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Gloats / Russia / December 30, 2011

Václav Havel’s death last week was less surprising than the reminder he was still alive. How he came close to reaching the Czech median life expectancy of 76, I have no idea. The perpetually wheezing, intermittently pneumonic Havel had been two sniffles away from his last since the re-election year of his friend Bill Clinton. That’s when doctors removed a good chunk of his malignant right lung, so charred by a three-decades long chain of unfiltered Petras that it could have modeled for those EU cigarette-packs obliged to illustrate the consequences of the habit. Then there was Havel’s half-decade as Prague’s Papillon, breathing dank prison air and subsisting on Czech jail slop. That he managed to eek it out to a ripe old 75 is an act of defiance to rival his stands against Husak and Moscow. Or maybe there’s magic on the Portuguese coast where Havel spent much of his last decade on this planet.

Because of his poor health, Havel’s legacy question popped up some time ago. Mandela or Michnik? Triumph or Tragedy? Philosopher-King or Frankfurt School Fraud?

As a dissident, Havel undoubtedly shined. He was brave and cunning in his opposition to the communist regime and in competition against his rival dissidents for the mantle of opposition leader.

But as a politician, the domestic consensus is summarized by the title and content of John Keane’s Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts. Only for Havel’s casual fans around the world did the fairy tale never end. At home, it was over before the dust settled on the Velvet Divorce between the Czechs and Slovaks in 1993.

Havel’s years in politics prove that beloved philosopher-kings exist only in Plato’s Republic. In the Czech Republic, they become resented moralizers with room-temp public approval. Most Czechs came to feel patronized by his regular philosophical lectures to the nation. They were confused by his talk of a Creator. They were never comfortable with his being the mustachioed face of Donald Rumsfeld’s New Europe.

There are multiple logics to focusing, as most tributes have, on Havel’s dissident years, his ascent to the Castle, and his human rights advocacy. The accomplishments are real; it’s an easy narrative to tell; it results in a flattering portrait that everyone knows and expects. When it came to championing human rights, he did important work following the withdrawal of Soviet troops. Many leaders of the Romani minority in the Czech Republic, for example, have been voicing their admiration for him as perhaps the only Czech politician who ever stood up with and for them. He was the first leader to welcome the Dalai Lama as a head of state, which explains the silence from China last week, even as Beijing mourned the late Kim Jong-Il. (Moscow recognized Havel with the back of its hand, sending a low-level official to the funeral, the ombudsman for Human Rights.)

But Havel’s story doesn’t end with human rights heroics sprinkled with fairy dust. The post-communist era wasn’t all Dalai Lama dinners and teas with the Velvet Underground. The bravery he demonstrated against the powers-that-be as a dissident turned to craven cheerleading when it came to the worst of the West. Like Christopher Hitchens, who had the obit page to himself just a day before Havel, his late-life positions and associations sometimes contradicted and undermined his former self.

Havel’s turn wasn’t as abrupt as Hitchens’. He launched his statesman period with a speech to a joint session of Congress that absolved the West of any crimes during the Cold War. It wasn’t exactly a mystery why an Eastern European leader would do this in 1990. As the Czechs say, “You sing the song of whoever’s bread you eat.” But Havel was supposed to be the gold standard of “living in truth.” And by this standard Havel’s victory-tour speech was a farce. Chomsky wasn’t far off when he compared it to something a Vietnamese peasant might have said before the Supreme Soviet in 1975.

Havel’s clean break with many in the broad social-democratic left occurred around the same time Hitchens left the Nation, and over the same issue. Throughout 2002, Havel became increasingly friendly with the Bush White House and often riffed over a drumbeat of war. On January 30, 2003, he appeared as the lead byline on a group Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled, “United We Stand.” The piece lent Havel’s moral stature to the idea that world peace depended on “ensuring that [the Iraqi] regime gives up its weapons of mass destruction [sic].”

To their credit, the cynical Czechs never bought it. Before a national wave of nausea settled, Havel had signed on with the Committee on the Present Danger, which had been the primary ideological force behind the nuclear arms race that dissident Havel had opposed. His signature began appearing on open letters published by William Kristol’s Project for a New American Century. Havel even helped his new friends establish the Prague Security Studies Institute, a Czech outpost for neocon foreign policy ideas, where he was a founding board member along with Frank Gaffney and Michael Novak. (The newly energized Russian dissident leader Gary Kasparov was also involved with the Institute in the early days.)

