1989 taught us that we the people are powerful

But it has taken us a long time to learn this lesson.

A 1989 protest gathering in Bratislava. A 1989 protest gathering in Bratislava. (Source: TASR)

How to remember the Velvet Revolution in 2019? How, at a time when we are grappling with some of the darkest demons conjured up by our now 30-year experience of democracy, should we celebrate the fact that Czechs and Slovaks were able to put an end to totalitarianism? As we contemplate the depravity, recently confirmed, of so many who have claimed to lead us since 1989, we are forced to ask: what have we achieved?

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Slovaks have never had such complex reasons for disillusionment as they do today and, unlike in 1998, when voters rejected the populist and authoritarian-leaning regime of Vladimír Mečiar, looking to our neighbours and allies further west offers little comfort.

>>> Click here for more stories about the Velvet Revolution

We want no violence

The commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution started some time ago for Slovaks. When tens of thousands returned to the streets and squares of Slovak towns to protest the murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová, the spirit of November, its anger and resentment mixed with hope and determination, was felt even by those who were not yet born in 1989.

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