Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Poland: where the past never dies

Twenty four years after martial law, Jaruzelski is to be charged with ‘breaking the constitution’.

He’s 82 years old, has an attractive daughter in show business and was hoping for a quiet retirement.

But General Wojciech Jaruzeski will not be allowed to drift quietly into obscurity just yet. Ewa Koj, a prosecutor with the National Remembrance Institute, which pursues communist-era crimes, is preparing to charge the old dictator with harassment, internment of thousands of prisoners during and after the martial law period (late 1981-2) and the deaths of over 100 people.

"It's necessary to say at last that the general is not a hero, that what he did was bad and brought about serious consequences," Koj said on TVN24 television.

The charges could lead to Jaruzelski being banged up for up to three years in prison.

The General has always maintained that if he had not imposed marial law on December 13 then the Soviets would have done something about it themselves.

Many Poles, however, agree that Jaruzelski is not a villan, but was acting for the good of the country.

Jaruzelski’s lawyers are certainly busy. The General still faces trial for the 1970 shooting to death of striking shipyard workers in Gdansk and other port cities when he was defence minister. The trial began in 2001, but ran in to procedural problems.


michael farris said...

This comes under the "for god's sake, give it a rest" department. The probability of Warsaw Pact intervention was very much in people's minds in the run up to martial law. As I recall, everyone thought it was a strong theoretical possibility and at this late date, it can't be proved that it wouldn't have happened. I don't see what good mucking up all this again is going to do anyone.

I've got no problem with pensions for the victims and acquainting apathetic self-involved Polish youth with recent history, but dragging Jaruzelski through the courts won't accomplish anything good.

beatroot said...

But you why they are doing it, don't you? This is PiS etc trying to form the 'forth republic'. It's like the 'Truth and Reconsiliation' thing they had in South Africa...although not quite so civilised. They would argue that Poland never really 'cleansed' the country of the communist influence, and they are now going to take the country to the cleaners... as it were.

michael farris said...

"they (PiS) are now going to take the country to the cleaners..."

you're so much more diplomatic than I am ...

gumish said...

If you mean communist ideology in politics then Poland is already much devoid of it. But don't forget ideology was merely a facade of late 'communist' authorities. What is still lingering around here is the Chekist (or KGB) style of having most things under control which can hardly be in the lines with law and justice. Especially justice. Law was on many occasions used here as an instrument for the goals of "the group who hold the power". I do not know the details of Roman Kluska affair but there are strong indications that secret services were involved. This just would be one of the examples of how things in Poland. Roman Kluska was a founder, important shareholder and a president of Optimus. I definitely would not be much mistaken if I said most Polish secret service cadres come from the communist era. And Mr Kluska example shows that you can't actually be a serious capitalist in Poland unless you have strong connections to some branch of secret services. There is much rumour Mr Kulczyk has grown from their environtment. There were strong allegations huge alcohol smuggling affair involved secret services. So I think THERE IS things to be cleaned in this country. Though I agree putting Mr Jaruzelski to justice is not the most important thing - I even doubt it is worthwhile.

Peter - my admiration to your blogging perseverance and consistency and congratulantions for the nomination(s?)
Keep going. :)
Best wishes


PS My post is a bit messy (inconsistent ;) ) but I rely on your own good reasoning as for drawing any conclusions or painting bigger and clearer picture :)
booo, I admit I have not put much work into the comment above :)

Take care

beatroot said...

Many thanks Mr Gummish. So the only good capitalists in Poland are communists! What a wonderful country, and one that will be turning politics and political language on its head for sometime to come...

Leigh said...

Many thanks Mr Gummish. So the only good capitalists in Poland are communists! What a wonderful country, and one that will be turning politics and political language on its head for sometime to come...