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Friday, April 16, 2010

Officially, There Is No.....

Problem. Officially, there is no reality, not one anyway that really happened. Officially, nothing happened. History was a problem. In 1940. 1956. 1968. 1970. So much happened. That didn't. Not officially. Officially. Everything must be official. Truth was not a matter of what really happened but only of What could be admitted. 1956. 1968. 1970. No memorials. No admissions. Why were workers shot in Gdanks? They weren't. And the Jewish intelligentsia kicked out? They weren't. The students silenced, arrested? Did that happen? I don't know, I don't think so. And Katyn. Who could say, not Agnieszka, not about her brother, not about him Who died in an open grave, shot in the back of the head by a Soviet NKVD Killer who was made up like a Nazi for forty years, impersonating a beast Of another tribe. Did it matter, anyway? Who killed him? Anyway, he was dead. Whispers, rumors, bold declarations. Prison sentences, harsh interrogations. No Grave markers told his story. Or Jozef's. Or Bronek's. Or Marcin's. It was not, officially, what it was. Their death was a lie. Created to create the myth of brotherhood. Only now, in recent years does the official and the real find a way to co-exist. And there is a great danger, emerging again, of a myth, a legend, an Official story arising to trump the real one. Lech Kaczynski was a good man, with strong ideals. He was so committed to his ideals and his mission of vanquishing once for all the old dictatorship of Communism that he betrayed those same values not infrequently in the service of his goal. He was petty and small as much as he was wise and good. He was, as one writer said, a patriot in the only way he knew how. Which is not to say, the most useful way for Poland. Only history will finally judge the damage and the success of his term in office. In death, once again in death it is the Poles find themselves caught up in the ancient act of mythologizing and ritualizing death, creating legend and official stories that become what's taught and told. How ironic. That Lech Kaczynski went to Katyn to undo the damage of decades of only official truth only to become in death the object of historical mythologizing of the same kind.

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