It has been a bad week for writers who influenced your humble blogg'r in his young adulthood.
As most of you know, Václav Havel has passed. First Hitch, then Václav; both died as a byproduct of a love of cigarettes, BTW.
What a giant - and a perfect example of the mindlessness of the Communist mindset in the face of human nature. Afraid of a guy who wrote plays.
Well, in the end he won; in spades.
The great thing about Havel was the same thing that drove me to him - a focus on freedom. Shortly after it was published back in 1991, I picked up Open Letters: Selected Writings; there it is in the upper-right corner pulled out from its place in my library this morning.
A well worn book that I took on deployment in '92. It could use a good translation - but for anyone who wanted to look in to the mind of a free man living in an intellectual prison, this should be on your short list.
Anyway - thank you Václav.Jindřich Šídlo I think outlines him very well.
.... Vaclav Havel was neither an angel, nor God, and he knew that the nation would not change.As a side note - it looks like Admiral Stavridis and I are on the same page here.
For all that, he always did exactly what he thought was the right thing. He talked constantly about things that were not exactly easy to listen to after years of hearing about them over and over again – morality, conscience, responsibility, but also of racism and corruption, whose dangers he was very quick to recognise in the early 90s.
And he did all that knowing full well the risk that people would measure his words against their own experience and against what he would do himself. A confrontation between moral authority and politics in the real world cannot, it seems, end up without some disenchantment all round.
Truth and love have not won over lies and hatred, but there can be no doubt that everything Vaclav Havel did or said arose from his deepest conviction that precisely that way leads the path. And no matter what the majority may think about it at any moment.