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Tomáš Šponar (1968) - Audio/video gallery

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We stared at her as if she had come back from Mars

“You know what the propaganda said about the West and the United States. There was a large company in Ústí nad Orlicí, it was a stated-owned company at that time, and it produced textile machinery. Those machines were not produced in any other place in the world and therefore people from the West were purchasing them as well, and the technicians who were setting up these machines were traveling there and living there. When I was in the fifth grade, a classmate returned to our class who had been living with her parents in the United States for a year or two. The teacher introduced her to us and we stared at her as if she had come back from Mars, because we had that image of America as imperialism and poverty. The teacher invited her mom and for two hours, or maybe even longer, she was talking to us about what it was like in America, how children played there, where they went shopping, what good things they had there to eat. She spoke enthusiastically and nicely about everyday life and thanks to her we were able to see that it was good in America and that it was not as bad as we were told in television and newspapers. The teacher did not feel that she ought to balance it in any way, and she invited her and let her talk freely about how things were good in America. The teacher in her and the honest person in her have prevailed.”



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