Vaclav Havel, RIP

posted at 12:30 pm on December 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

One of the last giants of the victory over the Soviet Union at the end of the cold war has left us.  Vaclav Havel, the author of the “Velvet Revolution” in the former Czechoslovakia in later 1989 that overthrew the Soviet-backed communist regime without a shot being fired, has passed away after a long illness, at 75 years old:

Vaclav Havel, a dissident playwright who was jailed by Communists and then went on to lead the bloodless “Velvet Revolution” and become Czech president, died at 75 on Sunday.

The former chain smoker, who survived several operations for lung cancer and a burst intestine in the late 1990s that nearly killed him and left him frail for the rest of his life, died after a long illness. He was with his wife Dagmara and a nun who had been caring for him.

“Today Vaclav Havel has left us,” his secretary, Sabina Tancevova, said in a statement.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Twitter, “Vaclav Havel was one of the greatest Europeans of our age. His voice for freedom paved way for a Europe whole and free.”

The Reuters obit is otherwise pretty useless.  CBS does better, showing that Havel spent half his life crusading for freedom against communist oppression, and then leading his new nation in freedom:

Havel first made a name for himself after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion that crushed the Prague Spring reforms of Alexander Dubcek and other liberally minded communists in what was then Czechoslovakia.

Havel’s plays were banned as hard-liners installed by Moscow snuffed out every whiff of rebellion. But he continued to write, producing a series of underground essays that stand with the work of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov as the most incisive and eloquent analyses of what communism did to society and the individual. …

The events of August 1988 — the 20th anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion — first suggested that Havel and his friends might one day replace the faceless apparatchiks who jailed them.

Thousands of mostly young people marched through central Prague, yelling Havel’s name and that of the playwright’s hero, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the philosopher who was Czechoslovakia’s first president after it was founded in 1918.

Havel’s arrest in January 1989 at another street protest and his subsequent trial generated anger at home and abroad. Pressure for change was so strong that the communists released him again in May.

That fall, communism began to collapse across Eastern Europe, and in November the Berlin Wall fell. Eight days later, communist police brutally broke up a demonstration by thousands of Prague students.

It was the signal that Havel and his country had awaited. Within 48 hours, a broad new opposition movement was founded, and a day later, hundreds of thousands of Czechs and Slovaks took to the streets.

In three heady weeks, communist rule was broken. Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones arrived just as the Soviet army was leaving. Posters in Prague proclaimed: “The tanks are rolling out — the Stones are rolling in.”

On Dec. 29, 1989, Havel was elected Czechoslovakia’s president by the country’s still-communist parliament. Three days later, he told the nation in a televised New Year’s address: “Out of gifted and sovereign people, the regime made us little screws in a monstrously big, rattling and stinking machine.”

In office or out, Havel served his country, Europe, and the world as a voice against totalitarianism, and especially against Russian ambitions of empire.  He spoke out forcefully when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, warning Western nations against appeasing Putin and Medvedev.  Eventually, Havel returned to writing plays after having served in office in the Czech Republic and the EU for more than a decade, having also felt occasionally the ironic sting of open criticism of his performance as president — which, despite the immediate personal impact it had, must have still allowed Havel a sense of pride in having succeeded in giving all of his fellow Czechs the ability to dissent openly and choose their own leaders.  After having the Soviets deny Czechs that basic right for more than 40 years, and watching Europe toss them to the Nazis in 1938 in one of modern history’s worst acts of diplomatic cowardice, that freedom had to taste sweeter than most of us will ever know.

Godspeed, Mr. Havel.  You taught us that freedom matters, and that it succeeds over totalitarianism when those who love freedom do not succumb to despair.  “Thank you” seems entirely insufficient.

Addendum: As commenters noted in the Headlines thread, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Barack Obama, Al Gore, and Yasser Arafat — but not to Vaclav Havel, who brought down a tyranny without ever firing a bullet.  This should shower everlasting shame on the Norwegian Nobel Committee.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Havel I believe once theorized Al Gore was mentally ill.

Marcus on December 18, 2011 at 12:34 PM

First Hitchens, now Havel.

A bad week all around.

