IN MEMORY OF VACLAV HAVEL

This is not a formal gesture, because we haven’t come out of nowhere. 16 years ago, One World started in Prague, in Havel’s spirit and at his initiative. For five years, our festival was organized under his patronage. After his physical disappearance, in 2011, he stubbornly stays in our minds and souls. Vaclav Havel, you have the word:


"I`m running away. I`m running away more and more. I find various excuses to run from my study, downstairs into the kitchen where I tidy up, listen to the radio, wash the dishes, cook a meal, think something over, or simply sit in my old place by the window and stare out. What I`m running away from is writing. But it`s more than that. I`m running away from the public, from politics, from people. Perhaps I`m even running away from the woman who saved my life. Above all, I`m probably running away from myself.

What am I actually afraid of? Hard to say. What`s interesting is that although I am here alone – and will continue to be here alone because no one that I know of has plans to visit – I keep the house tidy; I have everything in its place, everything has to be aligned with everything else, nothing can be left hanging over the edge of a table, or be crooked. At the same time the refrigerator must always be filled with a variety of food that I can scarcely eat myself, and there must be fresh flowers in the vases. In other words, it`s as though I were constantly expecting someone to visit. But who? The unknown and unannounced guest? A strange and beautiful woman who admires me? My savior, who likes to show up unannounced? Some old friends? Why is it that I don`t want to see anyone, and at the same time I`m always expecting someone, someone who will really appreciate that everything is in its proper place and properly aligned?

I have only one explanation: I am constantly preparing for the last judgment, for the highest court from which nothing can be hidden, which will appreciate everything that should be appreciated, and which will, of course, notice everything that is not in its place. I`m obviously assuming that the supreme judge is a stickler like me. But why does this final evaluation matter so much to me? After all, at that point I shouldn`t care. But I do care because I`m convinced that my existence – like everything that has ever happened – has ruffled the surface of Being, and that after my little ripple, however marginal, insignificant, and ephemeral it may have been, Being is and always will be different from what it was before. All my life I have simply believed that what is once done can never be undone and that, in fact, everything remains forever. In short, Being has a memory. And thus even my insignificance – as a bourgeois child, a laboratory assistant, a soldier, a stagehand, a playwright, a dissident, a prisoner, a president, a pensioner, a public phenomenon, and a hermit, an alleged hero but secretly a bundle of nerves – will remain here forever, or rather not here, but somewhere. But not, however, elsewhere. Somewhere here."

To The Castle and Back, Vaclav Havel