Vaclav Havel's ideas live on (photos)
January 14 in Minsk a memorial party in honor of the famous Czech dissident, human rights activist and the first president of the independent Czech Republic Vaclav Havel took place in Minsk.
The party was organized by Belarusian NGOs – Movement "For Freedom", Committee for Support to the Repressed "Solidarity",the Human Rights Center "Viasna", the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Belarusian Association of Journalists with the support of the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Сocial, cultural and political activists, relatives of political prisoners came there to honor the memory of the famous figure and a sincere friend of Belarusians.
Speakers emphasized that the ideas that Mr. Havel carried out in the country are very sensible for today's Belarus, which still lacks respect for human rights and democratic values by the authorities.
"Vaclav Havel's ideas live on in Belarus.Protection and respect of human rights, democracy - all this is very important . This is confirmed by the fact that Mrs. Petruska Shustova, a founder of "Civil Belarus" and a friend of Vaclav Havel, who wanted to tell you about him wasn't let in Belarus. We very much regret that now she is not be here, as she was denied a visa to Belarus. And that's why I say that it is very important to remind Belarus about the ideas of Vaclav Havel," said the representative of the Czech Embassy in Belarus Dagmar Didenko-Novogrudskaya, who wished Belarusians that human rights were respected in their country, so that there was no political prisoners in Belarus and everyone could get together here.
Well-known Czech dissident and member of the "Charter 77 " Petrushka Shustrova noted in her video address to the audience that the situation in Belarus today resembles the situation in her country during the second half of the 1970-ies. "Since 1968 we entered a period called "normalization". And it seems to me that our "normalization" and the current state of the Belarusian society is very similar. You can do what you need to Belarusian citizens as it is seen by your president, Mr. Lukashenka. But I should tell you that I see another Belarus. I have friends in Belarus, I have been to Minsk, I have seenKurapaty and travelled around the country a little. In my opinion, your country may well fined a way to Europe. I know that the situation is difficult, because I remember well how we lived. For us the most important thing was to take care of the freedom for the imprisoned friends ... You should refer to international solidarity ... And you should communicate with one another. As one old man said to me in Moldova, one person has little force, when there are to of them – the forces double, and when there are many – the forces of evil can no longer get through...".
Calling Belarusians to unity, Ms. Shustrova wished them not to lose hope. "Vaclav Havel has always said that hope is not light at the end of some dark night, it is the state of my spirit. Hope is what one can share, like love. I already live in a society where success, financial success, is often most important. And I think that helping one another, friendship and relationshipsare more important. At the departure I will tell you the words of one of our poets. Never lose hope. Because if you lose it – someone will find it, and most likely will not return. I wish you, my dear friends, to have very good relationship with one another, so that it would be possible not only for me but also for all those who like you, to come to your country to share their experiences. And I wish you much success."
The representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Hary Pahaniaila pointed out in his speech that what was most important for Belarusians in the multifaceted personality of Vaclav Havel nowadays was that he was a subsistent fighter for freedom and human rights. "This man really fought for the liberation of political prisoners in Belarus, he strained Western governments and international organizations to change the situation in Belarus for the better, and it is noteworthy that the last letter written by his hand was addressed to the Belarusian political prisoners ..."
During the event there was read a letter of the head of the HRC "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski, which was a response to a letter he received from Vaclav Havel.
As noted by the representative of the Movement "For Freedom" Ales Lahvinets, Vaclav Havel was interested in human rights on a global scale. "He was interested in not only in what was happening in Europe itself, but also what was happening in Cuba, Burma. In fact, the Czech Republic during his presidency was the center of activity Cuban and Burmese dissidents. Vaclav Havel was the initiator of the International Committee for Solidarity with Cuba, and the topic of today's events, held to honor Vaclav Havel in other parts of the world is Cuba..."
Supporting the idea of solidarity with Cuba, the event organizers offered the audience to put their signatures to the Cuban authorities and addressed the international civil society with an appeal, requiring the Government of Cuba to stop the repression against its own people, release political prisoners and to go through democratic reforms in the country, and urged the international community to continue support for Cuban dissidents and freedom fighters.
Photos taken from svаboda.org, pyx.by