“We first gathered at a meeting in the memory of Havel in 2012. It took place at a rather gloomy time for Belarus, when dozens of patriots were in prison because they took a stand openly in favour of freedom and change. And Václav Havel will always be a symbol of such change for us,” said MFF Chairman Yuri Hubarevich in his speech for the meeting guests.
This year, the traditional Havel commemoration meeting was organized by the Movement For Freedom (MFF) together with ‘Viasna’ Human Rights Centre and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
Hubarevich sees many parallels in the destinies of the two countries — Belarus and Czechia: the countries have about the same population, “have both known a life under Empires”, “Czechs, just like Belarusians now, had problems with their national language”, “but the country was able to recover.”
“Speaking about Havel, we mention him as an example of a politician to be followed in Belarus today. I would very much like that the memory about him is not only kept by those who have met him, but expands,” said the MFF leader.
The time will come, is certain Hubarevich, when decommunization will begin in Belarus, and the streets named in honour of Communist leaders will be renamed. “Václav Havel is one of the first honourable foreigners, whose name must be secured in the local toponymy,” stressed Hubarevich.
“Václav Havel fought for the rights and freedoms all his life. He was not only a great politician, but also a great person, the leader of our people and the state,” said the Czech Ambassador Tomáš Pernický.
He stressed that it was thanks to Havel that the door to NATO and the European Union opened for Czechia.
Presidential election is forthcoming in Belarus, reminded the head of ‘Viasna’ Human Rights Centre Ales Bialiatski. “Havel’s experience shows that if someone has a chance, it must be a single person, a representative of the united opposition,” noted the human rights activist.
According to him, the Czech politician always remained a supporter of the objective and sincere dialogue with the Belarusian authorities.