Bruno Strozek on December 18, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Ed,
This is the best written eulogy for Mr. Havel that I have read today.

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Wasn’t he anti AGW, too?

Blake on December 18, 2011 at 12:41 PM

This should shower everlasting shame on the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

You can’t shame those which have none.

Tim Zank on December 18, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Havel was a great man.Most of the world leaders today are intellectual pygmies compared to him,especially our chief executive.

celtic warrior on December 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Rest in Peace…

Seven Percent Solution on December 18, 2011 at 12:45 PM

RIP a very, very brave man.

cynccook on December 18, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I’m glad that you mentioned Havel’s denunciation of the questionable theory of AGW as the means tyranny , Blake.

Havel’s courage and activism to defeat communism are remarkable achievements. He freed so many with his powerful words that he deserves the kudos of the world as an example of the power of even one person who forthrightly champions the convictions of the dignity and liberty of humans.

onlineanalyst on December 18, 2011 at 12:53 PM

The Reuters obit is otherwise pretty useless. CBS does better, showing that Havel spent half his life crusading for freedom against communist oppression, and then leading his new nation in freedom:

Drudge is linking to the Reuters obit, which is pretty comprehensive.

cynccook on December 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Good guy, should have received a Nobel Peace Prize.

NORUK on December 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Wonder what Time mag thinks.

RAGIN CAJUN on December 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM

He was a remarkable man.

workingclass artist on December 18, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Hitchens, Havel… deaths always come in threes. Who will the next be?

Glenn Jericho on December 18, 2011 at 12:58 PM

One of my favorite quotes is from him -

Hope is not a prognostication of the future but an orientation of the spirit.

theo22 on December 18, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Wonder what Time mag thinks.
RAGIN CAJUN on December 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM

You ruined my day with that thought. Cretins.

Glenn Jericho on December 18, 2011 at 1:02 PM

First Hitchens, now this?

Terrible. Rest in peace, Vaclav. You’re one of my heroes.

orfannkyl on December 18, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Did Havel invent the internet, save Polar Bears, have a great election tagline, or kill Israelis? No? So why should he have expected a Nobel?

Bishop on December 18, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Havel-Hitchens=Seabiscuit-seahorses

Rio Linda Refugee on December 18, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Leaving out Havel is to the ingominity of the Peace Prize.

itsspideyman on December 18, 2011 at 1:18 PM

A giant wrapped in an ordinary package. Perhaps he only appeared to be a giant because he stood, while so many around him cowered. It all comes out to the same thing, I suppose.

The OWS crowd, if they had any sense, any ability to reason, and any shame, would learn how wrong they are if they did nothing else but study President Havel’s life.

Those who love liberty everywhere salute you, sir.

Freelancer on December 18, 2011 at 1:24 PM

This should shower everlasting shame on the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Mr. Nobel turns in his grave.

That Obama is awarded anything is for shame. The world has gone nuts.

Schadenfreude on December 18, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Here was a man who faced down real tyranny. Communists who whad no problem arresting their polictal opponents and locking them up in gulags, state run asylums or just murdering them.
The OWS crowd wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the old Soviet Empire. They whine about there rights being violated when the law is applied to them. Mr Havel stood up to the most lawless political system of the 20th century and triumphed.
Its esay to fight the man when there is a framework of laws protecting you and a media watching at all times.
Try it in the dark against a bloodthirsty gang of communist criminals. That takes real courage. A quality the the OWS crowd is sorely lacking but that Mr Havel had in abundance.

Thicklugdonkey on December 18, 2011 at 1:29 PM

“Spring” has many meanings.

Leftie Europeans and rest-of-the-worlders, YOU are NOT liberal and not progressive. YOU stole the terms.

Schadenfreude on December 18, 2011 at 1:30 PM

He died free.

The best legacy of his honesty and courage.

profitsbeard on December 18, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Let’s see – he fought against the Oppressivism of the Soviet Union – wouldn’t Obama and the OWS mob have been on the other side of the fence for him?

They fighting FOR the oppression of Socialism?

Chip on December 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Vaclav Havel RIP, Jingle, jingle, jingle…………….