Iraq wasn’t the first time Havel broke with the majority of Czechs over a war. He came into office speaking of a new security-architecture in Europe, with the UN and the OSCE as its pillars, and of a society where “poets might have the same influence as bankers.” But even before the Velvet Divorce, he and the entire Czech political class had become consumed by a single-minded obsession with joining NATO. Along with the Dalai Lama, lunch guests at the Castle included fellow human rights icon Henry Kissinger. The first round of NATO expansion finally happened around the time the alliance decided to bomb Serbia, and Havel proved a valuable show pony. And if you think that’s unfair, go back and watch the NATO event footage in the run-up to the bombing campaign: Havel is always seated front and center, against the laws of rank and alphabetical order, next to Bill Clinton.

Things went downhill from there. In 2001, Havel backed a controversial billion-crown purchase of Grippen fighters while Czech health and education systems were falling apart. This was followed by a friendly visit to the state of Florida where he gave tacit support to the gubernatorial campaign of Jeb Bush. Havel and the Bush bros were a better fit than most realize. Havel once surprised a 1994 EU conference by stating that the “European Union is based on a large set of values, with roots in antiquity and Christianity.” He defended NATO’s extralegal attack on Serbia with the idea that a “higher law…God’s” trumped international law. Even his dissident essays contained the odd theological flourish, such as references to God and man’s “fallen existence.”

Like his theater, Havel’s dissident prose is more mentioned than studied. Reading it today, one is struck by its radicalism. Havel the dissident wasn’t just opposing the communist Czech regime or Moscow’s imperial control. He opposed industrial civilization in the stride of European green radicals like E.F. Schumacher and Rudolf Bahro. Had he been writing from a Western university instead of a communist prison, the New Cold Warriors and later Neocons that embraced him as an icon for freedom would have mocked him as a dirty and dangerous Heidegger-reading hippie. A central theme of his essays from the 1970s and 80s is the idea that the industrialized mass societies of the two Cold War blocs were variant expressions of western rationality, which he believed inevitably gives rise to the scourges that crush the human spirit — propaganda, pollution, and giantism. Consider this representative passage from his 1984 essay “Politics and Conscience”:

Totalitarian systems warn of something far more serious than Western rationalism is willing to admit. They are, most of all, a convex mirror of the inevitable consequences of rationalism, a grotesquely magnified image of its own deep tendencies… We must resist anonymous, impersonal, and inhuman power… whether it takes the form of consumption, advertising, repression, technology or cliché—all of which are the blood brothers of fanaticism and the wellspring of totalitarian thought.

This wasn’t Havel going through some experimental phase. He was almost 50 and the leader of a famous dissident movement.

Often Havel struggled to find or make his point. This bit from “Two Letters From Prison” (1983) suggests Havel’s limits as an essayist. It also helps explain why so many Czechs soured on his presidential radio lectures.

I don’t care whether a lot or little is happening. I am interested only in whether what is happening — or not happening — has a meaning, and what that meaning is. I am in favor of things that have authenticity, roots, originality, verve, balance, taste, communicativeness, challenge, relevance to their time — in short, things that make sense.

Or don’t make sense.

Havel is rightly remembered for his best essay, “The Power of the Powerless,” which explores the morally enervating concessions and psychological survival strategies of normal people living under totalitarian systems. This is the essay that introduced the phrase “living in truth” to the global dissident lexicon, and which continues to inspire dissidents from Burma to Belarus, many of whom Havel personally met with and supported. Still, it’s difficult to read today and not think about the regression from “living in truth” to the “ lie of Rambouillet.The Havel who would die in league with John Bolton had written:

Dissidents understand systemic change as something superficial. Thus an attitude that turns away from abstract political visions of the future toward concrete human beings and ways of defending them [accompanied by] an intensified antipathy to all forms of violence carried out in the name of a “better future,” and by a profound belief that a future secured by violence might actually be worse than what exists now.

Looking back, Havel’s use of “might actually” to qualify this “profound belief” can be read as a warning about the limits of living in truth. Like the shimmering “Being” of his favorite philosopher Heidegger, perhaps Havel meant it as an idea in permanent flux, revealing and concealing itself in new and mysterious ways. Or maybe it just depends on whose bread you’re eating.

Alexander Zaitchik, a former eXile editor, lived in Prague from 1997 to 2003.

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30 Comments

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  • 1. G.A.  |  December 30th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    The article got Václav Havel quite right if you’re looking at him from the point of view that critical Czechs on the left take of him. But that’s the critical view. I think it might be the best if I just go point by point.

    1. I live in Czechia and honestly I haven’t noticed our educational or health system falling apart in 2001, when we were renting Grippen airplanes. To me this seems like SocDem hype. Several billion crowns on Grippens wouldn’t save either healthcare or education, and we had no airplanes. Sure, not like we’re going to have a battle of Britain anytime soon, but we probably wouldn’t even have the capacity to react to an airplane hijacking and we would lose what little supersonic pilots and logistics we have left, which would subsequently have long-term repercussions.

    2. Regarding Serbia Havel wasn’t reaching out to God or supernatural. Havel was actually sticking to the well known R2P doctrine, and he was arguing international law didn’t have to be strictly obeyed if a mass of human lives was at stake. Go back to 1999 and tell me with your heart content: “Oh I’m okay with Milosevic and Serbian paramilitaries going down to Kosovo and creating peace and order. That’s fine by me”. I don’t know how about you, but I’m not surprised Havel couldn’t live with that. Saying “that’s not our problem” would hardly be the course of action one would expect from dissident Havel arguing for an active stance against evil.
    The campaign has been successful after all, Ninety day campaign of surgical strikes ended an entire decade of non-stop war and massive genocide spree all over Balkans. It did not end well for the Serbs, but it did.

    They can cry me a river over their “ancient homeland” of thousand years ago.

    3. Havel wasn’t entirely devoid of criticism to neocons and I wouldn’t say he was in league with them. He woudl be best understood as a liberal interventionist, I think. Later on in his life (I recall an interview with Foreign Policy in 2009) he’s actually directly criticised the War in Iraq. I’m linking it here:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/12/09/the_fp_interview_vaclav_havel?hidecomments=yes

    PS:

    Regarding Prague Security Studies: well actually I had the, uh, pleasure of attending the lecture of a professor from Prague Security Studies and he was giving the impression of the worst pacifist you can imagine, criticising George Bush and War in Iraq to the point of giving a psychological analysis of George Bush’s clothes; I shit you not. I was with him all the way through the horribly misspelled powerpoint lecture until he said “Václav Klaus on the contrary never endorsed any war” – which is blatantly untrue, Václav Klaus never had any problems with the war in Georgia, for example, nor did he ever have any problems with Serbians going on a mad genocide spree through the balkans. He never said a word about it. To me it appears that Prague’s Security Studies has become the haven of the current in Czech foreign policy which wants us to turn into an island, before we find ourselves in a “safe” harbour in warm crushing embrace of Russia.

    But I digress.

    Rest in peace, Václav Havel, both president and a dissident.

  • 2. Eurotrash  |  December 30th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Dear G.S, it warms the cockles of my heart that an inveterate wog wrangler of Havel’s ilk actually did wrangle the wogs he was hired to wrangle. Proof: yourself. In these days of anomie, shoddy workmanship and lack of pride in one’s labour… but I digress.

    Just the other day, the Independent regaled us with a weepy piece entitled “Why don’t more British theatres put on Václav Havel’s plays?” Now there’s a poser of a question.

    Why do you think that is? Why has interest in Havel’s yawn-fests lapsed? Why, the man was hailed as a genius mere decades ago! And while we’re at it, why don’t more British theatres put on Czesław Miłosz’s plays? Havel is, alas, past caring, and so’s Miłosz, but I suspect Wajda might like to know what the game is.

  • 3. Bat-Mite  |  December 30th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    G.A., the fact that even in 2009 all Vaclav would say against Iraq was that the US government didn’t think about consequences speaks volumes about the guy.

  • 4. Нестор Махно  |  December 30th, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Dear exHoles,

    give me one stinking drunk Jaroslav Hašek to a million stinking goodie two shoes Václav Havels or five hundred thousand Chevron-sucking Václav Klauses.

    Cheers,

    Нестор Махно

  • 5. G.A.  |  December 31st, 2011 at 2:06 am

    @3. Well, what could he say? I think that sums up the nature of the problem quite diplomatically.

