Jan Bubeník

* 1968  

  • “They perceived us students as nice mascots. I don’t think they underestimated us but they didn’t take us quite seriously at the same time. They didn’t mind accepting us into their clique since we didn’t really threaten their ambitions for power.”

  • “Suddenly, I learned that I had been appointed to a strike committee. By then it was already clear that we wouldn't go to school the next day, but instead call on the students to assemble in the auditorium in Motol and that I’d be presenting our demands. The fact of the matter was that for an instant I realized that I was endangering my studies at the faculty. Later, I learned that maybe over half of my colleagues who were attending that school at the moment, had their parents write them a sick note for that day just to stay on the safe side. That was just so typical for socialism, this schizophrenic thinking.”

  • “I think that I was fortunate not to get mad because it was just crazy at times. There were all sorts of strange people approaching me with proposals to help them privatize this or that company for a huge share of the loot. They were offering us ten, twenty or thirty percent. I must have been totally naïve but I’m glad that I kept my naivety and quit politics. Being out of politics, I wasn't exposed to temptation. I noticed how this changed a lot of people who failed to control their temptation. Some of the former dissidents stepped out of the isolation of being a dissent and right into the isolation of the ministries and the top brass. Most of them were totally unsuited for this and crash landed badly – some of them for good.”

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    Praha, 24.11.2011

    délka: 48:07
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of 20th Century
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We were naïve kids who said that the emperor was naked and helped the adults, who could see it, but were afraid to say it.

Bubenik orez.jpg (historic)
Jan Bubeník
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Jan Bubeník was born on April 4, 1968, and 21 years later he became one of the student leaders of the Velvet revolution. He actually likes to remember the end of the 1980s: he only had to worry about himself, he played basketball and studied at the Faculty of medicine that had been affected very little by Communist ideology. At the Faculty, he became part of a group of students who exchanged black-listed books and organized poetry readings and wild birthday parties. Before they realized it, they became the organizational student body of the dorms and of social life at the Faculty. On November 17, 1989, it was them who hung posters on the walls of the dorms and the faculty. The next day, Jan Bubeník articulated the demands of the striking students who filled the auditorium of the Motol University hospital. Shortly afterwards, Jan Bubeník became a member of a committee of the Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia that was charged with clarifying the events of November 17. On December 28, 1989, he became the youngest member of the Federal Assembly, where he stayed till the first free elections. During the elections, he helped the Civic Forum with the election campaign and in the summer of 1990 he went to the United States to learn English. He came back and resumed his medicine studies. Today, he‘s a headhunter (recruiting managers for top positions).