was born on July 28, 1954, into the family of Alfred Kocab, an evangelic pastor, dissident and co-founder of „Charter 77“(an informal Czechoslovak citizen's initiative criticizing political and state power for not regarding human and civil rights, which the CSSR agreed to follow by signing the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe – The Helsinki Declaration) and his wife Daria, a psychologist.
In 1977, he founded the non-conformist rock band Pražský Výběr (Prague Selection), which was a thorn in the side of the socialist establishment right from the start. After graduating from the Prague Academy of Music (department of composition and organs), he wasn't accepted for studies at the Academy of Performing Arts due to his political unsuitability - he refused to join the Union of Socialist Youth or any other socialist organization, he did not serve with the national army, he refused to participate in elections manipulated by the socialist regime etc.
The Band that eroded the foundations of socialist culture.
He had his first serious conflict with the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1980, when, during an official event attended by state officials, he voiced his reaction in public to collaboration by the highest representatives of the Protestant Church of the Czech Brethren by 3 saying: “you’ve fallen so far, that you are serving the tyrant's idols". For that, he earned a complaint for political provocation, which was delayed by an extensive amnesty given by President Husak on his reelection.
In 1981, there was a huge increase in the popularity of Prague Selection and its front man Michael Kocab, who, together with his colleagues, escalated the provocations against the former regime. For example, before a concert in the South Bohemian town of Kaplice, the trains with fans were stopped by members of the police and after the concert, the audience stormed the local police station.
The State security police focused on the band and the situation culminated in late 1982 with an unprecedented political and security raid against the band during a concert in Hradec Kralove. A media campaign against Prague Selection and alternative rock music at all followed. There was a general ban on the band’s activity and public musical activity of the band´s members (M. Kocab, M. Pavlicek. V. Cok, J. Hrubes), the emigration of the drummer J. Hrubes, and Kocab was warned, during one from the interrogation by State security police, be denied even social and health security, which contradicted the Socialist Constitution of the time.
Kocab married an American dancer, Marsha Crews in March 1983 - the state authorities saw that as a definitive ideological statement. Three nice and gifted children, Natalie, Jessika and Miki, were the reward for not leaving the homeland, as his wife would constantly prompt him to do. But he exposed his family to permanent political slighting.
Another appearance of Kocab with Prague Selection took place 4 years later in 1988 when, during the band’s first appearance on Czechoslovak television, he strongly attacked the regime. During a widely followed live television broadcast, he said that "each nation has the government that it deserves. We should strive for further economic, cultural and spiritual renewal and especially for the restoration of lost civil rights and liberties". These words were spread across the republic at lightning speed and other restrictions followed immediately, but the communist regime weakened by perestroika had no further energy for an effective defense.
It completely missed the fact that in early 1989 the Barrandov Film studio started shooting, under the direction of Michael Kocab and Karel Smyczek, a strongly anti-establishment movie: "Praguers, they like it here", which was full of sneers at the policy of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (e.g. the scene of Kocab's execution in the historical building of the former Gottwald mausoleum, the raid of communist police using water cannons against protesters, embarrassing communications between high ranking communists etc.)
VELVET REVOLUTION 1989
At the same time (spring 1989) Kocab signed the “A few sentences” petition, which stood out against communist totalitarian despotism. With Michal Horacek, he founded the "Bridge" initiative, which managed (after the consultations with V. Havel), through complicated negotiations, to get a promise of "perestroika" from the Prime Minister of the communist government, Ladislav Adamec, that he would negotiate with the representatives of the opposition. By demanding an explanation of the statement that "each nation has the government that it deserves", Adamec opened a dialogue with Kocab and thus, for the first time, broke a communist taboo of “no negotiations with people from Havel's circle". This 4 act destroyed the unity of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and Adamec himself came under criticism from the communist politburo.
On November 19, 1989, Kocab became one from a founding member of Civic Forum, a member of the coordinating center crisis staff of CF and organized, together with M. Horacek, all negotiations of CF with the Prime Minister and his cabinet. The Bridge initiative thus did dramatically help to speed up and especially to radicalize the process of political change in the state.
As early as the fourth week of November, the representatives of CF (V. Havel, M. Kocab, M. Horacek and others) sent an urgent letter to Mikhail Gorbachev, requesting the termination of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces. In the following days, Kocab was informed, that M. Gorbachev received the request, understood it and promised further negotiation on that matter. He also managed to get a promise by the Soviet emissaries that Soviet forces would not interfere with the internal affairs of Czechoslovakia. Kocab even managed to fend off attempts by the Soviet KGB to infiltrate CF.
