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18. 11. 2014 14:06

Greetings of the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka before the performance of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Washington

Projev předsedy vlády Bohuslava Sobotky před vystoupením České filharmonie, 17. listopadu 2014.
Greetings of the Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka before the performance of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Washington, 17th November 2014.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Guests,

I will never forget the sound of keys jingling – not I, nor any anyone else who took part in the events 25 years ago today. For me, this is the voice of freedom. The voice of the people rising up against totalitarianism. On that day, I jingled my keys as one of the striking students.

It is a great honour for me to be here with you on the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and to listen to Dvořák’s New World Symphony. While Antonín Dvořák left no clues as to what exactly inspired him to compose this symphony, I am sure that, in this immortal music, we can all hear his celebration of the freedom of the American continent.

Yet our history has been influenced not only by those Czechs, Slovaks and other Europeans who visited the United States, but also by a steady stream of Americans making their way in the opposite direction, to the Old Continent, bringing with them crumbs of freedom. One example is Charlotte Garrigue, the wife of President Masaryk, who left her native Brooklyn to make a new home in Czechoslovakia.

It has now been a quarter of a century since my entire homeland, too, strode into a “Free New World”. We are compelled to champion, over and again, the ideals we believed in at that time. The path forward has not been as easy and unobstructed as we expected at the dawn of the Velvet Revolution.

 Today, 25 years down the line, I realise that, just as in the United States, the road to a self-confident public, to freedom and democracy, needs to be built on the toil of many, many generations. I am confident that all of us are pursuing the same values, and we are here to exchange experience and move ahead together.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Guests,

Although I do not have the musical gift of our genius composer, here, inside, I experience my own New World Symphony, a symphony of freedom in which I hear the sounds of jingling Czech keys from 1989. Thank you for your attention.

Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the CR

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