Anti-communist T-shirt for legendary medieval general

Markéta Chaloupská
28. 3. 2008 8:00
Civic initiative uses monument in Prague for campaign
Whether he likes it or not, now he's a modern-day anticommunist
Whether he likes it or not, now he's a modern-day anticommunist | Foto: Martin Boubín

Prague - Public initiative managed to dress up a statue of the Medieval Czech Hussite leader Jan Žižka with a T-shirt bearing the slogan: "I don't want to be responsible for a new totality."

"The aim of our happening is to call attention to our new campaign 'I don't want to be responsible for a new totalitarian regime' that asks artists to create anti-communist pieces to be imprinted on T-shirts," informed Michal Gregorini from the initiative.

The above mentioned motto is a play on words which cannot be directly translated into English. The slogan uses a phrase "to have something on one's shirt" that in the Czech language means "to be responsible for (something bad)". 

An underestimated danger

The initiative has chosen the statue of the Czech medieval warrior, located on Vitkov hill in Žižkov, because it is the largest equestrian statue situated in a location with a view of all of Prague.

The  initiative has come to public attention during one of its previous campaigns, "T-shirt against communism".

Gregorini sees the campaign as being aimed primarily at young people, in order to inform them about how dangerous communism is.

"Today's society tends to rather underestimate the danger of communism," exlained Gregorini.

Concerned, disgusted, outraged

"We are concerned about our political elites obeying the will of the Communists more and more frequently and so, in fact, preparing the grounds for their return to power. We are disgusted by the fact that Communists can vote on decisions that affect our future. We are outraged by Bolshevik arrogance, which is what drives us to express our opinion of the situation, so we declare a nonviolent creative action 'I don't want to be responsible for a new totality'". This was the way the campaign was described on the initiative's webpage.

A view of Žižkov
A view of Žižkov | Foto: Linda Lopezová

The incident is already being investigated.

"The police will treat the case as an offence against public order," said Ladislav Bernášek, a spokesman of the Prague police.

"The T-shirt has been removed," added Bernášek.

John Huss, Jan Žižka and the Hussites

Jan Žižka was a military leader of the Hussite religous movement that arose in the region of what is now the Czech Republic in the 15th century. Hussites were inspired by the teachings of a Czech reform thinker John Huss (Jan Hus) who was burnt at stake in 1415, after being condemned as a heritic by the Council of Constance.

The religious movement, which grew after Huss' death, sought to alter the rules of the Roman Catholic church, in many similar ways to Martin Luther's slightly later reformation.The Hussite militants were devotees who fought for religious freedom and against foreign Catholic rulers who wanted to rule in the Czech lands.

The Hussite movement plays an important role in Czech history and was often invoked in the 19th century by the Czech national revival thinkers as a time of national pride and union.

Eventually, the Hussite legacy was ideologically distorted by the Communist regime.

Žižkov, the Prague quarter where the statue is located, is named after Jan Žižka. It is in this area, specifically on Vítkov Hill, that  one of the most important battles of the Hussite wars took place.


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