• Today commemorates the 50th anniversary of our family’s emigration from former Czechoslovakia. It would also have been my dad’s 77th birthday. On this day in 1969, over a year had passed following the Soviet Union and members of the Warsaw Pact‘s illegal occupation of Czechoslovakia. Our departure would have been immediately after the invasion, but with my mother being eight months pregnant, my parents felt it would be safer to leave a year later.
• Our departure was shrouded in tremendous secrecy, with only the most trusted members of our family and friends knowing our plans. The local authorities could have found any minor excuse to prevent us from leaving the country. For this reason, I prefer to categorize our departure as an “escape”, even though we legally left the country with all the necessary paperwork.
• I want to thank my mother and father for their tremendous bravery and steadfast convictions in believing that we would have a better life in the West. Our departure may be the obvious choice in hindsight, but at the time, it could have been argued that there was no clear winner between the political doctrines of capitalism and communism. Two more decades were necessary to prove which was better. The collapse of the iron curtain and the end of the cold war at the end of the ’80s put a definitive stamp on that debate.
• When I was eight years old my father was driving me to our animal hospital where he worked as a veterinarian. During our drive, Taci decided to explain communism to me. I vividly remember him articulating the horrible regime from which we escaped, with a heavy heart. In these few minutes, he created a hypothetical analogy for my young mind to understand – “If Canada were to become a communist state, then our veterinary business and our house would be taken from us. In fact, every citizen in the country would not be allowed to own any business or property – the government would take ownership of everything. Even at eight years old this resonated with me. More importantly, I recall the sadness in his heart, while explaining this to me, because he had to leave behind many friends and family who continued under the repressive and totalitarian communist regime. As he took the final turn to the animal hospital he concluded by saying, “Unfortunately I will probably not live long enough to see the collapse of communism, but with any luck, maybe you will see it happen”. Both came to pass.
If you are interested in other posts of our emigration you can find their links here:
- 15 • Dusil
- 23 • Emigration
- 26 • Brothers
- 31 • Dusil
- 37 • Brothers
- 42 • Immigration
- 45 • Capitalism
- 49 • Canada
- 57 • Canada
- I love you, Mamička
- I love you, Taci
- I love you, Googičko
- I love you, Pumprdlik
- I love you, Trpaslik
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Gabriel is a seasoned sales and marketing expert with over 25 years in senior positions at Motorola, VeriSign (acquired by Symantec in 2010 for 1.25 billion US$), SecureWorks (acquired by Dell in 2011 for 612 million US$), and Cognitive Security (acquired by Cisco in 2013 for 25 million US$). He is a blockchain entrepreneur, with strengths in international business strategy.
Gabriel has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and expert knowledge in crypto incubation, cloud computing, IT security, and digital video technology. Gabriel also runs his own company, Euro Tech Startups s.r.o.
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