"I started helping in the tropical forest conservation project. Together with Petr Jelinek, we explained to people that we were also involved in our own way, when we buy products from tropical rainforest companies. We had a petition to save tropical forests and as we gathered about 30000 signatures for the petition and sent it somewhere to Brazil, so we realized that we can't really influence those things there. That people from those third world countries, who say we should sweep in front of our threshold, are actually a little right coincidentally, the Forest Law began to be passed at that time, so we thought that we would deal with the protection of our forests. So the movement DUHA was founded with the Forests program, which had two branches right from the start. In one we tried to change the ways of forest management so that the forests are managed sparingly and with varied species in order to protect biodiversity in the forests. In the second branch of the program we tried to protect places, where wild nature has been preserved. This resulted in a precedent campaign to protect the Šumava National Park from mining."
"On November 16, I remember that very well. I came to school and there was a trembling porter and said that I should go to the dormitory's office. I asked why, he replied I should not ask and go with him, that he would take me there. We came in, there was such a rude guy wearing a suit, who pulled out the state security card, showing me a leaflet in a transparent film that invited me to a demonstration in Prague on November 17. He asked if I knew anything about it. I did as I hanged it up in the premises of students dorms. But I told him I didn't know anything about it, he reproached me for hanging it in the showcase, to which I had access. I opposed that someone else could get in. I just denied it. He handed it to me in the transparent cover to look at it, I took it in my hand, and at that moment I realized they had me, why else would they put it in the transparent cover; they just had to match the prints on the leaflet and the foil. I asked him what was wrong, when he signed on to the demonstration as a co-organizer and SSM. He responded I ought to be careful and not believe everything that is said or written. He was such a slimy man. Then he went away."
"When I look back at it, I think it was no coincidence that things happened as they did. It was no accident that I overslept and when I left Prague, I got to the Brno strike committee just the moment they decided to leave the strike. That would mean the early break-up of the student strike. Somehow, I don't even know how, I could convince those nine people to take the decision back and continue the strike. I consider it one of the most important things I have ever done in my life, besides having three excellent kids, this and then the blockade in the forest of Trojmezenský, where we managed to prevent cutting down the most perfect spruce forest in the country. Those are the two moments in my life, and for which I think that if I did nothing else, it would still make sense."
"The next day on Sunday I went to Brno. When I was leaving, my friend Hanka, a former schoolmate from a grammar school, called me that there would be a strike in Prague the next day. That they would all go on strike. They said I should organize a strike in Brno. I just laughed and said that no one will go on strike in Brno. There was a big difference between the mood in Prague and absolutely zero awareness in Brno, the difference was absolutely abysmal. I told them not to expect any strike in Brno, so I went to Brno and in the meantime, JAMU - Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno announced that they would strike too - from the beginning it was formulated as support for Prague students. There were papers printed out in the dorms of students to appeal for the strike."
“I was looking for him and I stopped thinking about everything that happened. I just wanted to find my brother. When I returned to Národní třída, it was covered with a layer of things - handbags, shoes, clothes. Several people were walking amongst it and I was the secret police arresting people too. So I left again. I saw the book of Veterinary Microbiology on the ground; the third-grade students’ book from our school. So I picked it up. I found my brother only at home. He got to a different part of the crowd and saw the gap between the shields of the cops, so he ran and broke through. He ran and fell next to a dog that wanted to rush at him, but he got up again. A policeman went after him with a baton, and hit him. But finally, he managed to escape.”
"At the beginning there was a huge euphoria, a wonderful atmosphere among people. The National Theater actors waved to us as we walked around. Then they locked us up on Národní třída. They pushed us. As they began pushing us there were streams of people and I lost all contact with my brother. Then the pressure of the crowded people grew huge; we were so crowded that we couldn't even breathe. If someone fell there, the others would trample him. I was very afraid that there would be some hysteria, that people would get beaten up, they would get trampled on. We tried to calm people around. It seems hard to imagine that nobody got hurt there at that time. It was hard to believe. The story of a dead student was such a real thing that I still have doubts about whether or not it happened, it's hard to believe that everyone has survived there, especially in the situation where he squeezed us even so that the crowd might have trampled someone there, and then they chased us down the aisle in Mikulandská Street, where people were being hit. At that time, I remembered the lesson that when you look into the animal's eyes, it is perceived as aggression. So, when I walked down the aisle, I didn't look at the cops. I passed through and didn't even get hit a single time. They beat the person before me and the one past me. As I have any eye contact, I didn't invite them. So, I came out without a scar. It spat us out of Mikulandská alley and I started looking for my brother."
To this day I find it hard to believe that all have survived the demonstration at Národní třída
Jaromír Bláha was born on July 23, 1970 in Český Brod, until the age of six he lived with his parents at his aunts´ in a gamekeeper‘s lodge near Stříbrná Skalice. Parents commuted to Prague, where they worked as chemists. In 1976 they moved to the periphery of Prague to Modřany, where Jaromír also started to attend school. In the 1980s he graduated from the Budějovická grammar school and then joined the University of Veterinary Medicine in Brno. In 1989 he signed the petition called Several Sentences. In November he brought and posted a leaflet in student dorms in Brno inviting them to a student gathering on 17 November in Prague. He took part in the demonstration and experienced the harshest clashes with policemen at Národní třída. After returning to Brno he encouraged students to oppose the regime at the University of Veterinary Medicine and, in cooperation with Prague, coordinated the student strike in Brno, in particular preventing its premature termination. After the revolution, he joined the movement DUHA as a volunteer and devoted himself to nature preservation. In 1994 he graduated from veterinary school. He continued his work for the movement and co-founded the Forest Protection Program in the Czech Republic, where he has worked until today. He lives with his family in Dobříš, where he works in the local council and the environmental commission. He works as a veterinarian one day per week.