Bmore on December 18, 2011 at 1:57 PM

We’ve seen this before, when unlikely people become associated by the unfortunate coincidence of the timing of their deaths. Now Xopher Hitchens and Vaclav Havel, each outstanding wordsmiths in their own right, fellow supplicants at the Gates to Paradise (and just in time for Xmas, too)…

“Oh, the humanity! Oh, the irony!”

“Cogito, ergo TEA Party.” ~ DeepWheat

DeepWheat on December 18, 2011 at 1:58 PM

This should shower everlasting shame on the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Mr. Nobel turns in his grave.

That Obama is awarded anything is for shame. The world has gone nuts.

Schadenfreude on December 18, 2011 at 1:27 PM
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BINGO!

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM

RIP Mr. Havel, you served your country and humanity with valor and courage.

simkeith on December 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM

“It is time to go now”

Jingle..Jingle..Jingle..

Rest in peace Mr. Havel, you were my hero.

Jingle..Jingle..Jingle..

JPeterman on December 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM

First Hitchens, now Havel.

A bad week all around.

Bruno Strozek on December 18, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Yeah, both of them consistent, stalwart voices against Communist oppression. Oh, wait a sec…

ddrintn on December 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Addendum: As commenters noted in the Headlines thread, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Barack Obama, Al Gore, and Yasser Arafat — but not to Vaclav Havel, who brought down a tyranny without ever firing a bullet. This should shower everlasting shame on the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Don’t think they have any shame left … nor credibility, integrity, honor …

TimLenox on December 18, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Havel was also a fan of Frank Zappa. Even appointed him as “Special Ambassador to the West on Trade, Culture and Tourism”. When visiting Prague in 1990 Frank was surprised to see that his music was a symbol of independence and the fight for freedom.

More on the fascinating connection between Havel and Zappa here

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/frank-zappas-connections-to-prague

Del Dolemonte on December 18, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Addendum: As commenters noted in the Headlines thread, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Barack Obama, Al Gore, and Yasser Arafat — but not to Vaclav Havel, who brought down a tyranny without ever firing a bullet. This should shower everlasting shame on the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Don’t think they have any shame left … nor credibility, integrity, honor …

TimLenox on December 18, 2011 at 2:48 PM

It’s kind of ironic that the Peace Prize was named after someone who made his fortune by inventing a product solely designed to blow up things (or people).

Del Dolemonte on December 18, 2011 at 2:52 PM

Of course he was anti-AGW. A man who fought for freedom all his life won’t support the soft tyranny of AGW. He knew a red when he met one and he certainly knew a watermelon when he saw one.

Fred 2 on December 18, 2011 at 2:52 PM

I think this is also a good time to remind folks of one of Krauthammer’s best columns ever.

Similarly on the other great cold war issue, Third World revolution: The real enemy, the Democrats protested, was not communism but deprivation. In the great debates over El Salvador and Nicaragua, liberals insisted that to see these conflicts in cold war, East-West terms was again to miss the point.

“If Central America were not racked with injustices, there would be no revolution,” said the Democrats in a 1983 televised address opposing military aid to El Salvador. “There would be nothing for the Soviets to exploit. But unless those oppressive conditions change, that region will continue to seethe with revolution — with or without the Soviets.”

As history has demonstrated: wrong. No one would dare claim that in Central America poverty and injustice are gone. But the region no longer seethes with revolution. What happened? Injustice did not disappear. The Soviets did, and with them the sinews and romance of socialist revolution.

The evil empire was the enemy. That was the central tenet of American cold warriors. Liberals deplored such talk as crude Manichaeism. Now, after 20 years of deriding anticommunists for being blinded by the Soviet threat, they wistfully recall how the Soviet threat brilliantly illuminated the foreign policy landscape — and lament how obscure it all is with the lodestar gone. Ah, the Golden Age when everything was easy and we all joined hands in the cold war battles of Vietnam and Nicaragua and the Euromissiles.

Yesterday, cold warrior was a liberal epithet. Today everyone pretends to have been one. My father, who had a Frenchman’s appreciation for cynicism, had a term for this kind of after-battle resume revision. Maquis d’apres-guerre: resistance fighter, postwar.

ddrintn on December 18, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Mr. Nobel turns in his grave.

That Obama is awarded anything is for shame. The world has gone nuts.

