Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two Squares' Take on Democracy Day

Today’s joint celebration of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day and International Students Day meant a day off from school for James and Caroline, but not, apparently, a day off from study. Caroline organized a music class that included plenty of breaks, jingle bell practice, and the well timed „fite with James“ module. After Caroline assured me she meant pillow fighting, not swords, we left them to it.

Eventually the kids started sparring outside their curriculum, and C and I split off from the guys to head out on a ramble. As you can see from the collage, we managed to catch bits of what was happening around the city today - public speeches and demonstrations at Václavské náměstí, and a construction scene at Náměstí Míru, where the Christmas markets were going up.

On the way home from our walk, C told me what she'd learned about November 17th in school this week. Back in 1939 the German ruler of Bohemia and Moravia killed a group of students and their teachers and closed down Czech universities. Since 1941, countries around the world have celebrated November 17th as International Students Day,* in honor of those killed. The date has double significance here, as a student demonstration on November 17, 1989 helped spark the Velvet Revolution.

* The US celebrates "International Education Week" in mid November, in a nod to International Students Day.


Barrett Bonden said...

There's a huge gap between Freedom Day and Democracy Day as, alas, Egypt and Libya are starting to find out. On Freedom Day there may still be dead bodies of one's enemies to exult over in the streets; Democracy Day is the product of a series of acrimonious meetings which one tends to leave, grinding one's teeth at the fact that one hasn't got what one wanted. Freedom is visceral and short-lived, Democracy is the growing realisation that compromise is the basis of civilised life. Not that I'm suggesting C. should be taught the difference in these somewhat depressing terms. Mind you, what could be more depressing (salutary's a better word) than Heydrich?

Hey, I like your stylish quotes with the first one at subscript level.

Julia said...

The stylish quotes are from my Czech keyboard, usually I remember to switch those off!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

There's so much about the world's history that I do not know.
A pillow module? Fun! You need to let your kids spar with sticks next;)

Julia said...

GG - their foam swords are deadly enough :-). When they are old enough I'll introduce them to you for some real sword training!

Laura said...

What sheer delight is to come and immerse myself in Kolo kolo World. I've been away far too long. Julia, you have such a way with words and images. I'm very, very happy that we are cyber friends and that I have been able to follow your story (albeit intermittently!) for these past years.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your darling family.