Charles Bridge

This week: A planned publicity event on Prague's Charles Bridge, changing the image of the Czech Republic, web game about Lidice, Radio Prague - shortwave or internet? Listeners quoted: William B. Walton, Gary Straub, Aloisie Krasny, Lynda-Marie Hauptman, Josef Horak, Marie Markovina, Joe Wagner.

Charles Bridge
Hello and welcome to Mailbox. You may remember a story we covered in some detail two weeks ago about the French fashion company Louis Vuitton planning to hold a party on Prague's Charles Bridge. That event would have entailed having the bridge closed to the public for a day or two. The plans raised a lot of criticism and eventually the party was held elsewhere. A number of our listeners wanted to share with us their concern about the way historical monuments are being treated. This e-mail came from William B. Walton from the United States.

"My daughter who spent 5 weeks in Europe totally agrees with me that a party should not be held on Charles Bridge. While in Germany, she and some of her friends spent a weekend in Prague. I am half Czech, which makes her one-fourth Czech. Her pictures were mostly of the city, including Charles Bridge. Her comment was that Charles Bridge was most impressive and beautiful and should not be used for commercial purposes. I know my last name is not Czech but my mother's maiden name was Soucek."

Gary Straub from Virginia agrees:

"I add my objection to the closing of Charles Bridge for an event which would disrupt a normal flow of traffic. The event should be moved to a nearby location which would not challenge the everyday commerce in this area."

Aloisie Krasny from Australia read our report on the Foreign Ministry's campaign trying to change the image of the Czech Republic abroad.

"I read with great interest your article on 'Changing the Country's Image' to make the world become more aware of the Czech Republic. My background is Czech, as my father is from Konojedy just outside of Prague. I have lived in the Czech Republic and absolutely love the place. I am a professional and have been working for the New South Wales Government in Sydney, Australia since returning from the UK some years ago. At present I am studying the Czech language and the reason I am contacting you is to find out how I can get involved in promoting the Czech Republic either here or there. Can you advise and put me in touch with the right source? I would like to say that your website is excellent, very informative and packed with good reading material."

The best way to get involved is to contact the Foreign Ministry at their special website, easy to remember If you go to the website, you will find the full contact information there.

Lynda-Marie Hauptman from the United States writes in response to our news story about a controversial web game - an interactive computer game launched on the web in order to draw attention to the history of Lidice, a village wiped off the map by the Nazis. The game caused a lot of controversy here in the Czech Republic. And Lynda-Marie Hauptman writes:

"With regards to the 'Total Burn-Out of Lidice' game, I have to wonder; is Jan Binar, the creator of that game the only living heart donor in the world? How in the hell does it 'help' young people to learn about a tragic past, if the point of the game is to turn the young people into the perpetrators of such a tragedy? It would be the equivalent of 'teaching' young Americans about the tragedy of the World Trade Center by making it possible for them to increase the carnage by giving them large military transport planes loaded with missiles or other live ordnance to crash into the towers. I applaud Mr. Zelenka, a survivor of that horror, for taking Mr. Binar to task about it. I'm sure racists, skinheads and other vermin are enjoying that game greatly. Mr. Binar should be ashamed of himself. I am certainly ashamed that such a person dares call himself Czech."

And Josef Horak from Swindon in the UK had this to add:

"I have visited the web site above and I think that this is one of the most crass and insensitive advertisement to come my way. Apart from the obvious offence to the people of Lidice it most surely not even achieves its aim of attracting more visitors to this memorial. However the revamped museum is a work of art that will only improve with time. I would like to hear other people's view on this matter."

Staying with Czech history but on a more cheerful note, Marie Markovina from Australia writes:

"I am a Year 11 student in Australia and I just wanted to say thank you so very much. Your internet site helped me more than you could imagine when it came to completing my Modern History assessment. The history of your country is truly interesting. Thank you once again."

We are glad that our site serves as a source of inspiration. We think it is a great advantage that our radio stories don't just disappear the instant they are aired but anyone can get back to them - even those people who normally don't listen to radio. Which is not the case of Joe Wagner from New Jersey who wrote to us this week:

"I am writing to inform you that I listen, on short wave, when I can. Last night I particularly enjoyed your English program, however, all of your listeners' comments indicated they were listening on the internet. I want you to know, I listen only on shortwave, using either of my receivers, with an AN-LP1 active antenna. I consider shortwave the superior medium, as it is free, and I may be mobile. Also, I enjoy the 'idea' of direct transmission, over the air, from you to my radio!"

Thank you very much for all those comments and all that remains for me to do in Mailbox today is to repeat our competition question for September. Four of you who answer correctly will receive small prizes from Radio Prague at the end of the month.

"This month we would like you to tell us the name of the world-famous physicist who was born in 1838 in what is now the Czech Republic's second city of Brno and has a unit named after him which is used to define the speed of a moving object relative to the speed of sound."

I hope the definition is understandable albeit not necessarily scientifically accurate. Please, send us your answers by the end of the month to [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic. Till next week, bye-bye.