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The Warsaw Voice » Comments » October 8, 2008
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From the Editor-in-Chief
October 8, 2008   
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Lech Wałęsa recently celebrated his 65th birthday and at the same time marked 25 years since receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. It was an occasion for reminiscences, celebrations, public debate. And of course, since this is Poland-an opportunity for fierce dispute. There have always been rows centered on Wałęsa, sometimes so violent as to threaten to end in political catastrophe. But for a long time now, probably since his term as president ended, it has not been Wałęsa playing games, it has been others using him in their games. Blows directed at the most famous living Pole in fact serve as an attack on the past two decades and those political groups, and specific people, who set the tone during this time. People who were often in intense conflict with Wałęsa in the past now rush to his defense because they believe the past 20 years have proved a success, not a failure, for the country.

In the days surrounding the Nobel anniversary the row quieted down, but only slightly. Public television, for example, which is managed by a former leading light among President Lech Kaczyński's allies, refused to broadcast the jubilee gala concert.

At the same time, the trial of Wojciech Jaruzelski and several others responsible for imposing martial law in Poland on Dec. 13, 1981 is starting. The prosecutors are accusing these people of having been part of an armed criminal organization. This is a different scene from the same play; or a different chapter from the same book.
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