Vaclav Havel, the Czech poet/President, experienced years of oppression and persecution under Communist rule. He later observed: "I am not an optimist, because I am not sure that everything ends well. Nor am I a pessimist, because I am not sure everything ends badly. I just carry hope in my heart . . . . Life without hope is an empty, boring and useless life. I cannot imagine that I could strive for something if I did not carry hope in me. I am thankful to God for this gift. It is as big a gift as life itself."

(Reader's Digest, February 1991)