Hey coffee guys, here is a little story you might be interested in.
I am a kid who grew up in a totalitarian regime. I still remember how my dad was taken in for questioning because he said a joke about the Soviet Union and his colleague reported him to the secret service.
I was only 15 when in 1989 I run into streets protesting against a communistic rule in Czechoslovakia hoping for freedom and a society where I can tell a joke and would not be persecuted for that.
I remember the beginning of 90s were an amazing time for Czechoslovakia. We had a president who was an intellectual, a poet, a humanist and played saxophone in a pub with Bill Clinton. His name was Vaclav Havel. Man, we were very poor but, the love was really in the air. So much hope, but also confusion.
In 1992 a very charismatic and leader Vladimir Meciar appears on the scene, ready to “help” with the confusion. He won the elections in Slovakia by pointing fingers at our brothers for over 70 years — Czechs and minorities like Hungarians and Roma (Gypsies). They were to blame to for all the economic trouble Slovakia had to go through. He had a solution of course, which he never revealed. Everybody who opposed him was “traitor of Slovakia”. This resulted by splitting Czechoslovakia into 2 separate states. Czech Republik and Slovakia. In 1993 we built our wall. Does it remind you of someone?
Once we “got rid of” Czechs; Hungarians, evil journalist, the west was the next. Everybody was against us and Vladimir was there to “protect us”. If you ever followed the economic development of Czech Republic and Slovakia after 1993 you might know that Czech R. went through an economic and social miracle while Slovakia was pretty much f. for a long time. At least until we got rid of Vladimir.
Despite all the bad I still think we were the lucky ones because similar stories of bullying populists emerged in Balkans too and we all know how that ended. War — a human misery, lost family and friends and wounds for multiple generations.
The USA was always there to help the process. With political warnings on human rights violations, with foundations supporting the democratic institutions and non-profits fighting for human rights in Slovakia. But most importantly the USA was for us a moral imperative of an old democracy with respect for the civil liberties and human rights.
I am one of the Hungarians from Slovakia who was targeted in the mid 90s in Slovakia, today I am a minority again. I am an immigrant in the USA, the country which inspired me to fight for civil liberties and the human rights 20 years ago. The fight I thought we won… Never in my dreams, I imagined I will relive 90s Slovakia in the 2017s of the USA.
This is a very dangerous game and therefore our family signed up for a recurring donation to the ACLU, but they are not the only ones who can help. Perhaps you feel strongly about other groups, but make sure you stay involved and stand up for civil liberty and human rights violations, stand up to bullying, stand up to hate and discrimination.
Tolerance is not something we are genetically gifted with. I like to think that tolerance and acceptance of the — different is the ultimate evolution of humanity, but we humans have to keep reminding ourselves about this.
Here is an inspiration for organisations who will fight for your rights: