Saturday, February 07, 2009

The year that was 1989!

There are many important and memorable dates and years during the 20th Century. The year 1989 must be the most important and memorable one among them. The following list from this web site clearly attests to that effect. In 2009, after 20 years, it should not be taken for granted but to commemorate the great historical significance and triumphant in freedom and democracy of what the year 1989 was:

1989: The End of Communism in Central Europe
  • April 5: Poland. The Communist government and Solidarity agree to share power and hold free elections.
  • May 8: Yugoslavia. The nationalist Slobodan Milosevic is elected as president.
  • June 4: Poland. Solidarity wins a huge majority of the vote, including 96 of 100 Senate seats.
  • Aug. 19: Poland. Mazowiecki is elected as Poland's first non-Communist prime minister.
  • Sept. 10: Hungary. 60,000 East Germans go through Hungary to cross into Austria.
  • Sept. 27: Yugoslavia. Slovenia asserts its right to secede from Yugoslavia.
  • Oct 7: Hungary. Socialist Workers Party (formerly Communist) renounces Marxism, embraces democratic socialism, and is renamed the Hungarian Socialist Party.
  • Oct. 18: East Germany. Mass demonstrations force President Eric Honecker to resign.
  • Oct. 18: Hungary. Parliament ends the one-party monopoly and announces elections for next year.
  • Nov. 9: East Germany. The Berlin Wall is opened and five million people come to Berlin to celebrate the end of the Wall, the end of the Cold War, the end of Communism, and the reunification of Germany.
  • Nov. 10: Bulgaria: Todor Zhikov, head of state and leader of the Communist Party for 35 years, resigns.
  • Nov. 17: Czechoslovakia, Hundreds of thousands of protesters march in Prague.
  • Dec. 10: Czechoslavakia. President Husak resigns and installs a coalition cabinet with communists in the minority.
  • Dec. 13: Bulgaria. The Communist Party renounces their monopoly on power.
  • Dec. 16-21: Romania. Secruity forces opens fire on thousands of demonstrators; hundreds are killed and buried in mass graves. As Christmas arrives, everyone in Europe watches the revolution on television.
  • Dec. 22: Romania. The army revolts, joining with demonstrators, and the Council of National Salvation declares the government to be overthrown.
  • Dec. 25: Romania. In an two-hour trial, the Communist dictator Ceausecsu and his wife are convicted of genocide and immediately executed by machine gunfire.
  • Dec. 26: Poland. Radical free-market reform plan is announced.
  • Dec. 29: Czechoslavakia. Playwright and human rights compaigner Vaclav Havel, who spent years in prison as a dissident, is the new president of Czechoslavakia.
While everyone of the listed events are individually important, but the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9 may be most symbolically important. That may also allow us recalling another most memorable speech in history two years earlier, on June 12, 1987, by the US President Ronald Reagan:

No comments: