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The Valvet Homgover

The Valvet Homgover
by Vaclav Have

Summary of The Valvet Homgover

In 1990 the Czech Republic became a democracy. Vaclav Havel was elected its President. It was an exciting time for the country because a new government system was being made. However, when Havel started working as President after the elections he didn‘t know what to do. He felt lost and tired. He was afraid he would not be good enough for the task of rebuilding his country.

Someone asked Havel to write a speech, but he found this difficult. He decided to write about fear and how it affected the Czech people. He wrote, “The people are afraid now as they face an uncertain future. They have won freedom, but fear it.” He also wrote, “Although life was difficult before, everyone understood the system. Now there are many questions. People who fear the past also fear the future. And people who fear the future also fear the past. Everyone must learn to be honest, because truth destroys fear.” Fear and negative feelings can also cause people to act in a good way. Havel ends his speech by asking people to look into the past, present and future with confidence, not fear.

In the speech Havel refers to four different types of fear:

  1. fear of ourselves and our own ability,
  2. fear of unknown things,
  3. fear of the past present and future and
  4. fear of lies and the truth.

Velvet Revolution refers to a revolution in which there is no violence. In 1990 Czechoslovakia had a velvet revolution. A hangover is the feeling of illness caused by drinking too much alcohol. In this essay Havel describes his hangover like feeling after the velvet revolution.

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