05-10-17

Václav Havel, Roberto Juarroz, Stig Dagerman, K.L. Poll, Flann O’,Brien, Denis Diderot, Charlotte Link, José Donoso, Sven Cooremans

 

De Tsjechische schrijver en politicus Václav Havel werd op 5 oktober 1936 in Praag geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 oktober 2009 en ook mijn blog van 5 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Václav Havel op dit blog.

Uit:The Power of the Powerless (Vertaald door Paul Wilson)

A specter is haunting Eastern Europe: the specter of what in the West is called "dissent." This specter has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting. It was born at a time when this system, for a thousand reasons, can no longer base itself on the unadulterated, brutal, and arbitrary application of power, eliminating all expressions of nonconformity. What is more, the system has become so ossified politically that there is practically no way for such nonconformity to be implemented within its official structures.
Who are these so-called dissidents? Where does their point of view come from, and what importance does it have? What is the significance of the "independent initiatives" in which "dissidents" collaborate, and what real chances do such initiatives have of success? Is it appropriate to refer to "dissidents" as an opposition? If so, what exactly is such an opposition within the framework of this system? What does it do? What role does it play in society? What are its hopes and on what are they based? Is it within the power of the "dissidents"—as a category of subcitizen outside the power establishment—to have any influence at all on society and the social system? Can they actually change anything?
I think that an examination of these questions—an examination of the potential of the "powerless"—can only begin with an examination of the nature of power in the circumstances in which these powerless people operate.
Our system is most frequently characterized as a dictatorship or, more precisely, as the dictatorship of a political bureaucracy over a society which has undergone economic and social leveling. I am afraid that the term "dictatorship," regardless of how intelligible it may otherwise be, tends to obscure rather than clarify the real nature of power in this system. We usually associate the term with the notion of a small group of people who take over the government of a given country by force; their power is wielded openly, using the direct instruments of power at their disposal, and they are easily distinguished socially from the majority over whom they rule. One of the essential aspects of this traditional or classical notion of dictatorship is the assumption that it is temporary, ephemeral, lacking historical roots. Its existence seems to be bound up with the lives of those who established it. It is usually local in extent and significance, and regardless of the ideology it utilizes to grant itself legitimacy, its power derives ultimately from the numbers and the armed might of its soldiers and police. The principal threat to its existence is felt to be the possibility that someone better equipped in this sense might appear and overthrow it.”

 

 
Václav Havel (5 oktober 1936 – 18 december 2011)

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05-10-16

Václav Havel, Roberto Juarroz, Stig Dagerman, K.L. Poll, Flann O’Brien, Denis Diderot, Charlotte Link, Sven Cooremans

 

De Tsjechische schrijver en politicus Václav Havel werd op 5 oktober 1936 in Praag geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 oktober 2009 en ook mijn blog van 5 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Václav Havel op dit blog.

Uit: To the Castle and Back (Vertaald door Paul Wilson)

“I've run away. I've run away to America. I've run away for two months, with the whole family; that is, with Dasa and our two boxers, Sugar and her daughter Madlenka. I've run away in the hope that I will find more time and focus to write something. I haven't been president now for two years, and I'm starting to worry about not having been able to write anything that holds together. When people ask me, as they do all the time, if I'm writing something and what I'm writing, I get mildly annoyed and I say that I've already written enough in my life, certainly more than most of my fellow citizens, and that writing isn't a duty one can perform on demand. I'm here as a guest of the Library of Congress, which has given me a very quiet and pleasant room where I can come whenever I want, to do whatever I want. They ask nothing from me in return. It's wonderful. Among other things, I would like to respond to Mr. HvÌzdala's questions.
I'd like to start the conversation with a question that touches on the second half of the 1980s, when you became the most famous dissident in Central Europe, or-as John Keane wrote-"a star in the theater of opposition." Do you remember the moment when it first occurred to you that you would have to enter into politics, that your role as a playwright, essayist, and thinker would no longer suffice?
In the first place I'd take issue with the designation "star in the theater of opposition." We did everything we could not to separate ourselves into the "stars" and the others. The better known someone among us became, and thus the better protected from arbitrary repression, the more he tried to come out in defense of those who were less known and therefore more vulnerable. The regime, after all, held to the principle of "divide and conquer." To some they said: "How can you, sir, an educated man respected by everyone, demean yourself by associating with such losers?" To others they said: "Don't get mixed up with those guys; they're a protected species. They're always going to lie their way out of trouble, and they'll go scot-free and leave you to pay the price." It's understandable that in such circumstances we placed a special emphasis on the principle of the equality of everyone who somehow expressed opposition to the regime.”

 

 
Václav Havel (5 oktober 1936 – 18 december 2011)

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