- February 16, 2012
The President Komorowski to Poles in Soleczniki: „We will manage!”
„We will manage in every scenario!” – assured the people gathered in the hall of Soleczniki Junior High School under the name of Jan Śniadecki, the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski.
During the one-and-a-half-hour visit to Soleczniki, already called a historical visit, which took place on 16th February this year, the President of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski met with the representatives of the Polish community in Lithuania, who reminded about the problems, with which they have been struggling for years, expressing particularly their concern regarding the worsening situation in the field of education.
The President of Poland, Bronisław Komorowski, was welcomed very warmly in Soleczniki. Photo: Marian Paluszkiewicz
— There is no national minority in the world, which would survive without the education system. The Polish state fully understands, appreciates and will support the Polish education in Lithuania. The issue of the education system for the Polish national minority is to be or not to be of the Polish minority in Lithuania. That is why we pay a particular attention towards persuasion of our Lithuanian partners that they should not head towards the direction of worsening of the conditions of the functioning of minorities’ education in Lithuania – said the President.
When welcoming the noble guest on the Soleczniki Land, the mayor of the region, Zdzisław Palewicz. emphasised that the visit of the President Bronisław Komorowski is a first visit of the President of Poland in Soleczniki, constituting an honorable and important event for the city and the whole region.
Inhabitants of the Vilnius Region came in crowds for the historical meeting with the President of the Republic of Poland in Soleczniki. Photo: Marian Paluszkiewicz
— The Soleczniki Land stands out exceptionally on the map of Lithuania – glorious history, plurality of languages and cultures. Striving for things that are close to the heart was and still is an indicator of determination, efforts to preserve the values instilled by the forefathers, protection of the national identity – said the mayor. – As citizens of the multicultural Europe, the citizens of Lithuania, performing their duties towards the state, we have the right to live in dignity, to accomplish our aspirations, to learn in our mother tongue, use our native language in public, as well as actively participate in social and political life. We will not run out of activity, thrift, perseverance and determination, and above all political wisdom, to assert our rights and seek for respect of them, together interacting with the government of our state and with the support of Poland. Last year, during the Presidential visit in Mejszagole, the words were said aloud that Poles in Lithuania are a part of the Polish nation, whether someone likes it or not. I would like to add to these words, moving one step forward – we were, we are and we will be a part of the Polish nation regardless of the political, historical or systemic situation.
The President wished consolidation to the Poles in Lithuania. Photo: Marian Paluszkiewicz
Optimistic attitudes, unfortunately, are unable to resolve the problems, which only grow with the time.
The current and pressing for all topic of the Polish education in Lithuania was reflected in speeches of everyone, who spoke at the meeting: the mayor of the Soleczniki region, Zdzisław Palewicz, EMP Waldemar Tomaszewski, MP for the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Jarosław Narkiewicz, chairman of the Union of Poles in Lithuania, Michał Mackiewicz, and a representative of the Forum of the Parents of Polish Schools in Lithuania, Renata Cytacka.
— We are a part of the Polish nation of the Lithuanian state, but it is increasingly difficult for us to remain in a form that we want to be. Namely, to be Poles in Lithuania. Last year, we collected 60 thousand signatures against the new Act on Education, which threatens the existence of Polish schools. No one has heard us. It is well known that if the nation is deprived of its language, the people will cease to exist. Such measures are taken against the Polish minority in Lithuania – expressed her concern very emotionally Renata Cytacka, while continuing the thought of the MP Narkiewicz and underlining that the protesting parents are not against the Lithuanian language, but they stand in defense of the Polish language.
— In fact, this particular attitude is continuously misinterpreted across Lithuanian media, what will possibly even happen today – said R. Cytacka, turning her eyes towards the crowds of journalists gathered in the hall.
Towards the end of the meeting, President Komorowski, referring to the examples of the oppression on national minorities, often times having a positive influence on their strengthening, wished Poles in Lithuania consolidation and self-organisation, convincing them several times: “We will manage!”.
Tłumaczenie Małgorzata Juchniewicz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Małgorzata Juchniewicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.