Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

10 Great Quotes from The Book of Sirach

The book of Sirach is a book that is often overlooked in the bible. This is unfortunate since this book contains many wise, practical saying on how to live a virtous life. The book was believed to have been written between 200-175 B.C.E.

Here are ten quotes that I feel best reflect this timeless work.

1."Do not become a beggar by feasting with\borrowed money, when you have nothing in your purse." Sirach 18:33

2."In all you do remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin." 7:36

3.."Glory and dishonor come from speaking; a man's tongue is his downfall." 5:13"

4."A wise man is cautious in everything." 18:27

5."One who trusts others is light minded." 19:4

6."If you pursue justice, you will obtain it and wear it as a glorious robe." 27:8

7."Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but no many as have fallen because of the tongue." 28:18

8." In all of your work be industrious and no sickness will…

George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and The Afterlife

I was stunned, as was most of the world was when I heard about the passing of George Michael on Christmas day.  Michael possessed enormous talent was and one of the most successful acts in the 1980's and early 90's

Shortly after Carrie Fisher died.  Fisher was famous for her legendary role as princess Leia from the Star Wars movies.  Strangely her mother also died the day after.

2016 was a notable year for celebrity deaths.

Some names include Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie,  Doris Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali.

As a Catholic these deaths got me thinking about the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death.

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic, emperor, philosopher king wrote about the passing nature of life as he reflected, "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."

Even though I agree mostly with Aurelius&…

Me vs. The Almighty

There is a famous scene in the Bible where Jacob wrestles with God.  Jacob fights with God until God takes out a bone from Jacob's thigh. Interestingly, God eventually relents and stops fighting with Jacob. After this dramatic incident, Jacob is renamed Israel which literally means, "he who struggles with God."

I can relate to this story.  Many times in my life I have argued with God. I still do. (my wife can attest to that.) Many times I have criticized his tactics, his ways, and his wisdom. In my worst moments, I have even used choice language. I have a complicated relationship with God. Like Jacob, I have wrestled with God. (thigh bone still intact)

Recently I approached a priest friend of mine and told him of my struggles with God.  I expected that he would chide me for my lack of respect and informality. What this priest said was illuminating and encouraging. He told me that it was OK at times to be angry with God, God understood. He, in fact, encouraged this honest…