Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement on the passing of Vaclav Havel:
"Vaclav Havel was a philosopher, an author, a dissident, a statesman. He was a student and teacher of non-violence. As a playwright, he knew that all the world was a stage, but he refused to believe we are merely players upon it. Mr. Havel taught that each and every one of us could be the authors of our future, and in doing so he helped launch the popular movement that brought down communism in Eastern Europe.
"I had the honor of meeting with him as Chairman of the Helsinki Commission. On one of those occasions prior to the fall of the Czechoslovakian communist regime, I saw firsthand the repression Mr. Havel so forcefully opposed when he was arrested the very day I was to see him. I am proud that our country, in part through our work on the Helsinki Commission, was able to contribute to the peaceful advent of democracy in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
"Mr. Havel's family - and all of the families who are free today because of his resistance, because of his words and his voice - are in my prayers today."