What remains of Václav Havel's legacy 10 years on?

The Czech Republic commemorated the playwright, civil rights activist and politician Václav Havel on the weekend. Havel, who was probably the best-known Czechoslovak and later Czech president died ten years ago. Commentators ask how his values would fit in with today's world.

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Seznam Zprávy (CZ) /

Do the right thing even with uncertain outcome

Havel remains in the country's collective memory, philosopher and former civil rights activist Daniel Kroupa writes in Seznam Zprávy:

“What distinguished him was the desire to understand things, to name them truthfully, to remain open to those with whom he disagreed, not to be indifferent to injustice, whether it concerned those we love or those with whom we have no contact whatsoever. He lived in the hope that it makes sense to do the right thing in a given situation, even if we cannot be sure of the outcome.”

Echo24 (CZ) /

The idealist would be at a loss today

Havel's moral guidelines could well be outdated today, commentator Jiří Peňás argues in Echo24:

“A lot has changed in the ten years since Havel's death. At home, and perhaps even more on a global level. ... Havel was an old-fashioned idealist who believed that world affairs rested on the old Western ideas of freedom, human rights and a belief in the rational nature of democracy. A guiding principle that works everywhere and all the time. The winds that unleashed globalisation blew away many of the certainties that defined Havel's world. ”