Tag Archives: Velvet Revolution

Vaclav Havel’s Star is Still Shining

One of the most significant events during my lifetime is known as the Velvet Revolution that took place in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1989 and ended over 40 years of communist rule without a shot being fired, which followed a period of spiritual awakening in that country. Adding to the personal significance is the fact that my grandfather came to the United States of America from Czechoslovakia in 1907 in the month that my father was born in this country. The Velvet Revolution inspired me to be on the lookout for situations where spiritual ideas provided a significant focus to drive human history. Until recently I did not appreciate the role that Vaclav Havel had played in the Velvet Revolution and other events still playing out in the world today.

Initially Havel was a part of the Prague Spring that took place in 1968 and ended with Russian tanks rolling into Czechoslovakia to shut it down the open expression of artist and political freedom that were breaking in and around Prague. I was in college at the time and since my grandfather was from Czechoslovakia, I thought seriously about going over to fight the imposition of a repressive regime. For a variety of reasons I did not go, but my heart I was with the spirit of the Prague Spring.

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Egypt: the next steps

I’m overjoyed with the events that have taken place in Tahrir Square in Cairo and throughout Egypt. With Mubarak agreeing to step down, the voice of the people calling for freedom and dignity has been heard. I am glad to see that these weeks of public demonstrations and calls for the resignation of Mubarak did not culminate in widespread violence. I am even tempted to call this the Velvet Revolution II. (See post dated, February 7, 2011) I am comforted to know that the spirit that was alive in what is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1989 is alive today in Egypt.

When Joseph, a young Hebrew man, interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream many centuries ago, he was given a leadership position in Egypt as they prepared for seven years of famine. (Genesis 41) He was given authority to administer the preparations and was able to store enough food not only to feed the Egyptians, but those in surrounding countries as well including his family. What happened in Egypt over the last several weeks can also be a model and provide inspiration for others as they deal with similar situations: thus expanding the good.

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Finding peace in the world – the first steps

I yearn for peace in the world today and to know how to make a difference.  Yet there are times when we must take a firm stand for what is right.  You may feel the same.  I had a series of experiences which led me to understand that there are things that I can do.  

As a young man in school, I learned that the country (now Czech Republic and Slovakia), where my grandfather was born, was being overrun by a powerful and oppressive outside regime.  My first thought was to leave school, travel to that country and become part of the resistance movement.  At that time I decided to continue with my schooling in part due to the thought that it wouldn’t make a difference.

About 20 years later I visited this country with an aunt which was still under the rule of the oppressive regime.  By that time I had begun to understand that there are spiritual laws governing the universe and I was attempting to learn more about these laws and how they operate.  I was struck by one statement by Mary Baker Eddy in her publication The First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany where she states, “The First Commandment in the Hebrew Decalogue – Thou shalt have no other gods before me, — obeyed, is sufficient to still all strife”  (279:11-13).  I was looking for peace in this situation and stilling all strife fit this goal perfectly.

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