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Following in Vaclav Havel's footsteps

Martin Palouš | December 18, 2011


What we have long feared has come to pass. On the fourth Advent Sunday of 2011, Václav Havel has left us forever, and his life story has come to a close. We experience sadness from this loss and we are with his loved ones in spirit. At the same time, we recognize the importance of the task that we face as an institution whose mission is to preserve his work for future generations, and which does not want to be a mere store for all Havel-related documents, but also a lively meeting place for all those who have been or in future will be affected by his thoughts and actions, who will share his obsessive sense of responsibility for the world, who will be motivated in their actions not just by private interests but by the public benefit and the need for mutual understanding, who will have solidarity with the oppressed, and be ready to defend human rights. Václav Havel's death has hit us at a time of culminating preparations for the Christmas holidays, when Christians around the world commemorate the birth of the Son of God – the good news that present darkness hides the possibility of a new beginning, that in the midst of the chaos and uncertainties of the world, a source of human hope also arises. When in the coming days we say our goodbyes to him, not only will we have tears in our eyes, but we will remember him at the end of his film "Leaving," once again uttering that famous statement that was later so often misinterpreted and caricatured: It is "truth and love" that "must win over lies and hatred." Martin Palouš, Director of the Václav Havel Library


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