Monday, August 01, 2005

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel stops to visit and support CzechTek protestors

As I was flying across the Atlantic on Monday to return home, the CzechTek protests continued to grow. Jer took this photo on Monday of former President Vaclav Havel at the demonstration protesting police brutality against the ravers. Havel came all the way from Spain to visit the protest in front of the the Ministry of the Interior. Jer reports that the current Prime Minister may have to resign because of the way the police treated ravers at this year's Czechtek free outdoor concert and that the rave protest has been one of the largest outpourings of people power in the Czech Republic since the revolution of 1989.
This is very inspiring and important to me. Havel and I were among a handful of older people that were there to oppose the abuse of power. When I participated in the demonstration on Sunday, I was aware that I was conspicuous as an older (61) person among thousands of young people. Now that I have return to my home country (the United States of America) and my home community (Bismarck, North Dakota on the Missouri River), I am resolved to be ever more active. Older activists like myself need to explore ways to learn from the young and also ways to share our experience and knowledge. I plan to continue this blog, and the close of the Prague Journey of July 2005 has opened up the new field for the next phase. I can see in my commentaries the combination of the themes of love and friendship, art and creativity, spirituality, and the political work for peace and justice. ...People united will never be defeated.

  • BBC report on czechtek

  • official website in english against the police action at this years czechtek

  • Who is Vaclav Havel?

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    me leaving prague Posted by Picasa

    Sunday, July 31, 2005

    police teargas ravers at Czechtek
    Jeremiah and I were following this event on Czech TV this weekend.
    Today, Sunday, we observed and supported massive protest in Prague at government buildings. Posted by Picasa

    speaking with Milan of Guma Guar at the protest
    Jer and I estimated that there must have been around 2,000 people protesting the police brutality at Czechtek, which is an annual rave that takes place on private land in the countryside outside Prague. One of the protestors at the Ministry of Interior was Milan, an artist of the team Guma Guar. He and his partner did the video you can see below (Anarchy in Alphabetical Order). We had an excellent talk amid the sounds of the demonstration.Posted by Picasa

    in front of the police headquarters Posted by Picasa

    anti police brutality rally in front of the police headquaters Posted by Picasa

    Dvorak statue
    On Saturday night I experienced one of the most satisfying symphonic concerts of my life. It was at the Rudolfinum. This statue of Dvorak stands in front of the hall. The concert was given by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra of Olomouc. The program: Smetana's "Richard III," Janacek's "Taras Bulba," and Dvorak's Violin Concerto. Petr Vronsky conducted. The wonderful violinist was Vaclav Hudecek. I sat only three rows from the stage. I had never seen such affectionate connection between a conductor and concerto soloist. It was a revelation.

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    Jer's friend Matthew
    I am on my way to a symphony concert at the Rudolfinum with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra. Both Jer and Matthew were embarrassed to be seen in public with me in my shirt. Matthew is the owner of one of Jer's favorite Prague hangouts, the Blind Eye. Note Matthew's subtle expresion of gangsta membership. Posted by Picasa

    Friday, July 29, 2005

    Magda and Tomas
    Magda Ucikova and Tomas Kyn worked in Bismarck, ND USA in the summer of 2003, he in home construction and she at Bonnie's office, the North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services. Friday night they brought me a birthday cake (July 17, remember) and gifts, and we went out to eat. Magda is studying journalism and Tomas just completed a Master's degree in engineeering; he specializes in artificial intelligence. They are great travellers and hikers. Here are a couple of their travel sites.

  • Magda and Tomas' travel site

  •">Another travel site

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    Thursday, July 28, 2005

    me on stage at Vinohrady Theatre
    The father of Jeremiah's friend Tereza is a theatre director at this theatre. After dinner last night (see picture below), he sneaked us into his theatre during the last act of a performance of Verdi's opera "La Traviata." We creeped into the theatre balcony.Later he gave us a tour of the theatre, his professional home. Here I am on the stage.Posted by Picasa

    me in the theatre after sneaking into "La Traviata" Posted by Picasa

    Jan Novak's theatre, the Divadlo na Vinohradech Posted by Picasa

    dinner at Julien's, with Tereza's parents
    My favorite restaurant in Prague is the intimate Only One Room (U Jednojo Pokoje). Jeremiah's friend Julien is the owner/chef. It is one room with two tables. Tereza's mother teaches high school French and her father Jan is a theatre director. You saw his theatre above. That's the great chef Julien on the bottom right corner.

  • website for Julien's website

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    The Vltava River, Charles bridge and the castle
    Jeremiah says a picture of the Vltava (Moldau) and the Charles Bridge is obligatory and no matter where you take the picture, it will be gorgeous.
    But of course, the river is the thing:"...riverrun past evenadams from swerve of shore to bend of bay brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs." openning sentence of "Finnegans Wake", James Joyce.Posted by Picasa

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    altar at the bone church in Kutna Hora
    Most of today's pictures are about our trip to Kutna Hora, a town of about 11,000 people 70 km (40 miles) east of Prague. We (Jer, Jana, and I)took the train. One of the main sites is a medieval church called the Bone Church because human bones are used for artistic purposes and also because it is a burial site.
    I like the idea of allowing a person's bones to remain on display in some way after death. It would make for a great artistic/spiritual challenge for the 2st century. I think the only current place in the wold that has an extensive skull display is in Cambodia, where the skulls of many of the Khmer Rouge's victims are displayed. Can any of you think of more places? Let me know.

  • Photo of the Khmer Rouge's victims skull display

  • Bone Church Posted by Picasa

    More at the bone church Posted by Picasa

    Piles of bones and skulls Posted by Picasa

    Candelabra made from bones Posted by Picasa

    entrance in cobblestones in front of the bone church Posted by Picasa

    St Barbora church, Kutna Hora
    These old cathedrals, chapels, and churches raise all sorts of questions. I think the tourists are genuinely open to an experience of beauty, human creativity, and knowledge of ideas, spirituality (even theology), and history (including the horror of history), but the experiences in these places are so quick and superficial that there is little time or opportunity to go deeper. The current church doesn't seem to have any creative ideas about what to do with these "relics" and the tourists that visit them.Vatican theologians and administrators seem to be primarily interested in whether people agree or disagree with them on doctrinal ideas as though everything is about "truth," and only they have the right to think. The travelers are open to more: beauty, goodness, personal growth, historical truth and genuine theological exploration and dialogue (No dialogue, no theology).

    Visiting these sites today (including the Bone Church) reminded me of the 95 Theses that theologian Matthew Fox posted at the church in Wittenberg in May. Thesis 57 states the Dalai Lama's observation that the number one obstacle to interfaith communication/ecumenical dialogue is not knowing your own tradition. Check out Fox's 95 Theses at his blog: No one can be a fundamentalist if they know their own tradition. The bone church seemed to be saying something about universal salvation. What were we 21st century pilgrims experiencing? I wish there had been an opportunity for "process time."

  • View Matthew Fox's 95 Theses at this site

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    Jer and Jana trying to figure out where we are
    in Kutna Hora Posted by Picasa

    I ate some Wild Boar gulash for lunch at a very nice outdoor place in Kutna Hora. When I saw
    that there was wild boar on the menu, I couldn't resist, since I am kind of a wild boar kind of guy. Oh, those are brambory knedlicky (potato dumplings). Posted by Picasa

    Drinking beer at a great outdoor restaurant Posted by Picasa

    watching the Czech countryside pass by from the train Posted by Picasa

    taking the train to Kutna Hora Posted by Picasa