Tag Archives: Prague

27th Anniversary of Velvet Revolution

Masses commemorate 27th anniversary of Velvet Revolution in Czech Republic in  march for freedom

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I watched the live stream from the demonstrations commemorating the 27th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czech Republic with mixed feelings as they turned into protests against the current government. That is mainly against the third president of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman.

Only yesterday hundreds of college students walked out against the President-elect Donald Trump in the USA following high school students’ and citizens’ protests across the nation.

In a time of political unrest all over the world, I attempt to dissect everything impartially. I don’t know if it is always possible to be totally without any bias because I don’t live in social isolation.

“Milos into the trash,” reverberated the crowds marching from the Prague Castle Square known as “Hradcany” across the Manes Bridge over the Vltava River and onto the Wenceslas Square. A stage was set up by the King Wenceslas statue for a concert for freedom in the evening.

At times the crowds used the 1989 slogan of the Velvet Revolution, “It’s already here,” That was a reference to the movement started by students in memory of the death of Jan Opletal by the Nazis in 1939.

ew-vaclav-havel-head

“We don’t want another totality,” was the message for the Nov. 17, 2016 events. “It’s already here.”

“It was always here, then and now,” I say while watching the history repeat itself.

I was still in Czechoslovakia in that critical period of time from Nov. 17 to Dec. 10, when the communist officials including former president Gustav Husak resigned under pressure.

A democratic coalition and an economic forum led by former dissident Vaclav Havel replaced the dictatorship.

I was finalizing my emigration to the USA to join my parents and my husband, who had already left the homeland for Austria in 1988.

I dedicate a few chapters in the Greenwich Meridian © memoir to this difficult time in my life, when I was living alone with my kids. My grandfather Joseph Drabek was already in the hospital dying from lung cancer.

In those 23 days from Nov. 17 to Dec. 10, 1989, I learned more than I have learned in all the schools: past and present, physical or virtual.

I’ve learned that a change in the society is possible as long as enough people want it, and if they are willing to stand behind their beliefs in face of adversity by taking action.

The 1989 demonstrations for freedom from the communist dictatorship spread across the country. I was standing together with thousands of others on the town squares in the cold November nights, sporting the tri-color ribbons on the lapel of my coat.

My friend Zuzana was watching my two-and-a-half year old son Jake in the stroller, while her boyfriend was speaking from the podium.

We all took part in the change. It didn’t happen by itself. And it didn’t happen overnight. It started with the political movement for the reformation of the communist party known as the “Prague Spring” in 1968.

The Velvet Revolution was 21 years in the making since the Soviet tanks invaded the country to punish the reformers including Havel. Even in prison, Havel, known as the poet of democracy, never gave up.

I’ve learned that anything is possible including my highly improbable exit from the politically torn Czechoslovakia.

I’ve learned that we are stronger than we think, and that we have to make decisions that will impact other people, as well.

Speaking about decision-making.

I was standing on the brink of freedom, with exit visa in my drawer, shaking with cold and not just from the November night, but from the things to come.

The CTK Czech Press Office covered the demonstrations in Prague.

To be continued……..

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Mom Ella & aunt Anna

Two sisters still at war

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Writer’s note:

This is part of the 100 Posts & beyond series

Today is a big day. As I write to the rhythm of the rain, morning chirping of the birds and to the frantic panting of my dog and husband, I still have my feet wet from the patio. I had to move the phlox and the moss roses from the garage out into the rain.

It’s May 9th, it’s my birthday. I was born on the national holiday in former Czechoslovakia. On that day, the nation’s capital Prague, the mother of all cities, was freed from the Nazi occupation by the Soviet Army. That was the end of World War II.

Many years later, I was born in the wee hours at 4 a.m. to parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny. My mom woke up to the cracking noises of fireworks announcing the anniversary of the victory.

“I thought it was war again, but then I realized those were fireworks celebrating your birth,” she said to me this morning as she wished me a happy birthday. “The whole nation celebrated.”

Czech Capital Prague
Czech Capital Prague

Mom says that to me every year, as the nature too celebrates the awakening after long winter.

“The nature blossoms on your birthday,” she says. “You always had the day off and a parade.”

Birthday blossom
Birthday blossom

 

The above note is one of the many reasons why I dedicated the memoir “Greenwich Meridian where East meets west” to my mother.

 100 Posts & beyond

This post is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and the constant friction that I have witnessed between sisters in this world.

