By Saswat Pattanayak
The biggest myths perpetuated in the history of political economic analysis are the established contradistinctions between 'democracy' and 'dictatorship'. Based on outlined differences, democracy is canonized as the opposite model of political governance to what is disgraced as dictatorship. And with this logic in place, Vaclav Havel is glorified to be a "freedom fighter" of his land, and Kim Jong-il is denounced as a dictator who throttled freedom in his country. It may be an irony that both these leaders died around the same time, but what is way bigger a concern is the manner in which they are being judged as historical subjects.
In a corporate media culture that actively moulds our everyday thought processes through news contents, it is necessary to pause awhile, and dissect such enormous conclusions and examine if the impositions of such documented views are merely hasty, or purely methodical. For history is not just a body of collective knowledge compiled for posterity, but more importantly, critical investigations into historical scholarships instill the more necessary weapons in the minds of the future generations to improvise upon this much maligned world.
Invariably every media house in the West has recently depicted Havel as a freedom fighter while Kim Jong-il is announced as an evil dictator. What then were their legacies, and what value systems did they further? Let us investigate into the unique histories they individually were influenced by, and gave further shapes to.
Contrary to mainstream media depictions, Havel was not the romanticized non-violent leader of a bloodless Velvet Revolution. Such an assertion is grossly inadequate to explain the peoples' history of the Eastern Europe. Czechoslovakia's political transitions throughout last century were tumultuous at various junctures, to say the least, and Havel's roles were equally dubious.
Before awarding the nonviolence sainthood upon a person like Havel, it is important to recollect that Havel was the first leader of Czechoslovakia to support the biggest militarist force on the earth, NATO. His ambition to drive Czechoslovakia to join NATO was one of premeditated stance that had surfaced for all three decades following the so-called Prague Spring. Not only was NATO alliance close to his heart, Havel was a ruthless proponent of capitalism all along. Resultantly, he drove Czech Republic to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as soon as he was handed over power. OECD, in turn is a creation of the Marshall Plan, a militarist and economic system that fostered American hegemony during the Cold War and its aftermath. In simpler terms, Marshall Plan (and OECD) were funded by the successive US governments with a single aim to destabilize communist countries in Eastern Europe, using financial aids and grants. Marshall Plan also fostered western European colonialism (such as Netherlands' colonial aggressions in Indonesia and subsequent annihilations of millions of communists).
If anything, Havel's legacies are that of a violent and ruthless anti-communist leader who aspired to divide Czechoslovakia, rule over the land (for over a decade) with an intent to end communism and make the country an active recipient of military contracts from the US, and a militarist leader who formally inducted Czech Republic into International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat operations in the War on Afghanistan (where Czech Republic is one of the major players).
As a member of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Havel has led Czech Republic into legitimizing the various ribbon-based demonstrations that were instrumental in disrupting former CIS republics. Be it the so-called "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine or the electoral judgments in Belarus, OSCE has been at the most, a biased organization with agenda suitable to further western models of democracies, while selectively refraining from judging electoral frauds in United States, for example. "Orange Revolution" has been already admitted to be the handiwork of western bullies. Funders include both Republican Party and the Democratic Party. If the former party was represented by International Republican Institute (IRI- funded by the US Govt and headed by none other than Senator John McCain to "democratize" nations around the world), the Democratic Party made its presence felt in the so-called "revolutions" in Europe through its National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) headed by Madeleine Albright (whose hawkish crusade - along with Bill Clinton's - against Iraq's illusive WMD programs led to the tragic war on millions of innocent people). NGOs such as Freedom House which are endorsed by Bill Clinton and his likes have the dubious distinction of creating the freedom scales whereby they have ranked North Korea to be the lowest in their appraisals. Irony is that the Freedom House had declared a racist system of Rhodesian election of Ian Smith to be "fair" while legitimate election of Mugabe in Zimbabwe to be "dubious" (Chomsky/Hermann, Manufacturing Consent). Freedom House has consistently sought its information from anti-communist organizations as its sources based upon which, it ranks the freedom levels of countries. Freedom House, Chomsky writes, is "interlocked with AIM, the World Anticommunist League, Resistance International, and U.S. government bodies such as Radio Free Europe and the CIA, and has long served as a virtual propaganda arm of the (U.S) government and international right wing".
The widely disgraced Radio Free Europe (RFE) was used as a successful tool in instigating the so-called Hungarian Revolution. Similar to Havel were the likes of Lech Walesa who would learn anti-communist tactics from RFE and go on to win Nobel Peace Prize (naturally) following deliberate collapse of communism in Hungary. Such ribbon based "Springs" and "Revolutions" are also monetarily aided by the likes of George Soros, the virulently anti-communist. His Open Society Institute openly funded the creation of the so-called "Rose Revolution" to oust the last communist leaders out of power in Georgia. And more importantly, the multi-billionaire Soros who is among the top ten richest Americans in the world financially aided the likes of Havel in furthering the so-called Charter 77, aimed at dismantling communism in Czechoslovakia. The Charter 77 naturally went on to instigate the so-called "Velvet Revolution" for which Havel is today being heroized.
