"Telling Poland to the World - Polish Solidarity" - a project by the New Media Institute on the 40th anniversary of the Solidarity Union

2020-08-28 07:00 update: 2020-09-02, 10:49
Photo PAP/Henryk Rosiak
Photo PAP/Henryk Rosiak
Newspapers across the world will start printing features about Poland, with contributions from renowned journalists and academics such as Timothy Snyder, professor Wojciech Roszkowski, Jan Rokita, professor Ryszard Bugaj, Pawel Jablonski, professor François Dubet, professor Aleksander Surdej, Michael Dobbs, Jacques Rupnik, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Vytautas Landsbergis, professor Csaba György Kiss and the country’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki.

In an article to be published in a number of papers including Italy's La Repubblica, France's L’Opinion, Sweden's Göteborgs-Posten and the Czech Republic's Lidove Noviny, Morawiecki writes: "We must make solidarity a pan-European project, this is our proposal for the coming decades of growth.

”The Solidarity Union was an unimaginable phenomenon in the Soviet bloc. Something that evoked worldwide bewilderment, but also admiration. After a series of worker strikes in shipyards and other plants countrywide, the despotic communist party had to bend and agree to the foundation of the first government-independent and self-governed trade union in the history of the Soviet bloc.

Professor Wojciech Roszkowski adds: ”Solidarity’s sixteen months showed that the Poles were ready to undertake the construction of a sovereign and democratic country, but the union operated in adverse geopolitical conditions. The Kremlin threatened intervention, and the western countries showed interest in Solidarity, but were unwilling to actively support the Polish renewal. They even feared that it will upset the international order. But it was Solidarity that became the nucleus of the fall of communism and a reset in the international alignment of power.”

Political philosopher Jan Rokita writes: "The Poles' will for self-constitution is perhaps the politically strongest heritage of August 1980, a heritage our EU allies all too often underestimate. Martial law proved to be a historical episode unable to halt the restitution of the Poles' political self-constitution.”

In his contribution, leading US historian Timothy Snyder argues that the foundation of Solidarity was one of the most important events in Polish history, but also the history of the late 20th-century world. Snyder recalls that he was the first foreign journalist to cover the shipyard strike.

New Media Institute head Eryk Mistewicz said: "Solidarity is deeply inscribed into the Polish DNA. Thus, it is hard to imagine a better occasion for telling the story of the Poles, free birds (...) who would not let themselves be caged. A look back at those days will make it easier for readers worldwide to understand the Polish soul.”

New media Institute international project manager Michal Klosowski explains the project's main assumptions: "The world wants moving stories. We get in touch with press editors, we give them what they want. We don't buy sponsored features but create one comprehensive story. The texts are a compendium of knowledge about those days."

The "Telling Poland to the World" project has been prepared by the New Media Institute with support from Polish diplomats, the Polish Development Fund, the PKO Bank Polski Foundation, the Industrial Development Agency Foundation, the State of Poland Foundation and the Polish Press Agency.

All the texts are available at www.Solidarnosc40.pl