November 17

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Today, we feel blessed for having been raised in a free and just society. We're reminded of our privilege today particularly, as here in the CR, it's "The Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy," which commemorates two crucial events in Czech history.

Most recently, it marks the start of the Velvet Revolution, which ended the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia in 1989. Police attacked a crowd of 15,000 students in Prague who had gathered to honor the 50th anniversary of the death of a university student during anti-Nazi demonstrations in 1939. Six-hundred were injured. The police brutality outraged the public, and within a few days, the protest crowd swelled to over 500,000.

Secondly, it remembers the the 1939 anti-Nazi demonstration mentioned above. A 19-year-old medical student, Jan Opletal, was seriously injured by Nazi police while demonstrating Nazi occupation and died a few days later. His funeral was attended by thousands of students, which angered the Nazis so much that they closed all Czech universities, sent 1,200 Czech students to concentration camps and executed nine more.

Having grown up in America (especially white and middle-class in America), BW and I can't fathom the cruelty and inhumanity that these people have shouldered. Praying for those who have been and continue to be oppressed by unjust institutions and systems.

A video of pictures from Nov. 17, 1989. The guy at the end is President Vaclav Havel, a playwright and politician whose dissident work helped topple Communism.

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