On behalf of CF, Kocab was also responsible for negotiations with representatives of the Czechoslovak army. He went to Tabor together with Vaclav Klaus (present President of the Czech Republic), to discourage general Zacharias, the commander of the western military district, from using the Czechoslovak army to intervene against protesters (successfully). Next day, he met in the same case the Chief of General Staff of the Czechoslovak army, general Miroslav Vacek, and he subsequently negotiated Vacek´s official meeting with representatives of CF, during which the potential military intervention against the "velvet revolution" was finally eliminated.
Using the significant political influence, which Kocab gained in these deciding times, he managed with several people to put through Vaclav Havel as the sole candidate of CF for the duty of the first democratic president. He proposed and strongly insisted on Havel at a moment when CF hadn’t come to this discussion yet and when there was rather dominating support for a "sixty-eighter" Alexander Dubcek.
On December 28, 1989, Kocab was co-opted as a member of the Federal Assembly of CSFR in the so-called first group and the next day he took part in electing Havel as president.
WITHDRAWAL OF SOVIET OCCUPATION FORCES FROM CZECHOSLOVAKIA
In his first speeches during joint meetings of the House of Commons and the Chamber of Nations of the Federal Assembly in January, February and March 1990, Kocab repeatedly demanded an end to the Soviet occupation and declared the Treaty on the temporary stay of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia invalid. At the beginning of 1990, the Federal Assembly, on the basis of Kocab’s initiative, canceled its approval with the agreement of 1968 (Treaty on the Temporary stay of Soviet troops on the territory of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.) and subsequently established the Commission to Supervise the Withdrawal of Soviet Forces from Czechoslovakia, in which he became a vicechairman.
In the first free elections in June 1990, M. Kocab was re-elected as a member of the Federal Assembly of CSFR (more than 54% personal preferences), a member of the presidium of the House of People and of the Committee for Defense and Security, a committee of the Minister of Defence L. Dobrovsky that examined the past of generals of the Czechoslovak army, and the president of the renewed Commission to Supervise the Withdrawal of Soviet Forces from Czechoslovakia. He got to work fast, so that the term of "withdrawal" (June 30, 1991) was met without exception. In his effort, he was supported, without exaggeration, by all the people of Czechoslovakia.
In December 1990, shortly before the "gulf conflict", Kocab flew into Iraq as a member of the "Good Will Mission”, whose purpose was to negotiate the release and repatriation of detained Czechoslovak citizens, the so-called "human shields". The result of the complicated negotiations with the highest Iraqi representatives was the release of 38 people. In mid-January 1991 he made an inspection trip to the Czech army anti-chemical unit stationed in The Persian Gulf.
Shortly after midnight January 13, 1991, when Soviet troops supported by tanks brutally occupied radio and television buildings in Vilnius, Kocab arrived as a member of a Federal Assembly group at the barricaded Lithuanian parliament to support Vytautas Landsbergis in his national-liberation fight.
In 1991, he took part with A. Dubcek in a state visit to the USSR where he gave a speech in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, instead of A. Dubcek, on ending the bipolarity and withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Czechoslovakia. He had also political talks with Eduard Shevardnadze and members of the foreign and defense-security committees of the Supreme Soviet and also met Boris Yeltsin.
On June 25, 1991, the protocol to end the stay of Soviet troops on the territory of Czechoslovakia was signed and in the evening there was a gala concert of Prague Selection with guest Frank Zappa to celebrate the occasion. On June 27, 1991, the "last Soviet soldier" left our republic - Chief Commander of the Central Group of Soviet Forces, general Vorobyov, who took a major part in the successful ending of the "withdrawal". Czechoslovakia was the first country among the former Soviet satellites, from which the Soviet troops finally withdrew. These events fulfilled the most important task in postrevolutionary Czechoslovak politics - ”the end of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces”.
That same year, Michael Kocab resigned as a Member of the Federal Assembly based on his previous promise that "With the last Soviet soldier leaving Czechoslovakia, I am leaving politics" and retired from active politics.
For the next ten years, he worked as an external adviser to President Vaclav Havel and organized and hosted more than 80 five-hour meetings of the President of the Republic with representatives of political and public life on various topics, the common denominator of which were human rights. He also resumed a musical activity of the already legendary rock band Prague Selection.
