Sunday, December 18, 2011

R.I.P. Vaclav Havel and Thanks for the T-Shirt -- No, Really.

The world has lost a philosopher king.

The Velvet Revolution occurred when I was in my late teens.  To me, this was one of the highlights of the spread of liberty in the modern era.

Vaclav Havel, once jailed for his belief in freedom, became a leader who realized true freedom meant giving up power. He did so by refusing to put a state before the freedom of its constituent peoples. Though he disagreed, he did not stop the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia or the birth of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He realized agreeing to disagree was far more important than recent historical boundaries and political control.

Every leader should take this as a lesson. Recrimination of those who disagree with an opinion is nothing less than the slow death of liberty. As stated in the Constitution of the United States of America, 'general Welfare' is a requisite of liberty. Alienating one's neighbours because of differing beliefs is a dangerous practice. Sometimes, the world requires multiple solutions for singular problems.

During the Velvet Revolution, my Mother visited Czechoslovakia on an academic exchange. On her return, she gave me a white t-shirt, hand painted by a student. On it was written a hopeful message of freedom. Liberty and freedom are ideals of which I hope I never have to say, "Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt." May liberty and freedom last forever.

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