Jakub and i went out together in Prague the other night. Jakub was one of the founders (with Honza Beranek) of Hnuti DUHA, the Czech dark green environmental group i worked with for nearly 7 years. i had a wonderful time, both meeting new activists and retelling stories of these glory days.
When reasonable people had gone to sleep, Jakub and i kept talking. We went to the home of his friend, a night owl and independent film maker, Vit Janecek. “So you are the spiritual father of Hnuti DUHA” Vit said to me and i was quite taken a back. I never considered myself to have such a significant role, but as Jakub described it i could see how someone might think this. I was touched and flattered.
Jakub was 19 when we started working together, i was 36. The first time we did a march at nuclear power plant there were perhaps 50 protesters. At one point there was something of a stand off between the armed security guards of the plant and the protesters. I turned to Jakub and said “in the west this is when we would start chanting or singing”. Jakub grabbed the bullhorn and lead the chants. The security stepped back, and the protesters celebrated a small victory. It was 1991, there was virtually no protest movement history, other than the revolution itself in the Czech Republic. The little i knew was useful.
And i was a peculiar character in the DUHA office, not only older, but i could barely count in Czech, i slept in the office often, tangled my complex finances with those of the organization, had strange anarchist friends who visited and too many girlfriends for some of the members to be comfortable.
At one point a member of DUHA came to Jakub and said
“I think Paxus works for the CIA”
Jakub replied “Get Langley on the phone – i want 5 more just like him”