Thursday, August 02, 2012

For the Love of Freedom

“Remember, revolutions need fire, like what happened in Tunisia. That fruit vendor set himself on fire, and then everything exploded.” for the love of freedom

And behind the Iron Curtain, in 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul the Second, spoke words that would bring down an empire and bring freedom to millions who lived in bondage. ‘Be not afraid’—those words changed the world...My dad heard those words first hand in the good royal town of Krakow. Like my cousin Andrej Imrich, Vaclav Havel preached and practised these onstructions of being brave ... For forty years you have heard my predecessors tell you in various versions the same thing: that our country is flourishing and that the most wonderful opportunities are opening before us. I assume that you have not chosen me for this office in order for me to lie to you. Our country is not flourishing.

After the communist coup of 1948, the Jan and Jiri Fencl brothers, Praguers aged 19 and 18, pondered on how to secretly cross the Iron Curtain and flee the communist regime, the paper writes. The idea of escaping in a submarine occurred to Jan, who presented it to his brother. In his memoirs he writes he proposed that they go down the Labe river to the British zone in Germany. Yellow Submarine on the bank of Lidka's Labe River

First my auntie Zofka disappeared during WWII and my other auntie Teta Ota escaped communist Czechoslovakia through Sumava

The music from the West was only available on the black market and at horrendously expensive prices. But that only added to its popularity among young people. 'Beat music' had been officially rubber stamped as subversive and the GDR government was afraid that modern rock and pop would stir the already simmering discontent of young people. Rolling Stones did have an impact. Many teenagers behind the Iron Curtain, like the Media Dragon, were fascinated by Jagger, Richards and the rest of the band. They had provided a sense of upbeat get-up-and-go which was unparalleled in post-war Eastern Europe...For many GDR and Czech citizens, it was the desire to listen to music from the West, which added to their wish to live in a free society. "The people got mesmerized by what the Stones did. They read the lyrics and discovered the literary concepts and found philosophical ideals beyond Marx and Engels," Schneidewind says. Did the Stones and other bands from the West contribute to the fall of the Berlin Wall? Schneidewind is sure that they did. "Many claim that art does not lead to changes in society. But I believe it can."
Wuschel, the character in the Sonnenallee novel, had to wait for another few years until he got his copy of Exile on Main Street. He eventually gets the LP - but when being shot at by a border guard near the wall, it is the vinyl under his jacket that saves his life. The bullet breaks the LP but the Stones fan survives Rolling Stones simply threw over board the things that were being preached in schools and official places

Behind the glossy, airbrushed image of the London Olympics is an exhibition - Tracksuit Traitors - which is a reminder of the broken lives and political and psychological torment that tainted the Games movement in the Cold War. He ate two fried chickens, smothered himself in 30 tubes of Vaseline and swam 25 kilometres across the Baltic Sea to freedom. Axel Mitbauer's escape from East Germany is an illustration of what can happen when Olympic ideals are twisted into dark, damaging political ideology masquerading as sport. Tracksuit Traitors

Navratilova, who defected to the United States as a teenager, said she would "never forgive" the Communists for destroying "so many lives Tennis traitors

Wonder what it was like to queue for hours for toilet paper or butter in communist-era Poland? Now you can experience the 'boredom' thanks to a foreign-language version of a hit Polish history-in-a-box board game. Assembly Lies and Lines ...lines

In August 1989, the West German embassy, in the exquisite Baroque Lobkowicz Palace just below Prague Castle, was forced to close down for its day-to-day business. By then hundreds of East Germans were trying to get in, many climbing over the fence into the manicured embassy gardens. The surrounding streets were soon packed with their abandoned Trabants and Wartburgs. In an interview for Radio Prague, the Czech writer, Jáchym Topol later recalled the scenes.Traitors inside Bohemia