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AragornElessar
03-12-2011, 07:55 AM
Saw this over at CBC Sports.ca earlier tonight when looking to see if the Blue Jays had a Spring Training game today.

CBC Sports.ca ~ Verner puzzled by North Korea controversy (http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/pjkwong/2011/03/verner-puzzled-by-north-korea-controversy.html)

I feel bad for him, as it sounds like neither the Czech Federation or ISU had a problem w/him taking part nor was it one show only for the Elite/Higher Ups of the Dictatorship that has control over North Korea. Regardless, I feel badly for Tomas and don't think he deserves the backlash that's been coming his way as well.

AlexDSSF
03-13-2011, 02:03 AM
I'm reading that article right now. One thing that I don't get is that some people called him a "whore" and a "slut" for simply competing in North Korea. I know that North Korea is, to put it mildly, a questionable place, but "whore" and "slut" not only seem uncalled for, but rather out of place. He went to North Korea for an ISU-sanctioned competition. He didn't screw a member of the Politburo.

Willowway
03-13-2011, 02:19 AM
for simply competing in North Korea.He went to North Korea for an ISU-sanctioned competition

I think the article was pretty clear (as are other articles on the situation) that he wasn't competing in North Korea; he was performing in an exhibition. The event that produced the reaction was a show, not a comp. Had it been a international ISU comp, I think the reactions would have been much different. This one was purely voluntary.

That said, Tomas really has gotten caught in a sh**storm he didn't intend in any way. Poor guy. I do feel for him although I think his lack of understanding of the political subtleties of the situation tells us how naive he may be in some ways. He sounds like a sweet guy who just doesn't think of these complications. I wonder however why his agent who is paid to be more wordly and sophisticated didn't see this as a possibility and advise him accordingly. Do I think he should have skated there? I would have advised him against it. But I also don't think he had any notion that people might interpret his appearance to indicate some level of sympathy with or glorification of a brutal dictatorship there.

One does have to remember (or his agent should have) that it was only in 1989 that the Czech Republic emerged from decades under a totalitarian government and that there may be many sensitivities on the part of other Czechs about anyone entertaining the political higher-ups of a dictatorship - one of the three shows was for the elite. I can easily see that as a problem but I don't think Tomas considered it or was presented with it to consider.

reese
03-13-2011, 04:57 AM
Totally agree, Willowway. He comes off as incredibly na´ve and under-informed about the political implications of his appearance and why that might upset the average Czech citizen (or world citizen).

Still, I guess he's still relatively young and he should have had people looking out for him here, namely his agent.

What a flub! Hope he at least made a lot of $$$...

kosjenka
03-13-2011, 07:35 AM
I don't agree.

Why do people see North Korea or pretty much any country that is under totalitarian dictatorship, as "a country"? As a political entity?

Exactly because North Korea is a totalitarian dictatorship, one should be thinking about what the people living there may find enjoyable, because they do not have the luxury of choice in almost anything in their lives.

I would say that Tomas and his agent (or manager?) should have been prepared for an amount of publicity from this gala. It is strange that it wasn't until Tomas returned to his sources of communication and his cell phone, were this "accusations" answered.

AS far as Czech authorities - well that is pure hypocrisy. Since I remember reading how Czech had workers from North Korea working in Czech companies. AS a part of some exchange. Someone posted a link in a previous thread on FSU about this. And Czech is one of the few countries that have their ambassador in North Korea plus they do not have "hostile foreing relationship" with NK.

Ladida
03-13-2011, 08:00 AM
I agree, Czech press were to severe. In Czech Republic we could read more articles about Verner and NK than about him winning the bronze in Bern :huh:

let`s talk
03-13-2011, 08:31 AM
Why Tomas? Nathalie with Fabian, Plush, Sasha with Yuka, who is Japanese-born btw, they were all there. Why Tomas? :rolleyes:

deedeelocks
03-13-2011, 09:22 AM
I think the biggest outrage came when the ambassador and a minister gave some false and negative information/opinion on tv. (it was in the 7PM news or so) That's when people started to come to the guestbook, writing really terrible stuff. :(

Katis
03-13-2011, 11:23 AM
I think the article was pretty clear (as are other articles on the situation) that he wasn't competing in North Korea; he was performing in an exhibition. The event that produced the reaction was a show, not a comp. Had it been a international ISU comp, I think the reactions would have been much different. This one was purely voluntary.


