• April 4, 2012
  • 244

Samsel : time for strong Lithuanians

© DELFI (V.Kopūsto nuotr.)

Despite all appearances Lithuanians as a nation in their majority still expressing their weakness. This weakness is most visible at the central authority level. Visible reluctance towards well-known package of demands of polish minority seems not to be an expression of strength, rather an evidence of its weakness. Fears that being too submissive toward them would make the state failed and nation would be polonized.

I am not sure if there is a better opportunity to insult own nation, than to present it that way. Is not insulting the claim, that consent for co-existence on  equal rights spelling of surnames in a national minority’s  language,  street names or education system will definitely lead to failure of Lithuanian nation. It remains me of claiming  that eye – contact with street names in foreign languages make Lithuanians foreigners. After all, Lithuanians do not educate their children in polish schools. So why they are that much afraid of that? It will definitely not make harm on Lithuanian statehood.

Lithuanians as a nation from  its statehood’s restoration in 19th century through very difficult 20th century till now proved to the international community stability of their state. If they survived the soviet occupation, how could they be possibly endangered by polish surnames or polonization? Maybe in past time it have  been functioning as a uniting factor. Leaders of the restoration concluded that possible polonization would be more dangerous than Russianization or Germanization. Nowadays Lithuania experience consequences of building up its modern identity   on  the “being against’ philosophy. However long-term consequences of this philosophy may  be  harmful and restricting.

This is not time for self-cheating that conflict between state and national minority could lead to anything good, nor polish minority would give its demands up, because of one particular reason. That should be definitely  guaranteed in the democratic state. Polish minority would not give up its weapon or disappear because of similar to Lithuanians strong ties with its nation. 21st century and membership of Lithuania in the EU structures creates brand new circumstances than we have faced in the 20th , while most of Poles living in Lithuania got into influence of Lithuanization. Getting back to these circumstances would cause collapse of Lithuanian statehood, like it happened  once. In fact,  there’s no alternative.

Such attitude of Lithuanian nation and Lithuanian authorities we have observed, makes  everyone lose. The conflict endangers Lithuania in internal and international affairs. It’s high time to reshape its attitude for “being pro”. I mean the  pro-lithuanism. It doesn’t have to a negative attitude towards any another country. Moreover being “pro-Lithuanian” starts make sense if they are “not against” anymore. This is the only way to express to other nations of Europe and after all, to themselves their national strength.  Strong nation is not afraid of its national minorities, isn’t it?

I do not claim, that there are no dangers the Republic of Lithuania has to face. There are. But all of us need to face them., no matter if you are Lithuanian or Pole. Such as terrible demographic or economic  indexes. We are able to  work at  it, but only if they  are  as one. The nation brought into the conflict is not ready to fix the problem. After all, how to fight for some common problems, when the society is departed? Through putting oil to fire no one would benefit anything. It’s just like building walls between Poles and Lithuanians and erecting bridges of mistrust between them and to state authorities. However it’s true to claim that both sides are equally guilty. Even if the national minority seems to be like a stubborn child, without doubt has right to call for it.

Another fact worth mentioning, is the claims won’t threaten the majority interests. No “self-identified” Lithuanian would become a Pole. It’s time for “self-identified” Lithuanians to shape a path for their statehood. Common destination for Lithuanians, Poles or Russians and other nationalities. Where everyone would feel at home and keep in his mind that he’s united there with others on equal rights. It should be a challenge for Lithuania for this century.


Tłumaczenie Ewelina Targosz  w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Ewelina Targosz  within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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