He organized a U.S. tour in November 2004, that culminated in a concert in support of Cuban dissidents in Miami. The concert of Prague Selection was remotely greeted by George Bush, Václav Havel and Madelaine Albright. Representatives of many countries attended the concert, including many former political prisoners. "We will help with waking up the drowsing freedom on Cuba with a strong stage sound, so the dictator will stuff his hands into his ears up to his elbows. The dictator must be chased out of the playground, overthrown or at least sent into retirement", Kocab threatened the dictator Fidel Castro with a rock hurricane on the symbolical date of the 15th anniversary of the fall of of Berlin Wall. The recorded concert was broadcast to Cuba by the exile TV station Martí.
MINISTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND NATIONAL MINORITIES
In 2009, at the beginning of the Czech EU presidency, Michael Kocab returned to political life in two consecutive governments as the Minister for Human Rights and National Minorities. With great enthusiasm, he set to further work. From a large number of specific actions, we would like to point out just a few examples in domestic and foreign policy:
In general, Minister Michael Kocab advocated a principle of an open, non-discriminating and cohesive society of active citizens, as well as the return of an ethical dimension into decision-making processes at all levels of public authority. Be it the building of a tolerant, multi-cultural society, solidarity with those in need, justice for all, a non-corrupt environment or the willingness to cope with the unfortunate legacy of a totalitarian past.
Concerning equal opportunities for women and men, he started an extensive social and political debate on the balanced representation of women and men in politics.
On the subject of protection of rights of national minorities, he expanded support of minority languages under the protection of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in the areas of education, research and bilingual signs.
For the integration of the Roma minority, he prepared, and in both governments pushed through, a Proposal for the creation and preservation of sacred places of the Roma Holocaust in Lety and in Hodonin near Kunstat.
Within the scope of the Czech EU presidency, Kocab presided over the EPSCO Council, which, for the first time in its history, on June 8, 2009, adopted a draft Council conclusion containing the Common principles of Roma Inclusion. This act managed to put forward the issues of Roma inclusion into the basic agendas of the EU 27.
In the area of combating extremism, Minister M. Kocab worked out a Declaration of all constitutional officials and parliamentary political parties on joint action against extremism and set up a unique Permanent Expert Panel against Racism and Violence (a Colloquium of the nation's intellectual elite on the prevention of increasing racism, extremism and terrorism and on intercultural and interreligious dialogue). He participated personally in contentious marches and prevented direct conflicts of extremist groups with Roma.
In the area of human rights, Kocab managed, on June 17, 2009, to override the president's veto of the Anti-Discrimination Act in the Chamber of Deputies, the adoption of which was a condition of entry of the Czech Republic into the European Union. He also, as the only member of the government, didn't vote for the president's request for the Czech Republic to have an exception from the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, similar to exceptions negotiated by Great Britain and Poland. He pushed through a long-delayed suggestion, in which the government expressed regret over uncovered individual errors in the cases of female sterilization. This act of the government was acclaimed by many international organizations and organizations of Roma women. He presented the public with educational materials for the prevention of homophobic bullying and harassment in schools. He submitted an Action plan to the government for realizing a National strategy for preventing violence against children and in 2009 executed the "STOP violence against children" campaign. He submitted a suggestion for camera and surveillance systems for the approval of the government, which sets up rules for operating 7 surveillance systems in such a way, as to minimize the interference with the privacy of individuals.
A separate chapter of Kocab's activity in the field of human rights is his engagement in the area of so-called "human rights disasters" in countries close to or more distant from Europe. In the post of Minister, he met leading human rights activists for talks: for example, His Holiness the Dalai Lama or the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Madame Pillay, who acknowledged the "important role of the Office of the Minister for Human Rights and especially his personal commitment in promoting human rights principles and the integration of Roma."
In addition to supporting the current Tibetan Dalai Lama and the spiritual renewal and development movement Falun Gong, which is subjected to severe repression by the Chinese state officials, Kocab strongly criticized human rights violations in Cuba, Burma and Venezuela, which sent tart note to the Czech Republic. Above all, he concentrated on the situation of the Caucasian republics himself focused mainly on the situation of the Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation and prepared an initiative concerning asylum and migration policies regarding seekers of international asylum from the territory of Chechnya - the initiative is to ensure that they would be returned to the country of origin on a strictly voluntary basis.
In May 2010, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution based on a report prepared by Mr. Dick Marty, which speaks of "currently the most serious and delicate situation in the Northern Caucasus (especially in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan) in terms of human rights protection and the rule of law in the whole geographic territory under coverage of the Council of Europe and European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms". The resolution stresses that, mainly in the Chechen Republic, the current authorities continue to feed "the climate of pervasive fear", the recurring disappearances of opponents of the government and of human rights activists “remain, in general, unpunished” and the judicial authorities "demonstratively remain indifferent to the crimes of the security forces". All this is happening in a climate of personalization of power which is "unacceptable for a democracy".
However, a number of European countries apply a very restrictive asylum policy to refugees from the Northern Caucasus.
The situation of refugees from the Northern Caucasus in Poland, which usually becomes the "first safe EU country" which the refugees manage to enter, is tragic, but due to the inhumane Dublin Treaty, which should not be allowed to exist in a democracy, they cannot leave the country until their asylum application process is resolved. They are forced to make an application only in Poland, although they would often want to apply for asylum in another European country. This leads to a situation in which the people cannot meet their relatives or friends waiting for asylum in another country for whole years, even if they are in a country that has a common border with Poland. Also in other parts of Europe, the immigration policy is unduly harsh against refugees from the Northern Caucasus, and reports of persecution of citizen from this area and also from other parts of Russia seem to go unnoticed. There have been cases, where families with children are forced to live in degrading refugee camp conditions under enormous stress for 7-8 years.
The Department for Asylum and Migration Policy of the Czech Ministry of the Interior started to reject asylum applications of Chechen refugees in 2009, stating that the situation in 8 Chechnya has already "stabilized". In this regard, Michael Kocab was visited in May 2010, during his service as the Czech government's Commissioner for Human Rights, by Mrs. Svetlana Gannushkina, with a request not to allow the deportation of the Chechens. Mrs. Gannushkina, the chairperson of the the "Civic assistance" committee, a board member of "Memorial”, a member of the Russian Federation President's Council for support of civil society, institutions and human rights, and a member of a government commission on migration policy, appeals:
"The campaign to isolate Chechens from society was sometimes suppressed, then erupted again with great force, and that has been happening since the end of 1999 and continues to this day. We present a lot of those facts in the reports on the situation of Chechens in Russia, published yearly by the "Memorial" organization. I would like to stress, that the newest report is largely devoted to the terrible situation of Chechens in the prison system, that not many of them will be able leave alive. Of course, the greatest pressure and persecution is exerted on those who had the slightest relation to the side opposing the federal forces: those who fought during the first or second campaign, family members of those fighting in illegal armed units, those suspected (often without reason) of supporting those groups. I was in Chechnya from February 25 till March 1, 2010. I have to say, that I haven't seen this level of fear and suspicion for many years. The residents who lost everything after their houses were burned out by Kadyrov's men, after they were laid off work, living in desperate poverty, they are intimidated to such an extent, that some of those families didn't dare to come to us for material support… Currently, the last statement of UNHCR is a text written at the beginning of 2008, when Chechnya was relatively quiet. UNHCR understands perfectly, that the situation is much worse, all bans regarding abductions, that were previously made by Ramzan Kadyrov, have been canceled. An example is the kidnapping of Zarema Gaysanova, an employee of Danish Refugee Council, on November 3, 2009. The operation, during which this happened, was led by Ramzan Kadyrov personally. He does not hide it, but cynically points out, that he is ready to welcome the investigators at any time. But the investigator of the case of Zarema's kidnapping neither invites him for questioning, nor goes to question him at home. All residents of Chechnya must constantly and publicly admire not only the successes in the social-economic sphere in Chechnya, but also the person of its leader. A single, but not absolute warranty of safety, especially for young people, is to participate in Ramzan Kadyrov's bloody crimes, those that are now being concealed in Chechnya by the relatives of the victims, because they have nowhere to turn for help. In such a situation, the deportation or extradition of ethnic Chechens to Russia is unacceptable and is against the 1951 UN Convention, as well as against the main provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms."
Subsequently, Michael Kocab managed to not only prevent the forced repatriation of several asylum seekers from the Czech Republic, but also to establish a precedent among European governments by passing a resolution of the Czech government's Council for Human Rights, which states that Chechens can be repatriated from the Czech Republic only on a voluntary basis. Thanks to the initiative of Michael Kocab, it was possible to redefine the Czech policy in this area, with the aim of extending it to other EU countries.
