Page:The voice of an oppressed people.pdf/30

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spirits. I do not believe it, and I take the instance of my own country; the whole world knows and esteems John Huss; the whole world has learnt from the educationalist Comenius; the religious community of the United Brethren is a marvel of history, as historians say; the founder of this church, Peter Chelcicky, the great predecessor of Tolstoi, is more and more appreciated; our nation was the first to break the spiritual centralisation of the middle ages, and to dare the Reformation. Žižka, the leader of the Hussites, is the founder of modern strategy.

The bravery and the heroism of small nations has been mentioned; Hussite Bohemia faced the whole of Central Europe; historians report that the Germans fled on hearing the Hussite battlesong. (Would that the Allies could compose a similar song!) But whatever shortcomings or even faults small nations may have, they love their country and their people, and this love prompts them to energetic action in the field of politics and culture.

I speak of culture. That is a difficult and intricate sociological factor. I will only express my point of view. Culture is not the product of any one nation, big or small; there are various types and different degrees of culture. I am no blind follower of Rousseau or mere admirer of the primitive stages of culture, but it is a very great disability not to accept the various forms and degrees of culture as represented by the many nations and parts of nations, and not to understand that each nation must work out its culture alone and independently, and not simply take that of another nation, even if it be called a higher culture. Passive acceptance of this kind may be convenient, but it is dangerous and detrimental.

Culture cannot be knocked and drubbed into nations. If the Germans speak of their being supporters of civilisation—"Kulturtrager"—it is only a pretext. A Polish politician is absolutely right in denouncing forced denationalisation as one of the great social evils.