Not considering the participation of Lech Walesa in a Nobel Peace Prize laureates’ World Summit would be quite impossible. Clever politician, former President of Poland, Solidarnosc’ activist, and humble electrician who got the bravery to face the Soviet Communism in the harsh years of repression, what else?Each Nobel laureate has lived an extraordinary life based on unpredictable victories, but telling the experience of World Summit from a political sciences student’s point of view, it brings us to outline the importance of politics in the global development of peace.
Lech Walesa has clearly been a politician but the goals he has achieved are very far from the ordinary life of the most part of people involved in political processes.
He had just started as young electrician, has undoubtedly been a never-ending dreamer, initially playing an invisible role on the so big stage of history. Imagine a country as Poland, ruled by foreign armies since its birth and joked just after the Second World War by the Red Army’s release from Nazis. Starving people suffered misery and lack of political freedom. Stalin had often talked about autonomy to grant to Polish men just realizing fake elections, closely controlled by the Russian army.
As a blessing fallen from the sky, everything changed when the Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. His visit of the country encouraged men, women, workers, and students to react to the miserable status quo in the 80s. Everyone aspired to something new, following their dreams and realising their wishes.
This reawakened sense of pride provoked a widespread labor unrest which led to the foundation of Solidarnosc, and Lech Walesa was its leader.
The expression “Solidarnosc” is the keyword of what Walesa represents as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and the goal we student can aspire to in order to generate a willingness able to enjoy a new virtuous cycle for a renovated peaceful process within society.
It seems a mere Trade Union, and certainly it is, but also it brought the unstoppable weakening of Communism leadership in the heart of Europe.
Solidarnosc, or Solidarity, is an expression of unity of workers who want to share their personal goals. Solidarnosc especially represents the determination to resolve conflicts and disagreement through peaceful negotiations, in which all parties come from a position of mutual respect.
Unfortunately, fighting for the least wasn’t so easy in the tough historical context we will shortly try to explain, though freedom of expression is just a human right that should be recognised everywhere.
So, due to its features, Solidarnosc was specifically targeted by Soviet authorities. The organization was made illegal and many of its leaders and high profile supporters were arrested. In 1989, further deterioration of the economy and escalating strikes and other industrial action within the country forced the government to sit down and negotiate with its opposition. These negotiations, led by Solidarnosc, which the government had by that point been forced to recognise, led to the holding of partially free elections later that year.
This, in turn, immediately set off a series of revolutions across the Eastern Bloc countries and soon led to the collapse of Communism in Europe.
Lech Walesa, the most influential voice of the eastern European opposition was awarded the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize and was elected President of Poland in 1990.
In 1999, Poland became a member of NATO and in 2004 a member of the European Union.
In short terms, what we must strongly believe in is the possibility to enjoy politics as means to reach peace. It seems obvious, according to the most part of historical matters it is not.
Lech Walesa is one of main characters of the last century we students will be honoured to meet in the World Summit that the beautiful and brisk city of Barcelona will host next November, from the 13th to the 15th.
Each Nobel Laureate got his or her outcomes for a more peaceful world, but Lech Walesa during the 15th edition of the World Summit will remember us how much close are politics and peace. An intertwined relation we have to improve, far from the corruption and dirty matters that fill the newspapers’ sheets every day. And no matter if we are students or an humble electrician as Walesa was.
Peace by politics is not a discriminatory issue and Walesa has showed us how to do: being never-ending dreamers and fighting to protect our wishes independently from the apparent course of history.