Last Wednesday morning during a brief spell of sunshine in Prague I unexpectedly came across these two 'memorial tablets' (called stolperstein in German, meaning 'stumbling block') embedded in the pavement; it took me less than a second to work out whom they were a monument to. I got down on my knees for much more than to merely take a photo. (Apparently there are many more of these embedded in the most exquisite pavements of this most exquisite city, not to mention the many thousands across other European cities.)
In my stumbling upon these aptly named stolperstein I was given pause to think deeply, as I believe is exactly their intention, hence this post. What follows is my stream-of-consciousness, or percolating as I like to call it, because of my 'stumbling'.
Firstly, I've been keeping this online notebook since September 2007; it has been a fascinating personal journey thus far. I have learnt so so much. Especially about myself. About the putting down of words.
Secondly, this is my 1000th post on this my Beautiful Mind blog. Which is why I've given much thought to what I will dedicate my 1000th blog post to:
ONE: I dedicate this 1000th blog post to every single one of the Jews who were murdered by the nazis (like aids and apartheid, I refuse to capitalise the word nazi), and especially to Ann Frank, whom I believe without doubt would have been a blogger championing human rights and anti-totalitarianism were she alive on this 17th day November 2014.
TWO: I dedicate my 1000th blog entry to press and intellectual freedom, even though that fat and greedy rats in my country have begun to worryingly nibble away at it. Nevertheless, at this point, not necessarily forever, I live in a part of the world where I can freely blog 1000 posts about almost anything within the wide parameters of what is defined as 'freedom of expression' by South Africa's liberal and hard-won Constitution. I may freely make my opinion heard on just about any subject, including about the sleaze and corruption of our president and his cronies, and about the enormous disappointment many feel about the ANC government's swift 20-year fall from the pinnacle of grace at the end of apartheid in 1994 to being the swill in the sty: It's their turn to gorge, or so they think.
THREE: Not less importantly, my 1000th post is dedicated to the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) of Africa who are being marginalised, in some cases murdered, based upon their sexual orientation and gender identity alone.
Amnesty International maintains that "the continued criminilisation of consensual same-sex conduct in 38 African countries is a serious cause for concern... [and] "violates a raft of international and regional human rights norms, and serves to marginalise one group of Africans based on their sexual orientation and gender identity alone (Amnesty: 2013)”.
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe said - he has repeatedly claimed that Europe is trying to force gay rights on Africa - "What is natural is made unnatural. And what is unnatural they want to say it is natural."
"Let Europe keep their homosexual nonsense there and not cross over with it here" he said. "Gays and lesbians are worse than pigs and dogs."
I believe that some shock therapy is urgently required to rectify the utterances of decrepit despots like Mugabe and the steep class, sexuality and gender inequalities that engender state-sanctioned homophobia on the African continent.
FOUR: In line with my Prague theme, today - 17 November 2014 - is the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia, to which I also dedicate this 1000th post.
“The Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution was a non-violent transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia. The period of upheaval and transition took place from November 16/17 to December 29, 1989. Popular demonstrations against the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia combined students and older dissidents. The final result was the end of 41 years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia, and the subsequent conversion to a parliamentary republic.”
In other words today 25 years ago saw the end of anti-totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia.
The photo above is of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism at the base of Petřín hill in Prague that I rushed to see last Thursday afternoon before my return flight to SA. The bronze plaque nearby reads: "The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism."