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Does Europe need another “Green Wave”?

 

Does Europe need another “Green Wave”?

It was the 56th day of my traineeship (yes, I have just calculated that number) – the first one after Petra had left. After I had managed to break a shower in the morning I got the feeling it was going to be one of those days when everything you touch goes wrong. I was a bit nervous. For very first time I was actually responsible for everything. All tweets had to be scheduled and every article written and published on time. I had the EPSO tests ahead of me that morning as well … I'm sure each one of you can imagine how “enthusiastic” I was about that. But there was a huge “BUT” in that day I wasn't even aware of until it happened.

I planned on going to the screening organized by the Czech Centre in Brussels with one friend of mine. She mentioned it several weeks before and I haven't actually checked what the film was about. I didn't care, just wanted to hang out with her for a while. She of course couldn't come at the end but I decided to get some culture anyway. And I have to say it was the best decision I could have made that day.

 

Where is my vote?

It all started with these words: "For a few weeks we had the feeling of being so close to our goal as never before …".What was the goal? Slight change towards better system. For freedom. What were the means they used? Peaceful protests. What was the response of the regime? Excessive violence!

The film I went to is called The Green Wave. Green – the color of hope, the color of Islam, the symbol of Green Revolution in Iran in 2009. The Green Wave is a touching documentary illustrating the dramatic events and telling about the feelings of the people behind this revolution. Its producers used hundreds of real blog entries, Facebook reports, Twitter messages and videos posted in the internet by young people, students, like me and you are or once were, who dared to tell the world what happened in their country. The film describes their initial hope followed with fear but also courage to continue their fight for change.   

The presidential elections on June 12th, 2009 were supposed to bring about a change, but quite the contrary happened. The ultra-conservative populist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was confirmed in office, despite the fact that there were millions of people who supported his biggest rival Mir-Hossein Mousavi. The on-going “Where is my vote?” protest demonstrations were again and again worn down and broken up with brutal attacks by government militia. At the end nothing has changed for that young generation – it's even got worse.   

 

I have a dream of “YES WE CAN” change 

I was fulfilled with such strong emotions – anger, sadness, fear but also excitement and hope. How come I have never got to know about all this? … Well, I do know now. And it makes me think about my generation.

But first things first: I was really touched by those stories. It feels so strange and unreal that there are still people who have to fight for their freedom, who are ready to put their lives on hold in revolt. In Arabic world they are cold “Generation in waiting”… My generation in Europe doesn't have to wait anymore. At least, not for freedom… We can enjoy careless afternoons with our friends. Of course, there are still problems that are bothering us and that need to be solved. But what is more essential than freedom?

Do we, Europeans, take it for granted? Lately, you have heard so many statements of hatred and venom in our countries. Statements of anger against integration, anger against solidarity. Why are we afraid of freedoms we all have in the European Union? How does the fact that I am from Eastern Europe jeopardize others? Where is the spirit of being united in all our diversities?  

It has been a month today (the calendar says it's 1st May as I am writing this post) since the European Citizens' Initiative was kicked off. Is it going to change anything? Are Europeans going to use this opportunity and will they make their voices to be heard? Are they aware of their luxury of being able to say: “Here is my proposal for a change” that can actually be achieved? Do they remember how does it feel not to be free? When you have to ask: “Where is my vote? What is the future going to look like?” Have we forgotten what nationalism can bring into our lives?

I have the privilege of living in free society for 23 years. I'm about to turn 25 this summer. So, it wasn't so long ago when my parents stood up against communism. When they said: ENOUGH! This year we have had to say that word again. You could have witnessed massive protests both in Slovakia and Czech Republic against the corruption and arrogance of our politicians. I think that we acknowledge how fragile the peace and freedom is. Other nations should bear it in mind, too.

I hope history doesn't have to repeat itself. I hope I won't have to fight for my freedom, ever! If only every European could say: Yes, we can live together, side by side, in peace. Yes, together we can solve all problems Europe is facing today. Yes, we can prosper from our differences. Yes, we can let our pride and the politics aside. Yes, we can!       

Let me finish with words of one of the biggest men in the history of my nation, former president of Czechoslovakia, later, president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel: “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred.”

I believe in that. Hope, you do, too…

 

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