  • 6. Dom  |  December 31st, 2011 at 3:12 am

    @G.A.

    You description of Serbs as an “evil” that was “going on a mad genocide spree through the balkans” while NATO was there to spread democracy and freedom is lifted straight from “Lord of the Rings” series. Please refrain from posting about things you know nothing about.
    Why not go to IMDB and discuss similarities between Frodo and Vaclav (reluctant warrior angle)? I’m sure that it will create a lively discussion among bored fanboys.

    This also invalidates your opinion on the educational system in your country. You either did not attend or you’re cognitively incapable of analyzing it.

    Great article BTW.

  • 7. techno  |  December 31st, 2011 at 5:13 am

    I didn’t care much for the politics of Havel but I could certainly sympathize with how they came to be. This was a man who spent a good chunk of his life being hassled in ways few of us can begin to imagine. Suddenly, he emerges blinking into the lights and is being honored by his enemies’ biggest enemies. Yes he became a neoliberal idiot on economics but then, so did every other elected leader in the West. Instead of putting him in jail, his new best friends made him the center of some really great parties. Under those circumstances, you might not have thought so clearly about the nature of neoliberalism either.

    I think the appropriate way to think about guys like Havel is to appreciate what he accomplished and hope that others will take over and work on the problems he missed.

  • 8. arras  |  December 31st, 2011 at 6:04 am

    He was political clown who pretended to be philosopher king. He newer kept public promise he gave. He said one thing and did exact opposite. He was drunkard and alcoholic.

    He is known for fighting against communists. But what people do not know is that he was possibly ex-member of communist party himself (http://www.humintel.com/havel1.htm). He was elected president by communist parliament (with 100% vote). He appointed communists to lead his first government. Under his presidency ex.communists and ex-secret service operatives privatised Czechoslovak industry and media.

    He established political gang of friendly family-clans of ex-communists and ex-dissidents which took control over Czech industry, politics and media and robbed country clean in process which they called “privatization, liberalization and reform” and which in fact was largest transfer of property in Czechoslovak history since 1948. Transfer of state property to few chosen people. That gang got to be called as “The Castle” (Prague castle -seat of president). This gang is still powerful in Czech politics and economy and is fighting for power with another gang established by another prominent “velvet revolutionary” and current Czech president Vaclav Klaus.

    Vaclav Havel is to Czechs and Slovaks what Gorbatchev is to Russians, Ukrainians and Bielorussians. Traitor who sold his people and country.

  • 9. Eurotrash  |  December 31st, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Dear Nestor,

    “… and both continued the conversation until finally Švejk condemned Austria for ever with the words: ‘A monarchy as idiotic as this ought not to exist at all!’”

    Here’s to the Empire and its lickspittles, living and dead. Cheers!

  • 10. Lev  |  December 31st, 2011 at 11:07 am

    ‘He was the first leader to welcome the Dalai Lama as a head of state…’

    Why such reverence toward the nasty bastard in the orange robe? The Lama is a Priest-King, head of an institution established by the blood-thirsty Mongol-invaders. The Lama is as far from the Buddha as da Pope is from JC. The Lama ain’t no saint, even if a bunch of jaded Hollywood-wankers firmly believe so. The War Nerd’s article on Tibet sheds light on this myth of the noble oppressed Lama & his faithful (actually feudal) subjects versus evil red China.

  • 11. vampirarchist  |  December 31st, 2011 at 11:26 am

    “He was political clown who pretended to be philosopher king. He newer kept public promise he gave. He said one thing and did exact opposite. He was drunkard and alcoholic.”

    Sounds like almost every major political leader in Europe in the 20th century, actually.

    I look forward to the inevitable eXile obit for Lech Wałęsa.

  • 12. super390  |  December 31st, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    You’ve probably heard the story of how Frank Zappa met Havel on an airliner and talked him into replacing CZ’s communistic telephone system with cell phones. That’s kind of a warning alarm that the ’60s counterculture all over the world was hardwired with a weakness for goodies and a certain lust for entrepreneurship. In and of itself, maybe not a bad thing. But in a West controlled by seductive multinational corporations, a smooth road to the whorehouse – and now to the poorhouse. The Chinese, who build all those cell phones thanks to Bill Clinton’s globalization doctrines, will have the final say on values so shallow and shortsighted.

