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Lennon and the Communist regime.
Lennon was a hero to the pacifist youth of Central and Eastern Europe during
the totalitarian era. Prior to 1989 when communism ruled, western pop songs
were banned by Communist authorities, and especially John Lennon´s songs,
because it was praising freedom that didn't exist here. Some musicians were
actually jailed for playing it!
When John Lennon was murdered in 1980 he became a sort of hero to some of
the young and his picture was painted on this wall, for whatever reason right
here, along with graffiti defying the authorities. Don't forget that back then the
Czech people had few opportunities to express their feelings with their lack of
freedom. By doing this, those young activists risked prison for what authorities
called "subversive activities against the state".
But the threat of prison couldn't keep people from slipping there at night to
scrawl graffiti first in the form of Beatles lyrics and odes to Lennon, then they
came to paint their own feelings and dreams on the wall.
The Communist police tried repeatedly to whitewash over the portrait and
messages of peace but they could never manage to keep the wall clean. On the
second day it was again full of poems and flowers with paintings of Lennon.
Even the installation of surveillance cameras and the posting of an overnight
guard couldn't stop the opinions from being expressed.
John Lennon Peace Wall
The Lennon Wall represented not only a memorial to John Lennon and his ideas
for peace, but also a monument to free speech and the non-violent rebellion of
Czech youth against the regime. It was a small war of Czech people against the
communist police who cleaned the wall.