Obama cites Havel as an inspiration, compares Klaus to Erdoğan

Barack Obama was fascinated by the Velvet Revolution while a student at Harvard and inspired by Václav Havel, whose essays he read and took to heart, the former U.S. president writes in volume one of his memoirs, A Promised Land, published on Tuesday.

Obama writes that the efforts of Czechs and Slovaks to free themselves from communist rule, division, lies and injustice was consistent with the nations’ enduring values.

But he writes that Havel’s successor, Václav Klaus, embodied certain trends undermining democratic values, citing a worrying “uptick in nationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment and scepticism about integration” in Europe at the time.

Obama further compared Klaus to Turkey’s current head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while noting the conservative politician’s efforts to censor Czech Television, contempt for gay and lesbian rights, and climate change denial.

Author: Brian Kenety