At this very moment I am listening to the CNN and broadcasters are delivering news about sorry state of Italian flag carrier "Alitalia". Unfortunately it is no news anymore, the same as the sorry state of democratic culture in Latvia. Today, whilst Latvian government continuously suffers under strains of non confidence, there was a funny news from the sky!
According to "Diena" students from suburban Ogre flushed photo of the Latvian president Valdis Zatlers into WC. Prior flushing photo there was someone who made the picture out of the tax evading presidents photo in WC, and later put that picture into their mobile phones. Subsequently someone passed it further to their classmates. Apparently this picture became such a HIT in Ogre locality, that even local police officers visited students and wanted to delete so called obnoxious pictures from student's mobile phones.[fortunately Latvian Ombudsman office overruled such frivolity of Ogre policemen]
Whilst reading this news reminded me about something deja vue, and it made me to look after Jaroslav Hašek's "The Brave Soldier Svejk during the WW1"(Jaroslavs Hašeks, "Krietnā Kareivja Šveika Dēkas Pasaules Karā", Rīga: Jumava, 1998, p. 19) from the shelf. Thus, to proceed with my story I want to quote some lines from the aforementioned book. The discussion takes place in a simple Prague pub between secret police spy Bratschneider, the barman, and the brave soldier Svejk.
"Bratschneider said that in Sarajevo someone shot Archeduke Ferdinande, thus mister barman, what would you say about that?
Originally I [barman] am not mingling in such issues and they can really blow me for that...whilst blowing his own pipe in the meantime. Actually, the barman continued, persons who meddle in those affairs too much usually break their neck. I am an owner of the bar. If someone orders beer, I serve the one, but any politics of Sarajevo and Archdukes smells like Pancrace [famous prison in Prague].
Bratschneider was disappointed and looked around in an empty room. Not finding anyone he continued, that he remembered that instead of mirror on the wall in the same place there was the picture of the family of the Archduke hanging some time ago.
Indeed, you are right, responded owner of the bar Mr Pavlivec, but flies were shitting on it thus I put it into attic. You know, if I would speak too much there would be more hassle, and who needs it after all."
Thus, Bratschneider saw the foolish soldier Svejk. Whilst drinking and agitating Bratschneider did everything to trick and accuse him for treason. After lengthy arguments about infidel Turks and half christian Germans and Austrians Bratschneider was able to "hook" Svejk. "So, said Bratschneider [whilst looking on Svejk] you said that flies were shitting on the Archduke, but wait and we shall change your brains." While Svejk and owner of the bar Pavlivec were brought to the secret police station the wife of the bar owner Pavlivec was sobbing. Whilst seeing it, the owner of the bar was calming her: "Do not cry and whine too much! What the state powers can do to me for the sake of one official picture full of fly shit?"
That is a nice and long story, but today the same story was ALMOST verbatim repeated with Latvian policemen checking Ogre students for flushing picture of Latvian president in WC... .
To finish this story I decided to translate the most popular comments in the liberal "Diena", because the "Latvian toilet flushed presidential picture" caused quite a stir today.
No 1. Vilis said that "Katram demokrātiju cienošam latvietim šodien podā jābūt zatlera portetam" [Every Latvian who cherishes democracy should have portrait of zatlers in their WC]
No 2. Ino said that "Neuzskatu šos skolniekus par varoņiem, bet par patstāvīgi loģiski spriest spējīgiem jaunajiem Latvijas pilsoņiem. Visu cieņu jaunajai paaudzei, kauns policijai, kura gadu gadiem nespēj atklāt tiesneša Laukrozes slepkavību un citus kliedzošus noziegumus, bet atrod laiku pensionāru un skolnieku terorizēšanai" [I do not consider these schoolchildren as heroes, but as mature young fellows. Respect for young generation of Latvians, shame on police who cannot reveal the death of judge Laukroze and other crimes, but find enough time to terrorise after students and pensioners"]
No. 3 Zekunde said " O, jēziņ! Staļina laikā kāds nešpetns skolnieks vecajam gruzīnu komunistam bildē piezīmēja klāt asti un ragus. Nu tad nu puiku izsvieda no skolas, māti no darba, bet rajona miličiem un čekistiem bija daudz darba un labs iemsles saņemt prēmijas par valsts ienaidnieka neitralizēšanu. [ O Jesus! During occupation time there was a student who drew horns and tail on the picture of Stalin. The boy was expelled from the school, the mother was fired, but the regional militia workers had enough time and opportunities to receive bonuses and additional income for neutralisation of the state enemy!]