East-West: The Conscience of Prague

"Seldom in recent times has a regime cared so little for the real attitudes of outwardly loyal citizens or for the sincerity of their statements."

-- Vaclav Havel, an open letter from Prague, 1975

Can any of Czechoslovakia's 15.5 million citizens have more cause to be astounded by the events of recent weeks than Vaclav Havel? Since the Soviet invasion in 1968, Havel has been the conscience of Prague, a world-famed playwright who might have exploited his status as an intellectual superstar to emigrate to the West, but refused to do so. Instead, Havel, 53, stayed behind, suffering censorship, intermittent police...

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