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Turning Over New Leaf

Monday, April 30, 2012

Václav Havel–RIP

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I discovered this man in the 1990s while teaching for Israel College. Until then, I did not know it was even possible in the modern world to change the course of political direction without violence. His is a lesson to be learned.
 
Havel, the tenth and last president of Czechoslovakia, was a playwright, essayist, and poet, as well as, a dissident and politician. In 1989, he became the
first President of the Czech Republic, after launching what became known as the peaceful, Velvet Revolution.

Havel wrote numerous plays and non-fiction works, and received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the Four Freedoms Award, and the Ambassador of Conscience Award for his promotion of political change without violence.
 
Like many peace-loving leaders, Havel’s work led to his imprisonment, but also to a radical change in his nation, including its split with Slovakia (which Havel opposed). He led the movement to bring his country into NATO, and started the negotiations for membership in the European Union, which was accomplished in 2004.
 
Václav Havel, statesman and playwright, born October 5, 1936, died December 18, 2011. Rest in Peace.
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18 comments:

  1. Thanks. I know so very little about Czechoslovakia and this is interesting. One of the families I work for on a regular basis is Czech and oh so proud.

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  2. Vaclav Havel was one of the few big Figures of european policy of the end of last century. If we had the chance to be governed by politicians with the qualities of Havel, our lives and our countries here in Europe would be much better and humanistic than what they are now.

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  3. Jasmine: They should be proud!

    Fanático_Um: Definitely!

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  4. Good to see you still around JJ. hope you and the family are well, dee

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  5. Dee: We are all fine, thank you. We are entering a new phase in our lives. Life is fun!

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  6. Always learn something new when I drop in here. Thanks JJ.

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  7. Hi JJ .. I really should know more about Havel - one day I will read some more .. thanks for posting this.

    I admire so strongly the people who can stand up against the thugs of power, while trying to bring in a true and real sharing society, which is free ..

    thanks - Hilary

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  8. Hilary: He was truly a dynamic personality.

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  9. I am fascinated with history but do not take the time to learn. Thank you for enriching my life with this brief history lesson.

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  10. Winston: Thank you for following. I am also fascinated by history. it is far more than a series of dates and events. It is a living, breathing concept that does enhance our lives when we approach the past from multiple perspectives.

    History is made up of forces: social, political, religious, economic, etc. I find it exciting to study the trends that lead up to major events. I always tell my students to pick a major event like the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and go back 300 years to find out why this event occurred by researching the forces at work that brought the situation to a climax.

    I love history.

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  11. Like some others, I know so little about this part of Europe and its leaders. Thank you for educating me today.

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  12. Learned lots here today!

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  13. Galen: He was one of the good ones.

    KB: That is always good!

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  14. JJ, thank you for the wonderful history lesson. My grandmother was born in Czechoslovakia.

    Thanks, also, for the nice comment on my submission to Studio 360's Significant Objects contest.

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  15. Judie: Have you been to the Czech Republic or the Slovakia? Carol and I lived in Prague and Bratislava for a little while when I was teaching in Europe eight or nine years ago. If you have roots there, it would be fascinating for you to see. Next time I see you, I would love to know more about your Grandmother.

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  16. Actually, I know very little about her, other than the fact that after the family came to America when my father was very small, she suffered from "meloncholia" and died in bed from an epileptic seizure with her young daughter sleeping beside her. My aunt never really talked about her, nor did my father. My father was born in Zagreb.

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  17. Judie: I find family backgrounds to be so interesting. We learn a great deal about ourselves when we explore them.

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