There is still work to be done

2018 is not a re-run of 1989, but there is a connection.

Standing on the rooftop of one of the buildings of Bratislava’s SNP Square on that mid-March Friday, watching the crowd of more than 60,000 from above, it was hard not to feel like I was witnessing a giant and very literal re-enactment of the 1989 Velvet Revolution (or Gentle Revolution, as Slovaks call it).

But it wouldn’t be right simply to equate 2018 and 1989. For instance, in 1989, going out to take part in a demonstration required a different kind of courage: protesters couldn’t be sure things would go well for them. The history of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, and for many of them also their own experience, had taught them that if the totalitarian regime prevailed, it would make them pay.

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