It is quite interesting the effects communism has had on the Czech Republic and you see the remains everywhere; from the people’s personalities to the architecture – communism was here and you can “feel” it.
The ugly square cement communist apartment buildings are everywhere. After the fall, they painted some of these buildings, trying their best to cover up the horrible memories they represented.
As far as the Czech people, many came off as robotic or strict. They were very adamant about following the rules and for things to be done the correct way. The customer service was horrible. People lacked individual personalities and character. I assumed this had to have something to do with the control of their every move for so long thus leaving them no room for a voice or a chance to exercise their individuality or independence. This lifestyle and way of thinking I’m sure rubbed off a bit to the liberated generations after. Later in my research, I learned others had come to a similar conclusion regarding many of the Czech people.
Being suppressed that long, I could see where once you had the freedom you would almost not know what to do with it, like someone getting released after years in prison. How do you begin to start a life you are finally allowed to live but have no idea how to live it? All they knew for so long was controlled, structured balance and no way to advance to anything in life. There is no competition or ability to become better or worse. Life just was. I found a quote from a worker under the communist regime describing his job, it said- “We pretended to work and they pretended to pay us.” I just love this quote because I think it gives it to you straight in the simplest way. Without any means to move forward or advance in their jobs and lives, what would be the reason to work much harder than you really needed to? As a result, the economy of a communist nation cannot prosper. It’s interesting how the basis of communism is for everyone to have equality, but the ones in power are far wealthier than everyone else.
I want to end this 3 part post by emphasizing the reality that Communism is far from being a thing of the past; it is still going strong in major parts of the world. These people are brainwashed, manipulated and controlled. Many don’t have any idea how much better their lives could be because communism is all that they’ve known and there’s no media or resources to convince them otherwise. Many wouldn’t even think to question if the government is just or not. It is important to bring these things to light and talk about them, no matter how uncomfortable it might be because that is the only way to work towards an end to it. Creating awareness helps to begin change more than what people realize.
After learning about these horrors, I have a much deeper appreciate for the country I live in and I feel very lucky, blessed and proud to be American. I don’t know how I got so lucky for God to place me in this part of the world, but I am eternally grateful for it. I think some Americans take for granted how lucky we are to live in the United States, and that’s why I feel it’s so vitally important for people to learn their history and travel.
It seems many of the European countries have a huge passion for unity in their country. I think the fact that the countries are small in size and being hundreds of years old in turn has given them the time to work through hundreds of years of challenges. These countries have had to fight as one for so long that it has united them and made them strong. On the flip-side, war and unjust government has united them, but their borders have been changing since as recent as 1989.
As for the US, WWII helped unite our country and one could make the argument that due to the war, that time was the strongest our country has ever been. Everyone was rising up to help. Women even began to work in factories for the first time ever. War brought us closer together as a country. We were fighting as a team, not between each other. I feel our country has gone a long way from that in our present day. Our country seems very much split between the political parties opinion of Democrats and Republicans. I think about all the political and geographical change there has been in Europe’s long history. Countries have been split, border lines rewritten, leadership altered, governments overthrown or completely dissolved, the list goes on and on. I often wonder what our young countries’ future may look like in the next few hundred years. Is it possible we will split into the blue and red states of America? Will we start dividing our country and establishing new borders, even new countries? If it’s true when they say history repeats itself, and you must learn from the past for it not to happen again, I would say there is a highly possible chance this could happen.