Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where To Bury Poland's First Couple Causes Rifts

Maybe the shock is starting to wear off.  Losing many of their elites in a freak plane crash in fog in western Russia united Poles in grief and even had some rethinking views of Russia, so taken have they been by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's 'embrace" of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the crash site in Smolensk.  While still numbed from the shock, Poles are pulling into separate camp over where President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, will be buried.  Many are upset the two will be interned at royal palace in Krakow, a site they say should remain only for Polish kings and truly outstanding Poles.  These people don't think Kaczynski and his wife rate for Wawel Castle.2,000 people protested Wednesday evening in Krakow against the decision.
And many Poles are passionate about it.

The Polish Press Agency, PAP, reports more than
Protestors carried signs saying "Wawel is for kings" and "Prevent Wawel from desecration."

Here's some video from the protests outside Wawel.

Church authorities and Kaczynski's family decided to bury the president and his wife Sunday in the cathedral crypt, next to Jozef Pilsudski (1867 - 1935), a revolutionary who forged the Polish republic in 1918.

Why is Wawel so sacred to Poles?

During the Middle Ages, the cathedral was used as a national burial site for monarchs and other important political figures in the Middle Ages.

Call it a Polish Westminster Abbey

Acting President Bronislaw Komorowski said the decision has been taken without the initiative of state involvement, stressing the authorises had not taken a position.

Andrzej Wajda, the director of the film Katyn, also questioned the decision. 

“President Lech Kaczynski was an ordinary and good man, but there is no reason for him to lie in the Wawel among the kings of Poland and Marshal Jozef Pilsudski,” he wrote.

A sign of the times, a protest has popped up on Facebook, generating more than 40,000 supporters. 

The Daily Telegraph points out the riff has exposed the fact Kaczynski was controversial at the least, not well liked at the worst among his fellow Poles.

Mr Kaczynski had only a 30 per cent approval rating in recent months, and was widely expected to be voted out of office in September elections.

The Irish Times points out the idea has its supporters, too.  Surprise, surprisem many of them are from Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party.

Members of Mr Kaczynski’s Law and Justice (PiS) party defended the plan yesterday, pointing out that many of those buried in Wawel were rivals during their lifetime.

“The tombs of Wawel has reconciled Poles in the past,” said Zbigniew Girzynski, a PiS member of parliament. “Who will remember our insignificant arguments in 100 years’ time?” Members of rival political parties have backed the plan, too.

The Irish Times says time is running out to resolve the row and avoid what it calls the unthinkable: pickets outside a state funeral.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: