John Lennon Wall Prague
When John Lennon, co-founder of the Beatles and an icon of the whole generation, was killed in December 1980 in New York, his death echoed all around the world. In one improbable place, all those memories are still alive. Few meters from worldwide famous Charles Bridge in Prague, the John Lennon Wall Prague reminds and celebrates not only the life of John Lennon, his pacifism, and political activism but also the resistance to communism in former Czechoslovakia.
John Lennon Wall Prague – The Place of Resistance
Since the 1960s, one ordinary wall in Prague played an extraordinary role. On the place called „Kampa“, people used graffiti to express their opposition to the communist regime as it was one of the few options how to do that. Every time, pictures, texts, and short poems used to appear there immediately after the regime repainted other works. The wall served also as a mirror of Prague citizen’s feelings after the brutal invasion of Soviet-led forces to Czechoslovakia in September 1968. In the years after, there were still a lot of graffiti, some political, some amorous, but the wall was not the natural center of the political resistance during the 1970s. John Lennon had to die so the wall could become such a place.
John Lennon Wall Prague in Communistic Czechoslovakia
The Beatles never had a concert in Czechoslovakia which was on the wrong side of the iron curtain, but their (illegally disseminated) music was loved by the young generation as a touch of the free world. When John Lennon died in 1980, someone drew his symbolic headstone on the wall and Lennon´s quotes and Beatles´ songs lyrics quickly followed. Once again, the regime started to feel the danger coming from the place which was spontaneously turned into the shrine of freedom and democracy. Communists tried to destroy the graffiti and to change the spirit of that place. But each year on the anniversary of Lennon´s death, people were gathering there and very often, these gatherings turned into the protest against the communist regime and clashes with the police.
John Lennon Wall Prague idea – “You may say I´m a dreamer, but I´m not the only one…”
More and more people attended those gatherings each year and each year and the regime reacted with heavier police presence. In the late 1980s, the number of protests was on the rise across the country and the regime was weaker and weaker every day. Another gathering on the anniversary of John Lennon´s death took place on 8 December 1989 and the atmosphere was euphoric. Although the Velvet Revolution was not completely over at that time, it was clear that the change finally came and the democracy will be renewed in the Czechoslovakia. People waited for that moment for more than forty years. For the significant part of that period, one wall near Charles Bridge served as a strongpoint for those who never stopped to believe that such moment will come one day.