Schadenfreude on December 18, 2011 at 1:27 PM

..the people who award tat prize are a bunch of panty-wearing, Euro-commie, hatchet-asssed, limp-wristed metrosexuals who probably cringe at the fact that they are administering a trust fund whose proceeds come from the invention and sale of dynamite.

Mr Havel is (a) well rid of them and (2) did not need to have his accomplishments tarnished by joining that circle of diarrhea-encrusted dick heads.

The War Planner on December 18, 2011 at 3:08 PM

The evil empire was the enemy.

ddrintn on December 18, 2011 at 2:58 PM

That enemy was Statism in all it’s many variations and labels, and now after people have forgotten the evil that it is, the Left wants to revive it in the form of Progressivism.

But like all the different names for excrement, Collectivism [Marxism, Stalinism, Socialism, Fascism, Statism, Progressivism, Communism, etc.] is still the same old failed ideology that needs a new name every few years to make it ‘Fresh’.

The best the Left can do in protesting these characterizations is by the entirely lame excuse that they aren’t _____________ (Socialists for example) Because they say they aren’t Socialists.

If you wish to disagree with me on that assessment, then you will be required to describe the differences between those ideologies.

Good luck with that.

Chip on December 18, 2011 at 3:17 PM

It’s kind of ironic that the Peace Prize was named after someone who made his fortune by inventing a product solely designed to blow up things (or people).

Del Dolemonte on December 18, 2011 at 2:52 PM

The only prize awarded in Alfred Nobel’s name in his lifetime was for peace. And it was a PR stunt on Nobel’s part, too. He set up the endowment for his “peace prize” to rehabilitate his name after he fielded criticism for not disallowing military applications for his discovery of trinitrotoluene (TNT).

gryphon202 on December 18, 2011 at 3:25 PM

JPeterman on December 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Nice hat tip. Hope we aren’t the only two. I thought the whole thread would be the sound of keys.

Bmore on December 18, 2011 at 3:55 PM

for not disallowing military applications for his discovery of trinitrotoluene (TNT).

gryphon202 on December 18, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Right. And remind me again how he was supposed to “disallow” that? Maybe he could sue. One is reminded of Stalin’s query about exactly how many divisions the pope fielded.

zarathustra on December 18, 2011 at 4:22 PM

He was a great man.

elfman on December 18, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Both Hitchens and Havel were huge Bob Dylan fans.

chuckachucka on December 18, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Nice hat tip. Hope we aren’t the only two. I thought the whole thread would be the sound of keys.

Bmore on December 18, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Perhaps only those that were there know the significance……..

JPeterman on December 18, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Nobel committee stands with the tyrants today, whether they fire bullets or favor mandated tyranny.

Havel, Walesa, Pope John Paul II, Reagan and Thatcher…….our Churchills of the 1980′s

PappyD61 on December 18, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Havel and Lech Walesa were the twin pillars that brought down communism in Eastern Europe. Very sad that only one of these cold warriors remains to remind us of the effort it takes to bring down tyranny.

Na shledanou Vaclav…

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 18, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Havel, Lech Walesa, Pope JP2, even eventually Gorby and Boris…anyone who had budding Republican instincts in high school in the 1980s ought to know these Soviet-slayers.

Sacramento on December 18, 2011 at 5:04 PM

I don’t believe Havel was anti-AGW. That is the other great Vaclav of the modern Czech state, Vaclav Klaus.

That said, Havel has a worthy legacy that need not be confused with that of his friend and rival to be appreciated. He was a voice against Communist oppression at a time when doing so was neither easy nor safe in Central Europe, and in doing so he served his nation and the cause of freedom as a whole. RIP to this great man.

Gingotts on December 18, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Havel was a patriot, leader, hero and very brave.

As with the young man in China, Havel was willing to stand in front of a tank.

Shame, Shame, Shame on the Nobel Committee.

Horace on December 18, 2011 at 5:56 PM

I don’t believe Havel was anti-AGW. That is the other great Vaclav of the modern Czech state, Vaclav Klaus.
Gingotts on December 18, 2011 at 5:10 PM

You are correct.

JPeterman on December 18, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Living in Truth: that was his banner.

