Ministers Recall November 1989, Underline Importance of Freedom

People celebrating the Day of the Fight for Freedom and Democracy on the Slovak National Uprising Square in Bratislava on Thursday (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 17 (TASR) – Freedom is not to blame for the great number of problems Slovakia has gone through since 1989 and the problems still ahead, it’s rather the manner in which we put that freedom to use sometimes, thinks Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid).

Along with her fellow Most-Hid members, Zitnanska on Thursday [November 16] commemorated the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution at Bratislava’s SNP Square, the site of mass protests from 28 years ago.

Zitnanska claimed that the mood of those November days in 1989 will stay in her memory forever and she voiced her thanks to all who contributed to freedom in Slovakia. “Today, a number of new parties and politicians use the resistance against democracy and, also freedom to an extent, to define themselves. Therefore, it’s necessary to reiterate on this particular day that freedom cannot be blamed for the panoply of problems we’ve gone through since 1989 and still face ahead, it’s rather the manner of how we put that freedom to use,” she claimed.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Gabriela Matecna (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) also reminisced about the Velvet Revolution days, recalling her own participation in the public protests. “It was a milestone date. We acquired greater freedom, the option to travel abroad, to run a business and express our own views,” said Matecna, who thinks that many things could still be improved, however.

“We often travel abroad, but we don’t know our native Slovakia,” Matecna claimed in a video published on the internet. “We often familiarise ourselves with the world’s gastronomy, but don’t know our own foods. We have the freedom of speech, but don’t listen to our relatives, colleagues and often make decisions on matters we have no business deciding about.”

The Velvet Revolution was also commemorated at the Defence Ministry. “Even from a distance of years, the fact that we as a nation managed to unite, persist and not make a concession in our demands until we passed the finish line is worthy of respect,” said Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee). The task at hand now is to protect and cherish the freedom and democracy that we managed to gain almost 30 years ago. “And never ever take it for granted,” he concluded.