Mailbox

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In Mailbox this week: more reaction to a Hollywood version of the life of Milada Horakova, the song that is synonymous with the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and why Radio Prague doesn't use the name "Czechia" instead of "the Czech Republic". Listeners quoted: Stephen Landesman, Anna Zila-Granger and Dr. Eva Horova.

You may remember last week that we quoted a letter from regular listener David Eldridge, who was unhappy about a proposed Hollywood film on the life of Milada Horakova, the Czech democratic politician who was executed after a Stalinist-style show trial in the 1950s.

It seems that David is not the only one who is aghast at the idea. Stephen Landesman wrote to us from Jacksonville in the USA to give us his opinion on the subject.

"I agree wholeheartedly with David Eldridge on the issue of a "Hollywood" version of Milada Horakova. The movie should be made on location, with Czech actors (and there are many excellent ones available) AND in the Czech language. The international success of recent Czech films -- with subtitles -- such as "Kolya," "Zelary," "Dark Blue World"("Tmavomodry svet") and "Divided We Fall" ("Musime si pomahat") make this choice a no-brainer! We don't need Annette Benning or Meryl Streep or Olympia Dukakis impersonating Horakova. Please, give me a break!!!"

Stephen is not the only one of you who is upset at the idea of a Hollywood version of the life of Milada Horakova. I myself think that anything that brings this courageous woman to wider attention should be welcomed, but that's only my own personal opinion. What do you think? Send us a letter or an email with your thoughts. We'd also be interested in hearing who you think would do a good job of playing Milada Horakova.

Now, Anna Zila-Granger wrote to us from Toronto in Canada with this request:

"I would appreciate your assistance in helping me recall the name of a song I heard on Radio Prague in September 2006 regarding the subject of the revolution of 1968. I think the verse contained reference to a brother and closing of doors. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated."

Well Anna, September 2006 is quite a long time ago, but we think you might be referring to a report we did on the late Czech folk singer Karel Kryl last August. If so, the track you are looking for is "Bratricku, zavirej vratka" or "Little Brother, Close the Door" in English.

Another letter we received this week came from the linguist Dr Eva Horova, who wrote to us from the Czech Republic about the name we use for the country, i.e. "the Czech Republic." According to Dr. Horova, most states have a political and a geographical name. For instance, my country's political name - "the Republic of Ireland" - is usually shortened to one word - "Ireland". Dr. Horova wrote to remind us that officially, the geographical name for the Czech Republic is the word Czechia and she asked us why we never use it here at Radio Prague.

Well you are right Dr. Horova in saying that the official geographic name of the country is Czechia. We haven't yet started using it here because, for one reason or another, the name has never caught on in English. In fact, we did a report on this very topic a couple of years ago (www.radio.cz/en/article/46283) and discovered that the Czech Tourist Authority in London had itself actually stopped using "Czechia" and reverted to "the Czech Republic" because British people simply had not taken to the name. It seems that although "the Czech Republic" is a bit of a mouthful, we won't be using "Czechia" for the foreseeable future.

It's a fascinating subject though and we'd certainly be interested in hearing what you - the listeners - think would be a suitable one-word equivalent for "the Czech Republic! Do you like "Czechia" or do you have any other suggestions?

Incidentally, "Czechia" is probably also the only official geographic name of a country which is rejected by the Microsoft Word spell check. Maybe someone should send Bill Gates a memo as well!


That's all we have for you this week. Before I go, I should remind you that this is the last week of our April competition. So this is your last chance to answer the following question:

It sometimes happens that two inventors simultaneously come up with the same idea independently of each other. This was for instance the case with the lightning rod which was invented by Benjamin Franklin and also a Czech scientist at roughly the same time. We'd like to know the name of the Czech inventor.

Answers to the competition as well as all your letters should be sent to Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, the Czech Republic or you can also send us a quick email to English@radio.cz.