Sunday, December 10, 2006

Free at last!



My right honourable friend, the blogger for Croydon happily reminds us of the demise of the Soviet Union 15 years back. But there are other events to be recalled from the Cold War as well.
On a snowy Sunday morning, December 13, 1981 the Poles woke up to find their country under Martial Law, the declared aim of which was to "defend socialism". As we can all remember, the communist order felt terribly threatened (rightly) by the members of the first independent trade union behind the Iron Curtin - Solidarity (Solidarnosc).

Thousands of Solidarity leadership and activists were arrested and imprisoned without court sentence. Among those arrested was Lech Walesa, the legendary Solidarity leader.On December 13, 1981 Polish borders were sealed, airports were closed and road access to main cities was restricted. Travel between cities required permission. Curfew was imposed between 10 pm and 6 am. Telephone lines were disconnected. All trade union and other independent organizations were closed. Public administration, health services, power stations, coal mines, sea ports, train stations, and most of the country's key factories were placed under military management.

Martial Law was ended on July 22, 1983. Some of the restrictive legislation introduced during martial law remained in force until the end of the eighties. The failure of the ruling Communist Party became only too clear in 1989 when Solidarity won by a land-slide in the first free election since World War II.

Poland has experienced remarkable economic success over the last decade. It now has an enviable reputation as a stable political environment and is a combative player within the EU. The queues in front of shops, food rationing and empty shelves - a daily nightmare of Socialist times are now nothing but a distant memory.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I liked reading this article and am always interested in the history of Poland. But what are your thoughts on the rather strange twins now running the country?

istanbultory said...

A good point. The Kaczynski twins are proudly Polish and Catholic. They like law and order. They don't like gays, abortion, the EU, Russians or Germans, communists, football hooligans, or corrupt businessmen and politicians. Predictably, the international left and its cohorts in the media have it in for them. But in recent local elections the Kaczynski’s actually did rather well.


The government they lead believes that the Polish Third Republic – as the post-1989 Polish state is known, has become corrupted and morally bankrupted by the uklad. The uklad constitutes a mafia-style system of secret deals between what is perceived as a “rotten establishment”-liberal and left-leaning politicians, civil servants, the media, the judiciary and the secret service, who have corrupted politics and used privatisation to enrich themselves and dominate the country since the collapse of communism in 1989. So a spot of house cleaning is in order.

Voyager said...

the judiciary and the secret service, who have corrupted politics and used privatisation to enrich themselves and dominate the country since the collapse of communism in 1989. So a spot of house cleaning is in order.

Polonium was named for Poland by Marie Curie and seems to be the preferred approach of those usingprivatisation to enrich themselves and dominate the country since the collapse of communism ............but that's the neighbours

Ellee said...

Yes, what a difference a few years make, though it seems like Russia is going backwards again. Look at that recent fire in the treatment centre for alcoholics where more than 40 people died in a building that had been condemned as unsafe. Nobody cared about their conditions.

Colin said...

Istanbultory,

I am wondering whether you could provide us with the Turkish views concerning the recent events, i.e. Turkey EU talks to be part-frozen. What does the average Ali think about Turkey's EU accession after the harsh treatment by the EU, better to stay out of the club or to become a member of the EU?

istanbultory said...

Thanks,
Colin. I will up a post about this matter today or wednesday.