Prague is a dark silhouette in the background as I start writing this blog entry. We are already on the next train to the next destination. One day in Prague and it is done. It is Thursday, so it must be the Czech Republic.
Eva and Paulina and the Czech Greens tag team
The Czech Greens, Strana zelenych, leave an impression. We were met by the tag team of Eva Kubatova and Paulina Pacakova . They are an explosion of ideas, facts, backgrounds, perspectives and opinions. From the recent Czech success, to coal mines in the north and south, the success of recent coalitions, the pending expansion of nuclear power in the country, the fight against corruption, the energy-at-all-costs strategy of too many national parties, the dislocation of households in favour of big business, the environmental damages occurring across the country, the injury to national icons, the subliminal accusations made against the Greens to every household, every month, with each energy bill. These two can sit and talk in a stream of consciousness that winds its way across the landscape, from national parliament to the smallest household, each idea giving foothold to the next.
Eva and Paulina run from topic to topic, pausing only to translate words where they occasionally falter. They whisper back and forth, the word in Czech, the translation and then go back to the discussion, in the same place with no hesitation. They tag team each other, one introducing an idea, the other filling in sentences, then carrying on the thought when the other is done. It was just brilliant to watch.
They are a pair with oodles of passion, enthusiasm, excitement and a real commitment to what the Greens are trying to achieve.
We actually shot some footage of the two talking about the Greens in the country and their passions for the party in the coming year. Hopefully we will be able to get that edited soon and posted.
The Czech Greens are a smaller part of the European Green Party network, but that has not limited their inventiveness. In the corner of the meeting room, they had a mannequin with one of their recent t-shirts. A superhero style design of two hands ripping open his shirt to expose the Green logo underneath. It is no stretch to see this comes from Superman. And the incognito sense of self - that, just under the skin, you find a Green.
But they have a collection of super-cool t-shirts from a series designed by local young artists. Aliens, fibrous lungs, dry cleaning instructions all on display through t-shirts... And we were all invited to choose one each to take away with us! We did not have to be encouraged.. everybody was checking the range and narrowing down the choice to five, then four then three.... and then the pains of making the final selection. But we all walked away with some design.
Most definitely, we made a conscious decision to not bring extras back for the EGP office staff. These were to be our souvenirs.
The Greens maintained the superhero theme with postcards and stickers - a collection of easy-to-distribute items that were, that are, very iconic.
The office itself is a little out of the norm. The standard office design sits above a beautiful café that they run with a Green-sympathetic manager. It gives them a visible face in the city and a social venue for the party. ... It is not a "Green café" but a café that has Green values and is a business.
We met with the administration in the afternoon, after we had been taken on a short tour of the city - a chance to be tourists before returning to politics again.
But it was the afternoon when we managed to share more. There is an immediate eagerness to build Green relationships across Europe. The staff want to create liaisons with different pockets of expertise, share ideas, create dialogue and exchange. By the time we left, there was a clear sense that connectiions had been made, professional friendships established. We are goig to meet up with two of them in Athens and move ahead some basic ideas. But we are also connecting