Vaclav Havel: ‘Contamination of morality’ (3)

Vaclav Havel: There are free elections and an election campaign ahead of us. Let us not allow this struggle to dirty the so far clean face of our gentle revolution. Let us not allow the sympathies of the world which we have won so fast to be equally rapidly lost through our becoming entangled in the jungle of skirmishes for power. Let us not allow the desire to serve oneself to bloom once again under the fair mask of the desire to serve the common good. It is not really important now which party, club, or group will prevail in the elections.

The important thing is that the winners will be the best of us, in the moral, civic, political, and professional sense, regardless of their political affiliations. The future policies and prestige of our state will depend on the personalities we select and later elect to our representative bodies . . . In conclusion, I would like to say that I want to be a president who will speak less and work more. To be a president who will not only look out of the windows of his airplane but who, first and foremost, will always be present among his fellow citizens and listen to them well.

You may ask what kind of republic I dream of. Let me reply; I dream of a republic independent, free, and democratic, of a republic economically prosperous and yet socially just, in short, of a humane republic which serves the individual and which therefore holds the hope that the individual will serve it in turn. Of a republic of well – rounded people, because without such it is impossible to solve any of our problems, human, economic, ecological, social, or political. The most distinguished of my predecessors opened his first speech with a quotation from the great Czech educator Comenius. Allow me to round off my first speech with my own paraphrase of the same statement: People, your government has returned to you!


entangle verb

to make something become twisted and caught in a rope, net etc
entangle in/with
Small animals can  get entangled  in the net.

skirmish noun

 a short argument, especially between political or sports opponents
skirmish with/between/over
Bates was sent off after a skirmish with the referee.
a budget skirmish between the President and Congress

civic adjective

1 relating to a town or city : 
Jackson spent the day meeting with local religious and civic leaders.

2 relating to the people who live in a town or city : 
It is your  civic duty  to vote in the local elections.
civic pride    (= people’s pride in their own city )



ecological adjective

connected with the way plants, animals, and people are related to each other and to their environment  →  environmental : 
an ecological disaster