It was paradoxical that in Czechoslovakia between 1989 and 1992, in a European country with a democratic tradition, its citizens were having to "releam" notions of human rights. In pursuit of stable democracy, Czechs and Slovaks now must rediscover the roots and concepts of human rights. In so doing we are trying to prove that our attempts at democracy are genuine and are taking us in the same direction as other Western democracies.
Scepticism about Czechoslovakia's ideas on democracy was justified by the forty-one years we spent violently severed from democratic development. During that period, we were governed by totalitarian dictatorships which apparently penetrated all strata of society with ideological propaganda. Today, we still ask ourselves how much of Marxism and communism remain inside us and whether we are even capable of adapting ourselves once again to the value system of the democratic world.
It is possible that over the last four decades many patterns of thought became more or less subconsciously accepted by the people. Certain "deformations" may have taken place. It appears to be the case that school children were forced to memorize lies while their parents were forced to defend those lies in order to protect their children. Unfortunately, Czechs and Slovaks may now place little value on truthfulness. Without doubt self-reliance and individual freedoms were