Klaus: 60 years after coup freedom still under threat

Ivan Eckhardt, Robert Gazdík, Simona Holecová
26. 2. 2008 19:30
President warns against "dangerous ideologies"
Ladies and gentlemen, don't let your guard down (Václav Klaus)
Ladies and gentlemen, don't let your guard down (Václav Klaus) | Foto: Tomáš Adamec, Aktuálně.cz

Prague - On the occasion of Monday's 60th anniversary of the communist putsch, known simply as February 1948 in Czech historiography, Czech president Václav Klaus warned against the danger of history repeating itself.

Members and delegates of the Confederation of Czech Political Prisoners, representatives of Czech churches and traditional civic organizations such as Sokol, Orel and Junák met at Prague Castle to hear president Klaus's speech.

All the organizations present are known for being staunch anti-communist opponents.

READ MORE: February 1948 - not bloody enough for Moscow

Banned to believe and do sports

During the communist regime, church members were persecuted and pro-democratic gymnastics and boyscout-like organizations from the interwar period suppressed and banned.

Die-hard communists, both old and young, defended the legacy of February 1948 at a rally in Prague on Monday
Die-hard communists, both old and young, defended the legacy of February 1948 at a rally in Prague on Monday | Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Though officially non-political, the Sokol movement played an important role in promoting Czech national interests as early as 1860s. The communists banned the organization, trying to replace their traditional gatherings with mass gymnastic performances known as Spartakiáda.

The Confederation of Political Prisoners was founded in 1990 as the successor to the K 231 organization, a former association of political prisoners repressed by the communist regime. K231 was named after the law 231/1948, based on which people were actually sentenced.

Who could it be now?

Although president Klaus spoke largely in a general tone and avoided direct accusations, it isn't difficult to decode his words as being aimed against his notorious ideological nemeses - politicians and organizations warning against the dangers of global warming.

"It is our duty to prevent the likes of the February events from happening again. Nowadays, these would not originate from the same communist ideology that brought about the February 1948. They would not have the same name nor features but they would have the same essence: they would be very likable, pathetic and noble-sounding at first, advocating well-being and progress of the humankind and their supporters would be self-confident enough to claim it is justified to sacrifice man and/or his freedom," said president Klaus. 

"Some of the candidates of this idea and its realization we already know, although their words still don't come across as horrible enough to many. But generations of my parents and grandparents felt the same way in the year 1948," he added.

Communist crimes still unpunished

In her speech that followed president Klaus´s, head of the Confederation of Political Prisoners Naděžda Kavalírová pointed to the society and its alleged incapacity to settle accounts with those who committed crimes in the name of the communist regime.

"Brazen arrogance of those who have cheated the justice is becoming more and more obvious," she said.

According to her, the history is still vivid and the fight for freedom still continues.

READ MORE: Czech ex-prosecutor not punished for judicial murder


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