"Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance." - Vaclav Havel, Letter to Alexander Dubček (August 1969)
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"When I speak of living within the truth, I naturally do not have in mind only products of conceptual thought, such as a protest or a letter written by a group of intellectuals. It can be any means by which a person or a group revolts against manipulation: anything from a letter by intellectuals to a workers' strike, from a rock concert to a student demonstration, from refusing to vote in the farcical elections to making an open speech at some official congress, or even a hunger strike, for instance."
'Satyagraha.' Truth (Satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement 'Satyagraha,' that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase 'passive resistance,' in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word 'Satyagraha' itself or some other equivalent English phrase.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was not inevitable but the result of a number of factors not least of which was the decision of millions of Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, Lithuanians, and Estonians to no longer live within the lies of the totalitarian regimes under which they had suffered for decades and the courage to back it up with concrete nonviolent action.
Over 40 years after the letter to Dubcek, when President Barack Obama backed out of meeting with the Dalai Lama due to an upcoming trip to China, Vaclav Havel offered the corollary to the theorem expounded in the quote at the top of this essay in 1968 at the October 12, 2009 of the Forum 2000 conference he had organized:
I believe that when the new Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize postpones receiving the Dalai Lama until after he has accomplished his visit to China, he makes a small compromise, a compromise which actually has some logic to it. However, there arises a question as to whether those large, serious compromises do not have their origin and roots in precisely these tiny and very often more or less logical compromises.