POLAND. I have long been fascinated by her history and her struggle for true independence and her glorious period as a Republic. More recently I still remember the struggle of Solidarity and the Polish Catholic Church against the communist government in the 1980's. EU and NATO membership seemed to signal the Polish people's commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, liberty. Sadly, they are politically on the cusp of returning to the state of fear and repression reminiscent of the decades of communist rule and the brutal nazi occupation. This is especially poignant considering 27 JAN 16 was the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Ukrainian soviet forces and the current government's attitude to the wave of refugees seeking peace, freedom and life across Europe. Reflecting on the history of the Polish nation and Polish nationalism as outlined in this piece from +Foreign Policy is Polish history doomed to repeat itself?
The country’s present governing circles have skillfully deployed the symbols and slogans of mission, martyrdom, and sovereignty to attract that part of the public which feels betrayed and left behind by history. Enlisting the Catholic hierarchy in what they portray as a defense of the Polish way of life and Polish values turned out to have been a brilliant electoral ploy. They will probably go on beating the drum of sovereignty in order to maintain their momentum. But it’s important to recognize how tenuous the government’s claim to authentic Polish nationalism really is. It has little sense of its own country’s long history and an impoverished notion of national mission. And in a bitter irony, the key elements of its political program, to control the life of the nation and to keep the outside world at arm’s length, derive less from the wellsprings of Polish nationhood than from the mindset of the postwar communist regime it says it most despises.