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Music and Protest


Despite my previous prediction, some events commemorated the Velvet Revolution holiday today. In Prague, reports Lidové noviny, thousands of students staged a silent march as a reminder that the crimes of the communists make them "more like a criminal organization like the Gestapo than a democratic party."

An annual concert also marks the anniversary. The anti-communist event is titled "We Will Not Be Quiet." Among many bands and singers, reports LN, was Ivan Mládek with his Banjo Band. "I came because it is fitting. The Communists bothered me for 30 years, so now it’s my turn to let them know," he said.

The aftermath of the Velvet Revolution has not been totally clear, however. One extreme critic has claimed that the country remains Communist! Josef Mašín, who escaped to West Berlin in the early 1950s, said in Bratislava recently, "It was said that you have the Velvet Revolution and that you live here in democracy, but that’s not true. Just look at what is winning today in Bohemia. Where there are Communists, their strength and activity continues to spread. It’s getting worse. Why? Because the nation doesn’t know it’s history. Those fifty years, those crimes perpetrated by the Communists, were bigger than the crimes of the Nazis." (A bit of exaggeration, but he was trying to make a point.) Though the Czech Republic is now a member of the EU and NATO, there is still support for the Communist Party in many areas and among certain demographic groups (e.g., the elderly). The Czech Communist Party is the only "non-reformed" communist political party remaining in the former Eastern Bloc countries. All the others have at least changed their names. It is possible that the Czech Social Democrat Party (somewhat "right" leaning, I gather) may make an alliance with the Communist Party. Also recently, a bill was introduced in the Czech Parliament to legally ban totalitarian regimes. (Aside: How could this ever be enforced? And is not the fact that someone thought it necessary to introduce the bill somewhat scary in itself?) It is not expected to pass.

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