The 17th of November

Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day. Den boje za svobodu a demokracii.

On this day, in 1989, there were peaceful demonstrations all over Prague, the biggest being held at Wenceclas Square. The demonstrations were led by college students, and the aim was to put an end to the communist regime. The demonstrations lasted for weeks and soon became known as the Velvet Revolution.

A little over a month after the demonstrations, a man named Vaclav Havel, a playwright and communist dissident became the President of Czechoslovakia. He died in 2011 but sill remains a beloved figure. The Prague airport is named after him and so are many other buildings around the city.  A quarter of the boys I teach are named Vaclav, though they usually go by Vasek or Vasku.  As a result of the Velvet Revolution, in June 1990, democratic elections were held in Czechoslovakia, the first since 1946. It definitely puts America’s democratic process in perspective!

In the afternoon, I took Alder to Wenceclas Square. There were lots of people out, showing national pride. Nearly everyone was wearing a ribbon on their coat in the colors of the Czech flag. The crowd started singing the national anthem and candles and flowers were placed on a plaque commemorating two famous student political martyrs: Jan Zajic and Jan Palach. The Czechs are kind of known for being stoic so it was interesting to see people expressing so much emotion. img_20161117_073524

 

 

 

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