Polish Independence Revisited – Through “Solidarity” to Sovereignty

TTimes
By TTimes November 10, 2020 15:53

Polish Independence Revisited – Through “Solidarity” to Sovereignty

KAROL BACHURA
Ambassador of Poland to Albania

“Solidarity” (Polish: Solidarność) Independent Self-governing Trade Union was founded 40 years ago in Gdańsk, Poland. It was the first independent union in a Warsaw Pact country to be recognized by the state. The union's membership reached  10 million in September 1981, representing almost 1/3 of the country's population. “Solidarność” is internationally  recognized as having played a central role in bringing  the communist  regime  in Poland to an end and in regaining full sovereignty by the state. 11 November -- Polish Independence Day  -  commemorates the rebirth of the Republic of Poland in 1918 after 123 years of non-existence on the maps of Europe . “Solidarity” however paved the way for the rebirth of Poland  by breaking  the shackles of communism.  

The sparkle of “Solidarity”, alike many Polish revolutionary and freedom movements during the times of non-existence of Poland as a state from 1795 to 1918 went along the inscribed motto : “For our freedom and yours”. 

The “Solidarity” was an unprecedented movement not only in People’s Polish Republic, but in the whole of the Eastern bloc. “Solidarity's” influence led to the intensification and spread of anti-communist ideals and movements throughout the countries of the Eastern Bloc,  triggering a chain reaction across the Soviet Union's satellite states, leading to peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe known as the Revolutions of 1989: 4.06. – Polish general elections; 27.06. symbolic cutting of barbwire on Austrian – Hungarian border by heads of both governments; 9.11. announcement of opening of borders between East and West Germany known also as the fall of the Berlin Wall; 17.11 – beginning of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. All ended in the overthrow of Moscow-imposed regimes, ultimately leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union itself in the early 1990s.

Operating underground, the union not only survived but entered into negotiations with the government by the end of 1980’s. The 1989 between the government and the “Solidarity”-led opposition  produced agreement for the 1989 general elections held on 4 June, bringing a landslide victory to “Solidarity” signaling the upcoming developments in other Central and Eastern European countries and paving the way for the fall of the Iron Curtain.

This part of  Poland’s history  is presented  in the freshly published book written by Dr. Dorian Koci, director of the National Historical Museum of Albania entitled “From the Adriatic to the Baltic. Crossing of Albanian-Polish paths” An Albanian reader interested in history should also reach out for the recently published  must reads of the Polish literature. , Thanks to translations by Ms. Edlira Lloha and Mr. Astrit Beqiraj.  The Albanian reader can  get acquainted with the literature of Nobel prize winners: Sienkiewicz (1905), Reymont (1924), Milosz (1980), Szymborska (1996) , Tokarczuk (2018) and The promotion of Poland’s history and culture through literature was noted in September 2020 by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Zbigniew Rau who awarded honorary medal “Bene Merito” to Mr. Astrit Beqiraj.

I  truly believe  that in the COVID times, among societies and governments the word “Solidarity” regains its meaning and helps to shift our approach  from egocentric “me” to full of empathy “we”, from singular “I” to plural “us”. Therefore, we would like  to permanently inscribe the word “Solidarnosć” into the panorama of the capital of the Republic of Albania, to  remind a  passersby the Solidarity universal motto: : “For our freedom and yours”.  Recalling the words of the first leader of “Solidarity” movement, Lech Walesa with which he started his speech as the President of the Republic of Poland before the American Congress on 15 November 1989, quoting from the American Constitution: “We, the People (…)”.

TTimes
By TTimes November 10, 2020 15:53