Tomáš Ctibor

* 1963  

  • “Those matters were basically in two parallel modes. On the one hand, you had things like, as I said, they could ‘perlustrate’ you in the street. It happened to us that a friend and I skipped school for two days when we were at university, and we went from the school to [the friend’s] cottage, not to laze around, but to paint, to make our landscapes for the semester, en plein air. And just because we were out and about in some village on a week day, and I had long hair, when we went to have lunch in a pub, before they brought us our food, the cops charged into the pub, scooped us up and took us away, immediately, that someone had called and said suspicious people were wandering around the streets. That was enough for them to detain you somewhere. And they started threatening us that they’d expel us from school, and they even started accusing us that we no doubt did drugs and stuff like that. Just a completely absurd situation.”

  • “There were three ministers of the Communist government sitting opposite us. We were shut up somewhere in the Rector’s office of Charles University, and they, I think it must have been a proper shock for some of them, because they were the real brass - the minister of foreign affairs, Minister without Portfolio Čalfa, and Minister Juliš - he was even the deputy prime minister for science and education, or whatever it was called at the time. And there they sat and were like, what do you want. And now at least because Mejstřík and I were there, we were the symbol of exactly what they didn’t want to have in the system. I had long hair, we looked odd. Simply, they didn’t meet with people like that, and they didn’t want to meet them. And suddenly they were sitting a table with us and as if discussing the future of this country, which was really utterly absurd. I can still remember there was precisely that moment when I said: ‘Okay, there’s no space for any tactics whatsoever any more, and it’s now or never.’ And those negotiations lasted over four hours.”

  • “By chance, Martin and I were there in the Castle in Husák’s office on that 1 January, when Václav Havel watched his own speech in television. The other people present were, I think, Joska Skalník, John Bok, I think the Kohouts were there, that kind of type, any way. The office was in its original state, just as it had been under Husák, and there was a waiter who cruised around, offering us pineapple juice - and I had never drank pineapple juice before. That day Martin and I each drank about fifteen of those pineapple juices, because it was a really spectacular drink, and he’d always just peep in - I reckon he was more interested in seeing what was going on, he thought it completely absurd. And he always asked: ‘Does anyone want some more pineapple juice?’ And I always said: ‘Oh well, we’ll have another one then.’ For me, that was really the symbol that showed that the Communists were really gone and that things would be pretty decent from now on.”

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    byt Tomáše Ctibora - Praha 11, 06.12.2016

    (audio)
    duration: 01:07:14
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
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Change tastes like pineapple juice

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Tomáš Ctibor

Tomáš Ctibor was born on 11 May 1963 in Most. After secondary school he went to study architecture in Prague. However, after a time he switched to the Academy of Arts, Architecture a Design in Prague. In the 1980s he participated in the organisation of punk concerts in Prague. During the Velvet Revolution he was one of the student leaders, and he negotiated for the strike committee with representatives of both the Civic Forum and the Communist government. In 1990 he was co-opted into the Federal Assembly. He now works in urban planning and architecture.