As nationalistic laws go, the one just passed in Slovakia seems rather tame on the surface. Earlier this month, the Slovak parliament approved a “patriotic act” mandating that every school play the Slovak national anthem on Mondays and that each classroom display a set of state symbols: the flag, the coat of arms, the lyrics to the anthem and the constitution’s preamble. However innocuous this all may appear to be, though, Slovaks are outraged that the government is forcing them, by law, to be more patriotic.
The legislation was sponsored by the Slovak National Party, an ultra-nationalist outfit whose controversial leader, Jan Slota, is known for his xenophobic slurs, which are often aimed at the country’s ethnic Hungarians. But Slota maintains that he doesn’t just want to instill more patriotism among the Hungarian minority – he wants Slovaks to have more pride in their country, too.