This intention was fully supported by Mrs. Heidi Hautala, the President of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament. The Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Mr. Bjorn Engesland , and his deputy, Mr. Gunnar M. Ekelove-Slydal wrote in their statement to Michael Kocab:
"NHC emphasizes, together with other human-rights organizations, that the forced return of Chechens into the Russian Federation cannot be generalized by the statement that it is possible to think of the alternative of internal relocation within Russia, which is possible, safe and acceptable. In many cases, the Chechens could be relocated to Chechnya from other parts of Russia by force. Upon their return, they can also face suspicions that they were members or supporters of illegal rebel formations or that they supported the separatist Chechen government (Ichkeria)… Moreover, we see that the situation in Chechnya and in the broader Northern Caucasus area has become worse in 2009-10 compared to previous years, which calls for better protection of Chechen asylum seekers. NHC published a report in 2008, where it calls attention to the fact, that “the practices of violent disappearances are renewed using a regional system of torture, forced confessions and made-up court cases. The suspects are illegally detained, tortured, forced to confess to involvement with armed forces or similar crimes. The courts condemn these suspects to long sentences based on testimonies gained through torture.” In consequence of this, even if the years 2007-8 were promising regarding improvement of the worst facts (the number of "forced disappearances" was lower), the general critical situation of human rights and impunity after committing serious violent crimes remain in place… Even though the federal authorities announced on March 16, 2009, that the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya is over, it had no effect on the use of torture and illegal detentions in counter-terrorism objectives… Chechen asylum seekers must be accepted by European governments very differently. In some of the countries, protection was granted to large numbers, while other countries remained restrictive in providing any form of help or support. In Norway, the policy changed in 2007, when the Norwegian Immigration Directorate (Utlendingsdirektiratet – UDI) decided to change its policy regarding Russian asylum seekers coming from the Northern Caucasus, particularly Chechens. The reason was resolutions of several departments of Norwegian immigration authorities that stated, “in Russia, there is an alternative of internal relocation for the Chechens, that is possible, safe and acceptable, and in accordance with general recommendations of UNHCR" (June 22, 2007 – Letter from UDI). NHC has taken a very critical attitude towards this change, arguing that such asylum decisions, depending on the possibility of internal relocation, may, in Norway and other European countries, result in violation of the UN Convention on Refugees from 1949. Enforcement of such decisions would result in surrendering the asylum seekers for prosecution, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, manipulated prosecution and lifethreatening situations, the NHC said. Despite these arguments, the Norwegian authorities, in line with general European trends, started to adhere to a very restrictive policy. In the first five months of 2010, the migration departments dealt with 376 asylum applications of Russian citizens, mostly Chechens. Only 19 of them received protection in the first instance. On the basis of the above mentioned, we consider your efforts, and the efforts of the Committee on the Rights of Aliens of the Government Council for Human Rights, to redefine the policy in this area as very important. The protection resulting from the Czech process will certainly be to the benefit of Chechens in the Czech Republic. However, it could also have a wider influence on directing the other EU countries towards policies more oriented towards protection. …we hope that current debates and activities will lead to improvements in the asylum policy in the Czech Republic, and eventually in other EU countries. I can assure you that NHC will assist in these matters and provide you with any help and support necessary to introduce an 10 asylum policy with regard to Chechens and other international protection seekers on a legal basis."
After retiring from government office in September 2010, Michael Kocab, among other things, appealed to the Government of the Slovak Republic, which, on request of the Russian Prosecutor's Office, was about to extradite Ali Ibragimov and Anzor Chentiev, two Chechen asylum seekers who had at that time been in Slovak custody for 4.5 years, to the Russian Federation. That happened because ECHR decided in September 2010 not to pursue their complaints and agreed with the decisions of the Slovak courts, that they can be extradited to the Russian Federation, because the Russian side guarantees them a fair trial. It was an unprecedented success in reversing a decision of ECHR: In November 2010, after a new appeal, it issued a provisional measure that the two Chechens cannot be extradited to the Russian Federation. The appeal by Mr. Kocab motivated the world's human rights activists to send more appeals to the Slovak government, and only because of that, the two refugees were not extradited before the new decision of ECHR.
