Monday, April 12, 2010

Modern Polish Tragedy

First I would like to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to the Polish nation in connection with the unprecedented accident of 10 April 2010.

The flowers and wreaths laid by the building of the Polish Embassy in Riga, half-lowered flags today, and extensive mass media coverage all pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy.

However, there are some whose opinion, which I believe, was asked for and voiced at an ill time, takes a different turn. Let me quote one of them, by Janis Jurkans.

"The fate of Lech Kaczynski, the late President of Poland, who died in an airplane crash tragically, may serve as a warning to those politicians who 'cling on to the past too much,' in an interview to the website says Janis Jurkans, formerly a Latvian minister of foreign affairs.

Janis Jurkans thinks the accident is a big tragedy for which he is 'extremely sorry', yet he views it in a symbolic way. 'Kaczynski used the tragegy of Katyn for political purposes in an exagerrated way. The Polish prime minister went there last Wednesday, Lech Valensa, former president of Poland, was there too but Kaczynski wanted a separate event. If people use the history for political purposes then the history takes them with it. If you use bones in politics, you come to bones,' J. Jurkans told the website, adding that it would be highly symbolic to bury Kaczynski in Katyn, 'side by side with those whom he went to visit.'

'He was a nuisance for Poles, Russians and Germans alike. A nuisance for everyone,' in the conclusion of the interview to says Latvian politician Jurkans, known for his positive attitude towards Russia.


You can read a blogger's reply here (and have it translated very approximately using the Google Translate option).

To illustrate the commentaries posted on the website under the article, I shall translate a few of them.

LV: Pārāk ciniski brīdi, kad cilvēks vēl pat nav apglabāts. Jurkāns zaudējis jebkādu takta sajūtu, bet teikt viņš gribēja sekojošo: nākotnē, viņaprāt, nav vietas nacionālismam un patriotismam (tai skaitā vēsturiskajai atmiņai) - sevišķi priekš "otrās šķiras" nācijām.

EN: Too cynical [to say this] at a time when the man has not yet been buried. Jurkans has lost any sense of tact. He wanted to say this: in his opinion, the future has no place for nationalism and patriotism (including the historic memory) - in particular for nations of 'the second kind.'

LV: Kā nav kauna, gandrīz simts CILVĒKU ir gājuši bojā (arī Polijas prezidents pirmām kārtām ir cilvēks!) (...) KĀ portāls atļaujas publicēt šādus vienas ārkārtīgi netaktiskas, zemiskas personas komentārus? (...) Vēsturi nevajag un arī nedrīkst aizmirst! Kā var aizmirst slepkavību Katiņā, kur padomju vara noslepkavoja 200 tkst. Polijas inteliģences - ārstu, skolotāju, juristu, žurnālistu! Tāpat arī nevar un nedrīkst aizmirst tos 42 un 15 tkst. latviešu, kas tika deportēti uz Sibīrju!

EN: Shame on you! Nearly one hundred PEOPLE have perished (the President of Poland is a human being in the first place too). How does the newspaper dare to publish such a commentary by a person so extremely tactless and base? The history should not and may not be forgotten! How can one forget the massacre in Katyn where the Soviets murdered 200 thousand people of the Polish inteligentsia: medical doctors, teachers, lawyers, journalists. Likewise one cannot and may not forget those 42 thousand and then another 15 thousand Latvians who were deported to Siberia.

LV: Jā, Krievijai šī nelaime arī neko labu nenes, jo diemžēl vēl vairāk cilvēku uzzin patiesību par Katiņu 1940. gadā... Varbūt kāds aizdomāsies, ka kāds kas demonstrē ordeņus pie krūtīm tos varētu būt saņēmuis arī par Katiņas "varoņdarbu".

EN: Yes, this tragedy brings no good to Russia, either, because people learn, in increasing numbers, the truth about what happened in Katyn in 1940... Perhaps some people will ponder about the fact that the medals which some other people wear pinned to their chest [translator's note: a reference to the celebration in Russia of the victory over the Nazi Germany in WWII] could have been awarded also for the 'heroic act' in Katyn.