Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blaming the Jews

I've been balancing my reading of the Goldstone Report with Timothy Garton Ash's fascinating Solidarity, The Polish Revolution, which I expect to complete tomorrow and then to review here. In the meantime, two quotations.

The first describes how the Polish Communists explained the declaration of the state of emergency of Dec.13th 1981, which put an end (temporarily, we now know) to Solidarity.

But war against whom? The Military Council in its first proclamation talked of 'already overt preparations for a reactionary coup'... The extremists in Solidarity who had presumably prepared this 'coup' were zealously identified by the only two official newspapers still published, Tribuna Ludu and Zolnierz Wolnosci: Geremek, Kuron, Medzelewski... Radio Warsaw 'revealed' Geremek's Jewish origins, and Tribuna Ludu 'revealed' his conspiratorial links with revisionis-Zionist centres abroad. Suddenly all was clear. Of course -- this patriotic war was a war against the Jews... (p.275)

Further on, Garton Ash is seeking the sense to the events, the motivational forces, the implications and significance (seen from 1983, when he wrote the report). Describing the underlying cultural characteristics of the Solidarity leaders, he notes that:
Whatever their debt to socialist ideals, in this vital sense their priorities were Christian, not socialist. Socialism proceeds from society to the individual: people are unfulfilled, it suggests, because society is imperfect. Christianity proceeds from the individual to society: society is imperfect, it suggests, because human beings are imperfect. (p. 291).
I guess I'm Christian.

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