Prague, 1989 | The year of revolutions saw a half dozen East European countries overthrow their communist governments. I've written about Czechoslovakia, and one of the best resources I found was the Radio Free Europe Ten Years After special. A long series of essays, explanations, retrospectives and personal accounts from this confusing time, and audio clips too -- hearing the chants of protestors in Wenceslas Square witnessing their first days of freedom is truly special.
Anyway, so there's currently a lot of fuss about the mooting of removing the phrase "under god" from the American Pledge of Allegiance, although Matt Haughey points out that this was only added in 1954 under the communist scare. What price we pay to defend our culture? By how much exactly have we really won?
In 1999, again in Prague, Gorbacev responded to Thatcher's gloating in a ceremony to mark a decade since the revolution: "Gorbachev reminded Thatcher that it was the communists who saw everything in black and white, through ideological blinders, and he questioned whether she had not stumbled down the same path".
Czech President Vaclav Havel: "If I posed myself the question: what triumphed over what or who triumphed over whom 10 years ago, then I wouldn't answer that it was the victory of one ideology over another, of one state over another state, or of one superpower over another. But I say certain values triumphed. Freedom triumphed over oppression. Respect for human dignity triumphed over humiliation. Respect for human rights triumphed over disdain for human rights. But it was one small battle in an unending chain of battles, because the war continues".