Litovel, March 6 (CTK) – The Czech Republic should not jeopardize companies’ growing exports to countries such as Uzbekistan and Iran with excessive emphasis on human rights protection, President Milos Zeman said Thursday during his visit to the company Papcel Litovel in central Moravia.
To: Foreign Ministry Staff
I think we can all agree that human rights are a great thing. I mean, it’s just so obvious that everybody everywhere deserves freedom, justice and dignity.
The only problem is that, at the same time, they also deserve all of the fine Czech products that our country produces and exports around the world. Imagine someone living in as country without the right to freedom of speech or to fair elections. Now, try to imagine that same person also without the chance to buy our nation’s outstanding beer, glass, cars, industrial machinery and wooden toys.
It’s a pretty sad thought, right? That’s why it’s so important that we always watch our language whenever we’re talking about the countries to which we export our goods. To help prevent offending our export partners, I’ve prepared the attached list of words and phrases that we should all try to avoid when referring to them publicly. Among the most important are the following:
1. Genocide. Ugh. That’s such an ugly word. And so subject to interpretation, really. I mean, sure, no one wants to see an entire racial, ethnic, national or religious group deliberately and systematically extinguished. Right? Who in their right mind would think that was a good thing?
It’s just that those words “deliberate” and “systematic” are, well, sort of relative. You know, things happen. People get killed. Sometimes a lot of people. Then, a few months or a few years go by and you suddenly notice that there’s several hundred thousand fewer people in your country than there used to be, and all of them just happened to be Kurds. Coincidence? Who knows? So, let’s not jump to conclusions.
By the way, if you’re currently representing our country in a nation with an unusually high death rate, did you know that the Czech Republic is one of the world’s leading exporters of high-quality granite and marble tombstones?
2. Police state. Law and order are fundamental to any society. Why, in a way, you could even call them a human right. When it comes to discipline, I think most of us can remember getting a spank on the behind or being sent to our room when we misbehaved as children. Who’s to say then, really, that a gentle rap on the skull or a few years in solitary confinement might not be just what some dissident Russian or Chinese artist needs in order to gain a calmer perspective?
So, let’s always refer to “safe societies” instead, especially when talking about those whose security services frequently purchase our country’s top-of-the-line hardened telescopic truncheons – which are available in black, chrome and gold, and are fitted with a first-rate rubber handle with a non-skid pattern.
3. Torture. Ow! I don’t even like to think about that word, let alone see it in the press with regard to some of our nation’s best customers. And once again, it’s such a loaded term. After all, one man’s “torture” is another man’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
For example, the mere idea of having to eat only rice day after day would seem like “torture” to me. But, I understand there are actually billions of people for whom that diet is completely normal. So, if you take that same example and just replace “eating rice” with “having your fingernails pulled out,” you can easily see how our limited viewpoint might cause us to unfairly judge another country’s cultural norms.
4. Censorship. Just don’t use that word at all when talking about our export partners. If you do, you’re fired.
Finally, I know that some of you may be concerned about the extent to which our country is willing to sacrifice our commercial interests in order to stand up against “tyranny” and “oppression” (two more words, by the way, which are also covered in the attached).
The fact is that, when it comes to our perceptions of so-called “injustice” and “inhumanity” (also see attached), it’s important to remember the words of a famous man who once warned about the foolishness of taking sides in a conflict “because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.”
Wise advice indeed!