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Vaclav Havel Has Died


Subdeacon Joe

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Czechs bid farewell to anti-communist hero Havel

 

 

The former dissident playwright helped topple communism in eastern Europe through the power of his words, insisting, "Truth and love triumph over lies and hate."

 

His longtime friend and translator Paul Wilson remembered him as a "a very shy and gentle man with a will of steel, who was fearless when confronting a regime that tried, relentlessly, to crush his spirit."

 

Havel, a puckish, absurdist playwright turned political activist, spent four and a half years in prison for opposing Czechslovakia's communist government before emerging as a leader of the Velvet Revolution that swept it aside in 1989.

 

He went on to become president of Czechoslovakia and of the Czech Republic when the country split in two at the end of 1992.

 

He died peacefully in his sleep Sunday morning in the presence of his wife, Dagmar, according to his spokeswoman Sabina Tancevova.

 

A level headed man with passion for his ideals.

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From his first address to his nation

 

" My dear fellow citizens,

 

For forty years you heard from my predecessors on this day different variations on the same theme: how our country was flourishing, how many million tons of steel we produced, how happy we all were, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspectives were unfolding in front of us.

 

I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you."

 

He went on to detail, in clear language, exactly how big a mess the Communist government had left behind and exactly what he intended to do about it, speaking more truth in forty minutes than his predecessors had done in forty years.

 

May he rest in peace.

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