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Václav Havel dies

With deep sorrow, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Bucharest regrets to inform of the death of Václav Havel, writer and dramatist, the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic. Václav Havel passed away on Sunday 18 December at the age of 75.

The Book of Condolences will be opened at the Embassy of the Czech Republic,

Strada Ion Ghica Nr.11, Sector 3, Bucharest on Monday, December 19, 2011 from  13.00 till 17.00  and  on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 from 09.00 till 17.00.

In one of his last personal messages, Václav Havel addressed the participants in the series of events organized in Bucharest by the Embassy of the Czech Republic, Societas Romano-Bohemica and the Czech Centre on 5 October 2011 to mark Václav Havel´s 75th birthday:

Dear Friends,

 As my health does not allow me to travel, let me greet you at least at distance and thank you for remembering my 75th birthday. It is not usual and so it makes me pleased and touched.

 I remember with pleasure my visit to Bucharest in 1994 and the Honorary Doctorate I received from the hands of the then Rector of the University Emil Constantinescu, who was elected President not long after that. If he is among those present today, I send him my most cordial greetings. In my speech I then thought, in a lapse of five years, about the fate of one revolutionary slogan and the difference between an ideal and an illusion. The ideal we achieved was to bring down the totalitarian communist regime and to enhance the return of freedom to our country. Alas, it was soon replaced by the illusion of cynical calculation, the illusion of immediate profits, the illusion that everything except for the growth of material growth is an illusion. At the same time, the ideals, emanating from the creative spirit and critical thinking, became a burden and as such a thing to laugh at. I have the impression that this is precisely what we should bear in mind next time when all the various political groupings seek our votes. Not only our country but the whole of Europe is more inclined to succumb to the illusion of speedy technocratic solutions these days. However, the crisis of banks and the crisis of debts are most likely nothing but the crisis of a man who abandoned the ideal and succumbed to the illusion that one can have everything without sacrifice and without delay.    

Dear friends, in the 20th century, contacts between our two countries were rich. Romania played an important part in the Little Entente between the two World Wars, in the period of liberation of Czechoslovakia from Nazism, not to speak of the solidarity expressed by the Romanian people to the then opposition in Czechoslovakia. This, too, was an expression of the victory of the ideal over the illusion that we all will be best off if we all mind our own business. We still remember Romania’s flat refusal to take part in the disgraceful invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Treaty armies in August 1968. And I also wish to recall the great personalities of Romania’s culture that influenced me, and not only me, and that enriched world culture: Tzara, Ionesco, Brancusi or Eliade, whose name bears the library in my home Na zábradlí Theatre. In conclusion, I would therefore like to thank all those who maintain or help to maintain close relationship between our two nations. My personal thanks go also to my Romanian translators, publishers, readers as well as spectators.    

 I wish to part with you today in the same way I did fifteen years ago: Truth and love must win over lies and hatred!

 Sincerely yours,

 VH

Václav Havel

Source: Photo - Tomki Němec