Sunday, December 18, 2011
Havel, despite his quiet and awkwardness, had an enormous impact on the late 20th century, and if we are fortunate, his writings will influence the course of future centuries as well. He saw, before others, that the so-called powerless in society in fact had the power to control their fates. He saw that very simple acts of commitment to principle were revolutionary, that each one threatened the most entrenched and overwhelming political systems, and that eventually those systems would break. He suffered enormously for saying those things out loud, first by being sentenced to prison, later by being thrust into the presidential castle. He didn't belong in either place, but his commitment to principle made those sacrifices unavoidable. Both probably hastened his death, but especially his five years in prison, some of it performing hard labor with untreated pneumonia. Incidentally, he did that for us.
Havel wrote about the role of property in society, and in the next few days I'll write more about that. Today is just a day for mourning and admiration.
Mark A. Edwards