Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous

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Eastern Europe Dissent

Life after Europe

The joint editors of Europe – the very idea introduce the next stage of their project – a discussion inspired by the Czech philosopher and political dissident Jan Patočka. An invitation to discussion.


Walesa, Man of Hope

Director Andrzej Wajda dedicates biopic to the Solidarity leader and first President of Poland liberated from communism. Trailer inside


Mutual inspirations

An eventful Autumn in Prague where a festival is held from 5 September to 19 November in honour of dissident and first President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel


If Bouazizi reminds us of Jan Palach - revolts in Maghreb and the memory of Communism

Last December Mohammed Bouazizi set himself alight in Tunisia unleashing the Jasmine Revolution. It is impossible, writes Antonio Ferrari in Corriere della Sera, "not to see the similarities between Bouazizi and Czechoslovakian, Jan Palach”. But "The democratic force of globalization" has yet to ensure a lasting freedom.


Remembering Solidarnosc - 30 years ago it defied the Communist power

On 10 November 1980 Solidarnosc was registered. It was the free trade union which won the struggle for freedom of conscience and religion in Poland. Intellectuals and workers fought together against the regime helping the creation of the Polish democracy.

Special feature by Annalia Guglielmi inside


Farewell to Bärbel Bohley - death of a voice of freedom in the GDR

Death at age 65 of the German dissident who played a key role in the campaigns for a multiparty system in the former GDR and the disclosure of the Stasi archives. Angela Merkel remembers her as "a personality who made possible the peaceful revolution" in the Eastern bloc.


Eastern Europe dissent

the truth against the lies of totalitarianism

The so called dissent in Eastern European communist regimes cannot be downplayed to a simple connotation of "opposition" as its definition would suggest, but must be viewed above all as the attempt to build a parallel polis based on every citizen's responsibility and aimed at occupying the spaces of cultural, social and human freedom wrought from the totalitarian regime into the social fabric.  The members of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakya and Solidarnosc in Poland, like Vaclav Havel, Radim Palous, Jacek Kuron, Adam Michnik, have always underlined that "the power of the powerless" consists in defeating fear through the strength created by coilectively assuming one's responsibilities, as proven by the exhortation to "live the truth" in a society based on lie. Their "dissent" has very often consisted in calling for the enforcement of the laws, such as the one about freedom of conscience, and the international accords subscribed by their countries, such as the Helsinki Accords
These stances have given rise to a broad movement which was able to condition the behaviour and mentality of the public opinion, up to the point in which - except in Romania - the totalitarian system was overturned in a peaceful way, without shedding blood, by a new leading class recognized by the majority of the population which is ready to take up the responsibility for public affairs.

Insight

The power of the powerless

Not only dissent - the "parallel polis" in Eastern Europe

Featured story

Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty

primate of Hungary and leading instigator of the revolution