The Czech Republic is one of the most successful members of the former Soviet Empire. Yet Czechs with whom I recently spoke fear liberty is in retreat. Indeed, the former Communist Party might reenter government after elections last weekend.
A guy on my right approached me and asked if I was a U.S. citizen. I said, "Yes."
Upon my confirmation, two other men came over to sit at my small table as four more people at the bar, three men and a lady, turned around to listen.
The heart and soul of the Czech Republic, as well as traditional Bohemia, are inseparably wrapped up in the amazing cultural confluence that is Prague. It's like stepping inside a fairy-tale picture book.
In explaining the fall of Communism, most analysts talk about pressure from the inside (dissidents) coupled with pressure from the outside (Gorbachev, Reagan). But equally important were the inside-outsiders.
The debate continues over whether the people of East-Central Europe have benefitted economically from the post-1989 transition. But this discussion of economic winners and losers largely ignores a key demand of the people in the region.
They are the creatures whose existence science has yet to prove. They have been spotted by the public and sometimes even captured on film. They come to us from ancient cultures, the depths of extinction and urban legend.
They all agreed that the most important thing they learned at the Kennedy Center was courage, the courage to ask for money, the courage to embrace a new funding paradigm, the courage to do something different than others in the Czech arts ecology.
A film festival's first day -- particularly when it's your first day at a festival you've never attended before -- is always a discovery process (though, of course, discovery is what going to film festivals is all about).
If the Boston bombing was terrorism, as Tsarnaev claims, it looks like an especially boneheaded form of terrorism. Let's call it idiocratic terrorism. That's an adaptation of the title of the cult 2006 film Idiocracy, a satire about a dystopic future in which pretty much everyone is an idiot.
The data that the OECD collects can help countries map their strengths and weaknesses in education. But what's the best way to capitalize on the strengths and address the weaknesses? Policy makers might find the answer to that question in another country.
In the Internet age, we're all journalists. Everyone who posts on social media should consider that, if what they posted is incorrect, exposing, sensational, prejudicial or otherwise inappropriate, it may change the perception of those who see it in unforeseen ways.
Have you ever stumbled upon an abandoned building and experienced a sense of wonder? What was this? Who built it? Do the people who used to live, work or go to school here care that it's now a crumbling shell? Here's a collection of places that have been abandoned.
If a hallmark of great art is its ability to transcend the limited circumstances of its creation, then there is no more heartbreaking realization of this than the 1944 performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Catholic Requiem by Jewish prisoners at the Nazi concentration camp Terezín.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia currently enjoy a relationship that should be the envy of any two neighboring countries. The prime ministers maintain good contact. The two countries engage in joint infrastructure projects and provide joint military units for NATO operations.