‘Patriotism of tomorrow’ in the pincers of ideology
Kazimierz Michal Ujazdowski, the minister of culture in 2000-2001 and 2005-2007, initiator of the Association Lower Silesia XXI
Even the opponents of historic politics did not oppose supporting patriotic education in the local scale. I remember many discussions, including the internauts’ opinions pointing to the model character of the local and voluntary preservation of national memory. That’s why, the decision of Bogdan Zdrojewski concerning the cancellation of the programme ‘Patriotism of tomorrow’, today’s only mechanism to support citizen initiatives of young people in the sphere of modern historic education, is an expression of ideological aggression towards interests in history and tradition. Many decisions taken by Donald Tusk’s government, for example the new proposal of a literary canon in schools, show a complete misunderstanding for the fact that history and culture are strong factors of the existence and development of the citizens community. Such an attitude should be defined as primitive economism that strikes at higher values and humanistic education.
The government behaves as if the society was a joint-stock company, only an association of material interests. But vivid adherence to tradition and culture is an important element of a capital of trust and it favours the formation of attitudes of responsibility for Poland. Since there is nothing more precious than forming unselfish motivation at work for the cause of the community. Let us remember that the programme ‘Patriotism of tomorrow’ enjoys a great interest of the local governments and citizens’ associations created by young generations. Within three years over 300 projects, out of over 3,000 ones that were sent to the contents, have been realized. The rewarded projects included ‘Traces of the past’ conducted by the Citizens’ Education Centre. In the framework of the project young people preserve their local monuments. Another project was entitled ‘Stay in Poland’ initiated by the ‘Talent’ Association in Gdynia. Young computer programists conducted formation and training classes with pupils in the spirit of civic responsibility. If the above-mentioned project had not existed we would not have had the initiative ‘I remember. Katyn 1940’, which prepared young people to see the film by Andrzej Wajda. ‘Patriotism of tomorrow’ has been rightly regarded as an example of an unconventional programme that has used new techniques and media. It is worth reminding that the cartoon dedicated to June ’56, made by young artists, has been published within the framework of ‘Patriotism of tomorrow’. The programme has supported some initiatives that were important to Catholic culture, reminding people of the figure of Fr Rafal Kalinowski on the 100th anniversary of the death of this great patriot and Carmelite monk. I will never forget what happened in Wroclaw and Lodz a year ago. Crowds of people wanted to see the original version of the Constitution of 3rd May, which was displayed in these cities for the first time. I will remember for long my conversation with Magda Giza who, together with her peers from the Warsaw-Praga grammar school, saved small dilapidating chapels in her district. The support of the state authorities for such activities seems obvious, especially when we deal with a programme that has not required much financing. Minister Zdrojewski began his duties with a serious limitation of activities in the sphere of preservation of cultural heritage, which resulted in cancelling the investment plan, which had the EU means, to build the Museum of the West of Poland, which was to show the civilisational and cultural achievements of Poles after 1945. It was hard to believe that he based his decision on substantial grounds although the decision was justified by procedural ways. The cancellation of the programme ‘Patriotism of tomorrow’ goes beyond the limits of ordinary decisions, resulting from a different division of the accents in the ministerial programme and leaves no doubts concerning the intention of the actions taken. Practically, it means getting rid of all responsibility for patriotic education and future of young generations. The development of citizens’ community depends on the strength of unselfish motivation, which is formed by a feeling of common fate and good historic models. If the chief of the department does not change his wrong decision the programmes having similar aims will be realised by local government institutions that feel responsible for the future of young generations and patriotism of tomorrow.