Introducing the truth and freedom into Poles’ lives
Rev. Msgr. Ireneusz Skubis talks to Alicja Zajac, the Senator from Krosno, the widow of the late Senator Stanislaw Zajac, Beata Kempa, MP from the Law and Justice Party (PiS) from Wroclaw constituency and Mariusz Blaszczak, President of the Law and Justice Parliamentary Club and MP from Warsaw Area constituency.
Rev. Msgr. Ireneusz Skubis: – You participated in the traditional pilgrimage of the Polish MPs to Jasna Gora on the Feast of Mary (2 February). The present pilgrimage had the motto of thanksgiving to Benedict XVI for announcing the day of the beatification of the Servant of God John Paul II, the wonderful Polish Pope, who is someone like a prophet for Poland and Poles. I mean his messages to respect and love all that Poland is, what our heritage is, what our property is and what is important to the future of our Homeland. You represent the party that most of all strives for the good of our homeland, especially to explain the tragedy of 10 April 2010, which became part of the Polish nation. Can Poles ignore this tragedy and as some wish have the so-called day without Smolensk? What does PiS want when it demands the truth and honest treatment of the Smolensk investigation?
Mariusz Blaszczak, MP: – For us the motto: ‘God, Honour and Homeland’ is not empty words. We want to serve in such a sequence: faithful to God, faithful to Honour and Homeland. What happened on 10 April 2010 was a great drama of all Poles. The Polish Parliament adopted the bill in which it said straight that it was the biggest tragedy after World War II. That’s why we demand the truth about the causes of this disaster we experienced. Unfortunately, what we can hear is far from the truth. One can even talk about the Smolensk lie. Like we had the Katyn lie we have the Smolensk lie spread by the Russians. It was as early as on 10 April in the afternoon that we heard that the guilt was on the Polish side. Then Prime Minister Tusk, the person who is responsible for the explanation of the causes of the plane crash, told the public opinion and society that we should trust the Russians and just wait. It was a mistake. We should not have given the Russians the investigation into the causes of the crash. It was confirmed by the falsified MAK report to which, unfortunately, the Polish authorities did not react properly again. President Komorowski remained silent and Prime Minister Tusk said the next day that the report was incomplete. Because of the lack of proper response of the Polish government the Smolensk lie is functioning in the international public opinion. And earlier we were informed by Minister Jerzy Miller that the pilots had been confirmed by the air traffic controllers that they were on the course and landing path, that they were approaching to the safe height of 100 m, i.e. the height to make a decision about landing. We also know that the captain ordered to ‘go around.’ Therefore, the pilots were not landing but only approaching the safe height to see whether landing was possible. That’s why as the MPs from Law and Justice we proposed to correct the mistake of Prime Minister Tusk: a parliamentary bill rejecting the falsified MAK report. We also wanted the Polish government to appeal to international institutions to create an international committee to investigate the causes of the crash. Unfortunately, the other parliamentary clubs rejected the project of PiS.
Senator Alicja Zajac: – The motto ‘Day without Smolensk’ is surprising and very painful for me as well as many families and friends of the victims of the crash. Thinking of the initiators of similar actions I fear that they have not thought over what they propose. It is good that the young man who invented this motto restrained himself because at first he was afraid of showing his face and then he withdrew this initiative. This unconsidered over-activity does not serve the cause. I hope that many people who are the authors of these unworthy words under this initiative have come to their senses. I would like the remembrance of Smolensk to last not only to our death but in the next generations. Why? Because it was not a normal death but death in the intention of the remembrance of Katyn, in the intention to remind the world of Poland’s position. On the plane there were also family members of the Polish officers who had been murdered in Katyn. That’s why such actions are very sad and of course, I cannot understand them.
