I oppose calls for a snap election in Slovakia. Why?

The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, stepped down yesterday after many public protests took place following the murders of a Slovakian investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée. However, this move has not been seen good enough by many people and protests continue as people demand that the government dissolves and a snap election is called.

Fico’s ruling party SMER has a long and infamous history of dodgy links to oligarchs, and based on Kuciak’s last article also potentially to mafia. It’s safe to say they are possibly the most crooked party in the modern history of Slovakia. I despise SMER, I honestly do. I am ashamed they turned Slovakia into their private business and I completely disagree with their ideology.

But – the idea of the snap election scares me.

First of all, based on the latest polls, support for the LSNS – Nase Slovensko party is rising. LSNS is a neo-Nazi party, its members deny the Holocaust, they venerate the First Slovak State (i.e. the wartime Nazi state), and they advocate for the ethnic cleansing of Slovakia’s Roma minority. This is the main reason why I cannot support the snap election (as opposed to many angry people on my Facebook timeline). We, as the society, cannot let the history repeat itself.

At the moment, SMER still remains the strongest party in the Parliament as well as the government, and I see no other alternative. Out of the three parties I could potentially vote for based on their political orientation, i.e. centre-right, two are completely out of the question.

SAS is a liberal party I could support in theory, but it is led by the most Eurosceptic politician in the Slovakian politics (excluding LSNS). Moreover, Sulik, SAS’ leader, also held secret talks with LSNS in the past. In my view no decent human being should ever negotiate with Nazis, so I have no respect for him whatsoever. Another centre-right party, OLANO, is led by Igor Matovic, a guy who is as mentally stable as Donald Trump, which means another big no-no from me.

Lastly, there’s MOST that is in the current government coalition together with Fico’s SMER and SNS (right-wing nationalist party). Having betrayed the centre-right, their popularity declined significantly over the past two years, and they may not make it to the next parliament. I, however, do understand their reasons for 1) forming the coalition in the first place 2) not backing down and opposing the early election, as that is the only way to prevent complete chaos in the political scene. All I can hope for is that MOST is still electable in two years’ time when the next parliamentary election is planned, as otherwise I may have to find myself voting for SMER, an idea that truly grosses me out, but if that prevents Slovakia from being run by the Nazis, or from leaving the EU, I am willing to do it (although reluctantly).


Israel: Day 50

The temperature reached 37’C today, so I made a rational choice and stayed at home, which was probably a good thing, as situation in the flat today was rather chaotic. My airbnb host and her daughter left today to spend summer in Germany, but before they left, my host was doing all kinds of stuff, like packing her suitcase, getting the other bedrooms ready for guests who will come here during the summer, and she was also cleaning the flat and doing laundry. After I finished some thesis stuff which I then finally sent to my supervisors, around mid-day I left the sanctuary of my room to ask my host if I could help her with anything. So I helped her hang some laundry, wash some dishes, finish getting the other guest rooms ready as she was nowhere near finishing – not at all – she even put a new batch in the washing machine 15 minutes before she left.

Anyway, they left at 1pm, and now I am the only guest in the flat until Saturday when I am joined by some woman from Germany. It’s quite nice to have some peace and quiet, on the other hand, I feel that I may be in minority if there are any more roaches. I’ve sprayed the roach poison around the place just to be sure (my eyes are getting a bit itchy…) and I’m just praying that I won’t see any more roaches. Ever.

Israel: Day 25

10 nights to go in Tel Aviv! I was the only female in our dorm again last night, but the snoring got a bit better, although I still feel mildly sleep deprived.
Today I went to city Rishon LeZion for half a day.
I walked to the Tel Aviv central bus station, asked at the information desk where to go, got lost anyway but then fortunately found my gate and the right bus service. Even more, I got off at the right bus stop!
I was so pleased with myself that I bought myself some nice gelato as a reward, and almost immediately got some of it on my iPhone, which is still fairly sticky. I am simply one of a kind…
Rishon LeZion seems like a very nice modern city! I have seen some very nice looking apartment buildings. It was so hot there though! What I often do is that I don’t drink enough liquids during the day. Combine that with walking 7 km in super hot weather, and it’s a guaranteed catastrophe.

