Twenty years ago on June 4th 1989, the spark that ignited the fire signalling the fall of communism was lit. The first partially free democratic elections in the communist bloc were held in Poland and with it, communism in Europe witnessed the beginning of the end.
This is the End
This unprecedented event and the euphoria that went with it for everyone was encapsulated by the words of newscaster Joanna Szczepkowska who, on the spur of the moment, decided to declare that, “on June 4th 1989, communism in Poland came to an end”:
This is the Beginning
As we all know, the elections ended with a resounding victory for Solidarity which then decided to install Tadeusz Mazowiecki as the new Prime Minister of Poland who in his first speech talked about the need to create a Poland “without divisions”:
This is Solidarity
There were divisions, of course, but the 4th June 1989 has come to symbolise a moment where, despite the high probability of failure, Poland’s regular citizens, not the political elites, were able to come together and force through democracy, freedom and the truth. Real solidarity, that is truly working together, was shown for the whole world to see on this day twenty years ago. In the words of the Great Moustached One: “Solidarity is nothing more than this: if you are unable to lift up a heavy weight then find someone who can help you lift it”. Simple but effective.