There’s been a bit of controversy swirling through Moravian music circles these last weeks. The two main characters in the drama are Jaroslav Hutka and Jaromir Nohavica, with Karel Kryl in the running for best supporting actor. All three are highly respected singer songwriters known for songs of protest against the former communist regime.
A few months before the revolution in 1989, Nohavica travelled to
Some commentators accuse Hutka of not being qualified to criticize because he emigrated to
Nohavica spoke about the interrogation back in 1993 and declined to respond to the new criticisms, until last week when he republished the song Bud’ vítán (you’ll be welcome), that was written shortly after his trip to Vienna. The song offers Kryl the keys to his house so that he’ll have somewhere to live when he returns, which hopefully will be soon. The article republishing Bud’ vítán goes on to talk about the interrogations and includes copies of the reports that Nohavica says were written after he’d left and without his signature.
Reacting to a recent newspaper article Nohavica says “I don’t consider forced meetings with state security under the threat of violence to my family and the interrogation of my ill mother, cooperation. In my entire life and work my first priority has been to help people, never to hurt them. I feel I can look anybody in the eye with that”
Music critic Petr Dorůžka says “It is very difficult to transfer information between that era and this era. People who are living now cannot possibly feel, understand, or believe what was really going on at the time…Nohavica has the talent to put incomprehensible things into words – I hope it will push him to write something which will help contemporary audiences understand the way things worked in the past”.
So who is right and who is wrong? There seems to be no black and white or right and wrong. Everything is shades of grey, everyone a little bit guilty, a little bit innocent, a little bit cowardly and a little bit heroic. Perhaps this was the real greyness of life under the old communist regime?
The only thing that's certain is that Karel Kryl deserves the last word...