At one point I was convinced I was going to pass out and got really scared what would happen if I just passed out, so I decided to cut my trip short and went to the bus stop.
(First I grabbed a coke from the first shop I saw, the owner and everyone in the shop spoke Russian, I also heard Russian on the streets, and indeed, I found out that Rishon LeZion was founded by immigratns from the Russian Empire back in 19th century).
I got on the bus, and once I got to the Tel Aviv bus station, I grabbed more liquids, but when I got back to the hostel, I still felt very weak and on verge of throwing up and passing out, and it got as far as double vision. I think it’s safe to say that I got a sunstroke. I have learnt my lession, and next time I will drink plenty of liquid no matter what happens, and I will just not care about not being able to find a bathroom, in the end it may be better to have your bladder explode rather than pass out from the heat!
In conclusion, I love Israel, I love the people, but I don’t think I could ever live here, as the weather is clearly trying to kill me. This is why winter is my favourite season, I love snow, I love when it’s minus 20, and I think penguins are my spirit animals!

Israel: Day 21

I will start by saying that now I only have 14 nights left in Tel Aviv. Not sure how I will survive them though.
Last night I did not sleep well, which is an understatement. First, I was slightly (again, an understatement) annoyed by a fellow hostel roommate. He was telling another guy how he “should f*** some chicks”, which was a long, five minutes speech, and then after that he turned to me and said: “oh sorry, I didn’t see you”. It seems that I have a new skill to add to my cv then, invisibility! Then he made a call, and rather than taking it privately, he put it on the speakerphone, well because, why not. He also shared with us, although nobody asked, that he spends 1,000 shekels a day. He came back this morning, and started blasting music on the speakers at 8am. When he told me he was leaving today, I was so thrilled!
Anyway, the night was terrible, the door is squeaky, so every time someone opened it, it woke me up, and so did the light from the reception. The worst thing though was that everyone snored so loudly. I thought I would cry! The only positive is that I didn’t fall down from the top bunk. Today I got it sorted to have the bottom bunk for the rest of my stay, which I hope is going to make some difference.
This morning my first destination was a pharmacy, as I desperately needed to buy earplugs, as unfortunately, I forgot mine at home.
I walked past a few doggie parks/playgrounds on my way there, and it made me so happy! All the dogs were so happy, running around and chasing each other, they were having so much fun! Bella would love it! I could also see dogs at the beach, again Bella would love that (every year we go to Italy, where Bella can go to a special “Doggy beach”).
My first serious destination was the Lehi museum (also kudos to the Apple maps for sending me to a completely different location, the actual place was two streets away!! ).
It was a rather small museum, and I walked it in less than an hour, even though I was walking and reading very slowly. It was quite interesting, the museum itself is the same house where the Lehi leader, Abraham Stern, was killed by the British.
I wish the museum was a bit bigger, it’s such an interesting part of the history, so they could have elaborated on that. But otherwise it was really interesting. Fun fact, the only visitors were myself, two guys, and 120 soldiers.
After this, I went to the Hagana museum. Also, it didn’t take me more than an hour to walk around the entire museum, again very slowly, and it also included a 20 min movie. Again, I think it was very interesting, but there could have been so much more stuff included.
After this, I walked around a bit, and went to a park, where I connected to a free wi-fi and spoke to my family on FaceTime for over an hour, which was really nice, as it’s not something I can comfortably do at the hostel without disturbing other people.
Feeling homesick, I decided to grab dinner at place called “Little Prague”, ok, it’s not like home home, but Czech republic is fairly close, so it still counts.
I’m hoping I can sleep well at night, after last night, I am feeling completely exhausted. I hope the earplugs I’ve bought will help!

