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Yesterday, many of us were anxious for the situation in Czechoslovakia
after hearing the news that the military declared on TV they would defend
socialism against ``disorder.'' Yet today comes the news, half surprising
but also half expected, that the hard-liner leader Milos Jakes and his
Politburo resigned. Watching on TV, my heart dances with those jubilant
young couples in Prague.
Nearly six months after the brutal June 3-4 massacre, it becomes almost
fashionable to criticize that the Chinese students went too far in their
struggle for democracy. How could they dare to ask Deng Xiaoping to resign?
Why didn't they leave TAM Square early?
Now we have a reference point. How far do you think the Czechoslovakian
students have gone?
The pro-democracy movement in Czechoslovakia was launched and mainly
participated by students and intellectuals. It was escalated after the
police violence on Nov. 17. Since then the street demonstration has been
a daily ritual in the capital. And from the very beginning, their slogan
is ``Resign, Jakes!'' Whereas at first the Chinese students only asked
to recognize their movement as ``patriotic'' and to dialogue directly with
The events in China, East Germany and Czechoslovakia show that in a
hard-line communist country, the street demonstration is apparently the
only form people know for dislodging their agony. In fact, they have been
trained in government-staged rallies for years, shouting either ``down with''
someone, or just the opposite, ``long live'' someone. When they rebel, they
would just go that far: go to street and keep ``down with'' the leaders in
their minds, if not in their mouths yet.
In comparison with China, Czechoslovakia has more favorable external
conditions for change, and their leaders are communists but not bandits.
However, the students look very similar, they both went that far.
The road to a democratic Czechoslovakia is still very long. Even you
have the democracy, it doesn't necessarily mean to reach prosperity as fast
as many people would like. There could be even setbacks. However, at the
present, Czech people are celebrating their victory, without worrying anyone
to take the liberty to criticize them for going too far.
Sanyee Tang (619)-534-3521 | Revolutions are rare. Reform,
Physics, B-019, UC San Diego | perhaps, is even rarer.
La Jolla, California 92093 |
Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org | --- Samuel Huntington