EURO 2012 is a chance to establish close relationships between Poland and Ukraine
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Lately we have got excited about the important topic, which is the decision of the UEFA Executive Committee that entrusted Poland and Ukraine with the privilege to organise the European Championships 2012. As we know there were many candidates. It seems that the UEFA Committee member Hrikorij Surkis, Ukrainian millionaire and politician, exerted big influence concerning the decision. It occurs that sports competitions, especially football, have unique meaning in the lives of nations and societies. People focus on sports events and that's why organisation of sports events is a big enterprise. It has many aspects, including the sports aspect - desire to win, and the economic aspect - stadiums must be built, roads and motorways must be constructed, airports should be adjusted, etc. The distance between Wroclaw and Kiev is huge, hundreds of kilometres that should be covered by cars, trains, planes... The preparations will involve a lot of money but will not be wasted since the roads, sports and tourist facilities will remain and there will be more workplaces. Therefore, this is an important task for both countries. EURO 2012 is also a great chance to improve our relationships with Ukraine, the relationships that carry the burden of painful dramas from our common past. It was Bolshevik Russia and Stalin that changed everything. Thousands of innocent people were killed, the properties people acquired during their whole lives were taken, the Church was deprived of her buildings and cannot get them back even now, in the free and independent country.
Therefore, collaboration in sport is an excellent occasion to build unity that we all needed. I remember the aversion between Poles and Germans after the war. The known letter of the Polish bishops to the German bishops was received with mixed feelings. And then there were hard years for Poles, the years of Solidarity, empty shelves and poverty, and Germans helped us and tried to understand us. Then we began looking at them through the prism of help and not though the war. And a lot has changed in the relationships between our nations.
Now there can be a sparkle of reconciliation between Poland and Ukraine. There were hurts and crimes, which we have difficulties to deal with but it is finally time to forgive. The Church has always called to reconciliation. Mutual contacts will undoubtedly open people's hearts. People, especially the old ones, will show more kindness and perhaps they will look at all things differently. Since our life today is completely different. It is easier for the young generation to build friendship, mutual kindness and co-operation. Sports contests will surely bring about cultural closeness of our nations, which belong to one Slavonic family, and the borderline history and culture, common to our societies, will bring about warm contacts as well collaboration and sincere brotherhood between our nations.