Approximately 110km north of Toronto lies a small town of Edenvale and just a little further, you come to the Edenvale Aerodrome, an airport built by a Czeh refugee, Milan Kroupa. The aerodrome rests in the middle of a fruitful plane, even though possibly not as fruitful as the “fertile Haná”, so worshipfully described by a Czech poet whose name my aged brain refuses to surrender. During the second world war, this place was used by the Canadian air force to train its pilots. After the war, the place kept deteriorating until it was purchased, in 2003, by Milan Kroupa, who hails from a little village not far from a town of Nové Strašecí. Kroupa came to Canada as a political refugee in the middle of the sixties. And because he was an entrepreneurial wizard, he built up in this place (as well as putting together the largest janitorial company in Canada) a modern airport. It is this airport where on August 23rd, 2009 we shall reminiscence about the night of August 21, 1968, when frightened rulers in Moscow tried to stop the march of history and sent their army, with the armies of their vassals, to another brotherly vassal state, Czechoslovakia, to eradicate the potentially infectious decease called “socialisms with a human face”. Continue reading →
Our October calendar lists all activities for Czechs and Slovaks around the world. One of them is a concert of a Czech band called Plastic People of the Universe (PPU). We have to admit, at the time we were preparing our calendar of events, we did not know the band or its contribution to the freedom of all Czech and Slovak citizens.
A couple of days ago we decided to find articles about the band and to watch their video clips. What we found was great music and a remarkable life story of their pride and resistance to the Czechoslovakian Communist party.
The band was formed by bassist Milan Hlavsa right after the Soviet invasion on August 21st, 1968 in attempts to stop the Prague Spring, a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia. The name was taken from Frank Zappa’s song entitled Plastic People. The same year Russians initiated a “normalization” program to reestablish moral and social behavior to make it more appropriate for a Communist country.