Several Harvard-affiliated scholars have helped form a nation-wide committee to protest the detention of thousands of civilians by the Polish Military Council last month.
Stephen A. Marglin, professor of Economics, and Hendrik S. Houthakker, Lee Professor of Economics, and Houthakker's wife. Anna-Teresa Tymienieckay, founded the Academic Committee for Democracy in Poland December 16. The committee sent he Polish Embassy in Washington a signed statement calling for the Polish Military Council to "free the detainees immediately, restore them to their normal activities," and "allow them to fulfill their legitimate roles within Polish society."
Tymienieckay, president of the World Institute for Advanced Phenomenonological Research and Learning, yesterday said the committee developed quickly after Marglin proposed it.
Tymienieckay and Houthakker drafted the statement within an hour, and Nobel Laureate Simon Kuznets, Baker Professor of Economics Emeritus, edited it, she added.
After having written the final statement. Tymienieckay and her husband took it to various departments in the Kennedy School of Government and quickly obtained more than 30 signatures, she said.
The committee's main aim is "to alert the academic community to the situation of human rights and specifically to our responsibility to human rights in Poland," Tymienieckay added. Calling herself "nonpolitical." Tymienieckay said her concern about the Polish situation is that she is of Polish descent and her belief that the Poish crises "goes beyond any political concern. The issue at stake is the human rights of a nation to survive, to have a cultural identity."
Stanislaw Baranczak, associate professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, and a member of the committee, said he did not expect to received a written answer from the Polish Military Council. "It's not their custom" to respond to foreign protests, Baranczak said, but he added that the pressure of opinion, "especially from influential parties at Harvard," could be important.
Polish officials "will see that they can't commit their crimes with impunity," Baranczak said, adding, "Unfortunately, we are helpless in not being able to impose any concrete sanctions."
Tymienieckay said a principal goal of the committee is to make the Polish government aware of the universal significance of their acts. "It does not matter whether it is an internal or external matter--human rights are a concern of everybody," she added.
Tymienieckay described Solidarity as a "movement for democracy in the most rudimentary sense." Emphasizing the gravity of the Polish situation, she added, "Ten million people were fighting strongly for Solidarity--that's an entire nation. It is such a massive situation that no political view can grasp it."
Tymienieckay said the petition was "launched at Harvard" but that about 180 scholars--including 40 from Yale--have signed the statement and joined the committee.
Harvard affiliates who have sgned the peti- tion include: Harvey G. Cox. Thomas Professor of Divinity; Richard E. Caves, Stone Professor of International Trade; John T. Dunlop, Lamont University Professor; James S. Duesenberry, Maier Professor of Money and Banking; Stanley H. Hoffmann, Dillon Professor of the Civilization of France; Martin L. Kilson, professor of Government; David S. Landes, Goelet Professor of French History; Hilary W. Putnam, Pearson Professor of Modern Mathematics and Mathematical Logic; Dean Rosovsky; and George H. Williams, Hollis Professor of Divinity Emeritus.
Miroslaw Chojecki, founder of Nowa, "the most important uncensored publishing house in Poland," will speak tomorrow night in Boylston Auditorium, Baranczak said. Chojecki was cheif adviser to Solidarity in matters of publishing, he added
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