President: Poles regained independence despite three failed uprisings
When Poland fought for independent statehood after World War I, few believed it would succeed after three failed uprisings, President Andrzej Duda said on Monday at the UN's Geneva office.
Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda were at the Geneva UN seat for a gala concert marking Poland's independence centenary.
"A hundred years ago, as our forefathers fought for Poland's return to the world map on the still-smouldering fronts of World War One, few believed statehood could be restored after three failed uprisings. In this immensely important year for Poland, it is a great honour and joy to be able to meet (...) here in the Palace of Nations in Geneva, in this very symbolic place, (...) almost exactly a century after events of extraordinary importance for the Poles," the president said before the concert.
"It is a fact that after three failed uprisings few believed (Poland) could regain its statehood, that it could free itself from the overpowering rule of its partitioners, Prussia, Austria and Russia. But there were also unbroken, patriotically-minded people, who believed it was possible. And they were among others inspired by the magnificent music created by Polish composers, including during the 123 years in which Poland was absent from the map," Andrzej Duda said.
President observed that the Geneva centenary concert reflected the Polish spirit and Poland as a reborn state which today strove to develop further.
"This, precisely, is Poland. A country that was reborn and which today wants to grow with its head held high, and cooperate with others to the best of its abilities. Conscious of its place in the world, conscious of its place in Europe and conscious of the role this obliges it to assume," Andrzej Duda declared.
Commenting on the UN's international role, President Duda pointed out that over many decades the organisation "has displayed unceasing concern for world peace, mutual recognition, the dignity of nations and states, and equality," and observed that today Poles could enter the UN seat "as free people living in a free country, a sovereign, independent state of proud people."
The concert among others featured works by Polish composers Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Fryderyk Chopin, and Stanisław Moniuszko.
Before the gala, Duda spoke with the director-general of the UN in Geneva, Michel Moeller, and laid flowers at a memorial to Paderewski, who was Poland's first prime minister after World War I and the Polish delegate to the UN's predecessor, the League of Nations. (PAP/KG)