Vaclav Havel, Cold War champion against communism in Czechoslovakia, dies

Posted by on Dec 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who wove theater into politics to peacefully bring down communism in Czechoslovakia and become a hero of the epic struggle that ended the Cold War, has died. He was 75.

Havel died Sunday morning at his weekend house in the northern Czech Republic, his assistant Sabina Dancecova said.

Havel was his country’s first democratically elected president after the nonviolent “Velvet Revolution” that ended four decades of repression by a regime he ridiculed as “Absurdistan.”

As president, he oversaw the country’s bumpy transition to democracy and a free-market economy, as well its peaceful 1993 breakup into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Even out of office, the diminutive Czech remained a world figure. He was part of the “new Europe” — in the coinage of then-U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — of ex-communist countries that stood up for the U.S. when the democracies of “old Europe” opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion.

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2 Responses to “Vaclav Havel, Cold War champion against communism in Czechoslovakia, dies”

  1. Susan on 18/18/11 at 12:52 pm

    As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it.
    Vaclav Havel

    (Perhaps Havel was saying that Secular Humanism lacks the necessary humility to understand how destructively inhumane is Secular Humanist philosophy)