An Incident or a struggle for fundamental matters?
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
I want to refer to the events that took place in front of the Presidential Palace on 3 August 2010, events described as an incident when crowds were convinced that the cross should not be removed from that place. There was much confusion and turmoil. I would like to turn attention to the way some people were shown: as fanatics who should be treated by psychiatrists, people who lost control of their minds. But the matter is quite different! Those people defended the cross as a very specific symbol for us. Since besides the contents and values included in the very cross of Jesus Christ this crucifix symbolises certain circumstances connected with the time and place of its origin at this place. It was the scouts that brought the cross during the days of the great national tragedy and mourning, expressing the will of the nation, fearing that the people responsible for our country, including the newly elected President of the Republic of Poland and the government, would forget the purpose of that cross. The scouts wanted to commemorate the event and the fact of the great national sorrow, expressed in front of the Presidential Palace. And unfortunately, we can see that the fears of the nation were justified. Our government allowed too easily the Russians to investigate the plane crash. And today the Polish prosecutors say that Russia does not want to give us back all the documents and results of its investigation. Knowing the recent collaboration between Poland and Russia the Polish government should have handed the investigation into the hands of international experts. But we gave everything to the Russians. The Polish Prime Minister and the Polish authorities washed their hands of that. But in fact, it is a matter of the utmost importance – the President and all high-ranking officials lost their lives in the crash!
Are the Polish people not right when they are forced to struggle for their national remembrance? Have we not the right to demand answers to the questions that bother us: Why did the tragedy happen? Who is to be blamed? Did the officials of the Polish government do their best to make the flight of the President of the Polish Republic safe? ... The cross put in front of the Presidential Palace is a big question mark directed to the present President and the Prime Minister: ‘Have you done everything concerning the matter?’ It is also an important sign of our memory. But the complaisant chief architect of Warsaw informed the public at once that no such a commemorative sign could be placed there. As if he could decide about the historical facts, as if such facts could be planned...
The cross standing in front of the Presidential Palace is not a matter of the Church as Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw noticed. It was not the priests and representatives of the Church that put the cross in front of the Presidential Palace. It was the scouts who did it on behalf of the crowds that we saw during the funerals of the victims of the plane crash and during the days of mourning. Those who came to defend the cross are not fanatics but people who are aware of our history and who want very much to avoid the painful scenarios of our history. Whereas the reports of the journalists, TV makers and commentators testify about them. Most of them cannot say objectively, peacefully and to the point what the whole matter is about. Some announce the defeat of the Church as if they had a monopoly on the truth. This is not the case. The role of the Chancellery of the Polish President is to respect the society who it serves and to make people glad. In a democratic country citizens demand the truth and will not accept insults instead of the truth. One should know it, especially when we speak about a country that is friendly to its citizens. They simply have the right to know.
Therefore, we are not expecting calumnies, also against the Church and priests. The Church is not guilty in any way in this matter. But we are expecting the truth as well as a peaceful and honest look at everything what happened. We all are expecting, with understandable emotions, honest answers concerning the tragedy at Smolensk. This is an obligation of the government regardless of the difficulties.
A symbol of our expectations is this cross called the Smolensk cross. And it is not an act of construction lawlessness because a wooden cross is not a building. By its nature it is a temporary monument. It is a big people’s question to the authorities and a sign to remind them of their obligations towards the nation. People understand the awkward situation and so they are waiting only for a satisfying solution.
Let us remember that our Homeland is great, not physically or financially, but because of the greatness of her people. And it should remain like this.