On the death of Václav Havel  
Note of condolence sent by the former Hungarian Democratic Opposition

We members of the former Hungarian Democratic Opposition are shocked to learn about the death of Václav Havel. Despite our knowledge about his protracted illness, the news of the tragedy caught us unprepared, because Havel, one of the most emblematic representatives of regime change in Central and Eastern Europe, had remained a constant figure of our common social and political life until  very recently.

It was the Central European intellectuals as staunch supporters of the Prague Spring who established the tradition of solidarity in our region. This was reciprocated on many occasions by the civil resistance unfolding there in the wake of the events in Czechoslovakia. Later, the best of the Hungarian intelligentsia was ready to take considerable risks to protest against the imprisonment of the leaders of the Czech and Slovak opposition, including Havel himself. It was not our common past of dismembered nation states that served as a beacon for our spiritual cohesion unbroken for forty years, but rather our belief in our common future in Europe. From the very outset, Václav Havel was one of the most committed „spokesmen” for this vision.

His death is a loss for the whole of Europe, as well as a memento, especially today when many Europeans are losing faith in the veracity and values of a common Europe. It was a shining example of Havel’s passionate belief in European unity when in January 2011 he promptly signed the Budapest Declaration which warned Europe and the whole world of the first steps taken towards the abolition of democracy in Hungary.

18 December 2011 in Budapest

Ara-Kovács Attila, Dalos György, Demszky Gábor, Haraszti Miklós, Hodosán Róza, Iványi Gábor, Kasza László, Kenedi János, Konrád György, Kőszeg Ferenc, Magyar Bálint, Mécs Imre, Radnóti Sándor, Rajk László, Szilágyi Sándor, Tamás Gáspár Miklós

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