chapter  9
25 Pages

Jiří Stránský: The Rebel

ByVáclav Havel, Jan K. Coetzee, Lynda Gilfillan, Otakar Hulec

I belong to a family with a long political background—for three generations my family has fought for democracy. You could say, in fact, that the history of three generations was written by acts of resistance and repression. Oppressive forces—whether Nazi or Communist—have blighted not only the life of my country, but also individual lives in my family: those of my grandfather, my father, my brother—and, of course, my own life as well. I am the last in a long line of political prisoners—going back to my grandfather, who was prime minister in the time of the First Republic. He was a farmer, and was a leader of the Agrarian Republican Party, which was a party of farmers, but also of middle class townsfolk. It was the strongest party in Czechoslovakia at that time, and other parties—not only the Communist Party but the People’s Party, the Christian Democrats, and the Social Democrats as well—regarded the Agrarian Party as the enemy.