I think so, he (and other Czech skaters) already competed in NK before and I don't remember any fuss about that. And I never heard complaints about competing in China where the political situation is similar.

It seemed to me that Tomas's presence in NK was mostly presented by the media as a participation on the dictator's birthday celebration. The political regime topic probably still is quite sensitive for people in our country, even though it is more than 20 years since the revolution here.

bek
03-13-2011, 02:26 PM
Why Tomas? Nathalie with Fabian, Plush, Sasha with Yuka, who is Japanese-born btw, they were all there. Why Tomas? :rolleyes:

Well the anger is in the Czech Republic and Tomas is Czech the other skaters are not. The people there may feel that given what they recently experienced, they are unhappy with a Czech skater showing any kind of support real or imagined for the N. Korean regime.


And I never heard complaints about competing in China where the political situation is similar.

I don't think the situation is nearly as bad in China as it is in N. Korea. The biggest issue I have with N. Korea is this is a regime that doesn't even bother to feed its people or improve its people's live. They spend all this money on nukes while millions of N. Koreans starve.

Say what you will about the Chinese government but I get the feeling they care about things like their economy, people eating etc.

pinky166
03-13-2011, 03:00 PM
I feel bad for Tomas, he didn't want to get involved in all this drama nor does he deserve it. He just performed in a show, he didn't say or do anything involving politics so I don't understand why people are flipping out. Poor guy.

Willowway
03-13-2011, 03:06 PM
I don't understand why people are flipping out

People are flipping out because his performance is perceived as an entertainment for a brutal dictator. Skating is very pretty but it does not exist in a vaccum; it exists in a world where history, oppression and politics are very, very real. Tomas did not consider this nor did anyone advising him consider this. As I said above, if you think about the history of the Czech Republic in the 20th century, it's easy to see why some folks are sensitive to what he did. He didn't mean it but he did it.

While all the pretty, pretty and the sequins and the nice music would seem to put skating in the 'fantasyland' category of experience, it is really part of a complicated world as we all are. Thinking that it exists outside that world in some little bubble of its own is very young, naive or uninformed. I think Tomas is no longer any of those things.

The very young seem to think that they can be separated from these things because they want to be, or because they didn't intend to be involved - it doesn't work that way. As citizens of the world, it's what we all learn - you can't declare yourself a separate country, a separate entity who is not involved, and you have to think about what you're doing and who you're doing it for. The world is a complicated place and knowing that is part of growing up. Additionally, and as a mother of two grown sons I think I'm very qualified to say this, "I didn't mean it" isn't an excuse for much or only an excuse the first time. So while we understand that Tomas didn't intend any political statement, he did what he did. Now he'll know.

Sorry I got on my soap box a bit here but I just don't understand why it's so hard to understand. It's quite simple.

Skate Talker
03-13-2011, 07:06 PM
^^
Then I really don't see why this condemnation does not apply equally to all the skaters involved. Where is the world outrage for the other skaters who participated? Many people in many countries should have equally compelling reasons to be just as outraged as the Czechs appear to be.


I had not heard of this whole situation until just a couple of minutes ago so I don't know how I really feel about the whole thing other than that is seems pretty silly for only Verner to be suffering the fall-out. Just saying.

Willowway
03-13-2011, 07:14 PM
Good question, why isn't everyone who participated coming under fire like Tomas is? Is it possible that given their relatively recent history with totalitarianism some Czech fans/individuals are more sensitive to the issue that those of us in other countries with other histories? That could be one explanation.

Maybe the folks in the Czech Republic who are upset by this have something to teach the rest of us. Someone is always in front of the pack. In this case, maybe it's them. While I do not approve of some of the words and the harshness of tone thrown at Tomas, I do think that there is a point to be made and better made with more civility.

bek
03-13-2011, 07:40 PM
^^
Then I really don't see why this condemnation does not apply equally to all the skaters involved. Where is the world outrage for the other skaters who participated? Many people in many countries should have equally compelling reasons to be just as outraged as the Czechs appear to be.


I had not heard of this whole situation until just a couple of minutes ago so I don't know how I really feel about the whole thing other than that is seems pretty silly for only Verner to be suffering the fall-out. Just saying.

Maybe its because other than Sasha, none of the other skaters have had family members etc that were born in and experienced the horrificness of a brutal dictatorship. The Czechs may feel Tomas should know better given their own history. I see both sides of the debate. One being that a show that celebrates Kim Jong's birthday is not good. But the other also being that we should encourage the N. Koreans to engage with the rest of the world.