Beata Kempa, MP: – On 10 April 2010 I was on the Katyn land. We were waiting for our delegation and wanted to pray together. I was in Katyn for the first time. When the SMSes containing the names of those who were killed arrived it seemed to me that the whole world fell and there was no Polish state. Firstly, we were informed that the President, his wonderful Spouse, President Kaczorowski whom I remembered coming for the promotions of the prison officers (when I was responsible for these services) had been killed. I will never forget President Kaczorowski explaining wonderfully who an officer of the Most Serene Republic should be. And then the names of our friends. And my first emotional thoughts to take all of them, including the officers, to Poland, to exhume, let them be at our place so that we would never come back there. But in the context of this unfortunate, and way very short, action ‘Day without Smolensk’ – these young people must have written what those who want to blur the truth, who do not want to seek the truth, expected. We can hear: do not talk about Smolensk, let us stop dealing with this topic, it is over, there will be some Polish report that will close the matter, it is better the Russians have dealt with it. And it was good that there was a quick reflection, that numerous young people protested. I met students who were indignant about this action. In this context we heard the joyful news about the beatification of the Holy Father John Paul II. For me the Pope was first of all an advocate of hope. Although his teaching was not easy it was convincing, especially when he spoke about freedom as a gift and task. We should take up this great task industriously because we have not realised it yet in the context of the definition of the Polish state, service to the state and strength of this state in the service of its citizens. We should have such a feeling that the Polish state is open to its citizens and that citizens can rely on the state, which was the view of many of those wonderful people who lost their lives at Smolensk, going there in the name of the truth that we have not got to know yet. We are still demanding the truth about Katyn so that we can build our freedom on the truth like many other elements, like all kinds of friendships, alliances.
Fr I. S.: – As politicians we are facing the problem of applying freedom in our homeland. The freedom we received thanks to God must be implemented in concrete fields of life: culture, economy, education of young generations. This is the action of man as a rational and free being. These two features should exist when we speak about man’s activities, in this case citizens’ activities. What are these fields of freedom so that people stop thinking that PiS is dealing only with the Smolensk plane crash? What kind of future do you see? What is most important when we are realising this freedom in our homeland?
M. B.: – We attach great importance to the state and its institutions, to schools and education. That’s why we oppose what the government of Prime Minister Tusk, the government of the Civic Platform and the Polish Peasants’ Party, is doing. For example, why did they reduce the number of history lessons in schools? It will make the Polish young people not to have fundamental knowledge of our past, our civilisation. History teaches the sources of our life, culture; it shows how our state and nation have been developing. The government has assumed that things will work out one way or another. They speak something about the invisible hand of the market that will deal with everything. It is not true. I will use the example of the Automobile Factory Warsaw-Zeran. One day the company employed even several dozen thousand people and today only 1,800. Most of them, and perhaps all of them, will lose their jobs because the foreign investor is withdrawing the production. When I asked Prime Minister Tusk in the Parliament how he was going to intervene I heard that he did not have to do anything because it was a private company. And why could Prime Minister Berlusconi intervene so that Fiat Panda would be produced in the factory near Naples and not in Poland? The Italians have jobs and Poles have not. Capital is not above the state, it has its nationality and the head of the Polish government should have known that. Consequently, over 50% of graduates cannot find jobs. The unemployment is growing – 100,000 more are unemployed, which today is over 13%, i.e., 2 million people. And what is the government doing? They are deluding us with the propaganda about ‘green island.’ Coming back to Smolensk, several weeks ago there was a debate in the Polish Parliament, initiated by PiS, during which Prime Minister Tusk presented the activities of the Polish government regarding the investigation into the causes of the Smolensk crash. Instead of giving substantial arguments he attacked the opposition. He did not say how he was going to act, what activities he was going to undertake to reach the truth. And it almost always happens in the Parliament. On 31 January PiS organised a conference on economy in Warsaw during which we presented a programme of Poland’s development. The media said almost nothing about it. Then during a press conference we focused on the growing prices of food and costs of living. We presented two projects of bills: cost-of-living bonus for pensioners and children bonus for families whose income per person is less than 1,000 zloty. We showed where money could be taken from for these bonuses. And thus we proposed a draft bill on bank activity tax. And this proposal did not receive any attention, either. One should ask, ‘Is Poland a free country? Can we discuss these subjects? We are presenting various projects and the government is silent. As a rule our draft bills are put in the drawer of the Speaker or the drawer of the President of some parliamentary committee. Whereas the Parliament passes the bill about election code overnight so that to restrain the rights of the opposition in the approaching election campaign: parties will not be allowed to present their programmes on television and the radio. The government has limitless possibilities to promote themselves, to delude the nation with their propaganda. The opposition has no rights.
