Dec 18, 2011

In Memoriam: Vaclav Havel

At six this evening (one hour ago) all church bells across the Czech Republic tolled their bells in mourning at the passing of Vaclav Havel, one of the truly great political leaders in the world today - of the stature of Nelson Mandela. The story is well known how Havel after suffering imprisonment and harassment for many years at the hands of Communist officialdom  led his country to freedom through the non-violent Velvet Revolution of 1989. A playwright, an artist, a creative and moral thinker, Havel was anything but a career politician, and even through two terms as Czech president, never became entirely comfortable in the role. He  always longed to return to the role he loved best, that of writer and thinker and chronicler of his times, and for this longing and for his evident resistance to the political life he was beloved by his people, for all of his quirks and faults. His passing will now send shock waves of reflection and assessment through his country, as we evaluate how we have evolved as a country since 1989 and in what ways we have honored his legacy and in how many ways we may have betrayed it. The passing of a giant.

Estimated crowd of 100.000 pays homage to Havel this evening in Wenceslaus Square.
This is the self effacing poet and playwright who led them to freedom 22 years ago.

Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theater into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, died Sunday.
Christian Science Monitor


colkoch said...

My condolences to the Czech people. Not just they, but the world has lost a truly giant of a man. He dreamed dreams and understood those dreams could not bear fruit unless they were planted with blood and tears and no fear of failure.

Jayden Cameron said...

Truly, Colleen, Havel was an inspiring model of courage and fidelity to principal under enormous pressure and over many many years. He simply refused to let go of his own inner sense of integrity.

William D. Lindsey said...

Jayden, thank you for this great commemoration of a man whom I truly admired as a leader--a rarely admirable leader in a world full of the opposite. I hadn't seen the pictures of the gathering in Prague, but they're also powerful, and I appreciate your sharing them.

Jayden Cameron said...

Today was the funeral, Bill, but of course it was impossible to get close unless you were so dedicated you lined up at 6am in the morning, as many did, to watch the funeral cortege. A profoundly moving service, televised across the nation, with passages from Dvorak's Requiem performed. When the coffin left the Cathedral, onlookers clapped and rattled their keys, a symbol of freedom from 1989. Deeply moving and deeply sad somehow, because he has been followed by politicians of a much lesser stamp. Makes his appearance seem such a fortuitous mystery, almost as if we don't deserve or aren't' intended to have such sterling examples of integrity very often. Whatever the case, I'm saddened today by his passing.

colkoch said...

Here's some HOPE. It takes one tenth of one percent to create change. Jesus knew that, Martin Luther King knew that, Havel knew that, Mandela knew that, Ghandi knew that, but Hitler knew that, Stalin knew that, and Mao knew that. The big question for 2012 is which one tenth of one percent is going to create the next reality? I suspect it's going to be the good guys.

Merry Christmas and a very hopeful New Year.

Jayden Cameron said...

Thanks, Colleen, and the same to you and yours. Peace, joy and blessings for the season and a hopeful 2012, the great year of transformation on the Mayan Calender!