As the Washington Post reports:
Václav Havel, a Czech writer who was imprisoned by his country's former communist rulers, only to become a symbol of freedom and his nation's first president in the post-communist era, died Sunday morning at his weekened home in the Czech Republic, the Associated Press reports. He was 75. . .Mr. Havel was a playwright by profession and a political activist by avocation. The two activities were complementary and each served to gain him a leading place among the dissidents of Eastern Europe who helped bring down the communist empire. His words and deeds resonated far beyond the borders of the former Czechoslovakia, and he was widely recognized for his struggles in behalf of democracy and human dignity.After being unanimously elected president of Czechoslovakia by the newly free country's parliament in December 1989, Mr. Havel set the tone of the new era in a speech on Jan. 1, 1990, his first day in office. Communism, he said, was “a monstrous, ramshackle, stinking machine” whose worst legacy was not economic failure but a “spoiled moral environment.”
What Pravda-on-the-Potomac doesn't mention, at least in the part of the story that I can see, is that Havel was Europe's most prominent and insistent critic of Barack Obama's foreign policy, or lack thereof.
Vaclav Havel was, warts and and all, a great soul. Beaten and imprisoned, he never lost his humanity nor turned traitor to his principles. Nothing greater can be said of any man.