Central Europeans reflect on life before the fall of the Berlin Wall
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Dominik Kianička

But we did not learn to say the truth to each other eye to eye

Oravská Lesná, Slovak Republic, 2009
Slovak English

Dominik Kianička, Independent pr manager and Deputy Mayor, local governement worker

Dominik: I have an interest in the past, before the revolution. Based on the experiences that my parents went through and because I have an interest in history. Also, up to now almost everyone in Slovakia has somehow been touched by communism so it would be stupid not to care.

For example in the media, many journalists are still thinking like there is somebody above them and managing them. There are only a few journalists that write the truth without caring what it might bring to them. Others write part of the story, but do not tell the whole story. It is understandable because the government does not provide any protection for journalists. And even many of the journalists who would like to tell the truth can not do so because their boss has a relationship with politicians or other people that do not want certain stories to be told.

So it is important to read between the lines and most people do not know how to do that. Many people are not thinking independently. They are waiting for some order. They are not able to do things from their own initiative.  

Marianna Kianičková (Dominik's mother): My perception is that we were were really taught how to read between the lines during socialism because that was our only choice. But we did not learn to say the truth to each other eye to eye and people still have a problem doing this. And I can see this is happening with the younger generation as well. They have trouble being totally honest with each other. This deformation is a holdover from socialism. There are many young, clever and bright people in Slovakia. If we didn't have this deformation we could be much farther ahead as a country.

Dominik: I hope that this will change in the future. My father used to say that it will take about 50 years. So we have about 30 to go.  

Marianna: I am happy that there is no more socialism because it didn't teach us to think. Now even though many people still do not think for themselves the possibility to do so is here.

This interview was in English and Slovak with the aid of a translator
Photo by Janeil Engelstad

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