Sofia, behind the Iron curtain. Every night my father and my uncle would listen to BBC Radio and Deutsche Welle. They were cheering and optimistic. After the 8 o’clock news, a bottle of wine would be opened, and I would give a goodnight kiss to two men dreaming of a future without Russian influence. Unfortunately, later that mood would change. COMECON troops had occupied Prague.
Something strange did happen though – the dream was gone, but but not dead. It morphed into hope, a hope, that the Iron curtain was not to stay forever.
There is no Alexander Dubček, no Prague Spring, and no tanks in the streets of Prague. No men are able to fly to the moon during the next four years as well. The Stasi is replaced by video cameras and AI. 50 years ago the books of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were burning. Now Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Steinbeck are the enemies of liberalism gone wild.
There is a saying, that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. If we do not remember Prague, its history will repeat – only this time, the consequences will be harsher. During the Prague spring our parents managed to transform fear into determination, sadness into hope, and hate into brotherhood. Now it is our turn to transform greed into caring, indifference into excitement, and abhorrence into tolerance.
Georg Tuparev is born in Sofia, Bulgaria. Prague ’68 is one of his earliest child memories. As a student in Heidelberg (Germany) he joins the Green movement. Many years later in Bulgaria, he actively helps with the establishing the green movement in the country. For many years he is a board member and co-chair of Zelenite.