Anthropology Dept. Forms Eight Committees in Response to Harassment and Gender Bias Concerns
Harvard Cancels Summer 2021 Study Abroad Programming
UC Showcases Project Shedding Light on How Harvard Uses Student Data
Four Bank Robberies Strike Cambridge in Three Weeks
After a Rocky Year, Harvard Faces an Uncertain Economic Climate in 2021, Hollister Says
[Presented at Boston rally January 1]
Today is the 20th day of martial law in Poland; the 20th day of the "state of war," as the official proclamations put it. These are so far the only sincere and true words of the military regime. The Polish government is really at war with the Polish people. Because of the communications cut-off the West has to rely mostly on official announcements, specially prepared by Jaruzelski's spokesman. But even those mutilated scraps of news, mixed with deliberate disinformation, can give some idea of the dimensions of the tragedy in Poland.
What the West does not quite realize, though, is the fact that Jaruzelski and his Soviet backers play a very perfidious game. First came the brutal crackdown with all its atrocities: shooting at striking workers, beating people to death, detaining thousands of people in concentration camps. The West was justly indignant. Now is the time of some "relaxation" and "normalization". The curfew will probably be shortened an hour or two, people will be free to travel within their provinces or make telephone calls within their cities; in the next few weeks maybe several hundreds of detainees will be released. What I fear most is the danger that the West can be deceived by such a false "normalization"--that the free world once again will believe the promises of murderers and torturers. As a matter of fact, the attitude of some U.S. allies is a perfect example of such short-sighted naivety. Chancellor Schmidt or Prime Minister Trudeau will accept every crime committed by the military regime, if it only gives them assurance that "order" in Poland is restored and business can be done as usual.
How much more blood should flow in Poland, how many more people should be persecuted, how many more hopes should be destroyed, until the Western governments understand their mistake? When will they understand that their indifference to the Polish tragedy gives the Soviet totalitarianism full liberty to commit the next crimes? When will they realize that after Budapest, Prague, Kabul and Warsaw, sooner or later the tanks will roll into West Berlin?
One thing should be perfectly clear: The "restoration of order" by brute force is impossible. It is impossible especially in Poland, where destruction of hopes people cherished so long can bring only more and more resistance--even if it will be only a passive resistance. Solidarity cannot be suppressed, since the only possible way to suppress it would be to exterminate ten million people--people who believed and still believe that the progress of democracy is the only chance of improving their lives. The Polish military regime and its Soviet principals will be at war, with the Polish people as long as they do not realize that the only way of restoring order in Poland is to let Polish people freely decide their fate. We can only hope that the Western governments will realize this basic fact first. Every possible means of pressure should be used by the West in order to make the Polish regime lift martial law, end the communications blackout, release the imprisoned, stop the persecutions and restore Solidarity to its previous role; every possible means should be also used in order to stop Soviet interference in Poland. Only the most decisive action on the part of the free world will be able to stop the suffering of innocent people and to end the conflict which at any moment can take on much broader and ominous decisions.
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.