Final Word from Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The outpouring of emotion surrounding the death of VáclavHavel has several origins, the biggest of which is the simplefact that he was widely loved and admired. It's also partly areaction to the times we leave in, when there are so few peoplewe can hold up as heroes. Politically, there's a discernible efforton the part of the "Havel camp" - this term will likely be in usefor years to come - to build up the posthumous image of Havelas a defense against the enemy, often categorized as the "Klauscamp." The name of a saint can easily be invoked to condemnanything a sinner on earth might embark upon. This new situationputs the Klaus camp in a difficult position. Jiří Pehe, whoworked for Havel, stated on Czech Radio yesterday that Havel'sharsh Rudolfinum speech in 1997 was a mistake, because Klauswas able to take advantage of it. The tables are now turned.Whatever political advantage the Klaus camp might gain fromHavel's death is burdened by the possibility that its statementsor actions will be seen to dishonor the Havel "sainthood."

Glossary of difficult words

sainthood - the condition, status or dignity of a saint;

outpouring - an outburst of strong emotion;

discernible - visible, detectable;

posthumous - occurring, awarded or appearing after the death of the originator;

to embark upon/on - to undertake, engage in;

to turn the tables - to reverse one's position relative to someone else, esp. by turning a position of disadvantage into one of advantage (Klaus was the one who was "dead" in 1997).

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