I’m not quite sure what I feel about Days of National Mourning. Part of the reason is that they should be defined by a sense of national hurt or sorrow. Poland has jest recently been in a state of national mourning.
But it doesn’t feel like it. That’s the problem. The black MTV, Viva, TVN or TVP logos are all tokenism because you can’t tell me that the TV stations are hurting or are in emotional pain. I get the impression that it’s the government’s attempt to beat the collective chest of the nation and cry: “We Poles, fellow victims…” There is nothing great or positive about harping on about one’s weaknesses or about the wrongs others have committed to you. A government should not proclaim days of mourning willy-nilly because it simply waters down their deeper meaning. The last two memorable periods of mourning in the UK were the deaths of two members of the royal family: HRH The Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales. Then, the country (especially at Diana’s funeral) literally came to a standstill. The whole country felt sorrow.
Now this is not to say that one person’s life (and death) is more important than another’s, than the 23 miners who died several days ago deep in the bowels of the earth in the Halemba Coal Mine. A national period of mourning is the government acting on the will of the nation, reflecting public sentiment. When Diana died, people felt the need to mourn, but there are times when this is not felt by a nation. I’m not saying the nation didn’t feel the need to mourn the deaths of those miners, but I do think there was unnecessary government pressure on the nation to feel a responsibility to feel sorrow.