This is the face that wanted to be the “human face of socialism.” Jan Palach was the student who chose set himself ablaze 40 years ago to protest the brutal communist oppression of the Prague Spring. In 1968 students and others had called for diversity and freedom of expression within the communist system. The Soviets responded by sending in tanks.
I’m not a fan of self-immolation or any form of suicide–I do think it is better than suicide-murder; but Jan felt it was better to die standing than to kneel.
A kilometer or so further downhill from Wenceslas Square where Jan set himself on fire, in the old square is a monument to Jan Hus, another Czech martyr who five hundred years earlier had been burned alive by the enemies of freedom.
The two Jans are heroes of freedom to the Czechs. The burned face of Jan Palach is the face of Soviet Socialism.
You can like or dislike President Obama’s health care proposals, including an option to buy into the public insurance plan that all politicians enjoy–but it has nothing to do with the horrors of Communist socialism.
I remember about a year ago when the republican presidential candidate suspended his campaign to rush to Washington and vote for the bank bailouts. I remember the presidents of the auto companies flying their private jets to the Washington to ask the then republican-controlled congress for a bailout.
I don’t really know anyone who is not disgusted by the bailouts. I don’t know whether they made the recession worse, or whether they saved the economy from total collapse. It was a desperate response to what both political parties considered a dire emergency. But it was not socialism.