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5. 6. 2009 12:48

Jan Fischer: We must not forget what our freedom was born of

Speech of the Prime Minister at the summit of the Visegrad countries in Krakow

I am honoured to have an opportunity to give a speech here, on behalf of the Czech Republic, on the occasion of celebration of one of milestones – the year 1989. It was the year when our countries, after forty years of totalitarian regime, regained freedom. Our countries experienced different ways towards freedom; nevertheless, they had the same will and the same resolution to extricate from the grasp of the domination of a single party.

Here in Poland it was a continuous and persistent pressure of the Solidarnosc Movement that enforced partially free elections which was unprecedented in those times. Even in spite of the fact that the regime reserved only 35 % for non-communist candidates in the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Parliament, these elections showed clearly on which part the real power was. The Solidarnosc Movement won all the possible chairs in the Sejm and in addition 99% mandates in the Senate. Fears of the communists of coming freedom were valid. Nevertheless, they were vain, after all.

Reminder of those free elections is a reminder of a fantastic political power that citizens, and even subjugated citizens, have in case they join and if they are able to follow decisively their goal: freedom. The regime suppressed the Solidarnosc Movement once in the past, but it did not stifle it. Poles did not let the regime deprive them of that chance for freedom. For that matter, you had a great ally: the Pope John Paul II, former Cracovian archbishop and the Pope, the papacy of whom adumbrated the fall of the Communist empire. It was the assassination attempt – fortunately unsuccessful attempt – which made those fears of the Moscow regime evident

The first Pope of Central and Eastern European countries meant an encouragement and hope not only for Poles but also for less religious Czechs. The canonization of the Saint Agnes of Bohemia in our country also contributed to the November 17 events. We were also inspired by the Solidarnosc Movement and we were keeping our fingers crossed for it. The election in Poland, cutting of wires in Hungary, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia – these are four parts of a great puzzle of our freedom. Each nation had to gain freedom in its country; nevertheless we were informed of ourselves, we supported each other, we exchanged our experience. We followed our common goal.

Nowadays, when free elections are obvious, and when all of us are members of a common family of European nations, we must not forget what our freedom was born of. It was born of our will to fight for it, to defend it and to respect it. We should remind how easy is to lose freedom and how difficult is to regain it. I would like to congratulate to Poles, twenty years after those breakthrough elections, on their fight for freedom. I also congratulate to all of us as we lived to see that freedom, and I wish we did not let anybody deprive us of it. Thank you for your attention.

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