One common wall in Prague has been called “Lennon Wall” since the beginning of 80’s, when some people started to make graffitis with John Lennon’s images and parts of Beatles songs.
Lennon was a hero for the pacifist youth of Central and Eastern Europe during the totalitarian regime . Before 1989, when the government was communist, western pop music was forbidden for the communist authorities, also John Lennon songs because they praised freedom that did not exist there.
When Lennon was murdered in 1980, he became a hero for some of the youth and his image was painted on the wall defying the authorities.
At that time, the Czech people had few opportunities to express themselves due to the lack of freedom. When they did it, this young activists risked prison for what authorities called “subversive activities against the state.”
But the threat of prison did not contain the people from going there at night to graffiti their own feelings and dreams.
The Communist police tried repeatedly to clear the messages of peace, but they never managed to keep the wall clean.
The Lennon Wall represents not only a memorial to John Lennon and his ideals of peace, but also a monument to freedom of speech and a non-violent rebellion of Czech youth against the regime. It was a small war of Czech people against the communist police.
Some people say Lennon Wall is equivalent to the Berlin Wall. Some people also believe that the “John Lennon Peace Wall” helped to inspire the non-violent Velvet Revolution that led to the collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989.
In my opinion Lennon Wall represents the graffiti elevated to the maximum condition of political tool for expression. It is touching to see the youth manifestation through time surviving the oppression of a totalitarian regime.
All pictures by Maria Fernanda