Twenty years have now passed since the historic fall of the Berlin Wall. And on November 18, 1989, the Czech people staged the Sametova Revoluce—the Velvet Revolution, which fed off of the collapse of communism in Poland, Hungary, and East Germany. The term Velvet Revolution is freely used in Prague to describe the relatively peaceful transfer of power from the Communist Party to the civil rights movement in then Czechoslovakia. This month is indeed a historic and monumental month in the area of the world in which we now live, as expats in Prague, Czech Republic.
For the past several months, I’ve been taking Czech language lessons from a lovely Czech woman who lived during Communist times and actively participated in the Velvet Revolution protests. Last week, I told my instructor that we were getting a new puppy in our family, and of our excitement in getting our puppy. My instructor then reminisced of the Velvet Revolution days, of protesting, and of the presence of a puppy, similar to what I described our puppy as looking like. She said one of her friends, a protestor, brought his small puppy burrowed in his coat, to the protests on Wenceslas Square. And the trained police dogs went a bit crazy by the scent of a puppy in the crowd. My instructor then laughed, and said, “Puppies bring humor to a very serious situation. It made us all smile. Every time I see a puppy, even today, I think of the maly pejsek (small puppy) that broke the tension between opposing sides.”
The stories I hear, places I see, and monuments and photos as tribute to the struggle for freedom from Communism, are wholeheartedly humbling.
I’m so grateful for the brave souls who stood up for the cry of the human heart—the fight to be free.