Slovakia are truly Czecho-Slovak.
Now let's return to the situation in former East Germany. The state regime kept many families strictly divided, but, thanks to God, the continuity of human connections managed to bridge those forty years of Communist rule. Even though, this year, Germany will have been reunified for thirty-two years, some studies still show evidence of a remaining divide between the Western and the Eastern Germans.
Korea, with its long history spanning millennia, has not been divided by a line into eastern and western parts. That line on the 38th parallel north was not drawn by the Korean nation, it was not drawn by the forefathers of today's young Koreans in the North and in the South. The people of Korea did not deliberately split their heart and their mind.
Both on the 14th meridian here in my country and on the 126th meridian in Korea the fate of millions of families was in the hands of the superpowers. But there is a difference in that the division of Germany did not spark another war.
Let me share two personal memories with you. I heard from my father how distressed my parents were by the events of the Korean war, especially my mother, who worried that the apocalypse of a world war could be repeated.
That time had such a profound impact on my mother that much later, in 2016, at the age of 95, her eyes filled with tears when she saw pictures of Czech cars I had brought from my visit to the demilitarised zone on the 38th parallel. The passengers of those cars, citizens of our country, were helping the diplomatic talks about a truce. “We were serving a good cause,” my mother said. I didn't have the heart to point out to her the obvious fact that this was not peace; that the war, a crime in the eyes of the UN and a major sin in the eyes of God, did NOT end.
The Korean nation has been divided for almost seventy years, so the hope for people who used to know each other to be reunited is slowly fading.
This, however, does not diminish but rather adds urgency to the appeal to people of goodwill and peacemakers to strive even harder to finally bring about the reunification of Korea.
At first it was a geopolitical decision of superpowers. Now, there are certainly economic interests at play as well. Dividing people, setting them up against each other... no mother, no father would do that. I ask all people in authority to approach their negotiations and proposals with a parental mindset. War is a crime, war is a sin and dividing nations and families is against humanity. We must dare to dream about new families in which one parent will come from the north and the other from the south, we must dare to dream about the return of the natural order of things of past centuries and millennia.
Dear friends, as a member of the Czech Parliament, I joined the inter-parliamentary group of friends of South Korea. From all my heart I sincerely hope that one day this will be the group of friends of unified Korea.
Let's not lose hope. After all, the lust for power is fuelled by weakness, by the inferiority complex and by being spiritually adrift, without any anchor in the ideals that transcend us all.
Let's appeal to politicians and to businesspeople who have a strong influence on them. Let's pray for them. “View the problems of world, of states as problems of people. Look through the eyes of parents as those eyes are full of hope, faith and love.”