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The Passing of A Great Freedom Fighter

Yesterday the world lost a great freedom fighter; that freedom fighter was Vaclav Havel.  Even though most Americans might only vaguely remember him, his contributions to the defeat of Communism in the former Czechoslovakia were monumental.   Through his peaceful resistance and writing he was able to provide the philosophical inspiration for the successful overthrow of communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989.   As the son of a Slovak mother I remember poignantly the momentous events of 1989.   I remember how we all watched in excitement on the TV as the Velvet Revolution took place.   None of us ever believed that this could happen.   In many ways Havel can be compared to Nelson Mandela.  Both of them were imprisoned by repressive regimes, both of them provided the inspiration to their people through their peaceful resistance, and both of them emerged victorious eventually becoming the respective leaders of their countries.   In this age of phony politicians it is only fitting to remember one of history's great statesmen.  Vaclav Havel was one of those statesmen.  I will conclude my post with these fitting words from Ed Feulner of the Heritage Foundation:

"The cause of freedom lost a passionate advocate with the death of former Czech president, dissident and playwright Vaclav Havel. President Havel inspired freedom-loving peoples throughout Europe in 1989, the “year of miracles.”  Defying one of the most brutal and repressive regimes in history, Havel led Czechoslovakia from the darkness of Soviet totalitarianism to the light of democracy.

Small wonder that he was one of the first recipients of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, awarded by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

In the years that followed, Mr. Havel became a beacon of hope for oppressed people from Cuba to China. The United States also had a strong friend in the dissident-turned-leader.  In 2003 he was one of the signatories of the Letter of Eight—the eight European leaders who supported George W. Bush’s bid to liberate Iraq.

Mr. Havel once said that he believed in “the power of words to change history.”  But he knew that changing history required more than mere words.  It requires men and women with the courage to risk everything to make their ideas, expressed in words, a reality.  Vaclav Havel had the words—and the will—to make freedom a reality for millions of his countrymen.  May he rest in peace."

 I would also highly suggest reading this post also.   My prayers are with his family and nation.

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