Pictures of Angela Merkel and the Kaczyński twins have been raising eyebrows on both sides of the Oder River, but that isn’t the big story of the week. Poland’s political movers and shakers gathered together this week in Lech Wałęsa’s back garden to celebrate his name day.
The event has become somewhat of a tradition and first hit the headlines several years ago when Wałęsa invited his arch-enemy, politcal foe and usurper Aleksander Kwaśniewski to join him for his name day festivities and bury the proverbial hatchet. In a move that many believed to be a milestone in Polish politics – Wałęsa had once said he would never shake Kwaśniewski’s hand, nor even his foot (!) – the pair were reconciled and have since been seen on several occasions milking the applause and posing for photos to show the healing power of political rapprochement.
In successive years, Wałęsa has not become less bold in his choice of guest and has used the name day party as a platform for bringing people together. This year was no different. 500 guests including members of the opposition Civic Platform (PO), Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Left and Demorats (LiD) coalition decided to make the trip to Wałęsa’s estate to hob-nob and mingle with other political heavyweights and the Polish glitterati.
Wałęsa decided also to do a little something to repair the rotting and festering wound that was the relationship between himself and his former employees, the Kaczyński twins. He invited both the President and the PM to the event. That in itself was a news-worthy gesture but what sparked the major controversy of the week was the reaction of President Lech Kaczyński upon receiving the invite – something on the lines of “How dare he! The cheek of the man!”
Unfortunately, the politician’s ego is a wholly obnoxious ailment and pumped-up pride a sad, petty characteristic. Add to this a man with an acute Napoleon complex with the inability to compromise or to smile and we see before us a weak, waddling, short, fat man who does not have the good manners or common courtesy to shake another man’s hand.