What then is the origin of Velvet Revolution? Was it a spontaneous student movement against so-called communistic atrocities that merely coincided with the collapse of the Eastern Bloc? This is how the corporate media presents the revolution to be. In reality, it was a reactionary movement funded by venture capitalists of the western world that were since decades channeling money and propaganda into the regions to destabilize communism. Charter 77 group continued to create anticommunist sentiments in Czechoslovakia from 1976 to 1992, manipulatively fostering market capitalism in the region in lieu of power sharing. Václav Havel, Jan Patočka, Zdeněk Mlynář, Jiří Hájek, and Pavel Kohout - each of these Charter 77 members who formed the coalition and received funding from George Soros and assistance from CIA, RFE, IRI, NDI, Freedom House etc, were the mastermind conspirators from the very start. They worked with CIA spies and drafted propaganda materials to overthrow communism. They published their views on New York Times and Voice of America and directly aided the American interventionist agendas - both militarily and economically. They endorsed the likes of Józef "Butcher" Światło who was planted by the CIA to execute communists in Poland. Światło after his much dramatized "defection" in turn worked for the CIA and Radio Free Europe with an intent to end communism in Poland. Światło was heading the "Operation Splinter Factor", initiated by CIA director Allen Dulles, in order to finish millions of communist activists in Eastern Europe. According to historian William Blum, the counterpart of Światło was installed in Czechoslovakia by none other than General Reinhard Gehlen, the former Nazi intelligence chief who later on worked for CIA. Gehlan was instrumental in carrying out arrests of hundreds of thousands of communists. Although World War II was decisively won by the Soviet Union, the "spheres of influences" were created to check the growth of communism. And as a result, scores of civil wars were funded by the western capitalistic world inside the "Eastern Bloc", and CIA documents of the Cold War era reveal spy networks and "show trials" orchestrated by men and women funded by the American intelligence agency.
It was only after Światło was exposed to have been working for the CIA all along that the Polish and Hungarian governments realized how they had been duped by this man. They immediately released all their prisoners and compensated them. An American fellow-traveler Noel Field who was used by Światło, as the central figure of contact to trace all his comrades, was also released and he chose to remain in Hungary for the rest of his life. Like Światło, the person responsible for naming "Velvet Revolution", Rita Klímová was consistently taking up the task to leak information about the party activists to the western press and intelligence agencies, while actively maintaining her communist party membership. Along with the much disgraced Światło, she was also fired from the party after she was exposed to be conducting the "Stalinist purges" while working for the western interests. She was such an anticommunist that she wrote samizdat articles under the pen name "Adam Kovárc" (Czech for Adam Smith). It was no simple coincidence that after imprisoning thousands of communists in the guise of being a Stalinist, she was chosen to translate Vaclav Havel's works and subsequently helped facilitating his seizing of power.
The so-called "Prague Spring" was an outcome of such a period of Czech history which was dictated by former Nazi officers, American spies and RFE propaganda led by Światło. The Charter 77 furthering the anticommunist efforts was a mere continuation of such counter-revolutionary legacies.
It is important to remember that Communism never collapsed in the world. Only a few communist regimes were ended in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union following enormous anticommunist propaganda, military interventions and vulgar infiltration of western capital. Havel and the likes only represented that section of people who immensely benefitted from introduction of market capitalism in their respective countries. They were intrinsically reactionaries, anticommunists and pro-market enthusiasts. And they were ably funded by Wall Street business magnets to further the goals of corporate greed. To pay tribute to Havel who throughout his life led the life of a militarist NATO-enabling, power hungry capitalist as a "nonviolent revolutionary" is to inflict great insults to both Gandhi and Lenin at the same time.
If Alexander Dubček had his way, the "Velvet Revolution" that apparently ended communism in Czechoslovakia would not have taken over three decades to materialize. Overthrowing of Antonín Novotný was not the issue at hand. Not accommodating Vasil Biľak was not either. The reality is no one else emulated American electoral system like Havel did. He not only successfully divided up the country by racially disintegrating the Slovakians (almost 90% of whom were ethnically Slovak), Havel adopted a political system modeled on the U.S. Senate. And no surprising is the fact that the Czech Senate is vastly unpopular among the public. The elections in that post-communist land has had some of the lowest turnouts in democratic histories of the world. Records indicate that the turnouts in Czech elections are usually 30% in the first round and 20% in the second.
So much for the Freedom House rankings! And the declaration that Václav Havel was a Freedom Fighter!
(Next: Kim Jong-il's Legacies.)