Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tragedy in a "damned place."

I can't get over the tragedy of the crash that took the lives of Polish President Lech Kaczyński and so many of the Polish leadership. As Daniel Hannan's obituary in the Telegraph and the New York Times obituary make clear, Kaczyński was a true fighter for freedom and a stalwart voice against Putin's Russia. The sad twist that this man was killed in a Soviet-made airplane in the same Katyn Forest where over 20,000 Polish officers were murdered by the Soviets in World War Two just adds even more pain to this tragic story. As former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said of Katyn, "It's a damned place. It sends shivers down my spine." Not only the President but almost all the Polish military leadership perished in the crash.
the Polish Army leadership has once again been decapitated on Russian soil, this time by accident and not by design of the hosts (almost the whole General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces was, unwisely together, on board the flight). The eerie coincidence has not escaped either Kwasniewski (“First the flower of the [pre-war] Second Polish Republic is murdered in the forests around Smolensk, now the intellectual elite of the Third Polish Republic die in this tragic plane crash when approaching Smolensk airport”) nor his past antagonist and another former president, Lech Walesa (“This is the second disaster after Katyn. [The Soviets] wanted to cut off our head there, and here the flower of our nation has also perished.”).

What a tragedy for the Polish people who have endured so much suffering in their history. My heart goes out to them.


Pat Patterson said...

Aside from the current leadership this crash also killed part of Poland's past. One of those killed was Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last President of the Polish-Government-In-Exile as well as members of Pilsudski's pre-war Sanacja movement. Whose membership was specifically targeted by the Soviets to be executed in the Katyn Forest.

CDR J said...

How ironic. According to the Wikipedia article about Katyn, one of the reasons that Stalin ordered it was to decapitate the Polish military. Stalin assumed that no matter what happened in WWII, Poland would be hostile to the Soviet Union. His intent was to cut down the best and brightest of the Polish officer corps.
Now, this crash takes out much of the senior leadership of today's Polish military leadership.

Pat Patterson said...

The temporary President of Poland was in the direct line of succession and it turns out as the leader of the Sejm or lower house he is not allowed to travel with the president at any time. Oddly enough succession does not go to the Prime Minister who was also killed.

Elections have to be called in another weak for no later than 60 days from the announcement. There is no turmoil and no one misinterpreting what their function is however the comment section of some of the Polish newspapers and blogs are already full of speculation that Putin ordered the plane to either be sabotaged or shot down.