The Solidarity Icon Lech Walesa Again Attacked

Poland, 31 Jan - 27 Feb 2016
Dispute about Lech Walesa ++ The 100 days of Law and Justice ++ Criminal case from Warsaw ends in Malta. by Dorota Redzikowska
Dispute about Lech Walesa

Lech Walesa – renowned icon of Polish politics and Solidarność leader – strongly contributed to nonviolent transformation to democracy in Poland and Europe. But the Poles started to destroy this memory some years ago. Since then, Walesa has been attacked by some of his former bothers in arms. For several years after 1989, the post-Solidarność camp was divided into more or less conservative groups. A later very successful group under the leadership of the Kaczynski twins accused Walesa of collaborating with the Communist regime for several years.
Let`s take a look back: the democratization of Poland was negotiated in a joint effort by the old and the new regime. The communists gave up political power without violent resistance, and for that they were guaranteed immunity after the transformation. In addition, they also received economic power. However, the new regime got hold of political power. According to this story Walesa should have contributed to this conspiracy as a man of the communist elites.

This story is often told by the conservative clerical Right, especially by Jaroslaw Kaczynski who steadily consolidated his power through such conspiracy theories. An employee of the State Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) announced, that in the house of the former communist General Czeslaw Kiszczak several documents have been found, which provide evidence for collaboration of Lech Walesa with the communist regime.

However, it is not clear if these documents are authentic. Furthermore, the Ministry of Public Security (the institution of public security with secret services in socialist Poland) often worked with false documents. For example, political prisoners signed incriminating material under physical and psychological torture. Walesa categorically denies cooperation with the communist authorities.

The 100 days of Law and Justice

On the 24th of February, it was 100 days since the party Law and Justice (PiS) took over government responsibilities – time to look back at PiS’s honeymoon period and to compare Prime Minister Beata Szydlo’s promises with what she has implemented.

Independent media analyzed the policy statements of Prime Minister Szydlo and her promises which should be done in the first 100 days of her government. This should have been:

  • the introduction of 500 Zloty (ca. 100 euro) for every second and further child and for the first child from low-income families
  • the lowering of the retirement age to 65 (men) and 60 (women)
  • raising the tax allowance
  • free medicine for people over 65 years
  • raising the minimum wage
  • the lowering the taxes for small businesses

Unfortunately, the first 100 days are sobering. The Project ‘Family 500 pus’ – the introduction of 500 Zloty for the large families – is the only project that is so far in progress. All other promises have not come very far. Government officially states that the intended changes require more time but some ministers think that promises like lowering the retirement age or raising tax allowances are unrealistic.

The opposition criticized the fact that the promises are not kept. However, many still support Szydlo and the president of the governing party Law and Justice (PiS) Jaroslaw Kaczynski. In recent surveys PiS is far ahead of the opposition.

Criminal case from Warsaw ends in Malta

At the beginning of February, a brutal murder shocked the nation. A young woman was killed and quartered in an apartment in Warsaw. After he was finished the murderer set the apartment on fire. The body of the victim was later found by the firemen that arrived to extinguish the flames. The victim had been decapitated and the head deposited in a different room.

27-year-old Kajetan P. from Warsaw is the main suspect. The victim, who had worked as a translator, had been his teacher. Kajetan’s motives for committing this hideous crime are still a mystery.

A nation-wide search for Kajetan P. was launched. In the following days the officers of other countries in Europe were also involved in the case. Kajetan P. was classified as a highly dangerous man and wanted by Interpol. The suspected man managed to avoid detection – until the 17th of February. After a journey that had apparently led through Germany and Italy, he was found in Valletta, the capital of Malta, and was immediately arrested. Police say that he had been on his way to South Africa via Tunisia. Kajetan P. was taken to Poland and brought to justice. It is still unclear whether he will plead guilty.

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