Bratislava, November 17 (TASR) – This isn’t the first time that Slovakia has been embroiled in a fight for democracy, and once again we need the portion of society that espouses the values of democracy to make a push, stated President Zuzana Caputova in her speech at the 2021 White Crow awards ceremony on Wednesday.
The White Crow awards are given to those who have displayed courage and have defended the public good.
The White Crow awards don’t just epitomise the meaning of civil society, they also carry a message of altruism trumping selfishness, pointed out Caputova. When people take a look at the Slovakia of today, however, they could gain the impression that it’s not truth and love but lies and hatred that have the upper hand.
“Hatred that was long festering on the internet has been unleashed on the real world. It even targets people who help the sick and fight disease on the front line and on the verge of exhaustion,” said the head of state.
From the legacy of the Day of the Fight for Freedom and Democracy many have taken away only the right to limitless freedom, the right to spread lies, the right to offend anyone and endanger others, said Caputova, adding that freedom comes hand-in-hand with responsibility and limits at which our freedom begins to restrict the freedom and rights of others.
“Despite the fact that we’re living in a difficult era, a lot has changed for the better in Slovakia in terms of the application of justice,” said Caputova, who noted that White Crows aren’t found only in civil society anymore, but also in institutions, public administration, regions and municipalities.
Three laureates were presented with White Crow awards on Wednesday. For the first time ever, all three laureates at the current 14th awards ceremony were women.
The first laureate was independent Varin village councillor Lenka Tichakova, a longstanding advocate of renaming a street in her village that bears the name of leader of the wartime fascist Slovak state Jozef Tiso. She’s combed through archives, garnered the stances of historians, raised awareness and pushed for change, yet faces invectives and misunderstanding in the village.
The second laureate was head of the State Institute for Drug Control Zuzana Batova. During the pandemic crisis, SUKL drafted an independent assessment of the non-registered Sputnik vaccine. Batova faced unprecedented media and political pressure over the assessment, both at home and abroad.
The third award went to psychologist Sona Holubkova, who has been helping people with disabilities for thirty years, encouraging their inclusion in society.