Photo: European Commission

This week in Mailbox: Three years in the EU; a plan to establish neighbourhood watches; interview with Holocaust survivor Zdenka Fantlova and a shocking case of child abuse in the Czech Republic. Listeners quoted: Vladimir Val Cymbal, Vic Uhlik, Bob Morgan, Lynda-Marie Hauptman.

Photo: European Commission
Thanks for tuning in to Mailbox. We have again received many responses to the stories we have broadcast recently. This one comes from Vladimir Val Cymbal from the United States:

"In your article 'Three years on from EU accession - have Czech expectations been met?' you report that most Czechs trust the Brussels politicians more than those in your own country. They are making a big mistake. [...] The people of the Czech Republic are better off looking for leaders that are trustworthy within their own country. If you can't trust own countrymen and women the country is lost. Fix the things that are wrong at home and work hard to make tough times better. Do what you can for your country because outsiders do not have the proper affection for your country and will take advantage of you at every chance."

This week we broadcast a short piece on the interior ministry's plan to establish neighbourhood watches. The story inspired Vic Uhlik from California to write this comment:

"Neighborhood watch groups formalized by the police never were effective the neighborhoods I lived in here in the U.S. Better was when adjacent neighbors exchanged both home and business telephone numbers and print them on small pads to be kept next to their telephones. In my case, there are only eight of us. We call each other if we see prowlers at night, see a fire, or have door to door salesman we think is not legitimate, etc."

As usual, we have had a lot of mail from Canada where our programmes are rebroadcast on a local FM frequency. One of our listeners there is Bob Morgan.

Zdenka Fantlova
"Thanks to whatever arrangement you have with our Canadian CBC overnight I am able to listen to segments from Czech radio daily at 5.15 a.m. eastern standard time. For the past two days you have been interviewing an 81 year old woman who wrote about her experiences during world war two in a book called in English 'My Lucky Star' Where can I obtain the book?"

I did a quick Google search and I found the book by our interviewee, Zdenka Fantlova, is available in the well-known internet book stores. Also, a listener from Toronto wrote in saying she was able to obtain a copy of "My Lucky Star" from a local lending library and she was thoroughly taken with it.

And finally, our regular listener Lynda-Marie Hauptman wrote in response to the shocking story of a little boy who was tortured by his own mother - but luckily that fact was discovered by chance by a neighbour who reported it to the authorities.

"I have been reading about the ongoing case with the little boy who was being abused so terribly by his mother. Sadly, we have cases like this from time to time in the US, too. What is with some people? If they so dislike children, WHY do they have them? If the child misbehaves badly, or the parent(s) need help handling them, WHY don't they ASK for help? [...] In light of the child abuse cases, here in the US, the Czech Republic and everywhere else, it is time to get REALLY tough on abusers. This is a pattern that will only continue, with abused children themselves becoming abusers when they have their own children, because they don't know any better."

Thanks very much for all those e-mails and your interest in our programmes. Now as usual, here is our competition question for May.

Many of you will have heard of the great English Oriental scholar TE Lawrence or "Lawrence of Arabia" as he is known to many. But although he is not so famous today, Lawrence's contemporary and great rival as the leading Arabist of his day was a Czech parson who travelled extensively in the Middle East in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is perhaps best remembered for being the first Westerner to discover the Islamic monument - the Qusayr 'Amra lodge in Jordan. He was also a member of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, the personal confessor of the Habsburg Empress Zita and a botanist who discovered several new desert flowers. We'd like to know the name of this mystery Czech.

The address for your answers is as usual: Radio Prague, 12099, Prague or [email protected]. The deadline is May 31st. Four of you who answer correctly will receive small gifts from Radio Prague. I will be back again next Sunday. In the meantime keep those e-mails coming.