But I digress.
I am listening to the church bells peel from Kostol Nanebovzatia Panny Márie up the street here on Blumentálska, and I am mindful that today is November 17th (very important) and a holiday (very very important). I thank the gods for that.
Indeed, if I were any sort of sensitive and sentient human being, especially a sensitive and sentient human being who spent
But I have other plans.
Let me just say, by way of an aside, that 50 years prior to the Velvet Revolution, a Czech medical student by the name of Jan Opletal was shot and killed in an anti-Nazi demonstration by - not surprisingly - the Nazis. His funeral on November 15th sparked further anti-Nazi demonstrations, the result of which was that all Czech universities and colleges were closed, nine students executed on the 17th of November, and 1200 students sent to concentration camps.
Time passes. In 1941, in commemoration of these events, November 17th is designated "International Students Day" by the Internal Students' Council in London - an organization rife with political refugees.
Time passes. In 1946, much of the country is liberated by the Red Army and grateful Czechoslovakians vote in the Communist Party; within 2 years - and as the result of a coup d'état - the country becomes a Communist-ruled state.
Time passes. By 1968, the honeymoon phase has long fizzled out. Dissatisfied dissenter and country leader Alexander Dubček tries to reform the Communist regime by suggesting that the media be allowed more latitude and that additional human rights (including the freedom to free speech and travel) be guaranteed by law - a sure-fire way to losing your Communist Party membership card. Which he does. The Soviet Union also responds by sending in the tanks. They stay for twenty-one years.
Time passes. In 1989, students in Prague choose November 17th - this politically-charged day - to march against those Communist visitors who had dropped by in 1968 and forgot to leave. To be fair, on the previous day, students here in Bratislava organized a similar event but possibly because it was Bratislava rather than Prague or the fact that they picked the wrong date, no one seemed to have paid too much attention. In Prague, the peaceful protesters are dispersed - no one is killed but radios erroneously broadcast that one student is dead, giving the movement added momentum and sympathy - and within days labour strikes begin to erupt across the country.
In the days that followed, actors in theatres read the students' proclamation rather than their scripts, propelling playwright Václav Havel - who would become the last President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic - into the international spotlight. (Dubček who lost his key to the Executive Communist bathroom back in '68 over his insistence for silly human rights would become the elected speaker of the federal parliament.) Within 2 weeks, Communist-dominated Parliament removes the nasty little article entrenching Marxism-Leninism as the country's state ideology and the country's leadership a prerogative of the Communist Party.
The rest, as they say, is history - although a heartfelt huzzah! goes to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for their peaceful separation in 1993 - sparing countless children the necessity of learning how to spell Czechoslovakia.
Damn! I wasn't going to talk about this at all. I was going to talk about our latest adventures at the Police Station. Damn, damn, damn! Perhaps, International Students Day isn't the proper forum in which to talk about my