Updated: 06-Oct-2005 NATO Speeches


20 Sep. 2005

25 years of Solidarność

Video interview with Jerzy M. Nowak,
Permanent Representative of Poland to NATO

Q: Ambassador, welcome. Tell me, how did the idea of organizing this exhibition in NATO come about?

JERZY M. NOVAK (Permanent Representative of Poland to NATO): This is a contribution of the Polish mission to NATO, to the worldwide celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of Solidarity. Exactly a quarter of century ago this movement was born in the shipyard of Gdansk, changed the course of the history in Poland, and influenced also the events in Europe, and to a certain extent also in the world.

Q: Tell me, when will it be opened, and can you give me an idea of what it will contain?

NOVAK: This will be opened on Friday, 23rd, in presence of the Secretary General, to whom we will also deliver a medal, which has been produced on this... on the occasion of this opportunity, and it will contain mainly the photographic reportage of these events, some posters, and of course, information of the meaning of this event.

Q: So that's the 23rd of September.


Q: What is the significance of the events of August 1980 for Poland?

NOVAK: At the very beginning it was the first free trade union in Poland and in the Soviet Bloc. In a brief time it has developed into great social movement. It has changed into a virtual revolution which, with time, changed the face of Poland, influenced the event in the whole Communist world. The effort of the then Polish Communist government to suppress the union ended in martial law, but after time Solidarity surfaced again, and led to the change of the whole Polish Communist system, which also in turn led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall, of the search of the democratic governments in the whole Communist system, then to the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and opening of those countries to Europe, which meant also joining Europe in the sense of European Union and NATO.

Q: So in your view, Ambassador, these consequences of the Solidarity movement have gone way beyond Poland.

NOVAK: They went beyond Poland because Yalta Order has come to an end, and this is the main historical significance of this event.

Q: Ambassador, do you have a few words for the Polish people?


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