Farewell: Václav Havel

Dec 19, 2011 by
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Havel to the Castle. Image Source: WSJ.

It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of Václav Havel.  Today, black flags hang by Prague Castle.  One of the leaders who saw an end to the Eastern Bloc in the 1989 to 1991 period, his death marks another end to that era. He represented something of the best in the Czechs, a man whose pure and ethical convictions shone in his face and life – and he did not waver. He had a rare grasp of the moral obligations shouldered by free men and women.

His Website is here and BBC and Guardian obits here and here, respectively. The Prague Post will do a large retrospective of him on December 21. The Lidové Noviny coverage is here.

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Image Source: Bloomberg.

The NYT, which is remembering his plays, quoted Natalia Koliada, a co-founder of the Belarus Free Theater, who tweeted: “There is less morality in politics with his death.” Lists of his dramatic and literary published works are here and here. The world is a poorer place without him. From his 1994 acceptance speech for the Philadelphia Liberty Medal:

“The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order. Yet I think it must be anchored in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the case so far. If it is to be more than just a slogan mocked by half the world, it cannot be expressed in the language of departing era, and it must not be mere froth floating on the subsiding waters of faith in a purely scientific relationship to the world.”
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