Dear Dr.Husák Essay

11677 Words47 Pages
"Dear Dr.Husák" [pic] "Dear Dr. Husák" (April 1975), addressed to Dr. Gustav Husák, who was then the general secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, is Havel's first major public statement after being blacklisted in 1969. He describes the circumstances surrounding the writing of this letter in the interview with Jiří Lederer on page 84. The letter was first published in English, in this translation, in Encounter (September 1975). It has subsequently appeared in several anthologies of Czech writing, most recently in Václav Havel or Living in Truth, edited by Jan Vladislav (London: Faber & Faber, 1986). The translator is not identified. Dear Dr. Husák, In our offices and factories work goes on, discipline prevails. The efforts of our citizens are yielding visible results in a slowly rising standard of living: people build houses, buy cars, have children, amuse themselves, live their lives. All this, of course, amounts to very little as a criterion for the success or failure of your policies. After every social upheaval, people invariably come back in the end to their daily labors, for the simple reason that they want to stay alive; they do so for their own sake, after all, not for the sake of this or that team of political leaders. Not that going to work, doing the shopping, and living their own lives is all that people do. They do much more than that: they commit themselves to numerous output norms which they then fulfill and over-fulfill; they vote as one man and unanimously elect the candidates proposed to them; they are active in various political organizations; they attend meetings and demonstrations; they declare their support for everything they are supposed to. Nowhere can any sign of dissent be seen from anything that the government does. These facts, of course, are not to be made light of. One must ask seriously, at this point, whether all
Open Document