- September 6, 2011
Appeal of the Confederation of the Polish Nobility to the President of Lithuania
On Monday, the Polish Nobility Confederation appealed in a letter to Dalia Grybauskaite, the President of Lithuania, for respect and special protection of the rights of the Polish minority in Lithuania, as well as for respect for the evidence of the Polish-Lithuanian common past.
Polish community in Lithuania is of the opinion that the recently introduced Law on Education strikes the Polish school in Lithuania.
On 2nd September, Lithuanian Poles held a strike against the introduction of the act. It was suspended after Sunday’s visit of the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, to Vilnius.
In the letter passed to the Polish Press Agency on Monday, the Polish Nobility Confederation highlights that the Lithuanian authorities’ attitude towards the Polish minority in Lithuania is an important issue in Polish-Lithuanian relations. As the Confederation stresses, in this respect, ‘the situation is not the best.’
The Confederation also noticed that the changes in the Lithuanian educational system have been recently very widely discussed. The question of spelling of Polish names in Lithuania has not been resolved.
In Confederation’s opinion, Lithuanian authorities’ actions towards the Polish minority are unfair and have their source in an incorrect interpretation of the common history.
The letter says : ‘One can get an impression, that the authorities treat the shared Polish-Lithuanian history, as well as its nowadays evidence (such as the Polish minority), as a kind of weight that has to be got rid of as soon as possible, because it is a left-over and an evident sign of alleged hostile intentions of Poles, who for centuries have been attempting to subjugate Lithuanians and Lithuania.’
The Confederation highlights, that they disagree with such interpretation of the history. The letter says: ‘In our view, describing the history of Polish-Lithuanian relations as a period of Polish domination and attempts to subjugate Lithuania is incorrect.’
According to the Confederation, Polish heritage in Lithuania should induce a sense of pride in the common achievements, rather than a sense of exasperation at the persistence of alleged signs of Polish domination.
The Confederation assures in the letter that they are ready to support any initiative of the President of Lithuania, as well as of the Polish authorities, that would aim at strengthening the Polish-Lithuanian relations and the minorities in both countries, so that ‘they would preserve their language, culture and traditions’ and ‘be a living witness of the rich and complex common tradition.’
‘Let us propagate and cherish our common Polish-Lithuanian heritage and the evidence of our common history, because it is something that Poles as well as Lithuanians can and should be proud of,’ it is exhorted in the letter.
The Confederation of the Polish Nobility is a sociocultural organization, associating the descendants of the nobility of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was founded in 1995 in Gdansk. The Confederation associates around 500 members representing nearly 300 noble families.
Tłumaczenie: Eliza Łuszczewska, w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu
Translation by Eliza Łuszczewska, as part of vocational training in The European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu