Looking to Lech - Macleans.ca

Looking to Lech


On the occasion of that little anniversary in Berlin today, former Polish president Lech Walesa is once more front and centre, which is relevant to our narrow interest in that Mr. Walesa is one of Stephen Harper’s personal heroes. The two met last year when the Prime Minister visited Poland. Here, for whatever reason, is a photo of Mr. Walesa impatiently awaiting Mr. Harper’s arrival.

Mr. Walesa is a fascinating character, both historically and personally. And, should you so choose, you could likely derive all sorts of flimsy links to Mr. Harper’s own story. Here is Timothy Garton Ash’s summation for Time’s 100 most important people of the century issue.

Walesa is a phenomenon. Still mustachioed but thickset now, he stands for many values that in the West might be thought conservative. Fierce patriotism (“nationalism,” say his critics), strong Catholic views, the family. He’s a fighter, of course. But he’s also mercurial, unpredictable–and a consummate politician. He is an example of someone who was magnificent in the struggle for freedom but less so in more normal times, when freedom was won and the task was to consolidate a stable, law-abiding democracy. For all his presidential airs, he still retains something of the old Lech, the working-class wag and chancer that his friends remember from the early days. But no one can deny him his place in history.


Looking to Lech

  1. The phot of Walesa was interesting. Are we to take it that Steve was late yet again, even making a "personal hero" wait for him.

    • If you're not going to make sure that all appropriate wastes have been voided from your system and your hair's exactly right for one of your personal heroes, who ARE you going to do it for?

  2. All the same, how DARE he? This is just another example of blah blah blah, and Canadians can no longer support a party whose leader is so blah blah, even when blah.

  3. Still mustachioed The most important attribute a politician can have. There is a sad surfeit of moustaches on Parliament Hill.

  4. "Here, for whatever reason, is a photo of Mr. Walesa impatiently awaiting Mr. Harper's arrival."

    No it's not. it's a picture of him looking at his watch. Nothing in the picture or entitles you to reach conclusions about Walesa's state of mind.

    • Does this mean we are also not allowed to speculate whether or not Stephen Harper is one of Lech Walesa's personal heroes?

  5. While Obama was more that willing to go Germany earlier in the year to celebrate….himself,

    he couldn't be bothered to celebrate the liberation of tens of millions. Apparently he had to wash his hair instead.