< SWITCH ME >
In the third part of our mini series commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism in many parts of Central and Southeastern Europe, Kamila Kubásková, a recent graduate, currently based in Munich, shares her experiences of growing up in the Czech Republic.
It must have been wonderful to have been living in Czechoslovakia in November 1989. Although I belong to the lucky ones who never had to put up with communist rule, I could not particularly enjoy the events of the year, as I was a baby with entirely apolitical interests. But I can vividly imagine the atmosphere of the day. I can feel the excitement, the air of anticipation and expectation. I picture people all over the country waiting impatiently for news from the capital, trying to comprehend what was happening and knowing that everything in their lives was about to change. The revolution was a peaceful event that filled the people with euphoria and, for the first time in many decades, with hope for a better future.
My parents could not join the spontaneous celebrations that were happening in the streets, because they had to look after me and my older brother. However, the knowledge that their children would grow up with the freedom to travel, study and live without constant fear of their own government, was satisfying enough for them. Parents of our generation also knew that our lives will be very different to their own and they would not always be able to prepare for all the choices that would lie ahead of us.
We are pleased to annouce a new partnership with Spotlight Europe, an up-and-coming blog platform created by the "MyEurope" network. The blog is conceived as a place for young Europeans to share and discuss ideas about the future of Europe. What do you like about Europe? What would you like to change? What worries you and what would you do differently if it were up to you? These are the sort of questions the blog asks its contributors to answer.
At Spotlight Europe, everyone's opinion counts and the blog encourages dialogue between all young people in Europe, as well as experts from politics, media, academia and business. Topics range from culture to the environment and the blog is currently on the look-out for new authors, so if you're aged between 15 and 25, this could be the opportunity you've been waiting for.
In the second part of our series commemorating a quarter of a century since the fall of communism in many parts of Central and Southeastern Europe, we hear the views and recollections of Szymon Pozimski, who was born in Poland in 1988.
This year we have witnessed the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the historical milestones that, along with other memorable events like the first partially free elections in Poland in June 1989, the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia and the toppling of Ceauseșcu in Romania, marks the end of communism in Eastern Europe.
Naturally, it only makes sense to consider the events of 1989 in reference to the decades that preceded them, decades of struggle for the oppressed peoples of Eastern Europe. Without at least a cursory glance at what it was like to live in a communist state, it is impossible to understand what sort of a victory we celebrate. Placing the great triumph in its wider context is all the more important, as with the passage of time the recollection of the period 1945-89 becomes more and more obliterated in the common memory – and this goes for both sides of the now-defunct Iron Curtain.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so we've set out to discover what photography might be able to tell us about today's Europe and are pleased to announce the winners of our November competition.
Though the theme may have been "Europe at night", the entries to this month's photo competition Europe Through a Lens could not have been more colourful. Darkness was well and truly banished, and light in all of its manifold guises took centre stage.
Several photos were in the running for the top spot, but it was Junyuan Chen's image Star that eventually claimed first place. The judges were particularly struck by the way it seemed to make the moment last for a long time and also praised Junyuan's technique, wondering how many attempts were needed to get the shot right. The 22-year-old Chinese photographer, who is currently studying at the University of Glasgow, will be interviewed for Sixth Sense about his work and invited to pitch a piece of photojournalism for E&M. We're very excited to hear more about his photographic endeavours, and in the meantime, why not take a look at his Flickr account.