VÁCLAV Havel, the first post-communist president of Czechoslovakia, died on December 18. He was rightly considered a moral authority not only in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radičová wrote in a letter of condolence, but around the world, because for decades he was one of the bravest speakers of the truth even at a time when most Czechs and Slovaks had resigned from doing so and had accepted a life under totalitarianism.
News of the death of Havel, in the picture by the TASR newswire below, a prominent playwright and outspoken critic of the communist regime, provoked a widespread response among the Slovak public, and among Slovakia’s leading political and cultural figures, many of whom were his close friends. It also prompted a spontaneous response among Slovaks on online social networks as well as in the streets – for instance in front of the Czech Embassy in Bratislava, where people came to light candles and lay flowers in memory of the late president, who served two terms as president of the Czech Republic after Czechoslovakia split in 1993.
Slovakia declared a day of state mourning on December 23, between 8:00 and 18:00, and on the same day Radičová and President Ivan Gašparovič attended Havel’s state funeral in Prague.
9. Jan 2012 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff