Today in Mailbox: Response to Radio Prague’s reports on the crash of the Malaysian airliner in Ukraine and the IMF’s criticism of Czech economic policies; answers to last month’s listeners’ quiz; new mystery man for August. Listeners/readers quoted: Vladimir Gudzenko, Andrew H. Dral, Paddy Phillips, Valery Lugovskiy, Hans Verner Lollike, Jahangir Alam Manto, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Colin Law.

Crash site of the Malaysian airplane in Eastern Ukraine, photo: CTKCrash site of the Malaysian airplane in Eastern Ukraine, photo: CTK Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s monthly programme for your views, questions and comments.

Vladimir Gudzenko from Russia responds to a news story from July 22nd, quoting a statement by the Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek on the crash of the Malaysian airplane in Eastern Ukraine.

“It’s very pleasant that Radio Prague and many other public media of the free world do not take part in the Putin campaign of lies and disinformation. I believe that the spreading of true stories about the latest events in this part of the world should promote the changes in post-communist Russia, too. I believe the people of Russia like to see their country as a European free and democratic nation, and not as a heritage of its Soviet communist past.”

Andrew H. Dral from the United States comments on a business story from July 4, titled ‘IMF endorses Czech economic policies but sees some room for improvements.’ He says he disagrees with the IMF's critique.

“Its policies promote increasing the wealth of the 1% and decreasing the wealth of the 99%, causing widening wealth disparity among the population. The IMF complains about a reduced value added tax (VAT) for books, drugs, and children's items. Items that all citizens would buy across the board of the population... Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has got it right, his tax policies will help the 99%, the poorer working class, particularly in regards to drug prices. The more money the working-class have to spend, the better domestic consumption and the better-off the overall economy. His policy will create demand, moving the economy forward […] The IMF should not dictate Czech economic policy, it believes in neo-liberal policies, the Czech people know better than the IMF.”

Thank you as always for your feedback and now let’s take a look at your answers to our last month’s listeners’ competition.

Karel Pařík, photo: Czech TelevisionKarel Pařík, photo: Czech Television Paddy Phillips from the United Kingdom wrote:

“The Czech architect born in 1857 who died in 1942 in Sarajevo was Karel Pařík. There was a great report about him on Český rozhlas a few years ago, in the history programme ‘Zrcadlo’ (Český rozhlas Leonardo - Zrcadlo 28.12.2012). The episode is still available to listen to in the Český rozhlas archive:”

Valery Lugovskiy writes from Belarus:

“Karel Pařík gave to Bosnia and Sarajevo so much spiritual burning that the heart is bleeding when you read about the tragic destruction (during the recent Balkan War) of the buildings of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina, buildings erected according to the design of a talented architect.”

Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark sent us a personal story:

“Here is a real radio story: In 1988 at a tour arranged by ‘Voice of Turkey’ I met among others a young lady from Sarajevo. We continued contact on a Christmas-card basis – and then came then cruel civil war in Yugoslavia and Sarajevo was for a very long time isolated and under fire. Through an Italian Catholic organization it was possible to send letters and small money that was smuggled into Sarajevo. Many were killed, but the family with whom we had contact survived, and we were invited to Sarajevo. So in 1996 together with my wife and two teenage girls we went to Sarajevo – we saw all the damage and heard the terrible stories. We were very impressed by the historic buildings we saw, among them the former evangelical church, now Academy of Art, and the Synagogue. Little did we know that they were built by a Czech architect, Karel Pařík. “

Jahangir Alam Manto from Bangladesh writes:

“Karel Pařík was born on 4th July 1857 in Veliš near the town of Jičín. As an architect, he designed more than 150 projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The most remarkable include the Catholic cathedral in Sarajevo, the National Museum, the National and University Library and hotel Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Sarajevo National Theatre, photo: Bizutage, CC BY-SA 3.0Sarajevo National Theatre, photo: Bizutage, CC BY-SA 3.0 Jayanta Chakrabarty from India writes:

“Like in most human endeavours, Czech intellectuals have left their indelible imprint in the field of architecture as well. The most famous amongst them being Karel Pařík. Born in Jičín, some 85 km northeast of Prague in the scenic region of the Bohemian Paradise (which may have influenced his later professional life), he moved to Sarajevo at the prime age of 26 after the Austro-Hungarian ascension of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Among the 150 important buildings he designed, some of them presently house prominent landmarks like the National Museum of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sarajevo National Theatre, Sharia School, Sarajevo Synagogue, as well as numerous government and academic establishments.

