Where have we left our keys? by Janka Hulová
What does November 17 mean to you? Is it just a day off or does the date have a more profound meaning? To me, November 17, 1989, was a huge thing. In my memories I can still see my father and his friends embracing one another, crazily jumping around and crying from happiness that democracy was coming. I can recall my mother explaining to my 7-year-old sister that history was being changed right then and a new life was coming even if she knew that the child did not have a clue what she was speaking about. To me, November 17 meant a better future.
What has happened with us? It is almost November 17 and everybody seems to have forgotten about the sound of jingling keys in the bustle and hustle of everyday life. Is it not time we returned into streets and squares and shook the keys again? The question is if we have the courage to stand up for ourselves or we are just chickens full of fear... Just think, in 1989 students went out of their -- OUR university and headed for SNP or Hviezdoslavovo Square although they knew very well what they were risking if things did not work out. And what about us? We are even afraid to tell a teacher that we do not approve of his/her way of leading a course. Do we deserve to be the generation of ‘89, the children of our parents – the heroes of the Velvet Revolution?
As students we have great power in our hands, the power to change things, and if not to change them, then at least voice our ideas and stage protests against injustice. But if we want to change things that we know are wrong, we have to give up our idleness. That is difficult. And then the tormenting “What if?” question. What if it doesn’t work out? What if the teacher gives me an E or even an FX? What if... (the Communist party throws me into jail and I don’t see the sunlight again...)
I am angry with my dead scared generation. I am even angry with me. What’s wrong with us? Have we not known since Svätopluk that if we fight together for a common good, we cannot lose.
We do not have to fight against the Communist Party, the 4th article was removed on November 17, 1989, and we do not have to fight for democracy either. We have been given this gift by our parents. Let’s do our best to be worthy of the name – “the generation of 1989”. Maybe it is enough to start a mature debate with our teachers and prove them that our ideas matter and are equally important as theirs. Maybe it is enough to try to be informed and knowledgeable – to know at least the number and names of candidates for the office of Rector. Maybe if we started to meet and speak to each other and attempted to make small changes, we could move the world (at least the one of ours). If we were successful at this, we would be worthy of the freedom our parents fought for.