Final Word from Thursday, October 31, 2019

Each of the three Czech presidents has overseen the celebration of Czechoslovak statehood during each successive 10-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution: Václav Havel on Oct. 28 in 1999, Václav Klaus in 2009, and Miloš Zeman in 2019. In his speech in 1999, Havel said that he doesn't want to diminish the efforts of those who defied the old regime but that he must again emphasize that the fall of Communism was primarily part of major international developments that were taking place. Czechs were not those mainly responsible for the fall of the totalitarian regime, he said. A short time later, he presented the country's highest honors to George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev. Before doing so, though, he said that, in contrast to the events of 1989, it is now the Czechs who must decide whether to be part of European integration. Isn't this juxtaposition precisely what the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution should be about? How much of the past 30 years was the work of Czechs themselves, and not of anyone else, and how well have Czechs managed affairs that were within their control? [ Czech Republic medals ceremony Castle United States of American Soviet Union ]

Glossary of difficult words

inevitable - certain to happen; unavoidable;

successive - following one another or following others;

to diminish - to cause to seem less impressive or valuable;

to defy - openly to resist or to refuse to obey;

juxtaposition - the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

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