Hunger Wall

In today's Mailbox: One more response to Radio Prague's interview with a US war veteran from Iraq, the "Hunger Wall" in Prague, a song for George W. Bush, and the Czech politician who "does not believe in global warming". Listeners quoted: David Eldridge, Annette Cech, Joseph F. Slechta, Dan Garsonnin.

Hello from a sunny and hot Prague! We appreciate that the pleasant weather has not kept you from writing in to Radio Prague or taking the time to research the answer to our competition question.

In last Sunday's Mailbox we aired three reactions to an interview we broadcast with a US war veteran from Iraq. In response to those, our regular listener David Eldridge from England has sent us this comment:

"Tom Cassidy portrayed an honest and level-headed analysis of the circumstances of his service in the US military [...] His case was presented with lucidity and compassion so different from the usual bellicose and factually inaccurate rhetoric so often heard from those associated with the US military. In response to some comments in 'Mailbox', I would add that during WWII the United States was fighting for its own interests, but many of those interests coincided with the interests of the Allied powers, France, the Soviet Union, Britain and others. The US contribution in the conflict on the side of the Allies after the bombing of Pearl Harbor was laudable because the Allies were fighting a belligerent, expansionist Axis bloc that was guilty of horrendous crimes under international law. For those who lost their lives in that struggle from whatever nation, we owe our eternal gratitude. But the contemporary reputation of any nation rests on its present day actions, not on historical events."

Annette Cech from the United States had this question concerning an important historical monument in Prague:

"Ahoj! We enjoy your robot radio news very much and hope you will continue. We have been looking for detailed information about the Hunger Wall in the Czech Republic and wonder if you have done a story about it in the past. If so, please let us know how we can obtain such information. The only sites we have found on the internet give very minimal information."

There is plenty of information on the internet on the Hunger Wall, part of Prague's fortification system built in the 14th century, but only in Czech, I'm afraid. In Radio Prague programmes, the wall, whose construction Emperor Charles IV is said to have commissioned to provide jobs to many Prague poor during a famine, has only been mentioned in passing. These are the links:

Joseph F. Slechta from the United States would like to know more about an unusual gift Czech Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova prepared for US president George W. Bush during his visit to Prague - a song supporting a planned US radar base in which the minister herself sings backing vocals. Joseph F. Slechta asks:

"Is a recording of the song sung by Czech Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova for President Bush available?"

The recording of the song can be found on the websites of a few Czech newspapers. You can try and look it up on the internet by entering the names of the singers, Jan Vycital and Vlasta Parkanova, in a search engine. In the meantime, here are a few bars of the song, Dobry den, prapore hvezd a pruhu (Hello, Stars and Stripes) for all of you to hear. For some reason, Jan Vycital, who also wrote the lyrics, used a well-known 1961 tune celebrating Yuri Gagarin, the first Soviet cosmonaut.

President Vaclav Klaus
Dan Garsonnin from Alberta, Canada, has this question:

"Perhaps my ears deceived me, but did I not hear of one of your politicians stating that he did not believe in 'global warming', or that it did not deserve any attention? If I did hear correctly, could you please tell me who this was and his governmental and/or social position?"

The politician in question is none other than the Czech Republic's President, Vaclav Klaus. You can find the articles here: and

And finally I won't leave you without our regular competition question:

This month we would like to know the name of a composer who was born in 1860 in what is now the Czech Republic and lived here until the age of fifteen. Later he studied music in Vienna and worked as a conductor in several Central European cities, including Ljubljana, Budapest, Vienna but also Prague and Olomouc. He also lived and worked in New York for some time. He died in Vienna at age 50, leaving behind nine symphonies and a number of vocal works.

Please send your answers to [email protected], or if you prefer Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic by June 30th. Mailbox will be back again next week.