Happy Birthday

A toast to WałęsaPictures 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.

13 thoughts on “Happy Birthday

  1. No wonder the Twins didn’t come. I wouldn’t accept an invitation from someone who a couple of weeks before called me a sk*** (one of the rudest Polish swear words) in public…

    I get the impression that Mr Wałęsa loves to hobnob himself and happens to insult other people (first Kwaśniewski – his successor, now Kaczyński – the current president) and then wants to make friends with them as if nothing happened… how bizarre…
    No doubt he ~is~ a great man, but his behaviour is sometimes so inappropriate, to put it mildly, that it ruins his good name.

    Does this party actually bring people together? I don’t think so. It’s just a bunch of bad or weak politicians like Olejniczak, Borowski, and god knows who else, with an omnipresent atmosphere of hypocrisy.

    ‘a weak, waddling, short, fat man who does not have the good manners or common courtesy to shake another man’s hand’ -> Would you shake the hand of a man who calls you a sk***? Would you respect him or her if they did it the way Wałęsa did?

    BTW, what a change… I think I preferred the old look of the blog, though 🙂

  2. Interesting comment, Justi. I believe that a politician should primarily be a diplomat and Kaczyński should have the good sense and honour to swallow his pride. Wałęsa has, on numerous occasions, shown the good sense to back down even though his ego is by far the biggest Poland has seen in recent years.

  3. Oh yes it’s much clearer now and the bumble bee is back 🙂

    ‘Kaczyński should have the good sense and honour to swallow his pride’ – I think it’s no so simple. It’s not only about the pride. If Kaczyński (the president) had come to the party, what would people think about him? Probably that he’s just one of them – Kwaśniewski, Olejniczak, Borowski, and such like. I must say that I respect him more that he didn’t go; he remained faithful to his (political) beliefs, in contrast to dear Mr Wałęsa who has e.g. recently participated in this ridiculous conference next to Kwaśniewski and Olechowski – what a pathetic scene… By such a behaviour Wałęsa gradually betrays his past values and ideas…

  4. “If Kaczyński had come to the party, what would people think about him?”
    Exactly! That’s what I’m saying! His pride and ego are only thing that matters to him. He should have ability to sit down and discuss with ANYONE on the political scene, regardless of his views. If he’s unable to do that, he shouldn’t be in politics.
    Any line of work that involves working with people pre-supposes the ability to discuss, negotiate and, most importantly, listen. Unfortunately, Kaczyński keeps showing us the inability to do any of these thing.
    Also, I do not understand why sitting next to Kwaśniewski is a betrayal of values or ideas. How is discussion a form of betrayal, which ideas and values do you mean?

  5. Before you start throwing stones at me let me explain myself 🙂 By saying ‘what would people think about him’ I meant that ~people~ could be disappointed, not Kaczyński. If Wałęsa said sorry then OK why not to talk to him and discuss the situation, but he hasn’t done it, has he?

    I agree with all what you said about politicians’ features, but imagine such situation: you’re a president; everybody calls you an idiot (or even worse), insult all the time and barely say sorry. How would you feel then? True, a politician should be a diplomat, negotiator, whatever, but we shouldn’t forget that a politician is a man like all of us. I think that if politicians respected themselves more, they’d be more eager to cooperate with each other. I think at this moment I’m not able to mention even one such politician who ‘has the ability to sit down and discuss with ANYONE on the political scene, ~regardless of his views~.’

    A real vicious circle, isn’t it? 🙂

  6. There are two important points here.
    Firstly, if I’m President and everybody is calling me an idiot then there’s probably something wrong with me i.e. “The whole world’s against me and everyone thinks I’m wrong, but I know I’m right” – isn’t this a psychological disorder?
    Secondly, ‘respect’ isn’t the key issue here. Honour, scruples and credibility are more important characteristics for the successful politician.

  7. I don’t understand one thing. Why people don’t want to give Kaczyński a chance and understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day? And I don’t understand why people negate them so much even if they do something good for the country… I’m not saying that I accept everything what they do, because I don’t, but I like the fact that they actually want to change something…

  8. Justi, it’s not that people ae negating him. I have nothing against Kaczyński but the proof is in the pudding and the policies (and ideologies) that are being put forward are strange.
    What Poland (and the world) needs is tolerance, understanding and a leader who looks to the future. PiS seem to be intolerant (how can they call themselves Christians when many come out with such bigoted views?), not open-minded and focused on the past.
    Most young people in Poland today want to look forward not back. I think that may be the reason why people are not convinced with PiS doing a good job. Besides, how can you talk of a ‘moral renewal’ when you are coalition partners wth extremist Self-Defence and League of Polish Families?

  9. You hit the nail on the head. People don’t like the vetting and IPN scandals. But I personally think Poland needs vetting. At least to some extent. People will see what the powers that be, officials, etc. have done with their money.
    It’s not so easy to look to the future when the past is what it is…

    As for this strange coalition, I’m speechless, really. Even PiS is sick of these two parties. Giertych’s and Lepper’s ‘peculiar’ policies is the price PiS have to pay for the coalition with LPR and Samoobrona. If PO and PiS had reached an agreement right after the elections, the situation could be better… although not necessarily cause PO, except for criticising PiS all the time, do literally nothing and don’t present any program.

  10. Vetting was necessary… ten years ago. Too much water under the bridge now to undo what has been done.
    As for PO and PiS – they’re as bad as each other. :-/

  11. It’s better late than never. Former government didn’t take care of it cos it were them to be vetted. Some past issues must be cleared to build new future. Maybe this will teach something others. And now when we have Ziobro swindlers, criminals, etc. should be aware hehe.

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