Monday, December 19, 2011

Vaclav Havel, 1936-2011


He served 14 years as president, wrote 19 plays, inspired a film and a rap song and remained one of his generation’s most seductively nonconformist writers.

He rejected the notion, posited by reform-minded Communist leaders like Alexander Dubcek in his own country, and years later by Mikhail S. Gorbachev in the Soviet Union, that Communist rule could be made more humane.

In his now iconic 1978 essay “The Power of the Powerless,” which circulated in underground editions in Czechoslovakia and was smuggled to other Warsaw Pact countries and to the West, Mr. Havel foresaw that the opposition could eventually prevail against the totalitarian state.

Source: Czechs’ Dissident Conscience, Turned President - NYTimes.com

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