Site Archive‎ > ‎European Union‎ > ‎

Memorial Human Rights Society: a Tribute to Havel

Source: (info), 19/12/11 

We have lost Václav Havel. We have lost a playwright, essayist, political writer, whose name has become – for the Czech Republic, Russia and all of Eastern Europe – a symbol of intellectual resistance to dictatorship, a symbol of the ultimate victory of free reason and free expression over state lies and violence.

We have lost a man whose entire oeuvre and public activities embodied the spirit of the Czech nation and Czech culture – the spirit of commonsense wisdom and wise irony. Nothing was more alien to Havel than false theatricality, particularly that of a ' father of the nation', of a tribune and a prophet; than the self-satisfied theatricality of dogmatic self-righteousness, whatever its source.

We have lost a statesman, whose policies were based on values and developed through the theory and practice of Resistance, values that his late teacher and friend, the philosopher Jan Patočka, has called “apolitical politics”.

It was President Václav Havel's apolitical politics – these days we would call it 'civic politics' – that enabled the Czech people to turn the socialist Absurdistan of Havel's plays into a country of freedom and stable democracy in a time span shorter than anyone could have imagined.

Václav Havel was the rare, one might say historical, fortune visited upon the Czech nation.

For the past twenty years the following sentence has been popular in Russia: “What this country is missing is a Havel!” We have been repeating this sentence in recent days as mass demonstrations in defence of democracy and freedom were being held in Moscow and other Russian cities.

Now all of mankind will miss Havel.

International Memorial Human Rights Society




Rights in Russia,
22 Dec 2011, 09:33