Children of the Revolution


On this, the 14th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution, Prague resident Doug Arellanes translates a Czech newspaper's interviews with a bunch of local 14-year-olds. Example:

What comes to me when you say Velvet Revolution? Havel. The fall of the communist regime and the birth of a democratic state. What happened, I don't know. Brezhnev died?

More anniversary-related links and commentary can be found at the sites of Scott MacMillan and G.A. Cerny.


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  1. How can they be so ignorant? Tim Cavanaugh assured us they’re all geniuses.

  2. You’ll find similar attitudes in Poland. Of course I don’t find it particularly problematic for them to forget; this new generation has got better things to do than dwell on Soviet imperialism and the nastiness of their former governments as client states.

  3. Matt Welch,

    Why does it need such? Why can’t they just have a laissez faire approach to such influence, instead of having some dumbass top-down attempt to manage it?

    For liberatarians, you sure do like to wield the levers of governmental power.

  4. Kids say the darndest things.

  5. I wonder how many of our kids could demonstrate any understanding of US history — or any given point in time of American history. I must admit that I was once more or less ignorant of history, US and world, other than reciting dates and battles of course. But as I got older I began to read some of the background about what went on and why. Frankly, it was better/more interesting than most novels. I’m also becoming more and more saddened that this isn’t taught in schools – the motivations/historical context/reality of the people behind what went on because it all comes around again. I believe it was an Englishman who said that “Those who don’t know their history are condemed to repeat it”. Which is frightening.

  6. Back to school for you, rabidfox! That was no English pantywaist, that was George Santayana, a great Catholic, a great Atheist, and a great American (born in Spain, though).

  7. Tim,

    See what compulosry education gets you? A populace that are largely sick of learning.

  8. A czech friend described the Velvet Revolution as the night her and her other 14 year-old buddies went on their first serious fall-down drunk binge. The next morning, nursing a crippling hangover her parents were yammering on and on about politics and other equally boring stuff.

  9. Anonymous — I know yer having a laff, but I think what Tim was saying was that the U.S., if it is going to have this outsized influence on world affairs, needs a more knowledgeable talent pool from which to staff its foreign intelligence-gathering operations. This really is a substantially different — and more pressing — point than whether 14-year-olds from Lower Mumbulumbia know their own national histories.

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