Just like the day I arrived in this wonderful city, the weather is acting much like San Francisco with its fluctuation between sunny, partly cloudy, and rainy days. The cobblestone collects small puddles around curbs, but is relatively succesful in draining the water from the streets for the amount of water that drops to the ground. Aside from the rainy weather, today’s agenda centered on Communism. Accompanied by one of our CET Program staff members who grew up in Czechoslovakia during the communist era, we headed to the Museum of Communism about a 5 minute walk from our class headquarters.
I generally understand the idea of communism from former history classes: attempt to share the wealth amongst everyone, ended up failing, people are greedy, general idea sufficient for oncoming test. However, this museum along with our Czech native exposed a lot more intricacies to the system that I found rather interesting. Since communism is so often associated with the Soviet Union, I rarely thought of the impact they held over other countries. The Czech Republic is so small that it is unfathomable to try and imagine how desperate many were to regain control of their own nation. A riot, a civic disobedience, a protest I would definitely have participated in all.
An installation of a small classroom described that “pupils were raised or encouraged from the first grade towards class hatred against more wealthy class”, essentially brainwashed. When I asked our staff member about this, he responded that indeed there was an attempt to brainwash many, however it was only more succesful with the farming class. He also mention that along with fascism, communism has the best propaganda. How else do you convince the working class that communism IS indeed the best solution?
At the conclusion of the exhibition, a scaled-down replica of the Berlin Wall spans the hallway exit. Looking up at the barbed wire facing in, the graffiti stone walls, the idea of communism strikes heavy on my mind. I am unsure if it is my own culture imbedded in my daily routine that makes communism such a puzzle for me to understand, or if it is simply something accepted by hearing a great speaker like Hitler to germany or reading convincing propaganda like the Soviets used in Prague. Whichever it may be however, it was Prague’s reality for about 44 years. Even today, the communist party is said to be quite popular in the government currently.