What follows is an editorial that appeared in yesterday's edition of London's The Daily Telegraph.
THE COMMUNISTS DID NOT GIVE GROUND EASILY
Among the veterans of the struggle against communism, the Poles stand in the front rank. Theirs was not the first organized resistance against the Red Army. The East Germans had risen in 1953, the Hungarians in 1956, the Chechs and Slovaks in 1968. And an especially honoured place must be set aside for the militiamen of the Baltic countries who, from forest hideouts, kept up a low-level insurgency against the Russian occupation right up to the 1970s. But it was Poland's Solidarity, the 25th anniversary of whose campaign we celebrate this week, that began the process by which Soviet communism was delegitimized and destroyed.
Dictatorships depend on two things: a degree of self-belief among the rulers and a measure of acquiescence among the ruled. In the early years of the Cold War, both factors were in place. A small cadre of communists, often veterans of the struggle against Hitler, felt that their role in that struggle was all the mandate they needed. They were surrounded by a much larger contingent of careerists and double-thinkers, who had little interest in the principles of Marxism-Leninism, but who knew that their positions depended on the maintenance of the ruling ideology.
By 1980, however, the moral bankruptcy of the system was impossible to disguise. A Pole had become Pope, and was intent on freeing his people from tyranny. He did so, not by criticizing Communism - he was far too canny for that - but by positing something better in its place. Poles responded to his vision of human dignity; and they yearned, too, for national independence and honour. To have extinguished that aspiration would have required a degree of murderous oppression for which the apparatchiks no longer had the stomach. They did not give ground easily, of course: it took 10 gruelling years, with stretches of internment and martial law along the way, before Lech Walesa replaced Wojciech Jaruzelski as president of Poland. But, in recovering their sovereignty, the Poles ennobled all nations and all peoples.
The Daily Telegraph ("Informed Sources", NATIONAL POST, Wednesday, August 31, 2005).
Poles celebrate Solidarity
POLAND'S FORMER president and Solidarity founder, Lech Walesa, flashes a V for victory sign yesterday during a gathering of about 200 young Poles who were born on Aug. 31, 1980, the day when the Solidarity freedom movement was born out of worker protests in the shipyards on the Baltic coast . Walesa attended a special birthday party for the young people at the Gdansk shipyard as part of 25th anniversary celebrations (TORONTO SUN, Wednesday, August 31, 2005).
Komisja Informacji KPK Okreg Stoleczny i Komited Organizacyjny Obchodow 25-lecia Solidarnosci informuja, ze:
Burmistrz Ottawy Bob Chiarelli oglosil dzien 31 sierpnia 2005 Dniem Polskiej Solidarnosci. Proklamacja polaczona bedzie z wciagnieciem flag narodowych na maszty. Uroczystos odbedzie sie w Ottawa City Hall, 110 Lauarier Ave. w sali Jean Pigott Place, na parterze. Obecnosc czlonkow Polonii na tej urodzystosci powinna byc trybutem dla tych, co nalezeli i walczyli w Solidarnosci. 31 sierpnia 2005 o godzinie 19.00 w Domu Polskim SPK odbedzie sie uroczystosc obchodu Dnia Polskiej Solidarnosci i polaczona z wystawa pamiatek poswieconych Solidarnosci i wyswietleniem filmu "Robotnicy 80". 4 wrzesnia 2005 o godzinie 11.00 odbedzie sie Msza Swieta w kosciele sw. Jacka Odrowaza w intencji Solidarnosci. Dodatkowe informacje: Igor Ziemba tel: 852-8944 (GONIEC 26 VIII - 1IX 2005).