"A day after death of John Paul II 3" Personal Page by matcrazy1
When John Paul II came to communist Poland and Krakow a year after election he told us firmly and loudly: don't be afraid. Well, in the world of totalitarian regime, these simple words meant a lot.
It seems that, indeed, people followed the pope's words and started not to be that much afraid of repressions of communist rulers. Till that time we could only laugh at absurd communist reality around us. Well, good laugh was the only way to survive except emigration or... psychiatric ward... Since pope's visit more and more of us were brave and active enough to act, even officially protest against hard regime. The rest (majority) supported and respested them a lot. And... fifteen months after the first visit of pope Jahn Paul II to Poland, the world's largest trade union Solidarity was established. In real it was not a trade union but huge movement against Soviet communism. Ten millions Poles said no and enough! In "rebel" Krakow even leaders of local communist party wanted changes and cenzorship was not so hard as before. So, official newspaper of communist party was very difficult to buy that time, I remember waiting in long queques in the morning to buy it.
From October 1980 till 13th December 1981 Poland was an island of limited freedom in the sea of Soviet communist block. We had spiritual guide - pope John Paul II in Vatican and free trade union Solidarity with Lech Walesa in Gdansk. And we had hard communist authorities, no free elections but not that strict cenzorship, illegal (but... tolerated) books and newspapers.
This short period changed my mind for sure... I remeber well fantastic marches, protests etc. in Krakow, great discussions on freedom, politics, religion etc. at some school lessons.
That night General Jaruzelski, fearing Soviet armed intervention among other considerations, imposed martial law, "suspended" Solidarity, arrested many of its leaders, and interned Walesa in a country house in a remote spot. I was shocked, my world was ruined that night! I saw tanks through my window and I couldn't do anything except worrying of my father who didn't go back home. Phones were off, there was curfew and fear. I remember awful helplessness. Hearing Voice of America was difficult those days as it was efficiently drown out. Luckily I knew English.
I remember well great support of both pope John Paul II, leaders of the Westesrn Europe and the USA and casual people from all over world for Solidarity and Poland. I remember a few packs with food and clothes which my family got that time from the USA and Germany. Thank you very much. This is never to forget.
Walesa was released in 1982 and he was awarded Peace Nobel Prize in 1983. Pope John Paul II was allowed to visit Poland again in 1983 which was great event, short explosion of freedom again and his words full of good hope gave people a lot of strenght in very hard times. He met Lech Walesa (it was kept in secret) in the Tatra Mountains.
The changes in human minds made, no doubts, by John Paul II and Solidarity were unchangable...
The Jaruzelski regime became even more unpopular as economic conditions worsened, and it was finally forced to negotiate with Walesa and his Solidarity colleagues. The result was the holding of parliamentary elections in 1989 which, although limited, led to the establishment of a non-communist government - first in Eastern Europe. So, in 1989 Poland almost peacufully regained independence. Then the others in Eastern Europe... Then outside Europe... freedom is coming to next countries... Orange Revolution in Ukraine recently... where next? Belarus? When Russia?
Although I can't agree with some rules of catholic church like unrestricted ban of death penalty (European Union law now) or abortion but I think that pope John Paul II didn't push catholic church backwords. There are more important things to the world he concentrated on... like freedom for the whole nations,. poverty, tolerance to other people and religions...
Yes, he was a Pole that I am proud of. But he did a lot for other people and nationalities including non-catholics, I think.. Even anti-religious persons can respect him. Whatever said and done, he has done really good work and offered guidance and strength to millions in today's troubled times. I wonder , "Is there any person in this world who are not attracted by him? " He is the special being to send LOVE & PEACE to the world."
I remember well his love for young people, World Youth Day in various countries (Toronto!). And his respect, visit and praying in a Jewish synagogue and in Muslim mosque.
Pope John Paul II visited 122 countries during his 27 years of papacy. He knew seven foreign languages and wanted to visit Russia and China a lot but he was not allowed. I am waiting for the next pope.
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