Saturday, November 18, 2006

Freedom day

My notebook says that the official name of this is Day of fighting for freedom and democracy. However you might want to call it, it was yesterday and I found neither the time to write something nor the time to go and light the candle in the portico where the poor demonstrating guys got beaten.. which started the anti-commie coup in this country in 1989.
Our (not so) dear President said in one of his speeches that it was not the opponents of the regime who were the main people to cause its collapse but those who did nothing, waved their flags when asked for it, went to shout some 'Long live [whoever]' when asked to, denunciated their neighbours when asked to - but the bravery of those people was that they didn't do things like that when not asked to. In moments like that I wonder whether the guy is not an idiot.
On not protesting could be a long essay... next time, though. Back to November 17 and its consequences. The socialism, communism, pretended communism, however one might call that, collapsed and despite the Czech nature of constant complaining, in this context that life was better under the commies anyway because people had jobs and bread was cheaper... well, you can pick your bag and go wherever you want. You can quit your job and go breed goats, if you want. You can be unemployed or start your own business if youwant. You can study three universities at the same time and no-one asks whether your granfather's cousin's neighbour hangs the flags on state holidays as it should be.
I should write something pathetic (like Beethoven's Pathetic Symphony, not pathetic = silly) but I'm somehow short of ideas. I remember the first time when I sent for holidays by myself. By train to Amsterdam. I went to buy a ticket. I didn't need a letter from the street committee and from the employer that I'm a good girl and deserve a permit to leave the country, I didn't need a letter that I'm allowed to apply for visa and another permit to go to the bank to exchange the money. I simply went and bought the ticket. (Note: In 1989 I was 10. In sumer 1989, my parents, after years of trying to get the proper papers, got them and we were travelling around Sweden and Norway and places like that and I had had some idea how difficult it was to get all the bureaucracy done. Summer holidays abroad started with making a schedule of the paperwork to do - in January. It could happily happen that some idiot with a rubber stamp decided that you simply don't deserve the paper no. 25 because you have better hairdo than her and you could save money by staying at home...) And I sat on the train and went. When I was crossing the (West) German borders, I was moved. Simply because I could, because they checked that the pic in my passport looks like me and didn't search every bit of my luggage for something illegal like a letter to someone's exiled aunt.
We here can do whatever we want. Isn't that cool enough?

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