Twenty seven years ago today Lech Walesa was granted the Nobel Peace Prize the first Pole to have received the prestigious award.
The ceremony was held on 10 December 1983 in Stockholm. However, the Nobel Peace Prize was received by Lech Walesa’s wife, Danuta, since the Solidarity chairman was not given a passport by the Jaruzelski communist regime to attend the gala meeting at the Swedish Royal Academy.
Walesa, a worker at the Gdansk Shipyard, active in pro-democratic opposition circles in communist ruled Poland, stood at the helm of labor protests in the coastal region in 1980. He was subsequently elected chairman of the Solidarity trade union after it received official recognition from the regime in August that year. Solidarity had been the first independent labor organization in the then Soviet bloc.
With the imposition of martial law in Poland in December 1981, which had actually been a government clamp down on the Solidarity movement, Walesa was arrested and interned for 11 months.
When the communist system started crumbling, Walesa was one of the main figures of the Round Table talks in spring 1989 which eventually led to a peaceful transition of power to democratic forces rallied around Solidarity.
One year later, Lech Walesa won the elections to become the first democratically elected president in post-war Poland.
Poland can`t boast of too many Nobel Prizes winners for science but literature definitely makes up for it.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olga_Tokarczuk lga Nawoja Tokarczuk ([tɔˈkart͡ʂuk]; born 29 January 1962) is a Polish writer, activist, and public intellectual who has been described in Poland as one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful authors of her generation. In 2018, she won the Man Booker International Prize for her novel Flights (translated by Jennifer Croft). In 2019, she was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Tokarczuk is particularly noted for the mythical tone of her writing. She trained as a psychologist at the University of Warsaw and published a collection of poems, several novels, as well as other books with shorter prose works. Flights won the Nike Award, Poland's top literary prize, in 2008. She attended the 2010 Edinburgh Book Festival to discuss her book Primeval and Other Times and other work. With her novel Księgi Jakubowe (The Books of Jacob), Tokarczuk won the Nike Award again in 2015. In the same year, Tokarczuk received the German-Polish International Bridge Prize, a recognition extended to persons especially accomplished in the promotion of peace, democratic development and mutual understanding among the people and nations of Europe.
Tokarczuk is a leftist, a vegetarian, and feminist. She has been criticized by some groups in Poland as unpatriotic, anti-Christian and a promoter of eco-terrorism. She has denied the allegations, has described herself as a "true patriot" and has said that groups criticizing her are xenophobic and damage Poland's international reputation.
State TV, controlled by PiS, didn`t show the ceremony of awarding the winner coz she is openly against the PiS regime.
"My spontaneous reaction was to dedicate this award to the democratic movement in Poland and I asked people to vote for democracy and against totalitarian tendencies and this speech of mine was quite warmly received and I think it might have had some influence on the elections," Olga Tokarczuk said at the conference in Stockholm on Friday. "I especially think that this prize gave the Poles some good energy because we are a very divided society and there are many things going on when it comes to hard hateful emotions and things like that and it might have given a feeling of more commonness," said the Polish writer.
"I'm proud to be the fifteenth woman to receive the Nobel prize and 110 years after the first woman, (Swedish author) Selma Lagerlof received it," Tokarczuk added. (http://www.tvn24.pl)