Czech Republic: TODAY Václav Havel's 80th birthday to be marked by assembly on Wenceslas Square
Wednesday, 5 October 2016 will mark 80 years since the birth of Václav Havel, and the occasion will be marked by a big assembly and concert on Wenceslas Square in Prague. The aim of the event is to remind people of Havel's life philosophy, his positions on various issues, and the values that he stood for.
The event is organized by the VH80 group, friends whose purpose is to publicly commemorate the late president in a way that will encourage and inspire Czech citizens, increase respect for the rules of liberal democracy, and affirm the Czech Republic's membership in the family of democratic, free states. The members of VH80 do not work with any political movements or parties.
The event will be opened by Bishop Václav Malý and the main speech will be a recording of one of Havel's. The concert will feature performances by MydyRabycad, Zrní, Korben Dallas and Michal Ambrož & hudba Praha.
The event will close with all of the performers singing a new song, "Milý spoluobčané" (“Dear Fellow Citizens") which was written for this occasion by Zdeněk Svěrák and Jaroslav Uhlíř. The moderator of the event will be Emma Smetana.
Romani community members have spoken up about what the late President meant to them. Here are some of their observations:
Jana Hejkrlíková, essayist
"Not many people in the world today have achieved the kind of moral dimension that the first Czech President, Václav Havel, did. He fulfilled the idea, expressed by Jesus, that 'many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first'."
Gabriela Hrabaňová, human rights activist
"My childhood was spent in dissident circles, sometimes around Václav Havel as well. Today I spend time in the circle of human rights activists, and Havel was close to that as well. In both cases, these are minority groups that advocate for the interests of those in need. In this respect, I sincerely believe that just as Václav Havel was my role model, he should be a role model for everybody, and as a human being, not just as a politician."
Jan Horváth Döme, poet
"I have a letter at home from President Václav Havel from 1999, when I sent him my first book of poems, Tumenge. He welcomed it with pleasure and put it in his library. Our Romani hearts are weeping for him, in Romanes we say he was a baro manuš - a great person. Na bisteraha! Never forget!"
- Václav Havel's 1995 speech at the unveiling of the Lety memorial
- Czech Republic: Mass this evening commemorates President Václav Havel
- Private funeral service for Havel held at crematorium in Strašnice
- Václav Havel leaves Prague Castle for the last time
- State funeral held for Václav Havel
- Anna Chvalová took part in Havel's honor guard: "I was there on behalf of our minority"
- Six black horses bring coffin bearing Havel's remains to Prague Castle as onlookers applaud
- Karel Holomek: I have known Václav Havel a long time
- Czech state mourns former President Václav Havel
- Thousands bid former Czech President Havel farewell at the Prague Crossroads
- Sabe Soe: Mr Havel, we thank you
- Jan Horváth Döme: "To Václav Havel"
- Gabriela Hrabaňová: Havel is my role model!
- Jarmila Balážová: Havel will always be a symbol of freedom for me!
- Havel's memory honored by hundreds in the center of Prague
- Former Czech President Václav Havel has passed away at 75
- Václav Havel: Spreading fascist opinions in one's spare time is not acceptable
- Commentary: Czech Television report from Brno on 1 May - Václav Havel looking to brawl?
- Václav Havel: If this were Germany, Klaus would have to resign
- Havel: Čunek’s stance on the Roma is socially and historically more dangerous than a single bribe
- Havel denounces Rath's statements about supreme attorney
- Slovak President-elect creates minority adviser team, Roma represented by Jurina Rusnáková and Viktor Teru
- Ukraine: Aggressive armed man from the extremist Azov Battalion disrupts human rights discussion in Kyiv
- Report from Prague's anti-EU demonstration: The little guys on all sides
- Slovakia has elected its first female President - Čaputová thanks voters in Romanes again
- Commentary: Four years for terrorism is a mockery - and others should have been tried
- Grand opening of "slow fashion" shop in Prague will be broadcast live online by ROMEA 25 October
- Slovakia: Two-day meeting of V4 presidents was to cover Romani community issues, among other matters
- European Roma flood Facebook with hundreds of photos of themselves at work, tell Czech President to stop insulting them
- Czech court rules activists did not enrich themselves by using abandoned building, state may go to Supreme Court
- Romani entrepreneurs push for unemployed Roma, not foreigners, to be hired for Czech bark beetle eradication
- Czech children's home turns Prague streets into summer camp, complete with parcour, this Thursday
- Třebíč, Czech Republic commemorates anniversary of Holocaust transports from there