In January 2011, Michael Kocab became the Deputy Head od Czech Helsinki Committee.
That gives particular meaning to the events described below. After the Velvet Revolution, in 1989, Michael Kocab was responsible for parliamentary surveillance of the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Czechoslovakia. In this position, he took part in a state visit to Moscow, with the Chairman of the Federal Assembly of the Czech Republic. He spoke in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, met members of foreign and defense-security committees, and had discussions with Foreign Minister Shevardnadze and others. As a result, after returning home to Milovice, where the headquarters of Soviet forces under the command of general Vorobyov was positioned, he was welcomed with unprecedented respect. Even then it was clear, that the Soviet Union would fall apart. Michael Kocab asked general Vorobyov and the other generals present to realize that according to the example of Czechoslovakia, a revolution can be done without bloodshed, and to think about that in relation to the upcoming events and the possibility of armed conflict within the USSR.
A few years later, Michael Kocab met the former Lieutenant General Vorobyov again at the Czech embassy in Moscow. He learned that at the beginning of the first Chechen war in 1994, the general was sent to lead the first attack on Grozny. However, when on the spot, he opened the folder with orders, closed it again and refused to take command of the military operation, saying that he would not participate in anything so brutal. Vorobyov made an unbelievable and for many completely incomprehensible decision. He refused to be in command of the Russian attack on Chechnya. He than lost his general's stars, while being only one year away from the highest Russian military rank – that of marshal. Only in 2010, at a Prague meeting between Michael Kocab and Chechen refugees, did the public, that could not understand what led such a high ranking Russian General to act in such a humane way, destroying his life-long career, learn the cause. It turned out, that the reason was a promise given by general Vorobyov to Michael Kocab before the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia.
Pražský výběr was a Czech band founded by composer, instrumentalist and singer Michael Kocáb. Kocáb studied at the Prague conservatory (studying organ with Jiří Ropek and composition with Ilja Hurník) and was already artistically active during his studies with Prague big band Milana Svobody and Jiří Stivín. In 1981 he got to know guitarist Michal Pavlíček. The band Pražský výběr recorded the album 'Straka v hrsti' (A Magpie in the Hand) in 1982, but the record was forbidden to be released (it came out six years later). In the meantime Pražský výběr became one of the symbols of the resistance to the totalitarian regime. Unlike the majority of other underground bands it not only sent out a very powerful message in the lyrics but also performed at a very high musical level keeping steadily at the head of modern fusion rock.
In 1987 Pražský Výběr made a long awaited comeback which was documented by its very successful second album, recorded after the comeback tour and paradoxically released before the first album. The shooting of a feature film on the band´s unusual history started in early 1989 - but the crazy movie called 'Pražákům, těm je tu hej' (The Pragers Are in Clover) was completed only after the Velvet Revolution. After resuming activities, the group then enjoyed their most celebrated years, selling out sports halls and recording new records. A joint recording with Michal Pavlíček followed (the album Cerne svetlo, or Black Light), as did a solo record 'Povídali, že mu hráli' (They said they played for him).
Michael Kocáb also played a significant part in the Velvet Revolution. His transformation from musician to politician began in the summer of 1989 at the Děčínská kotva music festival, when he said that: “Every nation has the government it deserves” in a live television broadcast. Afterward, he founded the Most (Bridge) initiative with lyricist Michal Horáček, and was involved in direct negotiations between representatives of the Communist Party and the Civic Forum in November 1989. Kocáb was subsequently a member of the federal Parliament for nearly two years. As chairman of a parliamentary committee, he primarily devoted himself to the removal of Soviet troops.After this was fully executed, he gave up his parliamentary mandate and organized a concert for the occasion. Pražský výběr played at this event, and were joined by Kocáb’s friend Frank Zappa. When Václav Havel became president, he brought Michael Kocáb to the castle with him as an unpaid external adviser. In the 1990's, Pražský výběr got back together several times. They recorded an album, played a few concerts and then went their separate ways again. To celebrate the anniversary in 2005 Czech television released a documentary film which tracks the bands history and makes use a of a wide range archive material. On the solo outings front, Michael Kocáb released the album 'Za kyslík' (For oxygen), which combines his New Wave roots with dance impulses. Next to that he is a regular guest singer on the albums by Hapka & Horáček since 1988. In 2003 he makes a brief return to music with a solo-album called 'Za Kyslík' (the Oxygen).