A worldwide BBC poll has found that Planet Earth thinks the tsunami (15%) and the war in Iraq (15%) have been the most important events of 2005. But guess what Poles thought was the most earth shattering.
The survey for the BBC World Service, taken from sample of 32,000 in 27 countries including Poland, finds that the third most significant was Hurricane Katrina (9%).
In fourth place was the death of John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict (6%).
But in Poland the death of ‘the Polish Pope’ came top for 48% of Poles polled.
No surprise, really. The week before he died, and the week after, was a strange time here. Football hooligans from Legia Warsaw and Warsaw Polonia dropped to their knees in the middle of John Paul II Avenue in prayer and a truce of solidarity among thugs. Lech Welesa offered his hand to ex-communist and bitter enemy, Aleksander Kwasniewski and invited him to Solidarity's 25th birhtday bash in Gdansk in July.
And then the lying in state with crowds of people shuffling past, taking photos with their mobile phones. This year everyone has turned into paparazzi photographers, and we are all the paparazzi victims.
This was probably the last ever Great Polish National Experience. The Pope wasn’t just a religious symbol, he was a political and national one. It’s going to be hard to find someone or something that can bring them together like he could.
The Great Polish Solidarity only lasted a few days, though. It wasn’t long before riot police had to break up fights again at football grounds (in fact, it was only two days), and politicians, with an eye on the looming general and presidential elections, started knocking lumps out of each other.
I was relieved in a way. The normal state of affairs in this country is that when you put four Poles in a room you get five points of view coming out. And I quite like that.
Most Important Event 2006?
Well, it’s between two front runners: the Football World Cup – can England win, or will they fail at the quatre finals as usual?
Or maybe it’s going to be when Ania and I get married in Gibraltar in April. We have not told many people, so that's a bit of a beatroot exclusive!
If England win the World Cup the Most Important Event 2006 is going to be a close call.
Happy New Year to the beatroot readers.
ps. The subject of torture has never been far from a blog somewhere this year, and many governments, including Poland's, have been caught up in this nasty trade. See how Blair and New Labour have got sucked into it all at my favourite blog at the moment, Blairwatch. See blogging at its best as it helps you see documents that Blair would rather you didn't.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Posted by beatroot at 12/30/2005