Panenka scarves III

Panenka scarves is one Canadian’s attempt to document his appreciation of the obvious and not-so-obvious experiences of a life in the Czech Republic. For previous Panenkas, click here.


During my Friday morning class a very odd car drove by the window. It looked super Russian, fairly old school, yellow and white with the letters VB on the side and a blue cherry atop the roof. I pointed it out to my student and asked him what the deal was. He told me it was an old Communist police wagon from back in the day.

I hadn’t noticed, but the driver was in uniform as an officer. People were taking some photos with the car (I would’ve done the same but it drove away before the class had finished) and my student deduced that it must be part of a reenactment event. Seems that the sting of communism has worn off a tiny bit.

That depends on who you ask I suppose. There are two schools of thought when it comes to Communism in the Czech Republic. The first group includes those who abhor it and remember the pain it caused and lives it unnecessarily ruined, as well as those who realize the innate evils in man to abuse such a system.

My buddy Petr put it well a few months ago when he said something along the lines of (and I apologize for paraphrasing a little bit, but we’d been in the pub for a while), “Of course Communism as a theory looks appealing, but then you realize that people are just total crap and you get what we got.”

Well said.

However, there are also those who – like most countries with less than stellar chapters in their history – wrap nostalgia in amnesia and have convinced themselves that it really wasn’t all that bad.

These are the people who long for the day when everything was uncomplicated and someone else simply decided things for you. “It was a much simpler time. Fewer choices to distract us. Things were easier,” said Jana Fejková, an imaginary Czech lady I fake bothered on the tram until she gave me a quote I could use.

Still, I can’t help but read history books (okay…Wikipedia) and disagree with this second faction.

So, there it is – being reminded that democracy was not in this part of the world until relatively recently. That’s my Czech thing for the day.

Not the most intimidating of law enforcement vehicles, but whatever.

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