Archive for March, 2011

Imagine

The best example on the lack of imagination is the expectation that others will be capable to imagine one’s motivation.

Deux ex Meretrix

First is the decision to always break all rules. Than there is the realization that such rule has been broken as well.

 

Peaceful Thought

There is no other war than the one existing in your head. There is no one who can put an end to it but you.

Techno Warning

Don’t be empty like a glass left in a big club on Saturday night. Anyone can pick you up and use like a trash can or even break.

Obstacle

People who say “no” to the plan without offering any alternate idea but remain physically present and waiting.  Compassion and physical abandonment is everything I can offer them today.

Respect

Best wishes for a country where looters don’t exist.

Religions United

People are capable of working long and hard for the picturesque promise of eternal life, whether its called heaven whether the satisfaction achieved once you’ll buy our product.

Sense of Freedom

Privilege of perpetual consciousness.

Aftermath of Revolution

Watching news from Arab states vividly recalls the memories of Berlin Wall collapse, when countries in central Europe went through the system change. Thoughts brought together in this article are only few reflections, unable to reach objectivity on the book requiring subject. Some may be obvious for many but others, next to the resemblance to their current situation, can find them inspiring.

In 1989 communist regime in Poland had fallen and the first, partially free election, was the symbol of change. I remember sticking opposition posters on the walls, together with my father, just days before being admitted to high school. Politics were easy then – candidate pictured shaking hands with Lech Wałęsa was one of “us”, the good guy. Today, those people represent many different political options. My memories of totalitarian  communism in Poland are not unique: the lines for everything in badly provided stores; school assemblies full of state propaganda; huge messes in intention of homeland, which were the political manifestations against the government and the division between “us” and “them”. “Them”, people who worked for the state were hated by “us” ordinary people, slaves in the bureaucratic system, where no education nor hard work meant opportunity for well being in the future. After 1979, first visit of Pope John Paul II, “us” already knew that we are the majority. We wanted to be like the free people on the other side of iron curtain, some of us even saw their colorful and full of goods stores and such picture told us the naive tale about the luxury and carefreeness all people there are living in.

I belong to lucky generation. Childhood is always the most lighthearted of one’s lifetime. Indeed I saw tanks on the streets during 1981 martial law but on the emotional level it meant less than finding the new shortcut through the fence of nearby bakery or observing the bird nest in the bushes behind the school. Being poor never meant malnutrition so system wasn’t worrying me at that time. Definition of poverty in a country, where heating and housing is the basic survival need is different than in other climate. Anyway, poverty is never about the access to goods, its always about the way people think. When adulthood started to concern me, Poland was already in the first stage of transformation into democracy.

Our revolution wasn’t too bloody. Budapest in 1956 or Prague 1968 claimed much more victims. We had just few martyrs, those innocent, killed by secret police. Exemplary, none knew about Ryszard Siwiec, who committed suicide by self immolation in protest against the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, because authorities succeeded to keep his story quiet, despite ten thousand witnesses. Through the years of communism those few martyrs received numberless messes praying for homeland and their souls, while thousands of candles were lit on their graves. Today they are just few candles. People have other things on mind and through the transformation years they’ve forgotten about them.

Fear enslaved nation does not turn into democratic, civil society in a day and even the peaceful revolution also has its price. Members of former security forces had time to burn documents and together with other officials withdrew from public life without being held responsible. Well, at last they weren’t at power anymore. First elections, before fragile political culture was established, were very populist. It was so easy to manipulate with crowd that hasn’t seen the free media before. The role of formerly opposition uniting Catholic Church raised the questions about its influence on politics and the secularity of the state. Some of those events seem entirely absurd today. There was even a presidential candidate who was threatening everyone with black briefcase, allegedly containing documents holding all other candidates responsible for untold crimes. Papers none ever saw nor knew them to exist for real. He even got to the runoff. Other example comes from Hungary. Those who made the pools before parliamentary elections added non-existent Hungarian Democratic Part to the survey and 12% of respondents declared to vote for that formation.