  • 13. G.A.  |  December 31st, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    @6. Hello Dom, your comment could be pretty much pulled off any angsty teenager forum / comment / website and I find it hilarious that you can’t come up with anything else but the old kitchy cultural meme of western politicians being idealistic lunatics detached from reality just waiting to hear the immense wisdom of Dom from his mama’s basement, who has the world all figured out.

    Hey Dom, why don’t you go ahead and tell us all that there’s never been, in fact, any genocide in the Balkans, that in fact, Milosevic has been a peacemaker, and that having Kosovo absorbed by Greater Serbia is an awesome thing for regional stability and people of Balkans? I sure can’t imagine anything going wrong with making a million pissed off armed to teeth Albanians a part of a country led by geno…I mean an ambitious patriotic hero. What could possibly go awry with that?

  • 14. G.A.  |  December 31st, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    @8. How about speaking for yourself instead of “Czechs” ? All of that is fucking retarded, “The Castle” – an almighty criminal economic gang? Fucks sake.

  • 15. Patriot  |  December 31st, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Havel’s problem was that of all the post-89 European dissident leaders. Namely, there was no alternative political-economic system waiting for them, other than the Washington consensus/neo-liberalism.

    As we see now, that system is a failure, well, a failure for most people other than the power elite. At least for me, watching neo-liberalism fail in Eastern Europe was what convinced me that the theoretical premises were busted. The question then became, what next?

    Still working on that.

  • 16. arras  |  January 1st, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    @G.A. “fuck” is excellent argument which beats any other in debate any time. Do not let facts and evidence to get in to your way. Go and f… yourself my friend.

  • 17. arras  |  January 1st, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    @Patriot, Havel newer looked for any alternative. He was one of those few for whom no-liberalism was not failure. He profited personally.

    He was Washington’s “pet” since times of his dissent. Who do you think was financing his alcoholic parties at that time? And he was living very good life for dissident in communistic regime. How many Czech dissidents had western car? How many of them could afford car at all?

  • 18. G.A.  |  January 1st, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    @16. I wrote fuck because fuck all is all you have in your tiny little head. If communists traded hard power for economic power, why is former General Secretary Jakeš driving an old Skoda 120 and living in a small /chalupa/ on the outskirts of Prague that looks like it’s still 70s?

    The problem with your posts that it’s got no substance, it’s just good old smear.

  • 19. nampa  |  January 3rd, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    The infantile runt-like behavior of any middle class E. European to suck up to the prevailing paradigm of whatever is fashionable in the West is pathetic-like a small boy trying to be cool to join the popular team at recess.
    Though the Czech Republic has seen some actual, none-debt accumulated growth since 89, it’s still a leap to call the counter revolution an unqualified sucess.
    The anti-communist dissidents were not popular among the educated classes because of their works or wisdom, but because they were an on-the-ground propaganda tool against the Soviet regimes. Now that the socialisst bloc is gone, so is their purpose. Havel sold out the country to foreign interests-his utility is at an end.

  • 20. G.A.  |  January 3rd, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    @ 17. Again, old commie smear that’s been spread by STB agents as early as 60s, yet compeltely unsubstantiated. As if alcohol was somehow hard to get by in the communist times. Hey, who was financing all those alcoholic parties of ordinary citizens in Moravian wine storages? CIA I bet, ‘cuz u need Washington funding to get drunk.

    @ 19. And the smear train continues, how about backing up your bullshit smear with some facts, twerps? Any retard can write “sold out the country to foreign interests” or “cool kid trying to join the popular team” but none of you ‘tards trying to feed off the funeral (a state funeral at that) is capable of listing /anything/ of substance.

  • 21. Eurotrash  |  January 3rd, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Yeah, you know what? Havel can suck it.

    He’s spent the last two comfy decades giving his Washington pals one enthusiastic tongue bath after another, ever ready to yap his fervent support and parrot the party line. No enormity, from Afghanistan to Yugoslavia, was too great to be lovingly laved by Havel’s tongue. Therefore, he was a busted flush both as a humanitarian and a human being, coming across as nothing more than a snickering toady on the shoulder of Jabba the Hutt.

    No one needs a wild and crazy Czechoslovakian’s moral guidance on sucking the big guy’s knob. This is a simple fact which eludes you simply because you have no more comprehension of what had taken place in the last decades than a cocker spaniel watching a game at the local park.

