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Today we celebrate 19 years since the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. Many times we have mentioned the name “Sametova revoluce – Velvet Revolution.” In Slovakia it is known as the Nezna revoluce – Soft revolution” and the name is probably a better explanation of this revolution, which was peaceful, thus, it was not necessary to use armed forces. Maybe you wonder how the citizens of the Czech Republic and Slovakia celebrated this day, the 17th of November. Many citizens celebrated this day with pleasure and enjoyment, but unfortunately, celebrations in both countries did not go without protests as well.
On the 17th November 1989 Czechoslovak police were called to suppress student demonstrations in Prague. Thousands of students decided to protest against the Czechoslovak government and to fight for freedom and democracy. Within a few days, this revolution had grown across the whole country. On the 28th of November, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced its defeat and in December Czechoslovak borders were open to other Western countries. On the 29th of December, Vaclav Havel became the first president of free Czechoslovakia.
And how did the Czechs and Slovaks commemorate this anniversary? Many of them laid a bouquet by the memorial board in Prague on the Narodni Street. Some Czechs, however, decided to use this important day to protest against the planned U.S. radar base. The newest opinion poll said that 76% of Czechs are against this project. Former President Vaclav Havel said that young Czechs object because they do not have reasons to protest against anything else and wondered why older generations joined them as well. Slovakia also experienced protests against the Slovak government and in a few cases police intervention had to be used.
Both countries are already free, but many of their citizens think that they are under sharp scrutiny by their governments. So was the revolution successful? We believe it was. Both countries have the opportunity to travel to other countries and even without visas (example – Visa Waiver Program for the United States). There are many more benefits of freedom gained in both of the countries and you can probably recall some of them. Any democracy, however, costs something, but its price usually outweighs its benefits. What do you think? Also, please, let us know how you celebrated this day of freedom.
Dnes slavime 19 let od padu komunismu v Ceskoslovensku. Mnohokrat jsme se o nem zminili pod jmenem Sametova revoluce. Ve slovenstine je znama jako Nezna revolucia a tento nazev je asi lepsim vysvetlenim, ze tato revoluce byla nenasilna, cili nebylo treba ozbrojeneho boje. Mozna hadate, ze obcane Ceske a Slovenske republiky tento den, 17. listopadu, velkolepe oslavili. Mnoho obcanu slavilo tento den s potesenim, ale bohuzel, obe zeme se take neobesly bez protestu.
17. listopadu 1989 ceskoslovenska policie byla vyzvana k potalceni demonstrace studentu v Praze. Tisice studentu tehdy protestovalo proti vlade a odhodlane bojovali za svobodu a demokracii. Behem nekolika dni se tato revoluce rozrostla do celeho ceskoslovenska. 28. listopadu jiz komunisticka strana ceskoslovenska ohlasila jeji porazku a v prosinci jiz byly otevreny hranice do ostatnich zapadnich zemi. 29. prosince se Vaclav Havel stal prvnim prezidentem svobodneho Ceskoslovenska.
A jak si Cesi a Slovaci pripomneli toto vyroci? Mnoho Cechu v Praze polozilo kytice k pametni desce na Narodni tride. Nekteri Cesi se ale rozhodli vyuzit tohoto vyznamneho dne k protestu proti planovane radarove zakladne. Nejnovejsi pruzkum verejneho mineni sdelil, ze 76% Cechu je proti teto vystavbe. Byvaly prezident Vaclav Havel ale sdelil, ze mladi Cesi protestuji, protoze nemaji duvod protestovat proti nicemu jinemu a divil se, ze starsi generace se pridaly. Na Slovensku se take roztrhly protesty proti slovenske vlade a v nekolika pripadech musela i zasahnout policie.
Obe zeme jsou jiz svobodne, ale mnoho jejich obcanu si mysli, ze jsou pod ostrou kontrolou vlady. Byla tedy tato revoluce uspesna? My si myslime, ze ano. Obe zeme maji prilezitost cestovat do ostatnich zemi a dokonce i bez viz (napriklad – bezvizovy styk s USA). Tech vyhod je ale mnohem vic a sami si je dokazete vybavit. Kazda demokracie neco stoji, ale jeji cena obvykle prevazi jeji prospech. Co si o tom myslite vy? Take nam reknete jak jste vy oslavili tento den svobody.
Ctete projev Mirka Topolanka ZDE.