Welcome to some background on a great trade unionist in Poland.
“Without a single shot we’ve managed to
liberate the world of communism … but now there is a need for a global
solidarity.” – Lech Walesa
Lech Walesa was born in Poland in 1943. He
grew up in Communist controlled Poland and became active in the trade union
movement in Gdansk shipyards, where he worked as an electrician.
In 1970, he was a leader of the
workers union as they clashed with the government seeking to gain improved
working conditions and recognition. Because of his union activity as a shop
steward, in 1976, he was fired by the state owned firm. For the next few years,
he was forced into doing odd jobs to provide income for his family and
supporting his political activities. In 1978, he helped to organise
the first non-communist trade union, and raised the profile of opposition to
the Communist party and its grip on the country.
The sole and basic source of our strength
is the solidarity of workers, peasants and the intelligentsia, the solidarity
of the nation, the solidarity of people who seek to live in dignity, truth, and
in harmony with their conscience. – Lech Walesa
By 1980, Walesa was seen as the
national leader of the independent trade union movement, and he was soon
elected leader of Solidarity (a non-communist workers movement) He helped to
lead strikes in the summer of 1980, and these proved relatively successful,
with the government agreeing to many of the workers’ demands, such as the
recognition to strike and form their own independent union. This gave the
Solidarity movement great hope. But, at the end of 1981, the Russian backed
general Jaruzelski cracked down on the movement. Walesa was interned, but given
his high international profile was only placed under house arrest.
Although the government cracked
down on Solidarity they were not as repressive as in previous years (such as
Hungarian rising). The government made life very difficult for Solidarity, but
its leaders, such as Lech Walesa remained potent symbols of opposition to the
government. As the 1980s progressed, the new Soviet Leader Mikhail
the Soviet Union would no longer use force to impose Soviet control over an
Eastern Bloc country. Thus solidarity were able to organise and provided a
growing opposition to the Communist control. The movement gained international
recognition and in 1983, Lech Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The
movement was also encouraged by the first Polish Pope
John Paul II.
His popularity in Poland gave Solidarity much extra strength.
“The defense of our rights and our
dignity, as well as efforts never to let ourselves to be overcome by the feeling
of hatred – this is the road we have chosen.” – Lech Walesa
After the fall of the Berlin
Wall, Lech Walesa was elected Poland’s first President of the Republic of
Poland. In December 1990 in a general ballot he was elected President of the
Republic of Poland. He served until defeated in the election of November 1995.
He was married and had eight
children. He said his Catholic faith sustained much of his political activity
and determination to resist Communist control.
“It is hardly possible to build anything
if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail.” – Lech Walesa
Clancy's comment: A very inspired man. Love his last quote.
Time to check out some more of those creatures that share our planet.
And, not only but also, folks. Another great review has appeared for my first novella - a poignant story about bullying - 'KY!' The review, by one of Australia's best book reviewers, has been made by Anastasia Gonis on Buzzwords Books:
Rida is caught between two cultures. She is the only
Muslim girl at her school, and she wears glasses and a hijab. She also loves
books so is classed as a nerd by her peers. This mixture leaves her open to ridicule,
emotional and physical bullying, which she is afraid to report. It also sees
her isolated from the rest of the students.
Then she meets Ky, a Cambodian refugee who also
loves books. At last Rida has a friend.
On a day when her two tormentors are pursuing her,
she runs into a house where an old man is tending his garden. This rose garden
becomes a haven; somewhere she can hide from the bullies, read and feel safe
until she can get home. The man will also play a significant role in Rida’s
It seems she’s always running – to get away from
bullies, to get to safety, or to reach home. When Mr Conan the sports master
asks her to run in the inter school sports, she accepts. She learns that Ky has
leukaemia and is seriously ill.
Rida has tried to fit in at school; not be so nerdy.
She stops reading during recess, becomes a part-timer in not wearing her hijab
during school hours. If she wins the race, will people like her more? Or will
that be one more reason to dislike her?
Inspired by Ky’s presence and despite her grave
illness, Rida wins the 400 metres and the relay wearing her hijab. Their school
gets the trophy, and all the differences that were obstacles disappear. She is
now one of them and the school’s hero with respect and acceptance.
This poignant and inspiring novella, Clancy Tucker’s
first short novel, uses the backstory and generous dialogue as a gateway into
awareness about the lives of refugees. The reasons they embark on treacherous
journeys to reach a safe country and a possible future without fear and threat
of death are told through the children’s voice and experiences. It also focuses
on the endless possibilities for children’s lives, no matter what their
origins, to be turned around when opportunity is made available to them.
Other themes, and there are many in this excellent
story, cover cancer in children, hope, kindness and love, family unity, and how
people are more than their external appearance or specific beliefs.