Prague, August 21, 1968
be wiped out of the awareness of our nations, though we
can't say yet what it really meant, or what marks it has left
on the genetic material of society, and how and when these
will manifest themselves." ~ Vaclav Havel (1987)
I have never been to Prague. Some day, with luck. This evening, of course, is the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Soviet invasion of the then Czechoslovakia ~ an indefensible act of violence. I call your attention to this slide show of photos (including the one I've lifted above) of the invasion and resistance by Josef Koudelka over at the Magnum blog. And I call your attention too, to this essay by Adam Michnik (neither a Czech not a Slovak, but a Pole) on the unanticipated implications of the suppression of "the Prague Spring." His remarks, like the passage from Havel above, remind me of a theme Rebecca Solnit raises repeatedly on the unexpected and unforeseen ways of political change. I've posted on this theme several times before ~ for example, here and here and here.
P.S.: I've resisted posting on "1968" in part because there is probably too much being written about it. But for some reflections and re-assessments see Dissent, Democracy Now! (here and again), openDemocracy (many times), In These Times (here & here) ...
PS2: (Updated 24 August) I just came across this story which, among other things, reports: "a recent poll . . . found that 70 percent of Czechs younger than 20 have "no opinion" on the events of 1968."