April 17, 2005


Was the Pope Polish? Yes, Thank God (Lech Walesa, April 17, 2005, LA Times)

Through his life, words and writings, Pope John Paul II provided the bedrock upon which we Poles built political and historical greatness and unleashed the hope for freedom that continues to spread. Because of his well-timed testimony, we live in a different Poland — one in which I can express myself freely — and a different world.

In the '40s and '50s, we fought with weapons in our hands. In the '60s and '70s, strikes and demonstrations thundered through Poland's streets. But time after time, the authorities broke our ranks, crushed our uprisings.

Throughout the Communist bloc, totalitarian armies and agents combated each attempt to move toward freedom, defeated every struggle toward democracy and undermined all efforts to organize for change.

For years before the pope's visit in 1979, I had tried to organize a group to fight communism, seeking support from Poland's 40 million people. In two decades, I attracted 10 fellow activists. People had no hope that they could overthrow communism and no faith that world leaders would offer support. The enslaved societies were in bad shape, weakened by uncertainty and apprehension.

Then something unbelievable happened. A Pole became pope.

And the rest was just details.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 17, 2005 10:45 AM
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