Václav Havel: The Power of the Powerless

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Francesco Occhetta, SJ

 Francesco Occhetta, SJ / Issue 2002 / 13 February 2020

Among the folds of the history of the end of the Eastern Bloc lies the non-violent dissidence of men like Václav Havel.  As the Berlin Wall fell and the ideology of the Soviet system crumbled along with the bricks and mortar, this intellectual and liberal playwright became president of Czechoslovakia. Havel first held office from 1989 to 1992, being reelected for two terms as president of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003.

Forty years after the publication in Italy of Havel’s book The Power of the Powerless, and 30 years after his election as president of Czechoslovakia, there are lessons still relevant today about the relationships between politics and power, between personal responsibility and the (re)construction of civil society, and between the truth and the lies of ideologies.[1]

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