Vaclav Havel -The Greatest President ?

Vaclav Havel From Playwright To Politician

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On December 18th 2012 Vaclav Havel 75 died at his northern Prague home. ,  He was an acclaimed playwright , human rights campaigner and the Czech Republic’s first president following the country’s 1989 peaceful ‘ Velvet Revolution’ which toppled communist rule.

Vaclav Havel first gained international fame as a dissident playwright during the 1970s and his founding work as a co-founder of the human rights manifesto Charter 77. The Charter criticized the Czechoslovakian Government for its failure to implement several international agreements which it had signed including the 1960 Constitution of Czechoslovakia,the 1975 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe Act and various United Nations covenants on civil cultural economic and political rights.

The Charter was constructed as a document for discussion by the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly rather than a manifesto of an opposition manifesto as parties opposed to the communist state were illegal. . It was seized by the Czech authorities and it became a crime to circulate copies og it within Czechoslovakia. The Charter which as widely published in western media was interpreted by many political commentators as an indication of the Czechoslovakian struggle for freedom. As a consequence Vaclav Havel and others associated were arrested and imprisoned.

In 1989 when the Czechoslovakians turned out in thousands in Wenceslas Square Prague peacefully demanding that they ne given the same freedom that had weeks early been bestowed upon the East Germans the demonstrators chanted ‘Havel to the Castle’ which was a reference to the official home of Czech rulers.

When the communism collapsed and the pro communist president resigned two weeks later Vaclav Havel became Czechoslovakia’s first democratic president.. He went on to oversee the country’s transition to democracy and a free-market economy.In 1993 he was instrumental in the peaceful split of the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

‘When his death was announced tributes to his life credited him with being the inspiration and driving force for many people struggling to overthrow the f communist rule in eastern Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel described him as a “great European” in a letter of condolence to the present Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

Chancellor Merkel, who grew up under communist rule in East Germany said “his fight for freedom and democracy was as unforgettable as his great humanity,” She added ‘ We Germans in particular have much for which we are grateful to him. We mourn this loss of a great European with you,” The Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said “Vaclav Havel was one of the greatest Europeans of our age. His voice for freedom paved way for a Europe whole and free.”

see also Prague History



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