Jozef Banas for Onet Poland The voice of Jozef Banas, one of the most popular and most translated writer of Slovakia is becoming more and more the voice of Slovakia also abroad. Here is his interview given to the polish Onet.pl – Poland.
The re-closing of borders is a tragedy, but Europe is pushed to do so by Merkel, Tusk and their kind. The fact that a few days ago, the political leaders of Germany and Austria criticized Orbán for building fences and today they are almost condemning others for not doing so only demonstrates the idiocy of these people – the Slovak writer Jozef Banáš says in an interview for Onet.pl. That is how he criticizes the immigration policy while simultaneously urging European leaders to make, in his opinion, important decisions.
The former diplomat and politician Jozef Banáš is the most translated author of Slovak contemporary literature. His works include such novels as The Jubilation Zone, Stop Dubček! or The Rat Season. A few months ago, he spoke out on the international scene as the voice of Slovakia. This happened due to an open letter which Jozef Banáš addressed to the Chancellor of Germany. The author asked Angela Merkel if she intended to force compulsory refugee quotas on his country and how she wanted to implement this measure in real life. According to him the countries of Middle and Eastern Europe did not have to show solidarity with Germany in this issue, because it was not them “exploiting the colonies” neither starting wars in places, from which people were fleeing. Banáš pointed out that a coerced agreement to accept refugees would only increase the chaos and lead to a disintegration of the European Union.
Szymon Piegza: There are many things you mention in the letter that have caught my attention. Above all: are countries like Slovakia, Poland, Germany and Europe as such ready to accept refugees and are we obliged to do so? If yes, under what conditions?
Jozef Banáš: As far as the refugees are concerned, I think the key question, constantly avoided by politicians, remains the same: Who started the wars and the chaos which force these poor people to leave their homes? The second reason for migration is the bad economic situation. Rich countries claim that they must help poor countries. I say, that they will help best if they stop exploiting them. You ask if we are obliged to take in refugees. When somebody enters your house uninvited are you obliged to offer him accommodation and take care of him? Probably not. However, as soon as you invite this person then you need to provide for his comfort.
In your letter you also mention the economic situation of Slovak pensioners. Can the bad situation be also regarded as a consequence of Slovakia´s accession to the European Union? How do you evaluate this step – was the decision to join the EU good or bad for Slovakia´s economy?
Western European politicians and those in Brussels have no idea how our pensioners and socially weaker classes live and it is clear that the quotas could have been proposed only by someone totally ignorant. How do you want to force a refugee to live in Slovakia if his brother asking for asylum in Germany receives manifold higher social benefits than himself? As for the European Union and NATO, I used to support Slovakia´s membership in these organisations, because they were giving us hope for more freedom of speech, individual economic growth and security. And what are the results? Only a small part of society is growing economically, the rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer. As far as security is concerned, politicians who should be defending us tell us instead to get used to terror and aggression. And as for freedom of speech in mainstream media? No comment.
In the letter to Angela Merkel you also mention my country – Poland. You express concerns that following Ukraine, Warsaw could be the next place for a ´Maidan´ to happen. What makes you think so?
I regard it as a sign of total arrogance on the part of Brussels´ authorities to judge the democratically elected Polish government. Kiev´s Maidan represents a classic way of replacing a government which did not accede to the requirements of Brussels and especially Washington. Ms Nuland admitted that the US invested $5 billion into the “democratization” of the Ukraine. And what is the result of this “democratization”? One group of oligarchs has been replaced by another group of oligarchs who finally agree to Washington´s terms. Thus as soon as ´masses´ of protesters fighting against a legally elected government take to streets holding the same red cards in their hands it is clear that this is not a spontaneous process.
Why do you think that Angela Merkel´s decisions and actions are caused by a ´feeling of guilt´? In your letter you write: “I am afraid that the reasons for your servile behaviour are to be found somewhere here in this darned feeling of guilt. To me extortion seems to be the explanation for the fact that the Chancellor of Germany welcomes young and strong men from Syria, who instead of fighting the evil in their home countries run into your open arms while you are sending German soldiers to Syria to fight the bad guys.”
That is not only my opinion but wiser and more experienced analysts think the same. I want to believe that Angela Merkel´s actions are motivated by this feeling of guilt, because if the motivation was different – for example to intentionally weaken Germany and thus the whole of Europe, then the situation would be very bad for her as well as for us.
And you continue: “And I feel uneasy despite the ´warm´ embraces and kisses with which you, Holland, Tusk or Juncker demonstrate Europe´s unity. I do not know why these embraces remind me of the honesty of the famous kiss between Honecker and Brezhnev.” Don´t you agree that in times of deep European crises such as the financial problems of Greece as well as some other countries or the refugee crisis, the unity of Europe is the most important value?
Yes, the unity of Europe is the key value, because as Helmuth Kohl has said, it is the best way of conflict prevention. I have to ask though, the unity of what Europe is meant here? The unity of citizens? The unity of politicians? The unity of media owners? The unity of the banks? The crisis in Greece is a result of the loan policy of German and French banks. I assume that the unity Brussels, Berlin and Paris have mainly in mind is the unity of the European banks. The refugee crisis is also a consequence of decisions taken by politicians. As long as the European Union does not offer its citizens anything else than just hard work and paying off debts to European banks, I seriously fear the future of European unity.
Furthermore you write to the Chancellor of Germany that “With your country Europe falls or shines”. Judging by the tone of your letter though, you do not seem to believe in a renewal of Europe´s position any more.
I am an eternal optimist and I believe in the power of the universal law of balance which governs all the events in the world. In the Bible, it is expressed with the following words: “Whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” And that is happening already. Those Europeans who sow the cockle will also reap it and those who plant wheat will harvest wheat. The age of materialism and power, the Age of Pisces, ends and a new age of spirituality and love, the Aquarian Age, begins. Fortunately, neither Brussels, Washington nor Berlin can influence this process.
What does a renewed closing of borders mean for today´s Europe in historical context? What would the creation of a “Small Schengen” bring?
The re-closing of borders is a tragedy, but Europe is pushed to do so by Merkel, Tusk and their kind. The fact that a few days ago, the political leaders of Germany and Austria criticized Orbán for building fences and today they are almost condemning others for not doing so only demonstrates the idiocy of these people.
And you do not fear that Europe will have to deal with another wave of refugees as soon as winter is over, in March or April?
Why should we be afraid? Refugees are saying clearly that their destinations are rich European countries and neither Slovakia nor Poland is rich.
Lastly, I would like to ask you what can be done in order to prevent this all from happening.
The wave of refugees can be prevented immediately by stopping the war and violence in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, by stopping verbally condemning terrorism while de facto supporting it, by retreating back home and letting the Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, Ukrainian and other people decide about their own affairs.
Just a few words on my letter addressed to Mrs. Merkel: I am a Slovak and thus also a European author whose books carry a certain moral message read by thousands of people – my novel The Jubilation Zone is the most translated Slovak novel (the title of the Polish version is Strefa Entuzjazma). And if I want my readers to believe me, I think, I need to express my opinion on fundamental issues which Europe, whose citizen I am, is dealing with.
Jozef Banáš and Angela Merkel were already communicating in the past. In 2011, this author received a letter from the German Chancellor in which she expressed her appreciation and thanks for the novel The Jubilation Zone. In this book the author describes the everyday life in Slovakia during the Prague Spring, the era of “normalization” and the Velvet Revolution in 1989.