Yesterday, the 18th of December 2011, marks probably one of the saddest days in not only the Czech, but also in the whole post-Eastern Europe history. Black flags, millions of burning candles, thousands of people mourning in the streets or in front of the Prague Castle: The dissident playwright who led the “Velvet revolution” in former Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, died at the age of 75.
One may say that this was another “shot that was heard around the world“. (See the obituaries in The Guardian, The Economist, The Independent.) For a moment it seemed that life came to a halt. In the words of people who loved and admired Havel: “Life was somewhat easier while knowing he was around.”
There are many things to thank Mr. Havel for and I personally deeply regret not doing so even though I was honoured of talking to him in person – almost exactly – two years ago as a finalist of a literary competition. If I were to list everything my nation and country should be grateful for, if would probably make for a little book. Hence, I will be only brief, but not any less sincere in saying:
Dear Mr. Havel,
Words cannot accurately describe the degree to which I am thankful.
I admire your courage to speak up and fight what you believed in, I find solace and comfort in reading your speeches and books, I grief for all injustice that had been done to you.
I would like to most sincerely thank you not just in my name, but also in the name of our country for freedom and democracy that you helped to bring about. Your compassion and incorruptibility, bravery and perseverance have gone down in history. You made the world a slightly better place. In our hearts you shall live forever.
“Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred.” (Vaclav Havel)