Thursday, January 25, 2018

Remembering Prague Spring 1968 MCMLVIII & MMXVIII

"Tis not the first time that, dreaming of freedom, we build a new prison." 
-- poet Maximilian Voloshin

The Iliad, the Odyssey, and theEpic of Gilgamesh were preserved through oral tradition. What has been gained, and lost, from writing things down?... Socrates envisaged a time when we would forget how to remember

Cold River, like all rivers, abounds with the sort of cloak-and-dagger exploits more often found in suspense novels: midnight dumping, anonymous tips, criminal sabotage, indifferent government officials, and corrupt water polluters ... Few knew the Iron Curtain chemical pollutions as the Czechoslovak Rivers ...  Nafta on Danube, Chemo Svit on Poprad,  Spolana on Labe river etc

“Any Czechoslovak like Jewish holiday can be described the same way. They tried to kill us. They failed. Let’s eat.”  

The Death of Stalin - Wikipedia

Too many Nazis: BuzzFeed News identifies the 1,700-plus Twitter accounts that are banned in various countries.
↩︎ BuzzFeed

 On January 15, 1989 a citizen named Václav Havel was arrested at the statue of Saint Wenceslas and sent to prison

Jan Palach 's and Havel's funerals

I grew up in the High Tatra Mountains and have a high tolerance for characters. The more outrageous, the better. 


From the Over The Wall: The 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall Fall
group exhibit at Art Next Gallery

This should be the golden age of free speech. And it is, if you can believe your lying eyes It’s the [Democracy-Poisoning] Golden Age of Free Speech

'Putin is forever'—artists respond to the Russian president's decision to seek a fourth term | The Art Newspaper

Facial recognition systems give China’s government “the level of control over people’s lives it aspires to.”

Winston Churchill: We have before us many, many long months of struggle and suffering. We will know many old and famous states have fallen into the grip of the Nazi rule. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be! We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender! For without victory there can be no survival!

MoMA announces an upcoming exhibition on kommunist ( yugo) concrete architecture 

Next  year, it will mark fiftieth anniversay of Palach's spark, when Jan Palach united his nation by burning himself to death. Jonathan Steele on the century's starkest form of political protest 
He sacrificed his life to re-awaken opposition to the Soviet occupation of 1968, and eventually become a galvanizing symbol of the Velvet Revolution. Jan Palach was the same vintage as Lidka ...

THE IDEAS SO CRAZY THEY JUST MIGHT WORK: The Second Prague Spring; The Velvet Revolution of 1989 

Václav Havel's Prague of 1968 and beyond ...

Jan Palach Week, 1989: The Beginning of the End for Czechoslovak Kommunism ...

'Burning Bush' put out by Cold River 
 'After the euphoria of 1968, people had become depressed and beaten down. Palach wanted to shake them up,' says Zuzana Bluh, who as a student leader helped to organise his funeral.
Jan Palach - 19 Jan 1969. ...

Vaclav Havel laid to rest: A look back at the dissident in 1989

On January 16, 1969, 20-year-old student Jan Palach set himself on fire in Prague in protest against the August 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. He died of his burns three days ...
Ultimate sacrifice | Global | The Guardian

Jan Palach - Living Torches

Russia rewrites history of the Prague Spring

State documentary claims 1968 invasion was move to protect Czechoslovakia against Nato coup...
The Prague Spring of 1968 - History Learning Site  
According to an old Soviet joke, which alluded to the Communist party’s habit of rewriting history for ideological purposes, one bemused citizen says to another: “The trouble is, you never know what will happen yesterday.”
In Russia’s intensifying climate of internal authoritarianism and external hostility to the west, it was predictable that the propaganda apparatus serving President Vladimir Putinwould one day deem it necessary to tell lies about the 1968 Prague Spring. For this tumultuous eight-month period in communist Czechoslovakia was a defining moment in the post-1945 history of central and eastern Europe, an episode whose outcome inflicted terrible damage on Moscow’s reputation.
The day of lies arrived on May 23, when Rossiya 1, a Russian state television channel, aired a so-called documentary entitled The Warsaw Pact — Declassified Pages. The programme’s makers claimed to have access to previously unreleased Soviet archival material, said to cast a new light on the Prague Spring.
The essential facts of the Prague Spring can be summed up in one sentence. On the night of August 20 1968, Soviet-led Warsaw Pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia, crushing an attempt by its reform-minded communist leaders, headed by Alexander Dubček, to bring peaceful liberal change to their country.
Not so, according to the Rossiya 1 programme. This asserted that the invasion was a pre-emptive move to protect Czechoslovakia against a Nato-backed coup, supposedly being planned under cover of “the peaceful civilian uprising with the romantic name of the Prague Spring”.

The Czech and Slovak governments complained that the TV programme grossly distorted the historical facts. The Slovaks pointed out that the Soviet Union and fellow invaders Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary and Poland had apologised in December 1989 for their action.
But perhaps the Czechs and Slovaks, like the rest of Europe, should have seen these lies coming. For the programme was the latest example of an accelerating campaign under Mr Putin to revise the 20th-century history of the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia. It includes efforts to minimise or ignore dictator Josef Stalin’s domestic repressions, to defend the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact and to glorify the Soviet role in the second world war.
The lesson of the Prague Spring documentary is that it demonstrates the priority attached by Mr Putin’s propagandists to making Russians see Nato as a permanent threat — as much so today as in 1968. 
It hardly matters that the programme upset the Czech and Slovak governments, which happen to be less enthusiastic than other EU governments about extending sanctions against Moscow for its annexation of Crimea and its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine. For the lies were directed primarily at Russian viewers, with the aim of bolstering a siege mentality against the west.

The Prague Spring broke world communism's main spring

Jiri Menzel and the Second Prague Spring - 豆瓣


 50 Years Ago in Photos: A Look Back at 1968 - The Atlantic
At In Focus, Alan Taylor celebrates his 50th birthday by sharing some photos of 1968 that remind us of the momentous events of that year, which is certainly one of the most noteworthy years in recent world history.

Protests erupted in France, Czechoslovakia. Germany, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, and many other places. Some of these protests ended peacefully; many were put down harshly. Two of the biggest catalysts for protest were the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and the ongoing lack of civil rights in the U.S. and elsewhere. Two of America’s most prominent leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, were assassinated within months of each other. But some lessons were being learned and some progress was being made — this was also the year that NASA first sent astronauts around the moon and back, and the year President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. 

If nothing else, 1968 is a reminder that perhaps our current events aren’t so bad after all. 

I love that Taylor includes an event not usually associated with 1968: The Mother of All Demos.

The demonstration is hailed as one of the most significant technological presentations in history, showcasing technologies that have become what we now know as modern computing. He gave the first public demonstration of a computer mouse, a graphical user interface, windowed computing, hypertext, word processing, video processing, and much more.

The influence of this demo has grown over time and rightly deserves consideration as one of that year’s most notable events.

Freedom House – Freedom in the World 2018, Democracy in Crisis: “Democracy is in retreat globally and, some say, in the United States. Exacerbating the democratic backslide are authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China, which have increased both repression at home and efforts to export instability abroad. On the home front, indifference toward democratic principles is escalating, as America retreats from a historic commitment to democracy promotion…Today, it is democracy that finds itself battered and weakened. For the 12th consecutive year, according to Freedom in the World, countries that suffered democratic setbacks outnumbered those that registered gains 

CODA: The suggestion that MEdia Dragon had any input into this Praha linked operations and this headline is exaggerated The real McMafia is coming for you too

Cold River eBook to kickstart your imminent revolutionary binge ...