A Long Delayed Invasion

The New York Times has a nice piece today on the twentieth anniversary of a Stones concert in Prague:

That night in August, waiting for the Rolling Stones to come on stage, we felt like rebels. The concert was held in the same stadium where the Communist government used to hold rallies and organize parades. My classmates and I had spent endless hours in that stadium, marching in formations that, seen from the stands above, were supposed to symbolize health, joy and the discipline of the masses.

Now, instead of marching as one, we were ready to get loose. “We gotta get closer,” my father whispered into my ear as we tried to make our way through the crowd.

I sensed that everyone was nervous. They were accustomed to being lied to, to having promises broken. They didn’t quite believe that the Stones were really coming to play live. I could see that my father didn’t either. “We might see their photographs or a movie instead,” I heard some people saying, pointing to huge video screens installed inside the stadium. I started to have doubts myself. We had been waiting for five hours.

Suddenly the lights dimmed. Drums started to pound, and the screens turned on as if by magic. “Oh my God, it is really happening,” whispered a woman standing close to me. She was expressing something more than just the thrill of a concert. She was saying that the Communists were truly gone. That we were finally free to do as we pleased.

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