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Czech the Diary

Posts tagged with “democracy”

It was October 28, 1992, and I was walking along the river in this town in North Moravia where I had recently settled. In the distance I could hear music that sounded like a military parade about to get underway. It turned out to be an army band playing before a handful of spectators while a listless, unformed regiment stood in formation. North Korea it sure as hell wasn’t, and the dreariness of the occasion was especially surprising given that it was Statehood Day, celebrating the creation of Czechoslovakia. The lack of excitement, as I learned, had to do with the talks then going on about that very country about to split apart.


Sure enough, on January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. It was now the Czech Republic and Slovakia, two countries with different flags, currencies and governments. And yet October 28 went on being the national holiday of statehood because independence in 1918 was so closely associated with both the first president Thomas Masaryk and the Czechoslovak legion of World War I fame, which had thumped the Red Army as they made their way back home from Siberia. For the centennial in 2018, there were plenty of exhibitions around the country marking all the exploits that led to independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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