  • 22. arras  |  January 4th, 2012 at 3:53 am

    @G.A. No my friend, you wrote “fuck” because you have no other argument. When people starts personal insults in discussion its unmistakable sign of them been running out of argument. It is called attack ad hominem.

    So once again, go f… yourself or do it like Havel did: turn your ass to Bush and neocon Co. They know how to f… people like Havel and you real well. You want be disappointed.

  • 23. G.A.  |  January 4th, 2012 at 8:27 am

    @ 22. I love it when people defeat themselves by their own arguments.

  • 24. jimmythehyena  |  January 5th, 2012 at 10:56 am

    The expression on Vaclav’s face in the photo makes me wonder if he knew about Dubuya’s sexuality; not just that he’s gay but that he has a preference for the passive role in BD SM relationships.

  • 25. Žena  |  January 5th, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    G.A.: Yes, let us grant your leader a nuanced memory that allows the most exquisite shades of grey while you echo the tedious martial line about Serbia and Milosevic’s “evil” in the hope that your stultified American audience, having heard it a mind-numbing billion times before, will (to parahprase Gore Vidal) at reading the the word “genocide,” have an orgasmic Pavlovian reflex just as the brain goes dead.
    Tell me, how is the enlightened, democratic, Kosovo working out for its people and for the region? How many people did NATO kill? Milosevic wasn’t a guarantor of peace in the Balkans, and if not, can you explain why people aren’t ripping each others throats out the delightful multi-ethnic Bosnia where Jews and Roma cannot run for President)? What the fuck is Serbia looking like today? I’m sorry, I’m asking you questions as if you actually give a shit when your only interest is kissing imperial ass and obfuscating about “evil”: pretty sure you just made Zaitchik’s point about your beloved leader, RIP, etc, etc.

  • 26. Gustavo "Newt 2012" Millebrad  |  January 6th, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Dearest eXholes,

    “Gas Queen” Julia Tymoshenko’s husband finds refuse in the land of the Vaclavs:

    http://www.rferl.org/content/tymoshenko_husband_asylum_czech_republic/24443712.html

    Cheers,

    Gustavo “Newt 2012″ Millebrand, Plymouth, New Hampshire

  • 27. Aenn  |  January 9th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    “Gripen”. It’s “Gripen”, with 1 “p”. SAAB JAS-39 Gripen (“Gryphon” in Swedish).

  • 28. Dimitri Ratz  |  January 11th, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Thank you for the Totalitarian convex mirror quote. It’s what really made Vaclav Havel great, and it’s a shame it couldn’t have been read at his funeral. Like the innocent (pun intended, thinking they can change the system) L. A. Protesters signing away plea deals the great man who overthrew the whole system, which in Eastern Europe was communism at the time, went with a path that had guaranties with not crossing his benefactors. Enough to find grace in counting stock certificates by yellow candle light giving just barely enough light to read as the cold air from the open window made the light flicker. Cliche, found also towards the end in that quote reminds me of the old saying “Built on mirrors”, and it’s only rational thinking of the convex mirrors quote to remember that the best mirrors use silver coating unde the glass (although aluminium is making inroads), but silver is still the best reflector, it gets exsited, becomes unstable from the packet of light known as photons and releases it’s photons, although there is still a small disbalance, as it keeps more than it let’s out, and that was Vaclav.

  • 29. Marcus McSpartacus  |  January 12th, 2012 at 5:23 am

    I never knew why some euro-lefties I knew would kind of mutter about Havel when he came up in conversation, until I read this. I thought he was alright because he held up signing one of the EU Borg Assimilation treaties – what a bummer.

  • 30. Jim Vail  |  January 21st, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Good article. Havel, don’t forget, was a big cheerleader of the IMF, which has done far more damage than NATO to people (when a friend visited S. Africa one young lady told her she has to whore herself because she once worked as a teacher until the IMF “reforms” cut her position and forced her into prostitution).
    I always got a kick out of the Poles dissident Kachinsky turned president who also paraded with Bush and tried to help legitimize the Iraq war, while holding the mantle of being the poor helpless eternal victims of Soviets, of Nazis, of Russian empire, etc.
    But they did it to fuck the ones who fucked them for a long time.


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