"We live in a contaminated moral environment.
We have fallen morally ill because we became used to saying
one thing and thinking another.
"We have learned not to believe in anything,
to ignore each other, to care only about ourselves."
Havel magnetised mass rallies that brought an end to Communist rule (Picture: CTK)
~ It was a strange time for me personally, the Revolution days. Only one year before, I was pulling Havel out of thorn bushes at 5 in the morning. He was singing and generally thrashing about merrily. We were filming a homemade movie Fronda at an old horse farm (converted gigantic water mill) in the middle of nowhere in Czech republic. It was ideal. The countryside was so gorgeous, I got to ride and tend to horses all day, and play in this movie - that combined pretty much all of my major interests at the time. I only had two lines in the movie. It was about Cardinal Mazarin and the uprising against him intervowen with current story of these writer friends of my father. Ludvik Vaculik was the mailman, Milan Simecka played Mazarin. Havel was some sort of a revolutionary and Lenka Prochazkova was his lover. I was a little girl who said :"What is tha man holding in his hand?" It was a severed head, after an execution of Karel Pecka (I forget who he played). I still remember the Fronda song, sang to the melody of Internationala (in Czech of course). Somebody composed it for the movie:
Fronda is a company of city beggars
That rose up from their knees
And it's rolling in a march of terror
Slingshots trained at the mark
She heard the whispers of the Czech muse
And is lining up from all sides
Comrades let's button up our blouses
Mazarin will be whistled out
And another song to a merry lil tune was
We don't have eyes
We don't have ears
We're loyally old
Blind and deaf
We don't have demands
We pay taxes
Gratefully shaking the generous hands
In any case, it was a grand summer. There was a lot of drinking and eating, lot of quiet discussions. Even Dominik Tatarka came - this was his last summer. The best author Slovakia ever had didn't live to witness the Revolution. I remember the feeling of reverence I had when these people - banned authors, playwrights, actors and actresses, former politicians (of the Prague Springue era), historians and other inconvenient to the regime people - sat together to talk quietly for hours on end. I didn't understand much of it, especially when they started about politics, but there were lots of talks about Truth, living in Truth, about History - big (official) and Small (personal) and how they often clash, about goodness in people.
Once we thought police was coming - an unknown car was entering the mill compound. It was very exciting, because Havel and the camera guy climbed up the ladder to the hay stacks above the stables to hide the camera, footage, and themselves... My job was to quickly remove the ladder once they were up and hide it. I always got these jobs - hiding things. I guess as a kid there was not much they could do to me yet. But...have you ever tried to hide a 10 meters long ladder? I was a small kid always and was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, armes stretched above my head balancing the heavy thing. It turned out to be just another friend of theirs... but believe me, it was bloody exciting nonetheless.
Now Havel was speaking on a tribune addressing the millions of people amassed on Wenceslas Square and in front of the TV sets, telling them (a much simplified) thesis of his about Truth and Love and how they always win over Lies and Hate. I could not wrap my twelve year old head around that. Dubcek, the former President of Czechoslovakia from 1968, was standing next to him. Why, just a month ago he came to my house, brought a bouquet of red roses for my mother (my father was in detention for three months). We still have those roses. Why the heck are all these people claiming them? I felt excited, proud, angry and jealous all at the same time. Is this it? No more horse farms? No more picnics? No more house gatherings and theatre plays? Where is justice in this world? I knew this was much bigger justice in the making, but I felt very hurt personally. Perhaps not immediately, in the first few days, but very soon after my dad was in the circle of new politics and I never got to see anyone again and if I did, they were busy and tired and not at all pensive and charming the way they used to be. It was a very confusing time. I think I only really came to terms with it - sorted out my feelings from my thoughts- in my later twenties and I still cannot chase that jealousy away quite yet.