The case of the conviction (although not yet final) of former MP Dominik Feri for rape is unprecedented in Czech post-war politics. It is something that has broken another boundary. Unfortunately, in the worst way we could imagine. It shows not only the failure of Feri himself, but also the naivety with which his former party TOP 09 and also mostly young voters approached him.
“Elected figures are in our ranking not because of the strength of their office, but because of the way they shape their countries and the European Union and how they will ‘shape the European debate’.” Thus, at the end of 2018, the Politico server, which is widely quoted in the world, justified its decision to include the then TOP 09 MP Dominik Feri in its list of 28 personalities from 28 countries, who are said to be worth watching carefully in the coming years. But when you look at this ranking year by year, you realize how tricky it is to take into account something as dubious as Politico’s production in this case. Politics is a long shot, and projecting someone’s success ahead just because he is young and has a million followers on Instagram, as was the case with Feri, is at least imprudent. After all, his political career is over. Now he has been convicted, so far without jurisdiction, of two rapes and one attempted rape. The Feri case therefore not only points to the often naive approach of voters to the choice of politicians, but also to the trends that control the current public discussion and the formation of opinions and attitudes. These are often not based on any deeper knowledge and experience, but on how someone presents himself in public, especially on social networks. But as an old Chinese proverb says – “to speak well is not to be good”.
It is not the first time and it is not the last time that a Czech politician has been accused of a criminal offense and convicted. But it is unprecedented in the times of Czech independence, what Dominik Feri was tried for, because it refers to the time when he was active as a politician. However, his actions are not related to the fact that it would significantly influence the operation of Czech politics itself. It is mainly related to the fact that an immature person got into the exposed position, a person whose fame has obviously gone to his head, and above all a proud person. Pride also means haughtiness, conceitedness or impudence. Feri presented himself with all this during the trial. Christianity, from whose roots our civilization grew, names pride as the first of the seven deadly sins. According to the old interpretations, the main sin is the source of other sins. And the demon associated with pride is Lucifer. Although ex-Envoy Feri is not Lucifer, we would add a lot of importance to him, but his lack of humility seems inherent to him.
My colleague, commentator Bohumil Pečinka, who is one of the greatest experts on Czech politics and its background, paraphrased the Feri case as follows: “It’s a case of a rock and roll musician who shot up too quickly. It didn’t have much to do with politics.’
And that is one of the reasons why voters should not be fooled by a superficial view of those we elect to important positions. For example, Stanislav Gross became Czech Prime Minister in August 2004. A person completely unfit to hold the post of prime minister. He also shot all the way up and then staggered from one cause to another until he had to resign. President Petr Pavel was then elected mainly because the majority of voters had had enough of Miloš Zeman’s unacceptable practices and decided to go “outside politics”. Understandable, but somewhat naive. It shows today. Pavel seems dignified, but in some of his actions it can be seen that he sometimes struggles with politics rather than interacting with it. The hopes and aspirations of millions of people have been put into it regardless of what is required of such a function. The same thing happened in the case of Dominik Feri.
Feri was also associated with a ferocious effort to influence things with a young, fresh breeze, of which he himself made a storm on social networks. He fell narcissistically in love with this idea. He felt important, and he applied this in a completely inappropriate way in his private life. Which eventually, like his political career, collapsed.
The court will definitively decide on Dominik Feri’s guilt or innocence. But another Chinese proverb applies to his fate: “If you know where to stop and stop there, you will never be dishonored”.
He didn’t stop…