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Historical significance of the political changes in Poland

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Tadeusz Mazowiecki
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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It is beyond doubt that the final outcome of various operations came from Wałęsa. Except that people tend to forget that talks were already quite advanced with the parliamentary fraction of the United People's Front, with individual farmers and with the parliamentary fraction of the Citizen's Committee of Solidarity. Nevertheless, the main motivator of this very successful manoeuvre was Wałęsa. It could have ended very badly. Namely, the agreement with the United People's Front caused the sidelining – only temporarily, I hope – of Solidarity for Individual Farmers. Activists from this union exhibited enormous political maturity as well as plenty of ordinary human patience. Had things been different, the situation could have become politically very dangerous. Luckily, we managed to negotiate this rocky terrain as well. The result is the first time in communist Europe that the Prime Minister, and not just the Prime Minister but the leader of the government, which includes many members of what used to be the opposition, is Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who had spent a significant time in the opposition and had won enormous trust among the people who had come into contact with him. I am one of those people who trust him implicitly. Of course, I worry that his health may give out because we've already had a few scares, and I'm not sure that he'll always find it easy to take swift, unequivocal decisions. I know people in the political arena who find this easier to do, it comes to them more easily. Knowing him to be a very principled person with a lot of integrity, I'm a little concerned whether in this complicated, political game, that won't be an obstacle rather than an advantage for him. However, at the moment what matters is the trust we have in him which we are all trying to pass on to the electorate, to our readers, participants in meetings that we attend and at which we so far have had a lot of success.

... wyszedł, niewątpliwie przynajmniej jako ostateczny skutek różnych zabiegów, wyszedł od Wałęsy, to nie ulega wątpliwości. Z tym że trochę się nie pamięta o tym, że już wcześniej były dosyć zaawansowane rozmowy z Frakcją Parlamentarną Zjednoczonego Stronnictwa Ludowego, ze strony rolników indywidualnych i ze strony frakcji parlamentarnej tutaj Komitetu Obywatelskiego „Solidarności”. Niemniej jednak głównym motorem tutaj tego manewru bardzo udanego był Wałęsa. Ten manewr mógł się skończyć bardzo niedobrze. Mianowicie porozumienie ze Zjednoczonym Stronnictwem Ludowym powodowało odsunięcie na jakby boczny tor – mam nadzieję, że tylko na pewien czas – „Solidarności” Rolników Indywidualnych. Działacze tej... tego związku wykazali ogromną dojrzałość polityczną, a przy tym też dużo zwykłej, ludzkiej cierpliwości. Gdyby było inaczej, sytuacja mogłaby się stać politycznie bardzo niebezpieczna. Na szczęście przez tę rafę też udało się przebrnąć. Rezultatem jest, no, pierwszy wypadek w tej komunistycznej Europie, iż premierem – a nie tylko premierem, ale szefem rządu, w którym zasiada wielu przedstawicieli dotychczasowej opozycji – no, jest Tadeusz Mazowiecki, człowiek o dużym stażu opozycyjnym i człowiek, który wśród tych, którzy z nim kiedykolwiek się zdołali zetknąć, ma kolosalne zaufanie. Ja należę do tych, którzy darzą go kolosalnym zaufaniem. Mam oczywiście obawy, czy on wytrzyma kondycyjnie, bo już mieliśmy takie momenty strachu o niego, nie jestem pewny, czy jemu zawsze będzie przychodziło łatwo szybkie podejmowanie jednoznacznych decyzji. Znam ludzi z życia politycznego, którzy to... łatwiej to robią, łatwiej im to przychodzi. Znając go jako człowieka… bardzo pryncypialnego i prostolinijnego, mam pewne obawy, czy w tej skomplikowanej grze politycznej, czy to będzie dla niego atutem czy przeciwnie, jakąś przeszkodą; ale w tej chwili liczy się przede wszystkim zaufanie, które mamy do człowieka i które my wszyscy staramy się przelać naszym wyborcom, naszym czytelnikom, uczestnikom zebrań w których uczestniczymy, jak dotychczas z dużym powodzeniem.

Jan Józef Lipski (1926-1991) was one of Poland's best known political activists. He was also a writer and a literary critic. As a soldier in the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), he fought in the Warsaw Uprising. In 1976, following worker protests, he co-founded the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR). His active opposition to Poland's communist authorities led to his arrest and imprisonment on several occasions. In 1987, he re-established and headed the Polish Socialist Party. Two years later, he was elected to the Polish Senate. He died in 1991 while still in office. For his significant work, Lipski was honoured with the Cross of the Valorous (Krzyż Walecznych), posthumously with the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1991) and with the highest Polish decoration, the Order of the White Eagle (2006).

Listeners: Marcel Łoziński Jacek Petrycki

Film director Marcel Łoziński was born in Paris in 1940. He graduated from the Film Directing Department of the National School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź in 1971. In 1994, he was nominated for an American Academy Award and a European Film Academy Award for the documentary, 89 mm from Europe. Since 1995, he has been a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science awarding Oscars. He lectured at the FEMIS film school and the School of Polish Culture of Warsaw University. He ran documentary film workshops in Marseilles. Marcel Łoziński currently lectures at Andrzej Wajda’s Master School for Film Directors. He also runs the Dragon Forum, a European documentary film workshop.

Cinematographer Jacek Petrycki was born in Poznań, Poland in 1948. He has worked extensively in Poland and throughout the world. His credits include, for Agniezka Holland, Provincial Actors (1979), Europe, Europe (1990), Shot in the Heart (2001) and Julie Walking Home (2002), for Krysztof Kieslowski numerous short films including Camera Buff (1980) and No End (1985). Other credits include Journey to the Sun (1998), directed by Jesim Ustaoglu, which won the Golden Camera 300 award at the International Film Camera Festival, Shooters (2000) and The Valley (1999), both directed by Dan Reed, Unforgiving (1993) and Betrayed (1995) by Clive Gordon both of which won the BAFTA for best factual photography. Jacek Petrycki is also a teacher and a filmmaker.

Tags: United People's Front, Citizen`s Committee of Solidarity, Solidarity for Individual Farmers, Lech Wałęsa, Tadeusz Mazowiecki

Duration: 3 minutes, 24 seconds

Date story recorded/uploaded: 15 March 2011

Date story went live: 15 March 2011