Human Rights Education – Learning From The Velvet Revolution – Czechoslovakia

By FredrickHobbs

The velvet revolution is a term that is used to refer to the milestone events that brought the communism rule in Czechoslovakia to an end. It was a peaceful demonstration that was conducted mostly by students and other people who treasured change and democracy rule and is historically one of the greatest lessons in human rights education.

What actually happened during the Velvet revolution?
The revolution was fueled by interference by the anti-riot police who stopped peacefully demonstrating students in Prague on the seventeenth day of November in 1989. That event led to series of demonstration with the number of demonstrators increasing day by day. By twentieth November, the same year, there were almost 500000 demonstrators.

The increasing street protests were significant in bringing change, it forced the communist party of Czechoslovakia to intervene by agreeing to break the single party regime which was no longer popular among the citizens. This was the beginning of new thing to come. Change began to knock on the doors of the citizens.

On the tenth day of December 1989, a milestone event took place in the history of Czechoslovakia, the first non- communist party was appointed by President Gustav Husak. It was the first one since 1948. Alexander Dubcek was appointed the speaker and Vaclav Havel the president. In 1990, the first democratic elections were held.
What do the events that happened in the Velvet revolution teach us?

The events that took place in this revolution should be an eye-opener to every citizen who wants change. It teaches us to show solidarity so as to achieve what we want. What happened in this revolution is to be embraced, it shows that if people come together and press for justice peacefully, we are bound to succeed. The demonstrators were very peaceful and they never involved the use of weapons in their quest for justice.

We are also challenged by such an event to be change leaders, we should not sit down and watch others oppress us. The velvet revolution brought big changes in the positions of the powerful and the powerless. The majority who were powerless came together against the few who were powerful and they had to give in.

With determination to have change and good leaders we can always achieve a great deal and learn from this as peace education. Currently Czech Republic is proud of its flourishing economy. The revolution actually bore fruits that are being enjoyed up to now. The wider economy and the social base that was destined for change eventually brought democracy, stable political culture which has supported peaceful co existence and a growing economy. The communist party was a totalitarian party characterized by dictatorship. Only a few with power benefited from it at the expense of the poor majority.

To conclude, it challenges the elite part of the society to utilize the knowledge that they have to help liberate the society from silent oppression by the selfish. It also shows that every government that against the wishes of its citizens does not do so blindly, it is aware of its wrong acts and that is the reason the communist party of Czechoslovakia was fast to respond to the plea of the citizens.