Thank you Mr. Havel, and Občanské fórum.

Those Soviet tanks, by the way, were still being loaded onto rail flatbeds in 1991. I watched them roll away that year. No small thanks to Vaclav Havel.

AshleyTKing on December 18, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Moral leadership is in short supply these days. Rest in Peace.

Ted Torgerson on December 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM

One of my heroes.

I highly recommend reading his speeches. One in the collection, “The Art of the Impossible,” has always stayed with me.

It was from his inauguration, when he noted the friendly presence of the German Ambassador, and remarked on how the German and Czech people had become friends. He then talked about how, at the end of WWII, some Czechs had taken reprisals against the Germanic people in their midst.

Havel reminded his audience that this had been especially wrong because it meant accepting the principle of “collective guilt” that the Nazis had promoted. Only an individual can be guilty — not a nation, not a culture, not a class. You can’t balance the scales of justice by attacking innocent people who happen to share certain characteristics with the guilty.

It’s a lesson many people could stand to remember.

Chuckles3 on December 18, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Vaclev Havel once said (paraphrasing), ‘Hope isn’t the childish belief things will turn out right in the end. We know that isn’t true most of the time. Hope is the belief there is a point and purpose to our lives and work.’

I read that at a point in my life where I desperately needed hope, but didn’t know for sure what hope is, what it looked and felt like. I had no operating definition and no past experience from which to draw. When I read what Havel had said, it turned on a switch to a light that has has been with me ever since.

troyriser_gopftw on December 18, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Per above:

“Six years of Nazi rule was enough, for example, for us to have allowed ourselves to be infected with the germ of evil. We informed on one another, both during and after the war; we accepted — in just, as well as exaggerated, indignation — the principle of collective guilt. Instead of giving all those who betrayed this state a proper trial, we drove them out of the country and punished them with the kind of retribution that went beyond the rule of law. This was not punishment. It was revenge.

Moreover, we did not expel these people on the basis of demonstrable individual guilt, but simply because they belonged to a certain nation. And thus, on the assumption that we were clearing the way for historical justice, we hurt many innocent people, most of all women and children. And, as is usually the case in history, we hurt ourselves even more; we settled accounts with totalitarianism in a way that allowed the spirit of totalitarianism to penetrate our own activities and thus our own souls. Shortly afterward, it returned to us cruelly in the form of our inability to resist a new totalitarianism imported from elsewhere.”

Chuckles3 on December 18, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Only an individual can be guilty — not a nation, not a culture, not a class. You can’t balance the scales of justice by attacking innocent people who happen to share certain characteristics with the guilty.

It’s a lesson many people could stand to remember.

Highly disagree with this. One cannot support a culture/nation who is without a shadow of a doubt guilty of crimes so despicable that they themselves do not share the blame for support alone.

MadDogF on December 18, 2011 at 7:51 PM

For all those looking to do something in Vaclav’s honor, go teach a fellow citizen what Socialism, Fascism, and Communism are (hint: not “a European form of government”, “right-wing racism”, and “a Russian governmental system”). Explain that they are all just stops along the road to the same eventual left-wing utopian hell, and that they inevitably end in a G-dless mess of labor and death camps.

Then, explain how many American politicians support and promote this plan. Including one Barack H. Obama, who indicated that he preferred the governorship of China to his present position.

You should also tell them that it’s not too late– but it’s getting on in the day.

ChicagoJewishGuy on December 18, 2011 at 8:25 PM

It’s very sad to hear of Havel’s passing. He was a hero.

ghostwriter on December 18, 2011 at 9:03 PM

An excellent novel re the history of the Czech Republic from the 1920s on is The Glass Room.

onlineanalyst on December 18, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Addendum: As commenters noted in the Headlines thread, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Barack Obama, Al Gore, and Yasser Arafat — but not to Vaclav Havel, who brought down a tyranny without ever firing a bullet. This should shower everlasting shame on the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Wow… that is an ironic swipe! Havel was a member of the committee you trash.

lexhamfox on December 18, 2011 at 9:59 PM

God bless you, sir.

A true patriot of freedom.

