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:: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 ::

Adam Michnik, once again, demonstrates why he stands apart from much of the rest of the world. In the excerpt that follows, you will find the key in bold face type in the last paragraph.
A German journalist published an article in the paper Die Tageszeitung in which he claimed that Vaclav Havel, Adam Michnik, and George Konrad, Europe’s long-standing moral authorities, had suddenly become undiscriminating admirers of America.

I read that article with a twinge of nostalgia. Here we are, together again. Our three names were grouped to-gether for the first time by Timothy Garton Ash in his widely acclaimed essay nearly two decades ago. If I recall correctly, Havel and I were doing jail time then, and Konrad’s books were banned from print in Hungary. Even though we did not meet very often, we maintained a common ground in our reflections on the worlds of values and of politics. We were united by a dream of freedom, a dream of a world infused with tolerance, hope, respect for human dignity, and a refusal of conformist silence in the face of evil.

We were also united by the specific wisdom of people familiar with “history unleashed,” the experience of the acute loneliness of people subject to the pressures of totalitarian despotism and doomed to the world’s indifference. Every Hungarian citizen had retained the image of Budapest burning in November 1956, every citizen of Czechoslovakia was haunted by the sight of Soviet tanks on the streets of Prague in 1968, every Pole was to keep in the back of his mind the memory of Warsaw in the fall of 1944, murdered by Hitler and deserted by its allies.

I do not know whether Havel and Konrad agree, but I will present my own perspective.

I aim to avoid double standards in thinking about the world. I thus aim to use the same criteria in assessing the arrogance of all great powers, not just the Bush administration.

He still knows how to think. It is refreshing to find that the entire world has not decended into intellectual bankruptcy. Go read it all.

:: Mark 5:56 PM [+] ::
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