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We draw a thick line on what has happened in the past.
October 28, 2013 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Tadeusz Mazowiecki has died. The first prime minister after the fall of communist regime in Poland was later an UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Bosnia and resigned this post in protest over the failure of international community to prevent the Srebrenica massacre.

He was designated to the office by general Wojciech Jaruzelski, the same which proclaimed the martial law in Poland in 1981. The words about a "thick line" from his expose were taken by many as a promise that the crimes of the past were forgiven - and for years he fought, mostly in vain, with this misinterpretation. He was a man of dialogue, striving to build the new Polish state together with whoever was willing to lend a not too dirty hand.
posted by hat_eater (6 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
This man was one of my heroes. A brave and good man.

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posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:35 AM on October 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


We stood before a stark alternative: either destroy that social peace by anticommunist witch-hunts or reform the old regime and move ahead to a new era of national peace and economic prosperity. We chose reform.

This attitude contributed hugely to the post communist era. A forerunner of South Africa's truth and reconciliatiom, but without the truth part was really essential, but not obvious at the time. The world owes the Poles a great deal for just focusing om reconciliation.
posted by three blind mice at 11:47 AM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


We stood before a stark alternative: either destroy that social peace by anticommunist witch-hunts or reform the old regime and move ahead to a new era of national peace and economic prosperity. We chose reform.

This attitude contributed hugely to the post communist era.


Agreed. Mazowiecki understood that a huge component of the continuation of tyranny is that people in the system think that, while it may not be the best possible system, it's better for them personally than being the proverbial "first up against the wall." When you make it a cornerstone of your fight against a bad system that the vast majority -- the ones who really make the bad system possible by being small cogs in big machines -- won't be strung up, you make that vast majority much more willing to work with you on dismantling the worst parts of the old machines.
posted by Etrigan at 12:02 PM on October 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


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posted by lalochezia at 2:12 PM on October 28, 2013


A decent and honorable man.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 2:32 PM on October 28, 2013


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posted by languagehat at 8:23 AM on October 29, 2013


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