Václav Havel’s ideas are alive and still matter.
Let them inspire us.
This speech was made combining selected parts of Václav Havel’s public appearances between the years 1989-2009. The editorials are marked in cursive with specific sources for individual parts listed at the end of the speech.
Good evening, friends,
Let me thank the organizers for making it possible for me to say a few words today, 32 years since 17 November 1989.1
Some of you may have noticed that for many years, one of my statements made at a big rally on Wenceslas Square /on 10 December, 1989/ has been a subject of ridicule. At the time I felt that there should be something poetic at the end of my speeches. And I said: “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred…” And I am very pleased that this quote, which was a matter of instant inspiration as I was being pushed to speak to the crowd from the balcony and kept thinking about what to say at the end of the speech, is still irritating some people today.2
* 5. 10. 1936 Prague, Czechoslovakia
† 18. 12. 2011 Hrádeček u Trutnova, Czech Republic
Václav Havel was a Czech playwright, essayist, dissident and critic of the communist regime; later a politician and statesman. He was the ninth and last president of Czechoslovakia (1989-1992), and the first president of the Czech Republic (1993-2003).
After the outbreak of the Velvet Revolution in November 1989, he was one of the founders of the anti-communist movement Občanské fórum (The Civic Forum), and as its candidate, was elected the president of Czechoslovakia on December 29th. He had a defining influence in setting the course of the country towards parliamentary democracy and joining the political structures of the western world.
Many individuals and organizations helped make the hologram possible. How it came to be? Have a look!
Who’s behind the project and why did they do it?
For the past five years we’ve been organizing the Concert for Future, the highlight of civic celebrations of November 17th, and the Velvet revolution. Even though we haven’t witnessed the revolution and Havel’s role in it ourselves, we honour his ideas, and wish to participate in bringing his legacy back among us. We would like his wisdom and bravery to always speak the truth, to reign once more not only in the Czech Republic, but all around the globe. That is why, despite the difficult times, we felt the need and duty to make this happen.
The idea to “revive” Mr. president and have him deliver a new speech may seem a little controversial. We consider it the best way of reminding people of both the strength of his personality, and his timeless ideas, using modern technologies. Today we lack visionaries able to pinpoint the problems of this world and present humanistic visions of their solutions. Here in the Czech Republic, we have had one such man and must do everything we can to prevent our society from forgetting Václav Havel.
Václav Havel’s thoughts and visions are timeless, the topics he addressed in his time, still as relevant today. A unified society and cultivated democratic debate, care for environment, and equal human rights for all. We are honoured to use our work with lights and technologies as a reminder that those values belong in the present. Thank you.
Václav Havel Library
Each year, in the days of Velvet Revolution’s anniversary, we feel the presence of Václav Havel’s legacy. This year, with the 85th anniversary of Havel’s birth, and the 10th of his passing, we may feel it again with renewed intensity and even see it with our own eyes.