Czechoslovakian playright-turned-emancipator-turned statesman died this weekend. In short, Havel wrote plays; totalitarian commies banned his plays and also wouldn't let him leave the country to watch foreign plays. So Havel drops a manifesto on their commie bitch asses hyping immediate liberty for Plastic People of the Universe (you srsly could not make this shit up). Havel's manifesto, Charter 77, got his ass locked up by the commie regime, sometimes for years. In prison, Havel prose-styled immortal essays that got his ass thrown back in prison often in the '80s. But the decade ended with a Velvet Revolution which Havel described recalled thusly to a to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on 21 February 1990:
The last time they arrested me, on October 27 of last year, I didn't know whether it was for two days or two years. Exactly one month later, when rock musician Michael Kocab told me that I would probably be proposed as a presidential candidate, I thought it was one of his usual jokes.
On the 10th of December 1989, when my actor friend Jiri Bartoska, in the name of the Civic Forum, nominated me as a candidate for the office of the president of the republic, I thought it was out of the question that the Parliament we had inherited from the previous regime would elect me.
Twelve days later, when I was unanimously elected president of my country, I had no idea that in two months I would be speaking in front of this famous and powerful assembly, and that I would be heard by millions of people who have never heard of me and that hundreds of politicians and political scientists would study every word I say.
When they arrested me on October 27, I was living in a country ruled by the most conservative Communist government in Europe, and our society slumbered beneath the pall of a totalitarian system. Today, less than four months later, I am speaking to you as the representative of a country which has complete freedom of speech, which is preparing for free elections, and which seeks to establish a prosperous market economy and its own foreign policy.
1. The main thing is, it seems to me, that these revolutionary changes will enable us to escape from the rather antiquated straitjacket of this bipolar view of the world, and to enter at last into an era of multipolarity. That is, into an era in which all of us, large and small, former slaves and former masters, will be able to create what your great President Lincoln called “the family of man”
The main thing is, it seems to me, that these revolutionary changes will enable us to escape from the rather antiquated straitjacket of this bipolar view of the world, and to enter at last into an era of multipolarity. That is, into an era in which all of us, large and small, former slaves and former masters, will be able to create what your great President Lincoln called “the family of man”
2. What I am trying to say is this: We must all learn many things from you, from how to educate our offspring, how to elect our representatives, all the way to how to organize our economic life so that it will lead to prosperity and not poverty. But it doesn’t have to be merely assistance from the well-educated, the powerful and the wealthy to someone who has nothing to offer in return. We too can offer something to you: our experience and the knowledge that has come from it.
3. As long as people are people, democracy in the full sense of the word will always be no more than an ideal; one may approach it as one would a horizon, in ways that may be better or worse, but it can never be fully attained. In this sense you are also merely approaching democracy. You have thousands of problems of all kinds, as other countries do. But you have one great advantage: You have been approaching democracy uninterruptedly for more than 200 years, and your journey toward that horizon has never been disrupted by a totalitarian system.
4. A person who cannot move and live a normal life because he is pinned under a boulder has more time to think about his hopes than someone who is not trapped in this way.
5. My only school was life itself.
6. Vaclav Havel cannot make decisions about things it is not proper for him to decide. He is merely putting in a good word for genuine peace, and for achieving it quickly.