Mom Ella & I
Mom Ella & I

 

Mom Ella and aunt Anna

As I watch people drop like flies around me, I realize how time is going by fast. I like the inscription on the clock in the living room, “Tempus fugit.” That’s why I bought that pendulum clock as one of the first things when I arrived on this continent in 1989 for $110. Not that I had that kind of money. I just wanted the clock so bad, that I probably borrowed money for it. It announces the time by boldly striking every full and half hour. My husband Ludek still has to wind it by hand much like the clock that the in-laws had at home in the old country.

“They probably wouldn’t even let us know if she’s dead,” mom said. “You write the wedding invite. She’s your aunt and godmother.”

We bought the card that had written “Sisters” in the sand on it in Venice, Florida.

“I’ll pay for her air ticket, but not for him,” Mom said angrily. “Anyna won’t be able to translate that. She’s not going to come anyway.” Anyna is a slanderous nickname for the pretty name Anna.

Mom was referring to my uncle whom we once fancied as “Jean” rather the ordinary Czech John. We took that from the French movies that we had devoured like crazy in old Czechoslovakia.

That was more than quarter of a century ago before the big family dispute.

“But we don’t even know if he’s alive,” I argued. “I’ll just write it and we’ll see.”

Unintentionally, we sent the invite off without any contact numbers or addresses. Subconscious at its best.

“Write it again,” mom said last week. “This is her last chance to make up with me.”

To be continued as part of the ongoing series 100 Posts & beyond

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova

WordCamp Prague 2014

Prague to host WordPress Camp 2014 this Saturday

Prague, the capital of Czech Republic and a favorite tourist destination, will be hosting the first WordPress Camp on Feb. 22. The conference will put Prague among 172 other cities across six continents that have already hosted WordCamp.

Prague to host WordPress Camp 2014
Prague to host WordPress Camp 2014

As a WordPress writer of Czech origin, I am very proud that the camp will take place in the “Heart of   Europe,” as Prague is often dubbed. The conference will be divided into two presentations; one for users and one for developers.

The lectures will be in Czech with the exception of two in English.

Among the lecturers, who all are big fans of WordPress, will be Vladislav Musilek, Jan Kvasnicka, Pavel Ungr, Vlastimil Ott, Peter Gramantik, Agnes Bury, Jan Bocinec, Richard Bonk, David Binovec, Tomas Cirkl, Martin Michalek, Tomas Poner, Tom Eagles, Marek Prokop a Radek Kucera.

“I started working with WordPress a few years ago, when I built my blog on it,” Kucera said. “Today, I build simple web pages for firms, and I like to learn something new. I am interested in everything around the Internet and I work in Telco& ICT.”

Agnes Bury in a lecture “Going global” will talk about how to make a WordPress site multilingual. She is the marketing and community manager for the company behind the WordPress Multilingual Plugin-the plugin that lets you make your e-commerce site multilingual, as well as plugins which let WP web developers build their sites faster without php coding.

Before joining the company, she was working as a WP freelancer. Bury also publishes a popular WordPress blog where she shares her passion and experience in WP with other fans.

The event, with platinum sponsor Wedos, reasonably priced at 390 crowns has almost sold out.

Other upcoming WordCamps, organized by communities and volunteers, will be held in major cities across USA. They’re informal forums used to share information.

For more information go to central.wordcamp.org/schedule/ or 2014.prague.wordcamp.org

Copyright (c) 2014 story by Emma Palova, photo of Prague courtesy of Ceske Narodni Listy

Monsanto loses Europe

The power of organized masses

I have many times in my life experienced the power of organized masses in demonstrations and revolutions like the Velvet Revolution in 1989 that brought two million people to the Wenceslas Square in Prague. That was the end of communism.

Now, I am witnessing the power of people again in the long drawn out fight against genetically modified (GMO) seed giant Monsanto based in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. Based on protests, trials, court cases and demonstrations, the company lost all of Europe, except for Czech Republic, Spain and Portugal. Most recent demonstrations took place on May 25th in 436 cities around the world, 250 in the US. Meanwhile we were being fed information on major networks about a fire on a cruise ship with a firefighter on it.

This is an excerpt from an article by colleague Nils Mulvad from Investigative Reporting Denmark titled “GMO lose Europe-victory for environmental organizations.”

Monsanto will halt production of genetically modified corn in all of Europe, except Spain, Portugal and Czech republic. The agribusiness multinational states not to spend any more money on trials, development, marketing, court cases or anything else to get GM corn accepted in Europe.