Yesterday Poland observed the 70th anniversary of the start of WW2. I wasn’t going to write about it initially, but then I realized it would look very stupid and almost un-Polish if I didn’t mention it at all. Yet on the other hand, talking about WW2 makes me a bit uncomfortable. Why? I feel this is something that should stay in history books, and rehashing every year what had happened is kind of pointless.
Yet on the other hand (this would be my third hand, or a prosthetic arm maybe), remembering what had happened is very important. And so I’m torn. I don’t want to talk about WW2, but I feel it’s my responsibility to do so anyway.
WW2 is a fact that cannot be changed (even though some would like to try), but it’s a fact whose details even after all these years are being disputed. And no, I’m talking here about Holocaust deniers, but about the Polish and Russian versions and interpretations of the events from 70 years ago.
This story has been re-written so many times and on so many occasions, that by now I don’t even want to attempt to guess what is REALLY true. And I’m not sure that at this point many Poles actually care. It seems to me that we, as a nation, have moved on and it’s only our politicians that still insist on talking about it while fuming with righteous anger.
Remembering the past is important, but learning from it even more so, because that’s how the past influences our future. And it seems to me that way too many Polish politicians are so stuck in the past that they totally miss the “future” bit of this equation. It’s been our national disease since the times of Mieszko. To the powers that be our nation’s past (whether glorious or not) has always been more important than what’s ahead, and needless to say, this attitude has done nothing to help us win friends and influence (foreign) people. And from what I’m reading in Gazeta Wyborcza, it sounds like Mr. Tusk agrees with me. He said, “On the other hand, becoming preoccupied with the past isn’t good either.” Unfortunately, this is what I see happening in our country right now.
See? This is precisely why I should never write about politics and Polish foreign policy on this blog.
So here are some somber words to learn:
- druga wojna światowa – WW2
- druga – second. Since “wojna” is a feminine noun, instead of “drugi”, we have “druga” which is the feminine version of this ordinal number.
In Polish wars don’t merely start but explode. We say that “wojna wybuchła” – literally – a war exploded, just like a bomb would. and hence we would have:
- wybuch drugiej wojny światowej – the start of WW2