Bad news for the world. The first post-Communist President of Czechoslovakia is no longer with us. He passed away today at the age of 75 in the company of his wife Dagmar and a nurse.
This modest playwright, outspoken opponent and political prisoner of the Communist regime and later president of the renascent Czechoslovak democracy is being mourned throughout the country, where church bells are being rung and thousands spontaneously stream into churches to pray and pay their last respects. A huge procession walked past the flag on the banks of the Vltava River in Prague singing the Czech folk song: Oh, my son, my son, are you at home?
One of Havel’s last visitors was the Dalai Lama.
The ex-premier Miloš Zeman said that Havel had taken up where Thomas G. Masaryk had left off, and that he had stood up to communism at a time when others did not have the courage.
I cannot think of a more powerful eulogy.
Here is Havel’s life in pictures.