B. K.: – As for the functioning of the Polish state the fundamental issue we should pay special attention to is responsibility. The boundary of freedom is responsibility, about which John Paul II spoke. Today we must speak about political responsibility. Having the election cards Poles make politicians accountable, in detail and scrupulously, for what they have done or intend to do. It is very important. Why? For when nobody is held responsible for the important sectors of our life we can actually speak about complete impunity and complete fiasco as far as the development of our country is concerned. One can see it in education very clearly, I mean higher education. The new bill, which is being discussed in the Parliament, has many disadvantageous solutions. I do not only mean students enrolling in a second fee-paying programme. This bill narrows the basis of the university courses: students will ‘get’ much less knowledge. Thank God, they are lecturers who ignore it. However, in the future one should care about the development of science and first of all, assign more money for research. We cannot become a country of storehouses but must strive for development of technological, social, political thought. We must restore what we have lost; create research-development units, which will allow us to be on a higher level of civilisation and to be spiritually enriched.
There are also other fields in which the responsibility of the state must be decisively higher, and unfortunately, the government unburdens itself by throwing this responsibility on the self-governments, health service, on the assumption that thing will be work out one way or another. But in such fields as labour, health protection, security, education… the state should intervene when its citizens are harmed. And the situation in the above-mentioned fields is very bad. Such a state does not evoke respect. We cannot absolutely build such a state. And finally, the question of solidarity. I mean solidarity in economy, which Jaroslaw Kaczynski has called ‘economic patriotism’ recently. We cannot let Germany ‘pump out’ our wonderful, young, diligent, often very educated people. Here the state interventionism is indispensible. We are observing dangerous phenomena: if today we do not think what will happen in 15 or 20 years we will face collapse. A responsible politician does not only think of his next term and also of the next generations. That’s why we all are responsible for the choice of proper authorities.
A. Z.: – Listening to the preceding speakers mentioning the education of young people I recollect the inauguration of the academic year 2010/11 at the Higher School of Social and Media Culture in Torun. Its Father Rector reminded the audience of the homily that Bishop Plocki was to deliver in Katyn, ‘Together with the truth we receive freedom.’ I wrote these words in my calendar for 2010 and rewrote them to the new calendar for 2011. I speak about it because I am observing with anxiety how our authorities give Poles wrong information about economy, state finances, Smolensk crash… During the beatification of Fr Jerzy Popieluszko I realised that after he had been murdered we knew unconsciously that the perpetrators were sentenced but their principals remained unknown until today. Will the same happen with the truth about the causes of the crash of 10 April 2010? That’s why I think more frequently about this miraculous event that will occur on 1 May 2011. I participated in many audiences with the Holy Father John Paul II. His gift for us is Saint Sister Faustyna and the message of the Divine Mercy. I was at the canonisation of Sr. Fautyna in Rome. I remember the great joy on the face of the Holy Father. Now we will have another Blessed – John Paul II and 1 May will be extremely joyful for me – it would have been the 62nd birthday of my husband. We need John Paul II very much to live in the truth and remain free. His power after his death is bigger and helps me live. For us, who are mourning those who lost their lives in Russia in 1940 and in 2010, John Paul II gives the hope that we will get to know the truth some day.
M. B.: – We have mentioned several fundamental issues of our service which should be based on the values resulting from our Christian faith, culture and civilisation. It should be filled with strength flowing from prayer, from our dedication to Our Lady of Jasna Gora. This strength gives us the guarantee that our efforts and desires can be successful. We hope, we keep working and desiring, that our country can develop, can be a righteous and just state, respected by her neighbours and will be based on strong Christian values so that her citizens could live worthy lives.
Fr I. S.: – During our conversation we have covered the fundamental values that are the truth and freedom. The truth leads to freedom and at the same time a free man strives for the truth and discerns it. May the option you represent succeed in applying the truth and freedom in the lives of Poles and through them to implement what is in the name of your party: law and justice.
A. Z.: – The light from Jasna Gora that brings light to our personal ways and involvement in the Parliament will help us do it.