Thursday, January 08, 2009

Opona: the Collapse of the Iron Curtain

Prague Daily Monitor: "Do It: Remember and experience communist past"

The non-governmental and non-profit organisation Opona (The Curtain) was established last year by a group of various people who came together through the strong urge to commemorate the approaching 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The people involved include David Gaydečka, founder of the United Islands of Prague music festival, Marek Vocel, film producer and event organiser and Martin Kotas, a coffee house owner and a well-known activist.

- Caption: Prague 1948 Communist coup -

The majority of the people involved are in their 30s and therefore remember the events and the atmosphere. Nevertheless, they have also come to notice that the younger generation, people who are coming of age now and were therefore born around the time of the revolution or later, often lack basic knowledge about our communist past.

's aim is to celebrate the anniversary, support the active dialogue concerning Europe's communist past and raise awareness about this era, especially among the youngest generation. Besides this, they would like to introduce projects that would help advance human rights in countries where the totalitarian regimes still prevail.

Though the main celebration should take place this year in November, the organisation has already travelled to a number of major European cities, including Bratislava, Budapest, Warsaw, Dresden, Brussels and Prague with a pilot version of their project called The Totalitarian Circus.

- Caption: Prague Spring 1968 -

This included an exhibition entitled Some of Us that follows the lives of a group of people affected by the communist coup in 1948, a fashion show from behind the Iron Curtain and a medley of concerts and performances. The final version of The Totalitarian Circus will travel around 10 major European cities from March to October, stopping at each location for a fortnight.

It will consist of a mobile circus arena that will offer exhibitions, creative art and multimedia spaces including music and film, which should all serve to remind and warn people against communist totalitarianism. The main part of the Circus will be the Totality Simulator, which will thrust (...) >>>

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