Students Speak at Velvet Revolution Event in New York

On November 17, the New York consulate of the Czech Republic invited students David Vyhnal ’22 and Alan Lizatovic ’23 to speak at a gala event at the Czech Center New York. 

This event celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which was the Czech Republic’s, formerly Czechoslovakia’s, peaceful transition from communist, Soviet rule to a democratic government. The fall of the Berlin wall on November 9, 1989, inspired protests in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on November 17, which marked both International Students Day and the 50th anniversary of a Nazi raid on the University of Prague. 

Vyhnal and Lizatovic, both Czech natives, spoke of the role the Velvet Revolution played in their families’ lives. Vyhnal mentioned that although his father did not attend the demonstrations, he used information he acquired by illegally listening to a radio to educate those around him and to encourage them to join the revolution. At the gala, Vyhnal said, “I know that many, especially older, working-class people, struggled with the idea of a revolution and didn’t want to accept what was going on, but once my dad and his friends began showing them videos of the police beating up students, everybody started joining the protests slowly.” 

Lizatovic, whose mother participated in protests, mentioned, “She joined the protests and she was proactive; one of the main things I admire in the protesters was the spirit they had and their will to persist.”