An Appeal by the President of the Republic of Poland
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On 4 June 1989, we defeated communism. On 4 June 2014, it will be a quarter of a century since that memorable day. As early as today, let us start preparing for that festive, jubilee, citizens’ Freedom Day.
4 June 1989 represents a triumph of solidarity and courage over doubt and political isolation. 4 June 1989 marks the beginning of a successful, large-scale transformation of Poland’s political and economic system. 4 June 1989 is a return of hope for sovereignty for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the beginning of a journey towards European unity.
At that time, we were together. Civic and patriotic life in Poland did not cease despite censorship, repression and the Iron Curtain. The people of the Solidarity movement offered support to one another. Together they mourned the victims of the massacre at the Wujek coalmine. Together they walked behind the coffins of the Reverend Jerzy Popiełuszko and Grzegorz Przemyk. The demands submitted by Solidarity to the communist regime in August 1980 expressed the need to restore human dignity to work, the need that was felt by millions of Poles. On 4 June 1989, acting together, we put our trust in our desire for freedom.
The election on 4 June 1989, even though only partially democratic, was a truly free one: not rigged, not paid for with repression. The election results revealed the real balance of power in society. They brought about profound changes. What won was the solidarity of millions of Polish people demonstrated by their unanimous decision. What won was a sense of community. Therefore, let us be together next year as well. Let us organize this festive day together!
I invite the Poles all over the world and all our friends to celebrate Polish freedom together on 4 June 2014. As early as today, I encourage Poles to begin preparing for this event, so as to make it a large-scale, joint, civic celebration. Freedom knows no bounds. Our Freedom Day is a festive day for the whole free world as well.
I invite everybody to organise joint undertakings. I invite private individuals and institutions, public offices and non-governmental organisations, business circles, public institutions and self-government bodies. I invite those residing in rural areas, in small towns and in metropolises where Polish people live, including those lying across the ocean. I would like the world to have a chance to get to know us on that day as a nation of free people, appreciating their own freedom and supporting others on their not-so-easy road towards freedom.
I encourage those working in the field of culture, sportsmen, media people, scholars, businesspeople and clerical workers to get involved. I am hoping for joint initiatives with representatives of the Churches. I would like to see the role played by priests in supporting the opposition, in keeping up hope and in giving spiritual strength to the Polish people who were fighting for a free state to be acknowledged and appreciated. I invite both those who remember 4 June 1989, and those who were born at that time or later. I invite those who joined Solidarity’s Civic Committees to share their experience with others. I invite the artists
of the great national stages, performing artists and off-the-mainstream artists: all those who pursue their artistic activities in freedom and thanks to freedom. I am asking those from the academia and those active in the field of culture to get involved. Freedom needs to be discussed anew and to have its meaning explained; the threats that freedom is facing today need to be reliably identified.
Let us join our efforts to build the most ambitious programme for our Freedom Day celebrations. Let us fill this project of ours with the most attractive ideas together. Let us corroborate once again that there is no freedom without solidarity; that today as before, freedom requires solidarity among us.
President of the Republic of Poland