Tunne Kelam in EU Parliament: 25th Anniversary of Polish Solidarnosc

Posted in Europe | 28-Sep-05

Tunne Kelam, Member of the European Parliament and Freedom Hero of Estonia.

25 years ago in Poland a historic break-through was accomplished when Polish workers and intellectuals succeeded to create a democratic civic alternative to the rigid Communist structures. "Solidarnosc" started the process of East-European nations becoming genuinely free from totalitarian enslavement. "The other lung of the same European homeland" - to quote John Paul II - started to breathe, to convey oxygen and self-respect to tens of millions of East-Europeans. The birth of "Solidarnosc" generated hope that the tragic division of Europe could be overcome.

Poland is a symbol of Europe. It was the first victim of the criminal alliance of Hitler and Stalin who together launched the Second World War.

Polish nation experienced the worst of both of these dictatorships. Perhaps it is not a chance that the victory of "Solidarnosc" opened the channel to reunification of Europe.

The most significant achievement of "Solidarnosc" was its ability to unite all sectors of Polish society. This was not possible without a moral revival, without a spiritual dimension, of which the Polish pope became an embodiment, reminder and inspirer.

The important message of "Solidarnosc" victory remains - how to discover both strength and balance in a passionate quest for justice and in the everlasting spiritual values of Europe. Listening to this message could help us to overcome the crisis of European identity about which there was talk today in this hemicycle. Because "Solidarnosc" has already became part of our European identity - it is up to us to fully realize the impact of this transformation.

This week, we have the opportunity and duty to decide about starting to celebrate August 31 as the "Day of Freedom and Solidarity" in Europe. I fully support this initiative. In addition, there is a need for another date to be remembered on the European scale: on August 23 (the anniversary of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact) the victims of both Communism and Nazism should be commemorated. Only then the famous appeal "Never again!" would become valid also for the victims of Communism.