Today in the House I was prevented from paying tribute to Václav Havel by several unnamed Conservative MPs. This is what I was planning on saying:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker,
And thank you to those who have just spoken to the spirit and inspiration or an extraordinary human being. I was particularly moved by the words of my friend, the Hon. Member from Toronto Centre. Václav Havel’s life was of the order of Nelson Mandela, or Aung San Suu Kyi. His genius as a playwright and poet put him also in the company of Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was murdered by the Abacha regime in Nigeria. Totalitarian regimes dislike the free speech of satirists and poets.
It was a nearly miraculous change of fate that both Mandela and Havel overthrew the oppression of earlier governments to become presidents.
It is the nature of a poet, a creative genius like Havel, to refuse to accept the world as he found it. An unlikely politician, Havel never lost sight of his complex humanity.
I wish to share his own words with you and ask that we seek to emulate them.
“Let us teach ourselves that politics can not just be the art of the possible, especially if that means the art of speculation, calculation, intrigue, secret deals and pragmatic manoeuvering, but that it can even be the art of the impossible, namely the art of improving ourselves and the world.”
Let light perpetual shine upon him and let us live inspired by his example.