I missed the anniversary yesterday.
10+7-minute videos with Czech narration: 1,2
Thirty-nine years ago, armies of the Soviet Union and four other communist countries (a list that didn't include Romania) have offered a brotherly help to Czechoslovakia and terminated the Prague Spring, a period of relative freedom, democratization, and liberalization of the economy and other segments of the society.
These half a million soldiers who were invited by local communist traitors and sent by foreign communist barbarians have only killed about 72 people in the country. But the actual political and economical consequences of their acts were far more dramatic. The country was returned to the grips of neo-Stalinism for 21 years.
It was a clear confrontation between a small cultural nation that knew what it was doing on one side and the brute power of five undemocratic governments. People did what they could to peacefully complicate the progress of the occupation troops. They were changing traffic signs and so forth. However, everyone knew that it was physically impossible to defend the country against the occupants. A political catastrophe was inevitable and given this fact, it seemed better to save the lives. The enlightened Czechoslovak socialist leaders with a human face have thus recommended the people not to resist.
Two decades of oppression and stagnation - officially called normalization - followed, two additional percent of the population decided to emigrate, including my uncles on both sides. Only the Velvet Revolution in 1989 was able to revert the impact of that unhappy morning of August 21st, 1968. The experience of 1968 has made it rather clear that socialism can't really be reformed. It has to be eradicated.
And that's the memo.