June 23, 2018

LITTLE PLATOON LEADER:

An Unsung Opponent of Totalitarian Power: a review of Long Night of the Watchman (JOSHUA DILL, 6/18/18, Law & Liberty)

"Power," wrote Václav Benda, "is capable of liquidating or perverting almost everything. But not quite everything! We should continue to surround their totalitarianism with our reality."

Written in 1988, these were bold words for a dissident under the communist regime of the country then known as Czechoslovakia. They were well-informed words--well-informed by four years in prison, professional humiliation, harassment, surveillance. And they were words that would soon, and suddenly, be vindicated by the collapse of communism the following year.

Benda (1946-1999) was one of the unsung heroes of the 1989 revolution. A spokesman for the Charter 77 dissident movement, he was a founding member of the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted, a samizdat essayist, and, after communism's fall, a politician and head of the Czech Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism. The Long Night of the Watchman, edited by F. Flagg Taylor IV, is the newly translated collection of his writings between 1977 and 1989. Stubborn, complex, drily ironic, humane, and distinctly Christian, Benda's words are the reality that he shored up against the onslaught of totalitarianism.

Our review is here.

Posted by at June 23, 2018 5:41 PM

  

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