Jan Józef Lipski – Writers lend support to students (94/215)

As a result, it became clear that these young people want, desire, feel the need to demonstrate their opposition to these expulsions. At the same time, it was barely a few days since the meeting of the Warsaw branch of the Association of Polish Writers, a meeting which had been specially called because the number of signatures collected by the initiators meant a meeting had to be called. The Association of Polish Writers couldn’t sit back and watch while a work by Adam Mickiewicz was banned by censors, and the meeting was very rowdy, so the students realised they weren’t alone and that although the support of the writers wasn’t very much, for them names like Jastrun or Kijowski, this meant something to people, and so they felt – Jasienica, Kisielewski – and so they felt a bit more sure of themselves. But there was no doubt that they would do something and that something had to be done. As a result, on Jacek Kuroń’s birthday, the decision was made to hold a rally at the university, although the organisers weren’t sure right up to the last minute how the majority of students would react to this summons to a rally. Most of the people who’d attended the meeting for Jacek’s birthday found themselves under arrest, either on the day of the rally or soon after. I was alright because I had a meeting that I’d arranged some time before, a reception for a few lawyers, and so I’d told Jacek I wouldn’t be there. Those arrests followed a basic pattern: anyone who had been at Jacek’s birthday where that decision had been taken. On the day the rally was to begin, in the morning, all of the major players in that student movement were arrested. Jacek was arrested, so was Adaś, Karol Modzelewski by Adaś I mean Adaś Michnik, of course. It was clear that the reaction in this case might be very harsh if the preventative action had already led to a fair number of arrests. I remember at that point I began to fear one thing. I learned that virtually the whole of the political ruling elite was visiting Sofia, and the press had given no warning of this. At that moment, I realised that of all the people who were authorised to take significant decisions, there were just two in Poland. They were Ryszard Strzelecki and Mieczysław Moczar. Which doesn’t mean that the others, the ones who were in Sofia would have decided differently. There was nothing to suggest that although I still didn’t like this much especially since the moment when this happened was decided by both sides. Although who knows if the government side hadn’t had a bigger say. The things the students were doing were a response to government measures. Perhaps this was how it was meant to be that these two people would sort everything out? I remember I even went to look for organisers of the rally but they pointed out quiet reasonably that preparations were already too far advanced to start debating whether the rally should be going ahead or not.

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