“An appeal to the Czech Government to name Prague International Airport by incorporating the name Václav Havel”
Postal address: ul. Růžová 13, 110 00 Praha 1, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
RNDr. Petr N e č a s
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Prague, 11th January, 2012
Dear Prime Minister,
we turn to you on behalf of more than 80 000 citizens who have thus far signed the civic initiative “An appeal to the Czech Government to name Prague International Airport by incorporating the name Václav Havel” (viz: www.letistevaclavahavla.cz).
Amongst the signatories are hundreds of outstanding personalities from our country. Minute by minute other citizens of all ages and representing various social groups continue to add their names, not only from within the Czech Republic but also Czechs and their descendants from various countries around the world, as well as other individuals who wish our nation well.
It is in the name of these citizens that we take the liberty of addressing you as Prime Minister of a government which represents the interests of the Czech Republic by means of the joint-stock company Airport Prague to submit our appeal that this portal into our country, through which more than 12 million people pass each year, incorporate the name of Václav Havel.
Although the government of the Czech Republic has prepared a law recognising Václav Havel´s meritorious services this step has not been augmented by any concrete act of recognition that would translate into more than a formal gesture of local significance.
The airport is a distinguished, visible and supranational location which symbolises the age we live in as well as our country. This was the way our ancestors perceived Prague´s railway station when they christened it “Masaryk Station”.
The airport is a crossroad facilitating the free movement of people and ideas, where nations meet and converge; it symbolises the tearing down of barriers, our return to liberty and a venue which can publicise our country. For foreigners it is the first point of entry into our republic.
Only here can the name of Václav Havel, president of all Czech citizens, be tangibly visible on an everyday basis - not only to his contemporaries but to future generations as well, and to an extent and with an impact that no other institution or location in our country can offer.
Unlike most important international airports (see Why Airport?) Airport Prague, a.s. bears no name. In other words, this is not a case of “re-naming” but rather of “naming”. This decision does not require public funding. The change can be paid for out of the PR budget of the joint-stock company Airport Prague, a.s. and would be realised step by step in such a way as to accommodate Airport Prague, a.s.´ agenda. This christening will not incur any significant ancillary costs, responsibilities or restrictions for citizens and institutions in the vicinity.
In our country we could find hundreds, perhaps thousands of statues, town squares, streets, schools, libraries, theatres etc. which could bear the name Václav Havel. However, their significance and impact will always be limited by their location or by a given group of citizens; in the case of institutions it will always be difficult to guarantee both the level of importance as well as a successful and permanent future. Most of these locations are subject to the jurisdiction of local municipal governments or civic entities. The incorporation of Václav Havel in their respective names would not be in any way precluded by the naming of Prague Václav Havel International Airport.
The naming of this point of entry into our country will impact on all social, educational, national and age categories of our population, irrespective of where they live, including all minorities. This step will be perceived as a timeless, territorially unlimited, multicultural act. A demonstration of public service carried out for this country in the name of Václav Havel. Unlike all other possible distinctions, this act can only be passed by the Government of the Czech Republic. By so doing, the government would be implementing the spirit of its own proposed law to commend Václav Havel for his services.
The name of Václav Havel is one of the few names in our recent history which are familiar all over the world. Václav Havel was not just a respected artist, dissident, founder and leader of the movement Charta 77 which fought for 41 years to free this country; he was also the first president of the Czech Republic and an internationally lauded and respected champion of human rights.
Václav Havel´s role in our modern history is utterly indisputable.
Historians may well deliberate upon his acts or thoughts but will never diminish Václav Havel´s significance. Havel´s legacy will not be tarnished by the passage of time or by future evaluations. His name will weather both the present and the future. By aligning ourselves with him we are finally able to offer to the entire world a personality of international stature. The incorporation of Václav Havel into the name of Prague Airport would be a declaration of solidarity with the values Václav Havel symbolises and which guided him from the nearby prison in Ruzyn to Prague Castle.
Tens of countries on all continents around the world have over the past fifty years celebrated their most illustrious individuals by naming their national airports after them. They have done so without conducting referenda or history symposia; true heroes do not require a referendum or symposium. The Czech Republic is now in a position to do the same. Václav Havel, and with him our entire people, can finally take our place within the community of nations where we truly belong.
We are convinced that Václav Havel would have accepted our proposal not only as a distinction but above all as evidence that all of us who live in this country wish to manifest on a daily basis our determination to safeguard the liberty and democracy which he helped us to achieve. Václav Havel´s brother, his sister-in-law as well as his widow have all confirmed their support for our proposal in writing.
This is why we are asking you to consider our appeal.
For the majority of citizens in our country this step can serve to strengthen their confidence in our government.
On the 10th of January the counsellors of Prague City Hall voted to support this proposal.
On behalf of the signatories of this “Appeal to the Czech Government to name Prague International Airport by incorporating the name Václav Havel”
Fero Fenič, director and producer
Olga Sommerová, director
Ladislav Špaček, former spokesperson for Václav Havel