I have to confess that I find looking at other people’s holiday pictures quite boring – ditto holiday stories. So why write about my summer holiday on my political blog?
This year we decided to travel around Poland by train – a sort of grownup 52 year old’s interrail. As I’ve said before we should never stop learning. Poland is developing fast and the remnants of the communist past are fading fast. A highlight for me, perhaps surprisingly, was to visit the European Solidarity Centre museum in Gdansk. It was probably one of the best museums I have ever visited. In 1980 / 1981 I was about 14 and only vaguely aware of the Solidarity movement. Three major leaning points for me.
- The museum showed me how the people rose up and strongly fought for the right to an independent workers union that importantly was free from government control. I had not realised that the unions in those communist countries were not grass-roots independent.
- Throughout the communist time the amazing soft power of the Catholic Church and in particular Pope Jean Paul II’s ability to sustain hope through difficult times.
- The role that Poland played in the collapse of the iron curtain throughout the rest of eastern Europe. We remember the falling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 but the seeds of change dated back many years before. Poland and in particular the Solidarity movement was a key part of that collapse.
So much more to say about Poland including of course the German occupation, the holocaust, Auschwitz and the Warsaw Uprising. A fascinating country that I would recommend to anyone.
Here’s a link to the wiki page on the Solidarity movement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Solidarity#targetText=In%20the%20early%201980s%2C%20it,to%20the%20fall%20of%20communism.