“Pařík had an ingrained belief in the preservation of historical architecture as an edifice of a nation's cultural heritage. His idea has now become especially important under the conditions of globalization, changing geopolitical circumstances and the deep economic and spiritual crises in the world community. He had thus rightly proposed the extension of Sarajevo in new areas away from the old town. The citizens of Bosnia & Herzegovina and especially Sarajevo will remain ever indebted to this immortal Czech soul for his invaluable contribution towards urbanization of their land.”

Vladimir Gudzenko from Russia wrote:

“That architect was Karel Pařík, a man born in the Czech village of Veliš near Jičín, as the youngest of six brothers, studied in Vienna, and then, at the age of 27 moved to the present Bosnian metropolis of Sarajevo, then all in one state – the Austro-Hungarian Empire. For the rest of his life Karel Pařík lived in Bosnia, where he was author of more than 110 architectural projects.

“You perhaps remember the Czech TV series ‘Šumné stopy’ or ‘Loud steps’, the hero of one of the films was the architect Karel Pařík.

Dome and towers on the Academy of Arts in Sarajevo, photo: Public DomainDome and towers on the Academy of Arts in Sarajevo, photo: Public Domain And Mr Gudzenko adds:

“I gladly take part in your monthly contest, dedicated to one of the world famous Czechs. Radio Prague is making the Czech Republic closer to me, now by the internet, as earlier on shortwave.”

And finally Colin Law from New Zealand sent yet another one of his thoroughly researched answers:

“Pařík studied at the Central School of Civil Engineering in Vienna and in 1878 he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts, which was an architectural school under Danish architect Theophil von Hansen. At the end of his studies in 1882 he was noted as being a good and diligent student.

“In spring 1884 Pařík went to Sarajevo in Bosnia, an area which had recently been occupied by Austria-Hungary during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. There he worked on the construction of the Catholic Cathedral with his architectural classmate Josip Vancaš, a Croatian.

“In 1890 and 1891 Pařík taught at the Technical School in Sarajevo in addition to his work for the government and in 1892 he became an engineer first class, rising to a senior engineer in 1895. The Emperor Franz Joseph I recognised his work with the award of a knighthood in 1899.

“Karel Pařík travelled frequently for his work and regularly visited Veliš and Jičín, where his relations still lived. He died in Sarajevo on 6 April 1942 aged 85. His grave bears the epitaph ‘Here rests the builder of Sarajevo. Czech by birth, Sarajevan by choice. - A thankful Bosnia and Herzegovina.’”

Sarajevo Synagogue, photo: Małgorzata Płoszaj, CC BY-SA 2.5Sarajevo Synagogue, photo: Małgorzata Płoszaj, CC BY-SA 2.5 Thank you all very much for your answers and we apologize to Mr Law for the delay in the delivery of his June prize. We hope the replacement has now safely arrived. Today the lucky listener whose name we’ve drawn out of the hat is Paddy Phillips from England. Congratulations and we hope the international postal services will be more reliable this time around.

And of course, before I sign off, here’s a new question for the coming weeks:

We are looking for the name of the engineer and founder of the company manufacturing the legendary Czech Jawa motorcycles. He was born in 1878 in the village of Klášter nad Dědinou in East Bohemia and died in 1941 in Prague.

Your answers need to reach us by September 3 at, which is also the address for your questions, comments and reception reports. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter and leave your comments there. Until next time thanks for listening and take care.