Kaczynski, the backlash: Against him, against the entire cult of martyrdom

Two very good op-ed articles in the New York Times bring to this side of the Atlantic some of the debate that’s been stirred in Poland this week by the terrible plane crash in the Russian forest.

Wiktor Osiatynski points out, fairly gently, that Lech Kaczynski simply wasn’t a popular or well-liked president and that his chances of re-election were close to zero. This helps explain the Facebook group that sprung up to protest against the idea of burying Kaczynski at Wawel Castle, and the assorted other protests.

More broadly, and in an even better piece of writing, novelist Olga Tokarczuk critiques the very idea of romanticizing death and catastrophe — an entirely understandable reaction to Poland’s tragic history, but one she’d rather her country put behind it: “I am sick of building our common identity around funeral marches and failed uprisings. I dream of Poland becoming a modern society that is defined not by the crippling nature of history, but by our individual achievements, a sense of our own self-worth and ideas for the future.”

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