Final Word from Monday, December 19, 2011

Václav Havel's death yesterday is a great loss for all those wholoved and admired him. For the Czech Republic, it was alsoa moment of 15 minutes of fame, with nearly the entire worldpausing briefly to pay its respects to a fallen hero. It might bethe last such moment of fame for the CR for a long while. AsMP Lubomír Zaorálek of ČSSD put it so well on Czech Television,Havel gave idea and substance to the Czech Republic anddetermined its spiritual profile. If only we had another suchCzech one day whom Europe is so proud of, Zaorálek said.Havel's passing gives Czechs an opportunity to reexaminetheir past and their present and to decide whether they liketheir current path, both as individuals and as a nation. Willconditions have to worsen significantly again to produce anotherHavel, one who comes out of hardship and oppositionto the regime. Or will Czechs aim to produce a society wherepeople like Václav Havel are the norm, and not the exception?With every ending comes the chance of a new beginning.

Glossary of difficult words

R.I.P. - rest in peace (used on grave markers);

passing - death;

hardship - severe suffering or misfortune.

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