May the Lord have mercy on his miserable soul.

locomotivebreath1901 on December 18, 2011 at 10:15 PM

Wow… that is an ironic swipe! Havel was a member of the committee you trash.

lexhamfox on December 18, 2011 at 9:59 PM

I believe you are mistaken. Vaclav nominated Liu Xiaobo in 2009 but was not on the committee.

JPeterman on December 18, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Hitchens, Havel… deaths always come in threes. Who will the next be?

Glenn Jericho on December 18, 2011 at 12:58 PM

And the winner is:

Kim Jong Il.

Bruno Strozek on December 18, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Vàclav Havel: Hero, Freedom Fighter, Leader

5 October 1936 – 18 December 2011

Read about a true hero and, if you wish, leave a condolence message, all of will be forwarded to Prague.

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2011/12/vaclav-havel-hero-freedom-fighter.html

No $ made through my blog. Hope you will join my honouring this true hero of freedom.

Resist We Much on December 19, 2011 at 12:15 AM

It’s kind of ironic that the Peace Prize was named after someone who made his fortune by inventing a product solely designed to blow up things (or people).

Del Dolemonte on December 18, 2011 at 2:52 PM

well, sort of (ironic that is)…. As he grew older, apparently Nobel felt guilty for having invented something that caused so much damage and put a lot of his money (millions, which was a lot back then) into a trust fund to promote the peaceful use of science. That trust was used to set up the Nobel Prize, including the one for peace. And actually dynamite was meant to be used in blasting rock, drilling tunnels, building canals and many other forms of construction work, the fact that it was eventually used in warfare was what actually prompted his guilt and all and his decision to bequest most of his money to peace causes…

jimver on December 19, 2011 at 12:52 AM

A great man.

wildcat72 on December 19, 2011 at 12:59 AM

Havel reminded his audience that this had been especially wrong because it meant accepting the principle of “collective guilt” that the Nazis had promoted. Only an individual can be guilty — not a nation, not a culture, not a class. You can’t balance the scales of justice by attacking innocent people who happen to share certain characteristics with the guilty.

It’s a lesson many people could stand to remember.

Chuckles3 on December 18, 2011 at 7:34 PM

so true…which reminds me again that Havel is first and foremost a great writer/thinker, apart from a visionary and courageous activist and politician…

jimver on December 19, 2011 at 1:22 AM

I believe you are mistaken. Vaclav nominated Liu Xiaobo in 2009 but was not on the committee.

JPeterman on December 18, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Yes he was on the nominating committee. He pushed especially hard with Suu Kyi and she won that year. He has spoken at the awards in that capacity.

lexhamfox on December 19, 2011 at 3:52 AM

A fitting tribute to Vaclav Havel:
http://spectator.org/archives/2011/12/19/on-vaclav-havel-and-chris-hitc

I earlier did confuse Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus in re to objections to “watermelon” embrace of AGW.

onlineanalyst on December 19, 2011 at 6:16 AM

Only an individual can be guilty — not a nation, not a culture, not a class. You can’t balance the scales of justice by attacking innocent people who happen to share certain characteristics with the guilty.

It’s a lesson many people could stand to remember.
Highly disagree with this. One cannot support a culture/nation who is without a shadow of a doubt guilty of crimes so despicable that they themselves do not share the blame for support alone.

MadDogF on December 18, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Fair enough, but that support itself is an individual decision. One can be blameworthy by virtue of that action, but not by virtue of one belonging to a particular class. One does not become guilty simply by being German, nor by being Jewish, nor by being bourgeois, nor by being descended from slaveowners, nor by being of the “1%,” or what have you. One’s individual decisions determine one’s guilt or innocence.

The concept of collective guilt — even when held by people who have suffered greatly — is the germ of the totalitarian mindset, as Havel astutely noted.

Chuckles3 on December 19, 2011 at 8:29 AM

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has no shame as they have no honor.

Chris_B on December 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Too many good people dying of late, both in my family and in the larger world. RIP Mr.Havel…the planet is truly the poorer without you.

MelonCollie on December 19, 2011 at 11:27 AM

This should shower everlasting shame on the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

I wholeheartedly agree. However, I don’t believe anymore that they have a sense of shame.

Theophile on December 19, 2011 at 7:38 PM