"Everyone understands," wrote Havel, "that an attack on the Czech musical underground was an attack on the most elementary and important thing, something that bound everyone together... The freedom to play rock music was understood as a human freedom and thus as essentially the same as the freedom to engage in philosophical and political reflection, the freedom to write, to express and defend the social and political interests of society."
Human rights stayed high on his agenda, as did anxiety about the environment and the pursuit of moral values in the globalising world, and he was nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
His sparring partner Klaus eventually replaced him as president in 2003.
"He was a great and well-deserving man and will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace," said Polish dissident leader Lech Walesa. "He certainly deserved a Nobel Peace Prize, but in this world not everything is just. He was above all a theoretician who fought with the word and pen."
He repeatedly irked Chinese communists by hosting the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, most recently this month. He also met Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize on Havel's nomination.
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