At the same time we got hit with first wave of consumerism flooded with commercials and low quality foreign articles. They were expensive as for our economy but foreign symbolized wealth and happiness at that time. People were buying much worse quality than the local one, just because of its origin. Economic problems of that time have their consequences even today, migration to western Europe for jobs and bankruptcy in whole branches of production are the plague of all region. Not questioning the morals of western salespeople, they must have had a lot of fun and profit, while buying factories and negotiating long time deals with such greenhorn businessman like Poles by then. Many have learned what perspective commercials represent through the disappointments and financial loses. Some of the cheated ones understood the global business rules and ruthlessly stepped into the game. Others withdrew into the past and denied the new reality. They consider themselves never satisfied and hide behind bigotry and false patriotism. That’s new social division. It evolves but remains present. One political side represents very liberal and opportunistic point of view, capable of putting profit before the local or environmental interest. Other side recalls history and uses martyrs. Necessity to honor those, who were killed by former system became their political tool. Even the recent crash of presidential plane in Smoleńsk got tangled in such interpretation, which implements distrust to Russia, which shares with us many painful historic moments. Famous Polish word “Solidarność”, Solidarity has lost its meaning. It is not good when society becomes divided such a strong way. Unified Germany suffered similar conflicts, between Ossis and Wessis. Arguing level, which may exist among the politicians, like between Republicans and Democrats, should not influence families or friendships in a way it does here.

Many from generations, which grew up before ‘89, remain unable to make certain decisions or to protect selves legal way. Deep catholic roots are their common law instead of civil code and watching the way their children are raised its not likely to change fast. It has its advantages and disadvantages as well. Social spine which was built on the clinging to power communist elite got replaced with the “tax threshold” elite. Streets are safer but people usually aren’t too nice nor have time for each other anymore. Yet freedom allows everyone  to take part in competition on the job market according to unique personal talents. In a place where Solidarity was, slowly grows the unity of people interested in a country, where the state takes care of its citizens and government remains under constant control. Poles remember the totalitarian rule and therefore such control can be problematic for normal activity of government. Authorities are easily criticized not from the perspective pertaining to their content but as an accusation of totalitarian intent. Despite that civil society grows and realizes self on new levels of social interactions. It’s not about hating government or giving shelter to the protester anymore, today it’s about voting or recycling. When its comes to the free media, whether its about jobs, environment, culture or politics, journalists always have something to complain about. That’s their job. Problems will always emerge, just their quality changes. If corruption or stealing state property were the issues of eighties and today the drunken driving or having people to clean public space after their pets makes the local headlines, than the progress in social consciousness is clearly visible.

Born in Judeo-Christian culture sociology uses the symbol of “Moses generation” to describe certain phenomena:  After escape from the pharaoh, chosen nation did not reach the promised land until the day when the last one born in slavery has died so only the free men entered the new state. It’s very poetic way of describing the transformation in nation’s collective consciousness. Today, nations have no possibility to walk across the desert through one generation. Perceiving western democracies and consumerism as the ready and ideal solution for all our problems was probably the biggest mistake we made. It is advantage of Arab revolutions, that people choose to built new reality on their own, unique way. Among all the news the most symbolic can be the recent apology, which The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt had given to the protesters, who were beaten by the police. It became clear to the elites governing the state, that the way citizens can be approached has forever changed and there is no going back.

Libya seems to stand before the greater challenge. Its revolution resembles the collapse of communism in Romania, where atrocities of former leader woke up the ruthlessness in his own people. They couldn’t overcome  non human treatment and hastily executing him, answered with the same. Victim who becomes the perpetrator, even if forced to do so, never gets capable of building the world free of such cruel experience. Comparing to other countries in central Europe, Romania has been much slower with its economic growth and its access to European Union has been significantly delayed. Hopefully Libyans will be able to avoid such way. Protesting or fighting is the first step of change, when the relation between citizen and the government is totalitarian one. But even those who only shout implement verbal violence, less hurting than physical one, yet still the violence. Those who are able to believe each other while sharing peacefully spoken words will benefit in the system based on peace. That’s why next step after the revolution is much more quiet but equally difficult. Requires even more courage. It’s about controlling own emotions, so they do not cloud the responsibility while choosing and evaluating own work. That’s the freedom of being own man, the place personal democracy starts. The change worth developing. I wish Arab nations to learn only on mistakes already made by others, while building open, free, democratic and unique civil society.


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