thomil13FRA From Ireland, joined Jul 2010, 81 posts, RR: 0 Posted (1 year 12 months 13 hours ago) and read 1450 times:
BBC and other news outlets are reporting that Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, and a key figure of the movement for democracy in the Czech Republic and Central Europe, has died at age 75.
kaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12167 posts, RR: 35 Reply 3, posted (1 year 12 months 11 hours ago) and read 1394 times:
A very great man; a true hero of his country, but also the rest of Europe as well. He was not just a playwright, but a philosopher as well and many of his sayings and speeches are counted among the best in recent history.
He will be sorely missed and I hope that he is honoured by his people and the wider European community the way he deserves to be.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12956 posts, RR: 79 Reply 6, posted (1 year 12 months 7 hours ago) and read 1318 times:
Eastern Europe's George Orwell, was pivotal in the ending the rule of one of the nastier Warsaw Pact regimes and did so without firing a shot .
Sane free thinking guardians of true freedom are not having a good week what with Christopher Hitchens death.
To survive the mental torture of the regime, to galvanise opposition, to then become leader of his country were great achievements.
Tinged with his inability to prevent his beloved Czechoslovakia from splitting, which however painful for him, was also a result of free will and probably could not have been prevented by anyone else.
prebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6131 posts, RR: 55 Reply 11, posted (1 year 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1232 times:
I was in Prague on a Sunday in late February 1990 when Vaclav Havel was giving a speech from the balcony of the castle before going to Moscow on Monday morning for negotiations with Gorbachev. No, I wasn't at the castle, that wasn't possible. But I have never seen so many happy people as in Prague on that Sunday.
Shortly later I read one of his plays as a book. Then I realized why the east European dictators had to put him behind bars. Havel was a really exceptional man.
He was hardly a prototype of a modern politician who could deal efficiently with priorities in budget forecasts and such. But he was exactly the right catalyst needed to make all the various new and inexperienced people in power work together for the benefit of the country instead of "fighting" their individual goals.
It was likely a disappointment for him that he couldn't keep his country together. But I think that he also saw the benefits of the split. Czechoslovakia was in fact a rather artificial construction, an area which was somewhat "left over" following the breakup on the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WWI, and in fact it existed as an independent country only for 20 years from 1918 to 1938. Instead of continued internal quarrel the two countries can now live their own lives and be extremely good friends.
Havel was likely the master of the club of people such as Lech Walesa of Poland and Lennart Meri, Estonia, etc. Barely a handful of people who together shaped an immensely "happy end" to the most troubled century ever experienced in Europe, the 20th century.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 11): Czechoslovakia was in fact a rather artificial construction, an area which was somewhat "left over" following the breakup on the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WWI, and in fact it existed as an independent country only for 20 years from 1918 to 1938.
With retrospect of almost 20 years some of the Czech-Slovak quarrels from the early 1990s seem futile and pointless, however the split turned out to be a win-win situation for both nations and a great catalyst towards improvement in mutual relations (official and unofficial) between the two nations which are now far better than they were during federation.
slider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6625 posts, RR: 36 Reply 15, posted (1 year 11 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1062 times:
Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 8): It's a bit shocking that this thread gets less visitors and reaction then a Lindsey Lohan thread
True....he was a magnificent man. I remain most impressed that it is the Eastern European nations and folks that emerged from the Iron Curtain that have the greatest animation for freedom. It is the Czechs who have been so vigorous in their quest for liberty, to stop communism, and move the argument for free societies forward. Havel was a giant in this regard, who proved that slow, steady pressure can indeed move mountains.
FatmirJusufi From Albania, joined Jan 2009, 2435 posts, RR: 7 Reply 16, posted (1 year 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1052 times:
It is really sad that a very great man, wise politician and one of the greatest statesmen of Europe passed away. He served devoutly to his country and his people. Besides, I will always remember him as one of the greatest supporters of Kosovo's cause.
Gunsontheroof From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3480 posts, RR: 10 Reply 20, posted (1 year 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 977 times:
Really surprised by the relative lack of replies to this thread. Pretty much every European I've ever met held Mr. Havel in high-regard and I do as well. Truly a remarkable man, all the best to his family and friends. R.I.P.
He in a way was THE successor-in.-spirit of Willy Brandt, another giant of European history. Sure,
Willy Brandt was a professional politician which makes a difference but there are quite many
similarities between these two unforgettable gentemen
Checo77 From Peru, joined Oct 2004, 1345 posts, RR: 8 Reply 22, posted (1 year 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 950 times:
Friday is President´s Havel funeral in Prague. A mass will be held at the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague castle in his honor.
Among confirmed statesman are Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron, Lech Walesa, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Jose Barroso, Ivan Gasparovic, Iveta Radicova, the presidents of Slovenia, Estonia, the prince of the Netherlands, amongst others.
I am sad that I cannot be in Prague in this moment, I will held my respects to the man that led my country and others to freedom from Lima.
Bill Clinton with a "stony" face. I remember that he on a visit to Prague together with Vaclav Havel visited the favourite pubs of V.H. and went with him to a Jazz club to play Jazz. Had the impression that the two gents were on the same wavelengths. And I guess that they met in private after that again. Yes indeed, getting older means that increasingly, people "around you" start to pass away one by one.