Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poland's General Jaruzelski Basically Described as a Victim of the Polish Right's Witch Hunts Against Communists

Following the first in-depth article in Le Monde's "Mémoires à vif du communisme" series, devoted to Prague, Piotr Smolar devotes the second entry to Poland's General Jaruzelski.

Needless to say, the left-leaning French journalist invokes today's search for justice (equally naturally, that is never an expression that he uses) as "the witch hunt against communists", describes Wojciech Jaruzelski as being pursued like "a common criminal" for "communist crimes" (in quotation marks in the original), and mentions the Polish right's "toxic grains, already sown, [which] continue to grow."

Only in the second half of the article do we learn — in (very) rapid succession — of some of the acts of repression that occurred during communist times ("Le général symbolise cet ancien régime appelé avec dédain "komuna", qui a envoyé les dissidents en prison, contraint d'autres à l'exil, privé les citoyens de leurs libertés civiques, assassiné le père Jerzy Popieluszko, enlevé et torturé à mort en 1984"), but they are treated as passive tragedies that — contrary to the right's "toxic" search for revenge (it's for justice, actually) — ought to be forgiven and forgotten.

And the communist régime's acts of repression are immediately minimized by a truly scandalous deed, the comparisons with the left's international bogeyman, General Pinochet, that the Polish general had to undergo ("on a même comparé Jaruzelski à Pinochet" — he was even compared to Pinochet; imagine! how much humiliation must a (strong)man undergo?!), a comparison that Jaruzelski protests vigorously against, with Piotr Smolar managing, in the process, to make the Polish autocrat sound heroic and principled.

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