Former Czech President Václav Havel dies

Action Jackson
12-18-2011, 10:49 AM

Vaclav Havel, former Czech Republic president, dies aged 75

Dissident playwright who became Czech Republic's first post-communist president dies

Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theatre into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, has died. He was 75.

His assistant Sabina Dancecova says Havel died on Sunday morning at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic.

Havel was his country's first democratically elected president after the nonviolent "Velvet Revolution" that ended four decades of repression by a regime he ridiculed as "Absurdistan".

As president, he oversaw the country's bumpy transition to democracy and a free-market economy, as well its peaceful 1993 breakup into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

12-18-2011, 10:50 AM
great politician and not a bad artist either

12-18-2011, 10:56 AM
Timeless icon of Integrity and Liberty, one of the Greats of the XXth century.


12-18-2011, 11:08 AM
R.I.P. great man!!!

12-18-2011, 11:13 AM
A great loss :sad:


12-18-2011, 11:15 AM
A great politician & a great man
Also the most famous fan of The Velvet Underground

12-18-2011, 01:30 PM
A great man

Sunset of Age
12-19-2011, 04:18 PM
Timeless icon of Integrity and Liberty, one of the Greats of the XXth century.


Abolutely. :sad: :sad: :sad:
A great poet and playwriter who managed to bring down a dictatorship with the PEN rather than the sword, and most of all a decent, honest man who managed to stay that way throughout his presidency.

Terrible loss.

12-19-2011, 04:31 PM
Too bad he has to be on an inside page, while a mass murderer gets all the headlines.

12-19-2011, 05:59 PM
Great respect for a man who destroyed a terrible atheistic regime in his country ! :worship:

12-19-2011, 09:09 PM
Great respect for a man who destroyed a terrible atheistic regime in his country ! :worship:

Atheistic regime :spit:

12-19-2011, 09:24 PM
Atheistic regime :spit:

Yes it was, did you ignore that?

12-19-2011, 10:46 PM
in america havel is not that well known, but by the reaction it sounds like he was a great man.

r.i.p. havel

12-19-2011, 11:01 PM
Yes, a great man who steered his country through very turbulent times at risk to himself.

12-20-2011, 12:18 PM
Yes it was, did you ignore that?

the only thing i ignore is jolangago's claptrap

12-20-2011, 12:38 PM
RIP, he was a great man and an inspiration for a lot of people in East Europe!:sad:

12-20-2011, 01:45 PM
Václav Havel: another side to the story

The Czech leader was a brave man, but the voices of those who lost out after communism's demise are seldom heard

Neil Clark

The Guardian, Monday 19 December 2011
Article history

He was the symbol of 1989, the anti-communist playwright who helped free his country – and the rest of eastern Europe – from Stalinist tyranny and who put the countries that lay behind the iron curtain on the road to democracy.

So goes the dominant narrative of the life of Václav Havel, the former Czech president, who died on Sunday aged 75. Havel, we are told, was a hero and one of the greatest Europeans of our age.

But, as with the recent consecration of Christopher Hitchens, another "progressive" opponent of the communist regimes of eastern Europe who found favour with Washington's neocons, there is another side to the story.

No one questions that Havel, who went to prison twice, was a brave man who had the courage to stand up for his views. Yet the question which needs to be asked is whether his political campaigning made his country, and the world, a better place.

Havel's anti-communist critique contained little if any acknowledgement of the positive achievements of the regimes of eastern Europe in the fields of employment, welfare provision, education and women's rights. Or the fact that communism, for all its faults, was still a system which put the economic needs of the majority first.

Although he did clash with his uber-Thatcherite presidential successor, Václav Klaus, over economic policy, Havel, the son of a wealthy entrepreneur whose companies were nationalised when the communists came to power, showed little concern for the plight of ordinary people who lost out in the change towards a market economy. And there were losers aplenty. While the years following the liberation of eastern Europe from communism by Havel and his fellow dissidents are routinely portrayed in the west as one big success story, the reality is rather different. A 2009 Lancet study concluded that as many as 1 million working-age men died due to the health problems brought on by mass privatisation. As economies across eastern Europe were restructured so inequalities and social divisions grew. A 2011 OECD report found that Havel's Czech Republic had the joint-second largest rise in income inequality in OECD members since the mid-1980s.

Havel's true political allegiances came to the fore during his years as president. Like fellow dissident Lech Walesa, he supported the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. In 2002, he sided with the rightwing Republican hawks on Iraq.

Lauding Havel is not only doing a disservice to the millions of ordinary people in eastern Europe who have not been served well by his politics, but to the innocent men, women and children killed by the western military adventures he supported. While Havel was a man of undoubted talent and intellect, it's time we stopped eulogising people simply because they were anti-communist dissidents, and instead look at the bigger picture.

12-20-2011, 08:13 PM
what a stuped article :(
sure, it was Havel's fault when the comunism he was opposing to colapsed and made a lot of countries bakrupt and people died thereof?!? WTF?
What an author is that to write sich a nonsence! It is apparatnly someone who doesn't understand what was really going on in East Europe during the transition period :(