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23.12.2011 | Halya Coynash

What words?

   

What words can bid farewell to a person whose life made it impossible to sink into misanthropic negativity and cynical hopelessness?  And whose death leaves a sense of personal loss, of emptiness?

There are no words. Or only his.

            “… only a very generalized view (and even that only approximate) permits us to divide society into the rulers and the ruled. … In the post-totalitarian system, this line runs de facto through each person, for everyone in his own way is both a victim and a supporter of the system”.

“… In everyone there is some longing for humanity’s rightful dignity, for moral integrity, for free expression of being and a sense of transcendence over the world of existence. Yet, at the same time, each person is capable, to a greater or lesser degree, of coming to terms with living within the lie. Each person somehow succumbs to a profane trivialization of his inherent humanity, and to utilitarianism. In everyone there is some willingness to merge with the anonymous crowd and to flow comfortably along with it down the river of pseudo-life.”

We bid farewell to Václav Havel three days before the first anniversary of the detention of former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko.

We bid farewell as a court in Kyiv, after “examining” Yulia Tymoshenko’s appeal against her heavy prison sentence over the 2009 gas accords with Russia, has upheld it. . The appeal hearings, incidentally, had been adjourned until the day after Yanukovych was due to meet EU leaders in Kyiv despite his continuing to repeat his senseless line about not being able to interfere in the work of the judiciary. When the third former government official remanded in custody on more than questionable grounds has only now, after a year and a half in detention, been transferred to the remand prison’s medical unit..

We bid farewell when Yakiv Strogan, who dared publicly accuse police officers of torture, has been held in detention for over a year.

When criminal investigations have been launched against some former Chornobyl clean-up workers, specifically those who did not wish to betray the protest movement and play the government’s game entitled “regular dialogue with the Chornobyl clean-up workers”.  Dialogue, it goes without saying, with those who think in the right way. The wrong-thinking ones were prevented by riot police and investigators from making the wrong noises, supporting the wrong people at last week’s conference of the Chornobyl Union of Ukraine attended by the Deputy Prime Minister Klyuev.

We bid farewell to a man who for most of his life was considered wrong-thinking by the regime. There are some in the post-Soviet realm who still see him as such.

We bid farewell to a man who in September, together with the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and others spoke out in defence of Yulia Tymoshenko and criticized the Ukrainian regime for moving away from the principles of democracy. The authors of the appeal, published in Project Syndicate, urge the EU and its member states to insist that the rule of law is respected. At the very least, the EU should demand that Tymoshenko and the other opposition leaders are set free on bail so that they can more vigorously defend themselves in court.

We remember a man who in one of his last messages just days before he died expressed solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus.

We mourn the passing of Václav Havel together with the people of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland.

Silently, with candles lit.

And what words are fitting he suggested himself. To each of us. 

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