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A History of Europe Fraught in Contradictions: 1989–2021

The peaceful revolutions of 1989 created a new Europe. This Europe is threatened to be lost today – 30 years later. Within the European continent national intolerance and the use of violence are part of everyday life. Politics is becoming more and more intransparent. Are there chances for change? Anyone who subscribes to the values of the Enlightenment is always at the beginning.

On New Year’s Eve 1989 I was standing on Wenceslas Square, Prague, in the midst of a crowd of hundreds of thousands. We were celebrating the country’s recently won freedom and chanted “Václav Havel to the Hradčany” – as president. Only four years earlier, I had been arrested and expelled from the country due to my contacts with civil rights activists. Later, I was in Poland and kneeled at the grave of Jerzy Popiełuszko, the priest who had been murdered by members of the secret police in 1984. In 1988 and 1989 I lived for many months in perestroika Moscow and there, at the very centre of the Soviet empire, I witnessed an exhilarating freedom movement across all countries of the “Warsaw Pact”.
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December 1, 2021 - Wolfgang Eichwede - Hot Topicsissue 6 2021Magazine

Photo: AndyLeungHK (CC) / pixabay

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