Yesterday my home country, the Czech republic, celebrated one very important and wonderful anniversary. TWENTY YEARS OF FREEDOM! Exactly 20 years ago, famous ,,Velvet revolution started and it finally brought us freedom and democracy.
And I want to tell you more.
It was a result of the historical evolution, result of the World war II, but also Czech blame too. The communist party took power in my country in 1948.
This was the beginning of totality, which lasted for 40 years.
I can not describe all the terrible things which happened during the communist rule.
Just to make YOU, people, who never lived in any undemocratic country, understand:
after 1948, all the political parties were in fact dissolved or they became the part of the only offical party the Communist one. So no democracy. No free elections.
all the media, TV, radio, press were under Communist control and were regulated with censorhip. Police was arresting people, who politely pronounced their opinions even during friendly chat. Of course there was no freedom of speach. Even one unaware word, one picture could send you to prison. Many books were forbidden and only ownership of some books, magazines of listening to some radio stations could cause you serious problems.
The official media were full of lying propaganda. The free will of people was stolen, their souls were being deformed more and more every day.
the Communist regime had also some opponents, of course. Those people, often elity of the country, were arrested, cruelly tortured and hundreds of them were sentenced to death and strangled, dying in pain. Those people did not commit anything bad. The accusations were often completely fabricated by the Communists! But the totalitarian regime simply needed to mobilize the masses with those political trials.. For example Milada Horakova, lady, who risked her life to restore democracy, was arrested, sentenced to death and she was finally dying for 15 minutes - the Communists then burned her bohy and they use ash, the only remains of her, to springle the road in winter. Such disrespect to human life!
And there were not only exetuced people.
Thousands, hundreds thousands of people suffered in jails, or were sentenced to work in Uranious mines without any protection. Which means many other lost lives...
In this era, the Czechs and Slovaks destroyed their own elite.
People, who would be honoured and appreciated as heroes in other countries and in other time, were announced as the worst enemies and as the most awful trash. For example pilots, who fought in Great Britain during the World war II, risking their lives for the freedom of the whole Europe, were arrested as soon as they came back to their home country. They were sentenced to spend many years in the jail and many of them suffered to death, being tortured.
The authors and other artist could not create their art. The musiciants who were not loyal to the regime, could not sing and play their instruments.
This era produced only unhappy broken people.
the communists stole all the property of the people. For decades, people cared for their family property - buildings, farms, fields, animals (cows, horses...). But communists stole it all! Moreover, they arrested the original owners, sometime even executed them. Their families were forced to move out from their own homes and they were sentenced to spend rest of their lives in poverty, being bullying as the enemies of the regime.
And the buildings and animals? Horses were usually killed, because they were marked as borgeois animals. Building and stolen farms are ruins now, because new owners, people installed by the Communists, were not able to care properly.
the Communist system was almost perfect. If you fought against the regime, it was not only you, who had to deal with the results. It was also your family, your friends... Were you active, fighting against the Communists? Ok. You were arrested. But! Your innocent wife was fired from the job. Your kids were fired from the school. Lives of all your family members were ruined and moreover, friends usually left you alone, being afraid of meeting you.
due to terrible system of centrally planned economy, the country was poor and there was lack of all the things. No fruit, no meat, no good technique, no sanitary things (toilet paper, sanitary towels). All the clothes were almost the same. There was no space and chance to show your individuality. There was terrible medical care. The natural environment was destroyed.
I think that you probably ask: if it was really that bad... why people did not leave? Why did not they move to other country?
Well, because ot was impossible!
You might have heard about the ,,Iron courtain. It was a system of eletric fences, mine fields, control stations, areas with agressive dogs, which divided our country from democratic states! I am not joking. All the state boundary was guarded 24 hours a day, even in deep forests or so! People from vilages, which were too close to the national boundary, were forced to move.
The Communists claimed our country to be a paradise, while people in ,,so called western democratic states were described as suffering, longing to have our system.
So many lies!
Of course some people tried to escape from our ,,communist paradise.
There were many desperate attempts, as people were able to try everything to escape. They even used home-made balloons, home-made plans, one man managed to escape in home-made tank!
But much more people failed to make their dream true and they never reached any democratic country. They died, killed by boundary guards, by agressive dogs, by the electricity in the fences, they were seriously injured in mine fields. And if they survived, they were arrested, again marked as the enemies of the regime. And their family members had problems again.
you have to beware of the secret police all the time, as they were everywhere, checking and controling the activity of the people, always ready to report them. Secret police was awful instrument of terror. The police did not protect you, they were ready to ruin your life.
did you want to study University? To have a good job? To have holiday? Then you had to join the Communist party. End joing the party ment official agreement to all those terrible things I spoke about. Many people joined the party and now, in current time, they still have to face this decision. And those who refused simply lost the chance to apply their talent, their children could not study and so....
Moreover, you needed agreement of the Communists to do almost everything for undergo interruption, to have holiday... simply everything.
The whole society was controled by the communists in every aspects. This system gave a chance to many untalented people without any intelligence they were ambitious and they took this chance and they gained important possitions in the administration due to joining the party. Of course that those people used their influece to destroy lives of other people.
Those times are gone now.
Thanks god, they are gone.
The fall of the communist regime was a process, but the final step is now celebrated as ,,Velvet revolution.
Because there finally was not any killed or seriously injured person. The Czechs and Slovaks managed to turned the regime in their country to democracy without blood, which is quite unique.
It all started in 17th November 1989, on International student day (by the way, this day, which is celebrated all over the world, has also origin in my country! It commemorates the death of Czech student Jan Opletal during the Nazi occupation in 1939). The university students went to streets of Prague to commemorate Jan Opletal. But suddently, they spontaneously started protesting against the regime. The actors and artists joined them soon.
The police units were ready to take action... and finally they started. They massacred the unarmed students. Girls or boys, young people were beaten, kicked, injured, arrested...
560 students were injured that evening!
The whole nation watched this massacre in horror.
Then some rumor occured that one of the students died during the massacre. This was finally proved to be lie, but...
Still it was the last drop into the cup of patience. The communists could lie us, they could arrest us, but now they started killing ,,our children!
In next days, there were demonstrations in the streets of our capital, Prague. In next days, also other cities joined with protests.
More than million of people finally gathered in Letna square to listen to the leaders of the revolution! It was SUCH atmosphere in those days people were singing, tinkled the keys, waving Czech national flags, sharing love and hope in better future, in freedom and democracy. There was a national strike of students, artists and workers.
The leaders of the revolution promoted a motto ,,lets not be like them (which means ,,no violence, lets be better than the Communists ), so the athmosphere was peaceful, full of joy and optimism....
I am not going to describe all what happened in those days. It is too complicated.
I just have tears in my eyes everytime I see those old news and 20 years old shots and TV reports thousands of people chearing, singing our national anthem, chanting... and celebrating every single decision which lead, one by one, to the end of Communist rule.
We made it.
We are now absolutely free and democratic country.
Yes, of course we still have some problems. Corruption, lack of moral, we have to face the reality, our new duties. Many people are disappointed, as they were used to other system.
But mostly we are happy. And if not? Well, unlike the past, NOW you have chance to leave the country freely.
Because we are free.
We can say, what we think.
We can watch, listen and read what we want.
We can travel abroad everywhere.
We can decide about our own lives without degrading controls.
We can buy what we want.
We can share similar new artictles with our friends from foreign countries.
Today, Czech freedom is 20 years old.
And I am celebrating it.
Thank you for your attention and understanding.
Please, help me to spread this article - fav it or feature it in your journal, please, to allow more people to see it... Thank you once more!