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PALACH WEEK AT THE VÁCLAV HAVEL LIBRARY

Illustration
  • Where: Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague
  • When: January 16, 2014, 17:00 – 21:30

January 1989. A brutal police intervention against a peaceful attempt to honour the memory of Jan Palach, who on 16 January 1969 immolated himself on Wenceslas Square in protest at the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968. Water cannons, dogs, tear gas – none scare off the demonstrators; instead they are spurred to hold further protests. Unfolding events and growing unrest signal the imminent collapse of the Communist regime. Civic groups link up, petitions to free Václav Havel spread throughout the country, signed not only by artists but by more and more Czechs and Slovaks…

The Václav Havel Library will mark this key event in modern Czechoslovak and Czech history on 16 January 2014 with a memorial ceremony at the main building of the Arts Faculty of Prague’s Charles University, a march on Wenceslas Square, the screening of a film about Agnieszka Holland at Lucerna and a debate with witnesses and direct participants at the Marble Hall at the Lucerna Palace.

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Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„Once you’re here, however, whether you want to or not, you have to ask the question: does all of this have a meaning, and if so, what?… Ultimately, I can only find an answer – a positive answer – within myself, in my general faith in the meaning of things, in my hope. What, in fact, is man responsible to? What does he relate to? What is the final horizon of his actions, the absolute vanishing point of everything he does, the undeceivable “memory of Being”, the conscience of the world and the final “court of appeal”? What is the decisive standard of measurement, the background or the field of each of his existential experiences? And likewise, what is the most important witness or the secret sharer in his daily conversations with himself, the thing that – regardless of what situation he has been thrown into – he incessantly inquires after, depends upon, and toward which his actions are directed, the thing that, in its omniscience and incorruptibility, both haunts and saves him, the only thing he can trust in and strive for? “

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, August 7, 1980

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