Forum 2000: Media and Democracy

In its 16th year in Prague Forum 2000 begins its first full day today after kicking off with an opening ceremony last night that included Joan Baez singing “We Shall Overcome” and will now follow up with discussion panels on the state of the media that may well disagree with Ms. Baez’s sentiments. We shall see.

There are a lot of prestigious and interesting guests ranging from Madeleine Albright to Belarus opposition leader Alyaksandar Milinkevich to former UN Human Rights commissioner Enrique ter Horst.

From literalab’s perspective there are a few particularly interesting guests: Ukrainian novelist and journalist Yuri Andrukhovych will be speaking on a number of panels, including an author reading on the Ukraine moderated by Czech novelist Radka Denemarková. Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman will also be discussing media issues and translator of Czech literature Paul Wilson will be moderating a roundtable on “Václav Havel as a Media Practitioner.”

– Still the guiding spirit of Forum 2000, the late Václav Havel seen at a previous Forum 2000 panel seated between Boris Nemtsov and Yohei Sasakawa

I will be speaking there as well, but only in a barely audible mumble to myself. What about, you ask? About how some of the people at this conference voicing such lofty sentiments on the role of the media can then offer work to experienced journalists for an amount of money that makes the kids who flip burgers at McDonald’s seem like well-paid CEOs in comparison. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

If you happen to be attending the conference feel free to stop by my day job afterwards for a burger and fries. We have a special today.

More on Forum 2000 coming soon. You can see the full program here though if you are in Prague it is, for the most part, not open to the public.

The Yuri Andrukhovych reading is almost definitely public – information below:

19.00–20.30 AUTHOR READING 




Radka Denemarkova, Writer, Translator, Czech Republic

Panel Discussion:

Yuri Andrukhovych, Writer, Poet, Ukraine

Mykola Riabchuk, Political and Cultural Analyst, Ukraine

(Langhans, People in Need Center, Vodičkova 37, Prague 1)

Photos – Forum 2000 by either Ondřej Besperát, Michal Čížek, Filip Singer or Josef Rabara

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Categories: Literary Events


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2 Comments on “Forum 2000: Media and Democracy”

  1. Laima Sruoginis
    23/10/2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Dear Editors:

    I am a new subscriber to literalab and am enjoying your book reviews, essays, and blogs very much. I am a Lithuanian-American writer and literary translator from Lithuanian into English. I divide my time between Vilnius and the United States. I would be interested in contributing to literalab as an essayist. I predominantly write about the Baltic States. I would also like to send one of your reviewers a copy of my work of literary nonfiction “Journey into the Backwaters of the Heart’ (see link below) in the hope that someone from your team might write a review for literalab. I would be happy to mail a copy of the book to a possible reviewer. “Journey into the Backwaters of the Heart” is a collection of oral histories of women who either participated in the armed resistance against the Soviet Union, were exiled to Siberia or Tajikistan, or are Jewish Holocaust survivors. When collecting these stories I was interested in how these women–who sacrificed so much for their ideals and who suffered so much–evaluate their sacrifices and experiences at the end of their lives. There is a great deal of storytelling and reflection in the book.

    Here is a short summary about the book.

    A Fulbright grant enabled me to travel to Lithuania to record the oral histories of women and men who were former partisan fighters, liaisons, or supporters of Lithuania’s post World War II armed resistance against the Soviet Union. I also spoke to Jewish Holocaust survivors and to women who lived to tell the tale of Stalin’s deportations to Siberia and Tajikistan. To hear these stories I traveled to remote rural locations, bumping down dirt roads in my Honda Civic. I sometimes slept in haylofts, helped out with household chores, or sat behind the table, as the Lithuanian saying goes, accepting the hospitality of my hosts. One visit was seldom enough. Often after hours of talk, we cried together, but more often we laughed. In 2007 – 2011 when I conducted these interviews, the people I spoke with were already in their advanced old age. I worried they might not recall the events of their youth accurately. My worries proved to be unfounded. The stories told to me were detailed and precise. I discovered that the memories that remained most powerful at the end of these survivors lives were memories of loves lived during times of trial and hardship. As I listened, I was continually amazed that people who had experienced torture, exile, loss, trauma, held one emotion close to their hearts: That emotion was love. Each story told to me, at its core, was a love story. That is why this collection of life stories is a journey into the backwaters of the heart.

    With kind regards, Laima Vince

  2. 23/10/2012 at 9:18 pm #

    Dear Laima,
    Thanks very much for contacting me. I’m a little overwhelmed at the moment but will get back to you asap. Also my e-mail is, which will be an easier way to be in contact.

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