“A spectre is haunting eastern Europe: the spectre of what in the West is called dissent.”
It was 1978 when these words were first penned. A forty-two year old Czech playwright, Vaclav Havel, living in a ruthless Communist society felt he had little choice but to write. Havel, a man with suspect bourgeois roots and subversive political tendencies had previously proven himself to be an “uncooperative citizen” in Communist-run Czechoslovakia. In his youth, Havel had been denied various educational opportunities due to his family’s intellectual and bourgeois upbringing, so instead he would find himself writing internationally acclaimed plays. In spite of clear fears and frustrations, Havel was making a life for himself.
But in 1968, all of this would change. This year would see an eight month Czechoslovakian experiment of liberalization of travel, media, and speech (also known as the “Prague Spring”) crushed by the Soviet Union and its…
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