- August 4, 2017
Gate of Dawn on Polish passports?
On the occasion of the coming anniversary of Poland’s independence, the Ministry of Interior and Administration of the Republic of Poland invited Poles to jointly design a new passport. Experts have proposed 13 motifs representing characters and places important to Polish history.
One of the proposals is the image of the Ostra Brama in Vilnius. Lithuania is outraged by the idea of the Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration (MSWiA) to show the image of the Vilnius Gate of Dawn on one side of the new passport. The chapel is located in the territory of Lithuania and its documents may show its image, the Lithuanian authorities explain.
– If Poland wants to honor its history honorably, or in some way commemorate it in official documents, it should present its image. But if they try to do it with the image of another country, then many questions arise. It is not normal to use images of places of other countries, especially since there were different periods in our history. As for Vilnius, the fate of Vilnius land, the matter is even more delicate. These circumstances should be taken into account. I think such intentions are incompatible with friendly neighborhood relations and are unacceptable, “Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius told” Kurierowi Wileński “.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the deputy of the Polish ambassador in Vilnius (the new ambassador of Urszula Doroszewska is not yet in Lithuania) on the project of setting a motif with the Vilnius Gate in the new Polish passport.
– On this issue, we sent a request to the Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration. We have not received any response yet. Among the permanent motifs to be included in the passport, is the cemetery of the Lviv Eagles. Ukraine also expressed dissatisfaction with the idea of placing a photo in Lwow’s photo – Linas Linkevičius pointed out.
Meanwhile, Professor Mieczysław Ryba, a political scientist at the Catholic University of Lublin, told the “Kurier Wileński”, that such a sharp reaction from the Lithuanian authorities surprised him so.
– Ostra Brama, after Czestochowa, is a key symbol of Polishness. Of course, not only in terms of religious but also cultural. This tradition of Poland cannot be broken. Borderline is part of our culture. I think that the image of the Vilnius Gate of Dawn on Polish passports is a positive element. It is difficult to find something negative about this. It seems to me that among the factors of Lithuanian dominance is the constant anxiety that their history is connected with Poland, and modern Lithuanian, which is currently being propagated, disappears or does not withstand the confrontation with Polishness. Ostra Brama and Vilnius are the signs of the presence of the Commonwealth, the culture and tradition, and either it sees or understands it or not, and if it does not understand what to do – said Mieczysław Ryba.
MSWiA wants to change the graphic design of Polish passport. On the 100th anniversary of Polish independence 13 symbols of the Independence were chosen, including Roman Dmowski, Józef Piłsudski and the Order of the Virtuti Militari. Among the proposals is the Ostra Brama in Vilnius. For the first time in history, every Pole will be able to decide which graphic motif will be in the passport book. Everyone will be able to vote for the most important, in his opinion, character, event, place or symbol connected with the regaining of Poland’s independence in 1918.
To collaborate on the project of a new Polish passport MSWiA has invited historians, graphic designers and service representatives, who are dealing with the authenticity of documents on a daily basis. Historians have proposed nearly 100 motives. The choice was difficult, as the passport book has only 19 pages to design. The team of experts has created a list of 26 graphic themes. There are 13 motifs to be included in the passport document pages and 13 proposals for voting. Among the motifs to choose from are, among others. Generał Józef Haller, President Gabriel Narutowicz, Order of Polish Rebirth or Legionnaire.
The vote is already underway. The majority of internet users voted for the graphic presenting the Ostra Brama in Vilnius – 55089 votes. Voting takes place on the Ministry of Interior and Administration website (http://zaprojektujpaszport.gov.pl/).
Translated by Marcin Trusewicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.