top of page

Czech and Slovak Expats Celebrating Freedom

Freedom is "svoboda" in Czech, "sloboda" in Slovak.

...and so here they are, the fun (handsome!) group of expats from the former Czechoslovakia and their American friends, blasting off their voices in the never-ending array of national and American songs. The singers are accompanied by skillful animated musicians playing a couple of guitars, banjo, and some percussions. What a fun November Saturday night! The bonfire romantically lits the beach, some people lively chatting and laughing are crowded by the fire-ring, while grilling a sausage on a stick, oh, how so delicious; a young woman goes around and offers a traditional poppy seed cake, before you turn, her baking sheet is empty.

And here the group gathers into a formation to take a picture, I would count about 70 of them, a Czech and Slovak flags proudly displayed. They start singing their anthems in a beautiful unison. It is moving to see and it stands for a tribute to the nonviolent Revolution from 26 years ago, a Revolution that bootied out the commies and brought a long lost freedom and democracy to Czechoslovakia. (Sneer at grammar and never capitalize commies, please!) And these expats share their fondness of Americans, and they bid them as quite tolerant, kind and patient people that not only welcome them and include them without hesitation, but also root for them.

And a slogan of the Velvet Revolution by the late Vaclav Havel is mentioned: May love and truth always prevail over hatred and lies.

Only about one third of the world, according to Economic Intelligent Unit that measures the state of world democracy, lives in pure democracy, and about a half of the world lives in some kind of democracy. How lucky we are.

I am not a radical, politician, or an activists and so I appreciate all of those who helped me to win my fight for freedom that I cherish. I can travel where I want, enter any doors I want and use my talent (if there is any) in a way I want. My children will have opportunities I could not even think about. I have a privilege to live a life over which I have a full control.

Democracy has a long rocky road ever since Solon had his attempt at democracy in 594 BC, followed by Kleistenes (508 BC) and Pericles (462BC), then comes Magna Carta (1215), establishment of the British Parliament (1707), American Constitution (1787), French Revolution (1789) and finally the Fall of the Berlin War (11/9/1989) and to the Velvet Revolution (11/17/1989).

We try to device the best democracy we can, which simply means to involve all citizens into decisions. Let us exercise that right with joy and responsibility.

bottom of page