Truth and Love – Central European Forum, Bratislava 2012

Central European Forum gathered from 15 to 18 November 2012 for the fourth time writers, social scientists and civil society activists from Europe and worldwide at the Astorka/Korzo Theatre in Bratislava. This  forum was organised by the Bratislava non-profit Projekt Forum together with the Prague-based Václav Havel Library – with ERSTE Foundation as a main partner – as one of the events marking the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Eight panel discussions, two exhibitions, film screenings and a concert were held in the course of the conference.

The publication “Truth and Love” presents 37 illustrious guests who reflected on this year’s main theme Truth and Love and on the issues of lies in the form of corrupt structures thriving in the countries of Central Europe. The panelists also dealt with old and new forms of hatred, racism, xenophobia and collective egotism. The speakers included: Jáchim Topol (CZ), Andrzej Stasiuk (PL), Oksana Zabuzho (UA), Vladimir Arsenijević (SRB), Drago Jančar (SLO), György Konrád (HU), Radka Denemarková (CZ), Zygmunt Bauman (PL), Anna Jermolaewa (RUS), Robert Menasse (AT), Adam Michnik (PL), Ivan M. Havel (CZ) and others.

The first panel “Lies” discussed in which ways lies manifest themselves in the respective countries of the speakers, as well as some universal mechanisms of lying and their impact on democracy. The second session “Hatred” opened discussion on the homonymous topic, while the third panel “Stupidity” focused on issues ranging from stupidity, the advantages and disadvantages of computer, Internet anonymity and the future of journalism. The fourth session “Change” dealt with the causes and effects of the worldwide street protests of the past two years. The fifth discussion “Experts” explored the power of experts today, the sixth one “Fear” focused on freedom and democracy, while the next one “Love” tried to answer the question – Do old people deserve our love and respect. The eight, last panel “Protest” dealt with a relationship between power and free artistic expression.