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Facebook blocked the cover of Czech magazine Reflex - Its editor-in-chief explains the affair around it

Reflex editor-in-chief Mark Stoniš talks about the criticism of the latest print edition, racism and the Facebook ideology, which blocked his account.

The cover of the last issue of Reflex provoked a double reaction. Conservatives applaud, and part of the cultural left is suing the publisher for Reflex and demanding censorship. Then there is the third group, which does not know what the cover is about. How does the last cover of Reflex relate to today's events?

I'm not able to judge exactly how big the third group actually is. I think rather small. The cover is completely transparent. I am simply opposed to the worldwide anti-racism rampage that ignited the death of the "gentle giant Floyd," a man who, in addition to another colorful criminal past, spent five years in prison after assaulting a woman in advanced pregnancy with a gun in his hand. I am bothered by the general hypocrisy and pretense of fighting racism. We both know it's not working. It is a struggle with capitalism, traditional orders (let's abolish the police, violence will end!) And the classic right, through the old-new theme. In your words and very simply - the cultural left is crying over a gentle giant, I tend to show solidarity with the victims of his crimes.

Does the cover mean a warning that extremism does not have to be linked only to European fascism and Arab Islamism? That it can take more forms?

I really don't want to interpret the cover, and explain to people what it means and what it doesn't. This is similar to explaining jokes. If you see in it a warning against extremism other than European-type fascism or Arab Islamism, so be it.

In the same issue of Reflex, three texts were published discussing the wave of demonstrations in the United States, the felling of statues and the causes of the Minneapolis police riots. Why do you think critics attack the collage on the cover and do not argue with the ideas in the articles?

Because they don't read Reflex and they never will. They saw the cover on social networks, the Internet, or in the newsagent's, they were necessarily offended, they wrote that I was a pig, a carter and a racist, that Reflex was the absolute bottom and that I was making a poor victim of police violence with black Hitler or something, and that's it. I apologize for the honorable exceptions, but I did not notice much criticism of the discussion about the cover.

What do you think is the systemic racism that is often talked about?

A person who is not allowed by law to board a single vehicle with white passengers because he is black. A white South African farmer, his wife and children are killed with impunity by black gangs just because they are hardworking, white and own a farm. Participants in an "anti-racist" demonstration in Paris chanting slogans about "dirty Jews". Or endless anti-Israel UN resolutions. It would be racism if Floyd's "gentle giant" was suffocated by a police officer simply because he was black, and if the US judiciary tried to systematically sweep this type of racial murder under the rug. But that did not happen.

In America and Europe, we are witnessing a kind of cultural war. But aren't we playing proxy battles in the Czech Republic, which have more roots in the USA?

I read a modern "expert" on history from the Faculty of Arts in Prague, who claimed that Czech glass was once bought by European slavers, exported to the colonies and paid for there. And therefore that we Czechs are also complicit in slavery. The "expert" probably needs better medication, otherwise I can't explain it. Involving the Czechs in the slave trade is nonsense, as if the two of us were flogging each other for the extinction of mammoths.

Your Facebook account was blocked after you posted the Reflex cover on it. Aren't big corporations like Google, Facebook or Twitter becoming what communist censorship used to be?

Communist censorship was a thousand times worse in my view, because the Communists bound it with far harsher punishments than the modern large corporations you mentioned. At the time, it was really about personal freedom and existential threats. That I can't post on Facebook or comment on others for one day or a month or even never? So what? Did Zuckerberg withdraw the current issue of Reflex from the newsagents?

How do you want to defend yourself against "banning"? Dozens of people were canceled without defense.

I'm not going to complain officially or feel like an Internet martyr. The wave of solidarity that I noticed on Facebook pleased me, but not so much happened. And I'm used to criticism, sometimes disgusting, I couldn't do the work I do. After all, by the time this interview comes out, I'll probably be out of the Facebook curse. However, I acknowledge that we are at a great advantage against the dozens of people who are regularly bullied by the Facebook ideology: We have a free Reflex and we can defend ourselves through it. We are still free. I appreciate it.

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