Vojmír Kubíček

* 1963  

  • "And you witnessed it?" - "Yes, I witnessed it, these excesses that harmed people who had provably nothing to do with it. The cops pulled them out, they swore at them, at the old people. I saw a scene like that, where a man was walking, he had nothing to do with it, but he saw someone beating someone up. He announced to the police that he would return the party's ID the next day. They pounced on him and started beating him too. I told myself that something had to happen, that the regime would acknowledge the mistake, that there would be some punishment for those National Security officers. Nothing happened at all. I knew that, they considered everything that had happened to be right. Above all, they would not distinguish us as citizens who really spoke out against them and those who did not, but who were only critical or even completely innocent, because they were afraid of them, but they were only in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, I thought I was in the right place at the right time - I knew the regime would not start any dialogue. I didn't know how it could break out sometimes, but I knew we couldn't expect anything from them. That their perestroika is odd. To think that those in power at the time would allow a dialogue to take place. As it was for example in Hungary or Poland. After all, the dialogue with the power has somehow already started there."

  • "Although I did not think anything good about the regime, after that demonstration I knew that no dialogue would be possible there at all. As they said - the dialogue is possible - but as it turned out, not with everyone. What I saw there at the demonstration - apart from the intervention against the demonstrators - the police forces intervened completely unprofessionally against anyone who was moving there. If there was such an attack against the protesters today, the police chief would have to quit. I do not mean an action against the demonstrators, when the demonstrators are not really right and the police are intervening. However, if the action like that took place today, the police director would have to resign. For example, I saw them throwing tear gas into the cinema. I think it was the Blaník cinema, where there were people who didn't have any idea about the demonstration. They were sitting downstairs in the cinema, and when the police threw the tear gas there, people were running out of the cinema, even grandmothers were among them, and the policemen were beating them when they were running out of the cinema. Those people obviously had nothing to do with the demonstration. They had nothing to do with it, but they were in the cinema. I thought that someone had to do something about it afterwards. Well, not the affair itself against the demonstrators, because the regime can declare them anti-socialist elements - but nothing happened at all." - "And you witnessed it?" - "Yes, I witnessed it."

  • "As you asked, if I was a dandy (a slang term for usually long-haired adherents of alternative subcultures), the first dandy I saw live was him." "Parents sometimes tend to influence their child about whom he or she is friends with. "Didn't he spoil you" a little - meaning with exaggeration?" - "That's a bit of a strange approach to remember Ivan Jirous. The teachers who taught him, generally say that he was their best student. They remember him in superlatives. You can't say that he "spoiled" others by having long hair, for example. Ivan was already away in Prague, but of course how Ivan became seen was a big problem. He already had such a conflict with the regime that meeting Ivan Jirous sometime in 1978 would be a big problem. Everyone already knew that. Even the people who said he was their best student were just worried about us. Those teachers said no, this would be too much. So, I didn't experience it at a time when he could 'spoil' me by listening to some music or that I would start wearing long hair as well. At that time, it was already a big problem to just meet Ivan. Everyone was afraid that it could turn out to be much worse problem."

  • "I remember my dad announcing to me in the morning that evil soldiers would come, because a child always divides people into evil and good. So, he told me that evil soldiers would come and that I was not allowed to go out. So those are the memories of August 21st. As for the previous loosening, I could only reflect on it in retrospect when the normalization occured. As teenagers, we read old papers in the loft where my dad stored them just in case. We read The Reportér and Mladý svět from the 1960s and more. From that, we got the gist of the relaxed atmosphere of that era. These are my memories, and they include a great number of vinyls with Semafor theatre plays, typical for the 1960s. So even though I couldn't recall the atmosphere myself, I got it from the papers and records. We felt that that preceding era had to be wonderful. My father also recalled it and even said that 1964-1968 were the best years of his life."

  • "The protest has really changed my life. I arrived from Prague bringing materials, leaflets. At the protest, there was a gentleman whom I knew. I told him that I came from Prague with leaflets and he asked me to tell the crowd something about what the situation looked like in there. They lifted me towards column by the fence and I could see all the people below. I told them about Prague and distributed the leaflets. What changed my life was realizing that there were not only the protesters hungry for information but behind them on the sidewalk, I could see the other sort. These people were there to monitor the whole thing, to take notes of who was saying what and to process it accordingly later. I could see them, I could see their eyes and realized why they were there. Some of them I even knew in person. I realized that if I am already standing here, I cannot stop in a way to give them the opportunity to run something like the post-1968 inspections. Back then, they summoned people who had to show remorse for their actions and confess they were mistaken. I thought that this could not take place once again and that we had to finish what we started this time. It was no longer about me saying a few words but rather about really carrying out the revolution. It was on November 23 - in retrospect, it appears that it was a done deal by then. However, many people including me did not feel it that way and this event became an engine of what followed. We established a local branch of the Civic Forum and worked 18 hours a day to finish what we had started. The goal was to prevent the return of the totalitarian regime, which had long bent people's spines."

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    Praha, Eye Direct, 12.06.2019

    duration: 01:27:07
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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We could not allow the return of the totalitarian regime

Vojmír Kubíček 2019
Vojmír Kubíček 2019
photo: Post Bellum

Vojmír Kubíček was born on 19 June 1963 in Humpolec where he lives to this day. His father Vojmír was a surgeon and his mother Eva a dentist. He graduated from grammar school and then studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague. In early 1989, he took part in the anti-regime protests within the so-called Palach week, witnessing provocations and inadequate police response targeted against the protesters as well as people who were not even taking part. In the course of the Velvet Revolution, he became its proponent in Humpolec and co-founded the local Civic Forum where he served as a spokesperson. Following the revolution, he spent four years as deputy in the municipal assembly. He is an electric engineer by training, works in IT and brought up two children with his wife.