On this side of the globe, the biggest controversy in scouting is whether or not a Girl Scout is biologically female. The Girl Scouts in the Czech Republic, however, have much bigger fish to fry. This past May Day, much ado was made about one Czech Scout, Lucie Myslikova, who dared to confront a Neo-Nazi demonstrator while wearing her scouting uniform. Google the event and you’ll get a slew of headlines about the teenager who “Stood Up to the Far-Right” and the photo of the “girl standing up to a skinhead” that went viral.
Get past the headlines, however, and you’ll find the story is a lot more complex than English-speaking media would lead you to believe.
Much of the coverage follows the line of the AP’s follow-up interview with Myslikova. The girl is passionate about politics and believes teenagers should have a voice in the public sphere. This wasn’t her first political rally; it was simply the first time she wore her Scout uniform to a demonstration. Her comments emphasized non-violence and non-judgement of the opposition. Of course, the World Organization of the Scout Movement jumped on the free publicity bandwagon, echoing the call for “diversity, peace and understanding.”
What, exactly, was she discussing with the skinhead? “The nation,” “borders,” and “migration.” The details of the discussion were quickly brushed aside by Western media anxious to highlight the image of a young woman confronting an adult male—something Fortune was so impressed with that they spun it into a montage of photographs of women staring down men at political rallies across Europe.
According to CNN’s coverage, Myslikova “made some profound comments.” If you want to know what she actually said, you’d have to translate an article that appeared in the French language publication the Paris Match. There, buried in the last paragraph, is a quote from the exchange between the Scout and the Neo-Nazi regarding immigration. When the Neo-Nazi asserted the teen would be “violated by those she defends,” Myslikova replied, “Even if something happened to me, the physical wounds always end up healing.”