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Vaclav Havel, the first President of a free Czech Republic after the Cold War, has died after a long battle with lung cancer.

Havel was a wonderful writer and playwright, and I have read quite a bit of his work. I also met him once. He was one amazing character.

Imprisoned for years by the Communist Czechoslovak Government, he rose, like a phoenix, from the ashes to lead a beautiful country out of bondage. A true, Modern-day Moses. He will be missed, but read his work. Especially "The Garden Party". One of his best, in my opinion.

A little more over the fold...

Back in the early 90's, when I was living in Vienna, a few friends and I went to the Czech-Austrian Ball in Prague. Havel was newly President, and put in an appearance. In fact, he was having a dance with Dagmar Koller Austrian film and television star and the wife of long-time Mayor of Vienna, Helmut Zilk. The dance floor was then opened and--yes, I know, it's very "1%"--off I went with my friend Gudrun, dressed to the 9's in white tie and tails, to dance. Well, I stepped on the foot of the President. In came his bodyguards, but he said to me in German: "Don't worry, kid, I can't dance either".

I always admired Vaclav Havel, and wish I had met him under different circumstances, but I feel deeply gratified to have made his acquaintance, even while being a klutz.

Read his plays. You won't be disappointed.

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