18 November 2006

Velvet Revolution

Velvet as in bloodless and revolution as in.. oh forget it.

Friday was a National Holiday in Czech to commemorate the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Prague. I feel a bit weird banging on about it, now, though. There is a great risk of sounding patronising, as Madonna did when she recently played a gig here and told the audience how great it was that they were (finally) free. Czech today has a booming economy with 7% GDP growth pa and Prague has an unemployment rate well below 3%. In a recent survey, just 15% of Czechs said life was easier under Communism.

Of course the other most notable date in post-Communist times was in 1993 when Czechoslovakia became Czech and Slovakia. This was known as the Velvet Divorce. In an innovative move the leading commercial TV stations in Czech and Slovakia had an inaugural "Test The Nations" quiz show on tonight. As with the UK version, a variety of groups are represented, police, teachers, school caretakers, "manual workers" and blondes, but from both nations. Slovakia edged it and the teachers did the best of all the professions. I suspect the ratings will be high in both countries for this unique show.

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