Israel: Day 19

I wasn’t extremely productive today, all I did today was pack for tomorrow, which didn’t take long, well, mainly because all I have here is one backpack and one 16 kg suitcase. Today I have been trying to enjoy the last moments of peace and quiet, as that’s something I won’t be able to enjoy from tomorrow afternoon until I am back in Jerusalem on June 22.

There was also one little nasty surprise for me around lunchtime when wi-fi stopped working. I panicked, of course, I didn’t know what to do with myself, first I studied Hebrew for half an hour, and then I tried working on my thesis – I’m rewriting my introduction, and realising how many times I have actually changed my thesis and moved from one completely different topic to another (my family is under the impression I am going to finish the thesis next academic year, how cute).

Luckily, my host got the wi-fi fixed after two hours, and I didn’t lose my sanity, as I’m pretty sure that’s what would have happened if I hadn’t had internet for the rest of the day. With the internet back on, I was able to find out that there’s Domino’s in Tel Aviv! That significantly improved my day!

And although I am excited to go to Tel Aviv tomorrow, I am really sad to leave my clean, big, private room and trade it for a shared hostel room. Au revoir, privacy, I will miss you.

Israel: Day 16

Ok, so I may be a little bit more critical today than usually.

I was thinking what activity I could do today, as the Jewish holiday of Shavuot starts tonight, so just like on Shabbat, buses stop running and stores, museums, etc. close around 2-3ish.

Inspired by the positive reviews on Trip Advisor (fake news!), I decided I would visit the Monastery of the Cross, which is not far away from my place, only like 35 minutes of walk.

So I got there, and I paid my 15 NIS entrance fee. The gentleman who was manning the entire place couldn’t speak English well but he told me that everything was written in both English and Russian, which technically wasn’t wrong but…

So this is apparently “everything”

If “everything” means one single sign, then yes, everything was in English and Russian. In my humble opinion, if you have people pay money to visit the place, and if you have a “museum” sign on the door, then I would expect maybe some notes, explanations, or a little map.

The “exhibition” consisted of cca 10 rooms max, most of them fairly empty. I was the only visitor at the time as well, so as I was walking into the small underground rooms by myself, well, I am not going to lie, I was scared as the whole atmosphere was a bit creepy. Some doors were open, and some were closed, so I figured the open ones were part of the exhibition. The closed doors, well, I wasn’t sure if I should try opening them. After I saw the other rooms, I was very quickly done, so I was just thinking is this it? (this is why you should have a museum map, so that people know where they can go or otherwise label the doors properly). In the end I tried opening one of them, it made a horrible noise, so I jumped in fear and let it go (I felt like I was part of the Hostel movie…). I don’t want to say that the place was completely awful, I think the monastery building was actually quite pretty and old, and there’s some interesting background, but it feels very empty. Apart from the nice building and some decorations, there’s not much to it.

I spent less than 15 minutes there, so that’s one shekel per minute…Money not well spent. Perhaps I just should have bought some chocolate instead.

Israel: Day 8

I cannot believe I’ve been in Israel for more than a week now!

I haven’t left the apartment at all today, just to avoid Trump and his entourage at all costs, and thus avoid any trouble he may cause by his mere presence. The city was on alert today, many roads were blocked and the Old City was sealed completely.

Since early morning I could hear noise on the nearby road (which was also blocked later on in the day), I could hear helicopters patrolling the sky since 10ish in the morning until later and I could hear police sirens too. It was getting increasingly annoying and it was rather distracting.

Although my original agenda for the day included work, work and work, I got really distracted by Trump’s visit and obsessively read all the updates as they were being published on Haaretz and on Jerusalem Post, I just couldn’t help it. I was waiting for him to do something stupid and awkward (like the little sword dance he did in Saudi Arabia), but there wasn’t much. Just a few silly comments (which everyone is perfectly used to now anyway) but nothing else. I was also kind of expecting him to trip and fall in the Old City on the slippery pathway (as I lost my balance a few times before) but he didn’t. To be honest, I am a little disappointed. Let’s see what he will do tomorrow then.