Vaclav Havel spent his life fighting for freedom and democratic expression. His legacy stands in sharp contrast to that of Kim Jong-il, who ruthlessly denied his people a voice.
David W Cerny/Reuters
2011 brought an Arab Spring followed by a Pacific earthquake and tsunami that knocked the earth 9 millimeters off its axis – and it ended with the passing on the same day of arguably the best and the worst, the lightest and the darkest, of global public figures.
It’s a stranger-than-fiction contrast that would likely cause the dramatist in Havel to smile. He spent his life fighting for freedom, expression, growth toward more light, and bringing the East and West European families together. Mr. Kim spent his days ruthlessly denying those impulses, and reinforcing a dark, prison-state built on brainwashing and the personal deification of the Kim family dynasty.
Today in Prague, Bill and Hillary Clinton are joining British Prime Minister David Cameron, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, former Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, and a galaxy of artists and others, at Havel’s funeral. The guest list at Kim’s service has not been forthcoming. But the litmus test can be imagined.
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