Jan Palach RIP

Jan Palach

Memorial to Jan Palach and Jan Zajic, and millions of other victims of communism. Picture taken in Wenceslas Square, Prague, 12 August 2009

Palach, followed by Zajic a month later, burnt himself to death in January 1969 in protest against the 1968 Soviet invasion to crush the Prague Spring.

There is so much to see in this beautiful city that I have not done as much political history tourism as I would have liked, but I did take a photo of this memorial to two brave young men.

5 Responses to “Jan Palach RIP

  • 1
    Krystian
    August 13th, 2009 08:03

    Very sad – Demonstrates how freedom means so much to people and that it is a feeling that cannot be controlled by government. Also happened in Poland to Ryszard Siwiec, who set himself on fire during the National Harvest Festival in Warsaw in a stadium with nearly 100,000 people in it, also in protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.

  • 2
    Andrew Norton
    August 13th, 2009 15:27

    Krystian – I hadn’t heard of Siwiec – thanks for that. There seems to be a tradition of self-immolation. Perhaps because it creates a spectacular form of suicide protest with lowish risk of harm to others?

  • 3
    Pete from Perth
    August 14th, 2009 01:35

    Hi Andrew. I won’t mention the millions upon millions of people killed by various thugs, put in power by those Communist hating Americans, if you won’t.

    You must be feeling very comfy in your den of like-minded fellows to come out with something as undergraduate as this. Honestly!

    It ain’t lefties or even righties who are the problem: it’s loony sociopathic zealots on either side who are incapable of caring about the impact of their ideologies on normal human beings.

  • 4
    Andrew Norton
    August 14th, 2009 02:54

    Really, Pete, is is you who wants to reduce every issue to dreary ideological contests. Jan Palach wasn’t protesting against Americans, their proxies, or any of the other tyrants of history. His was a specific protest against the occupiers of his country and the oppressors of much of eastern and central Europe from the 1940s to 1989. It should be taken on its own terms, without your what-about-the-other-side point scoring.

    (Though perhaps revealing that the old anti-anti-communist left still feels the need to make points like yours.)

  • 5
    Krystian
    August 14th, 2009 04:04

    Yes I think it is also used because it really demonstrates the passion that a person has for what they believe in, given the immense suffering it causes them.