Vaclav Havel

December 20, 2011 – New York – The AJC weekly radio messages are broadcast on the CBS radio network, before The Osgood File. All AJC radio commentaries since 2001 are available at


The full text of this week’s commentary follows:

It’s said there are those who make things happen, others who watch things happen, and still others who wonder what happened.

Vaclav Havel, who died on Sunday, made things happen.

A fierce opponent of communism, he endured imprisonment in his native Czechoslovakia. He refused, he said, to “live within a lie.”

In 1989, he helped topple the repressive regime. He was later elected his country’s president.

Deeply devoted to human dignity and human rights, he received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Havel was a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people.

AJC was privileged to work with him to strengthen democratic values in Eastern Europe.

At the Clinton White House, Havel publicly lauded AJC’s work in advancing “security and peace.”

We will miss Vaclav Havel – his courage, his conscience, and his compassion.

But we shall be ever grateful for his life – and the incomparable way he chose to live it.


This is David Harris of AJC.
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