Thursday, October 02, 2014


Transmission

Admirers Press 'Short Trousers' To Honor Vaclav Havel


Vaclav Havel died in December 2011
Vaclav Havel died in December 2011
With the first anniversary approaching of the death of former Czech President Vaclav Havel, there's a campaign afoot to honor the iconic communist-era dissident with humor and affection.



"On Vaclav Havel Day, 18.12.2012, we ask you to honor his memory by rolling up your trouser legs," reads an English-language announcement on the "Short Trousers for Vaclav Havel" website.

The goal is a "gesture that is humorous, non-violent but significant and perhaps even very Czech like."



Havel, a heavy smoker through decades of persecution for his championing of human rights in the face of communist oppression, died at the age of 75 after a long battle with respiratory ailments.



The "trousers" reference dates back to Havel's inauguration as Czechoslovak president on December 29, 1989, when cameras caught the almost painfully reticent champion of the Velvet Revolution in pants that barely reached his ankles.



Years later, in a 2006 interview, Havel tried to dispel what he called a "national myth" by saying he'd simply adjusted his pants during the ceremony and they hadn't settled in time for the cameras, which had turned on him earlier than scheduled.



"Every man knows that we pull our trousers up from time to time and then it takes some time before they get back into the original position. That's what happened that time at the castle. And because the military parade took place in the fourth minute instead of the fifth, since then it has become a national myth that I had short trousers at the inauguration," Havel explained.



But according to Jan Solc, who worked in the president's office during the 1990s, Havel had a preference for wearing his pants up high that dated back to his time in prison. Solc recalled meeting a tailor who told him a story about Havel's prison days.


"In jail, every time they came for him, they used to yell, 'Havel, make yourself presentable,' and so he used to grab his pants and pull them up like this. He kept doing it the whole time he was locked up," Solc has recounted. 



The initiative has been organized by self-proclaimed entrepreneur and technologist Oldrich Neuberger. It has been supported by the Forum 2000 rights and democracy foundation that Havel helped found, as well as by prominent Czech personalities including former politician and activist Jan Ruml, economist Tomas Sedlacek, and "Respekt" editor Erik Tabery.



The "Short Trousers for Vaclav Havel" Facebook page was launched on October 2 and has so far attracted around 2,500 likes. 


-- Deana Kjuka
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jack from: US
December 16, 2012 15:23
Czechs must be proud of this slavish worm Havel who was so eager to bend over to please Washington mafia
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
December 16, 2012 16:57
All humanity is proud of people like Havel,Karel Kril and many others who lived their lives with dignity which is foreign to soviet svoloch Eugenia-Jack gulag police informer goat types.Their names will be remembered long after the Jacks and Eugenias disappear into the red-hot fiery furnace!!!
In Response

by: Jack from: US
December 16, 2012 17:57
one thing I agree with Camel is that Havel will indeed be remembered for his pose, which Camel finds so attractive.
Perhaps that would be the only thing to remember about Havel since he was less than mediocre playwriter, and his "freedom fighting" credentials are greately exagerated. His alleged "persecution" by evil Communist authorities (i.e. intolerable house arrest) looks so much intolerable... well, in comparison with friendly water boarding sessions administered by the freedom-loving US government to the enemies of democracy
In Response

by: Marie from: USA
December 17, 2012 14:59
Vaclav Havel was a man of immense moral and intellectual courage, and he deserves to be commemorated for his informed defiance of a totalitarian, illiberal regime hellbent on suppressing the God-given liberties of the Czech people. 'Worms' are the moronic tools that facilitated the communists and all other totalitarian hacks. Mr. Havel is an example to all freedom-loving peoples. I for one will be celebrating his life and legacy tomorrow, along with millions of others.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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