President Caputova Calls for Dignified Commemoration of November ’89

President Zuzana Caputova (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 16 (TASR) – In a speech she delivered on the eve of the Velvet Revolution anniversary on public-service RTVS, President Zuzana Caputova called for its commemoration in a way worthy of the ethos of November ’89, namely as a dignified celebration of re-gained freedom and democracy, or as an expression of gratitude to those who contributed to it.

At present she sees an opportunity to realise that freedom can have limits even in a democracy. She pointed to the need to temporarily restrict some rights and freedoms in order to protect health. The president called for coherence and expressed her hope resulting from the latest figures on the coronavirus spread that we can bring the pandemic under control.

“November ’89 was connected with the desire for freedom. However, today we see and have an opportunity to fully realise that freedom can have its limits in democracy, too. Slovakia, as well as other countries are currently experiencing a situation in which it’s necessary to temporarily restrict our rights and freedoms in order to protect other important values, particularly life and health,” said Caputova, adding that it’s a new experience and that we have to come to terms with it. She highlighted the message of November 17 and stated we’re currently experiencing the same test as then, that requires us to get the best of ourselves and pass it the same way we did 31 years ago.

In connection with the anniversary, the head of state called on politicians to take a restrained and adequate approach. According to her, people mustn’t feel that they should prove their civic obedience with their behaviour, but that they transfer a part of their rights and freedoms for a higher aim, for an adequate time and to the necessary extent. “Otherwise, they won’t realise the difference between the lack of freedom, the end of which we will commemorate tomorrow, and the democracy the return of which we will celebrate on this day,” she said. Caputova criticised the worsening political culture with personal attacks or vulgarisms becoming a part of it.