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  1. #1 A Spring Awakening for Human Rights 
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    With Mother Russia flexing her muscles in the Trans-Caucus once again, the alarming acquiescence of western peoples to systematically give up personal liberties in the name of security, and the rise of China and India to, for right now, economic superpower state, perhaps it's good to remember the events of 40 years ago...

    A Spring Awakening for Human Rights

    By JIRI PEHE
    Published: August 24, 2008
    Prague

    FORTY years ago last week, the five Warsaw Pact countries, led by the Soviet Union, sent armored tanks into Czechoslovakia. It was to be the end of the Prague Spring, a brief period of political liberalization and cultural blossoming in Czechoslovakia, and the beginning of 21 years of Soviet oppression — a turning point in the histories of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Yet the anniversary was marked here with some hesitation.

    At the official commemoration at Prague Castle, Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic, gave a speech. The prime ministers of Slovakia and the Czech Republic opened an exhibition in Wenceslas Square — where Soviet troops had clashed with the citizens of Prague in 1968 — featuring a Soviet T-54 tank and homemade posters protesting the invasion. But most leading politicians limited themselves to brief statements.

    Many leading thinkers here regarded the anniversary as unremarkable because they believe the Prague Spring was primarily a communist affair — an attempt by reformers to prevail over hard-liners within the party — and as such is of little interest to today’s authentic democrats. Articles in Czech news media argued that leaders of the Czechoslovak Communist Party in 1968, including First Secretary Alexander Dubcek, were naïve to think that they could sustain “socialism with a human face.” When they abolished censorship, tolerated artistic freedom, eased travel restrictions and allowed new civic movements to come into existence, they merely created a virus that threatened the communist system.

    But as someone who experienced the Prague Spring at the impressionable age of 13, came of age during the repressive period of “normalization” and, from 1981 to 1989, observed my country from exile in the United States and Germany, I recall 1968 with fondness. And I suspect that our lasting reluctance to discuss the period openly is, more than anything else, a sign that the trauma of communism is still very much alive today, despite the last 19 years that democracy has had to take root

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  2. #2  
    noonwitch
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    Interesting article-Prague is one city I really want to see before I die. I think I lived there in a past life. I used to have a recurring dream that was set there, before I knew the setting was Prague. I've loved the music of D'Vorak since the first time I ever heard it as a kid. Since the Iron Curtain came down, I've seen enough photos of the city to realize it is the city I've dreamed about since I was a kid. I may have seen photos of Prague in Childcraft books growing up, but I don't specifically remember seeing them. I know, it sounds weird.


    Anyways, it's worth seeing because it is a european city that wasn't bombed directly in WWII, so most of its old buildings remain intact. I want to see the astrological clock, and the bridge with all the statues on it.
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  3. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonwitch View Post
    Interesting article-Prague is one city I really want to see before I die. I think I lived there in a past life. I used to have a recurring dream that was set there, before I knew the setting was Prague. I've loved the music of D'Vorak since the first time I ever heard it as a kid. Since the Iron Curtain came down, I've seen enough photos of the city to realize it is the city I've dreamed about since I was a kid. I may have seen photos of Prague in Childcraft books growing up, but I don't specifically remember seeing them. I know, it sounds weird.


    Anyways, it's worth seeing because it is a european city that wasn't bombed directly in WWII, so most of its old buildings remain intact. I want to see the astrological clock, and the bridge with all the statues on it.
    Prague is indeed beautiful, but, since the mid-90s, has been swamped with tourists and is now overpriced. If you should get there, be sure to also visit both Budapest and Zagreb. They give you an idea of what Prague was before.
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
    Prague is indeed beautiful, but, since the mid-90s, has been swamped with tourists and is now overpriced. If you should get there, be sure to also visit both Budapest and Zagreb. They give you an idea of what Prague was before.
    I got to spend a few days in Budapest.... amazing place.
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonwitch View Post
    Interesting article-Prague is one city I really want to see before I die. I think I lived there in a past life. I used to have a recurring dream that was set there, before I knew the setting was Prague. I've loved the music of D'Vorak since the first time I ever heard it as a kid. Since the Iron Curtain came down, I've seen enough photos of the city to realize it is the city I've dreamed about since I was a kid. I may have seen photos of Prague in Childcraft books growing up, but I don't specifically remember seeing them. I know, it sounds weird.
    Anyways, it's worth seeing because it is a european city that wasn't bombed directly in WWII, so most of its old buildings remain intact. I want to see the astrological clock, and the bridge with all the statues on it.
    Thats fascinating. I've heard numerous accounts of similar happenings. Not a clue as to what or how this happens, but it does does, or should remind of how limited our understanding is on some levels.
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