Autumn in Poland is a trully unique time. Not only because the days are marked by the beauty of falling leaves and warm afternoon sun but also because just about this time of the year the People of Poland get closer together. Especially as a nation.
Just about this time every year, each single person who defines as Polish, who claims for Poland to be his or her country, whose history is written under the white and red flag, and whose families and loved ones cheirsh their ties to our country: each of those people feels somewhat specia, both within the country and beyond its borders. This special feeling of unity comes with November, which marks one of the most important dates in the history of Poland – the Day of her Independence.
And yes – I did say “her”. Mother Poland, as we often refer to our country, and the powerful women who wrote crucial pieces of her history – is a female :-). She is strenght, she is beauty, she is liberty. And on November 11th every year we are celebrating the news that she is also Independence.
This special anniversary honors the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty from the German, Austrian, and Russian Empires after 123 years of opression under the destructive and coercive conquer. As many of you probably are aware, this struggle for Polish liberty has been a continuous battle through hundreds of years of our history. November 11 1918 was this day when a hope for independence in spirits and through sacrifice on battlefields became materialized.
Hearts of the Polish people that day were warmed with a wove of sovereignty despite the political situation within a country being still very unstable. The World War II that followed, overshadowed a flame of our liberty and brought even darker times for the Polish Nation. Further a communist rule that took the independence and self-rule away from the Polish people left a feeling of an unfulfilled potential. Many stories from my grandparents go back to those times with frequently mixed feelings and unfinished sentences.
The continuous battle for our treasure and its further regain over the years has invlolved a sacrifice of thousands of Polish man and women: soldiers, nurses, civils, the underground state activists, scouts, journalists, artists, and children.
As Poland emerged from communism in 1989, the original holiday—on its original 11 November date—was restored. Therefore, this day every year we honor not only our Independence but most importantly – we honor the people who sacrficed all they had, to find us today live in a free and independent country.
I use pronouns “us” and “we” throughout this text not without a purpose. Holidays such as the Day of Independence, despite worrying political situation in Poland – or perhaps because it being such dividing instance – should remind us that we are One. As a nation, as a country, and as people of belief in our freedom: we are above any divisions – Poles.
On a day like this, we can and should feel free to march side by side despite our political preferences, our race, our age, or gender – because we march for a value that does not distinguish between those. Independence and freedom are right of each and a share of all of us. They are a legacy we cherish afer our ancestors.
On this day, just as every day really, it is good to smile at each other and realize that there is no right Poland or left Poland or confessional Poland. There is one Poland – our Poland. It is the Republic of Poland: a Democratic Poland, Proud Poland, and a Free Poland.
We can all be proud because we are Polish. But also to all of you who are bound by different nationalities and call other countries your homeland: if sometimes you disagree with what is happening or you encounter the wrong on our path – it sould only make you feel more mobilized.
If we meet something we feel isn’t right such means that there is a potential to get better. And it is us who should feel free and capable of making it better. Each and all as one.
This year I could not be there with my family in Gdansk to walk in the middle of a colofrul parade and then enjoy best Rogale Marcinskie croissants from Pellowski bakery. I couldn’t drink tea with grandpa while watching the ceremonies in Warsaw. But this year, whicle being in Jordan I have experienced one of the most beautiful celebrations of Poland’s Day of Independence.
Horored by the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland and Madam I was invited to join the representatives suring a “Grad Concert of Polish Opera Singers on the 99th Anniversary of The Inedpendance Day”.
The event was taking part in the hearth of Amman – in a beatutiful Al Hussein Cultural Center. Greetings from Polish national representatives and a short historical note on this special holiday have opened a wonderful evening filled with Polish classical music, Jordanian warmth, and international debate.
Divided into four distinct parts, the concert was featurig most prominent of the polish patriotic songs, the arias from Polish and world operas, and finally the Napolitean songs closing part IV.
Over two hundred guests that evening were enjoying the beautiy of the melodies of Fryderyk Chopin, Ignacy Paderewski, Stanislaw Niewiadomski, Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, and Wenzel Robert Gallenberg.
Being able to hear my language “live” for the first time since so long has made me feel like home 🙂 The words were written by Stefan Witwicki, Adam Mickiewicz, Kornel Makuszynski, Kazimierz Tetmajer, and Ludwik Oscinski
What has made this evening really special however, was not feturing of Polish classic masterpieces but the warmth expressed by the Jordanian people who were hosting this event in their spaces. The amazing class and respect they represented by greeting the guests, extending their congratulations and talking so comfortably and with such pride about the history of a country that was not ever their, has made me feel absolutely flattered and proud of both nations equally.
The Generals of both armies were patting each other on the arm, laughs were bursting out between kids from Warsaw and Amman, the gentelmen who came all the way from Aqaba told me an unbelievabe story about his great grandfather who fought for Poland in Kracow during the II World War.
Looking around and being sourrounded by all those people I felt even more proud of representing Poland in such a welcoming and open culture within the Middle East that we often spontaneously fear by a bias. (separate post about this topic soon!). Suddenly people of many religions and few different nationalities – officials from Egypt, Oman, and UAE came as well – were embraced in cherishing the common value of liberty and independence, which is exactly what November 11th is about.
After a beautiful persormance by solists Krzysztof Kur and Dorota Lachowicz as well as pianist Ewa Pelwecka, the guests were getting involved in a passionate discussions about the presece of both Jordan in Poland and Poland in Jordan. It seems like a lot is there to happen!
Thank you to the Polish Embassy for inviting me to such special event, to the National Representatives of Jordan for exceptionally warm welcome, and to all the guests for beautiful atmosphere of unity and respect.