With deep sorrow, Burma Center Prague today received news of the passing of Mr. Vaclav Havel, a key figure not only for the history of the Czech Republic, but also for the international community and in particular for the Burmese democratic movement.
Today, Burma Center Prague received many phone calls and e-mails from partner organizations and friends from around the world who were affected by this sad news. Members of Burma Center Prague, along with other Burmese, hereby express their sincere condolences to Mr. Havel’s bereaved wife and his close colleagues.
Mr. Havel consistently and significantly supported democratic efforts in Burma. He nominated Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the Nobel Peace Prize, sharply criticized the practices of the military regime, and steadfastly called for respect for human rights and peace and democracy in the country, which is controlled by a totalitarian regime, as was the former Czechoslovakia.
“Mr. Havel was a great symbol of the non-violent struggle for democracy and was always admired by the Burmese. Thanks to him, awareness of Burma was significantly increased in the Czech Republic not only among Czech politicians but also among citizens. We are greatly appreciative Mr. Havel’s efforts to always put human rights, individual freedom and democracy ahead of economic interests. We are extremely sad that Mr. Havel is no longer with us, but we hope and believe in the global responsibility of democratic states and we are very grateful for the solidarity of Czech citizens, who can better understand the situation in Burma thanks to their own memories of the past under a totalitarian regime, ” said BCP’s director Sabe Soe, who herself comes from Burma and experienced the successful Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic, while in her home country a popular uprising was bloodily suppressed by the military. “I am very sad that Mr. Havel will never meet Ms. Suu Kyi and personally give her a rose, as he wanted to do,” added Ms. Soe.