Sputtering with Indignation, Western Europeans Stand Up for Human Rights in Poland (after fiddling about for 50 years)

Poland never received as much opprobrium when it was a communist dictatorship and part of the Warsaw Pact. Nor was any Soviet-era dissident ever lauded as much or given as much space (front page, no less) as Bronislaw Geremek is now as he speaks out against the country's decommunization process. (But then, at the time, Poland was neither capitalist nor pro-American, the mothers of all sins.) From Le Monde editorials to French lawmakers decrying the country's Stalinist or Fascist methods, just about everybody knows what is democratic and what is proof of tolerance and what is best for Poland.

Update: Because of a reader's remarks putting the above facts into doubt, I am adding the following excerpts from previous posts: Update 1: Europeans (and France) were largely silent as recently as one week ago when Geremek (along with a dozen others, most of them former leaders in Europe) issued a declaration in favor of Ukrainian democracy.

Update 2: A Polish émigré weighs in:
…it does not strike you as odd that the people who rush to the side of "justice" were once very happy to forsake justice because we were not proving their social theories correct. It bothers you not at all that the people defending Geremek did not defend him twenty years ago. It bothers me very much, because seventy years ago, these same people "defended" us. I do not want this defense again.

Let me offer some quotes that to me are very telling:
"His moral authority, his commitment to Europe, his fight for freedom have made (Geremek) a figure symbolic of Europe and its values," Douste-Blazy said.
M. Douste-Blazy, Geremek's moral authority was established decades ago. You chose to ignore it until it served your purposes to attempt to harm Poland. I am not impressed.
French presidential candidate Segolene Royal urged Poland in the affair "to conform to the European Union's democratic values," which she described as "not negotiable."
Au contraire, Mdm. Royal, these values have always been very negotiable. When the Germans and Russians signed an agreement to bypass Poland with a gas pipepline through the Baltic, where were our French "friends?" Is M. Putin conforming to the EU's "democratic values?" When Poland was fighting to keep an agreement regarding representation in the EU from being arbitrarily changed by France and Germany, where were your "democratic values?" They are as ephemeral as the French "offensive" in 1939.

…If Poland is to survive in the EU in anything but a subservient role to the French-German axis (or should I say the Vichy-Nazi Axis), it cannot allow hostile neighbors to intervene in its attempts to shed the political turpitude which is a direct consequence of the cowardice those neighbors showed (and in the case of the Germans, far worse) when we could have most used courage.

…the attitudes of individuals must have made an impact on subsequent positions after the Cold War. I suggest that based on the feelings of those people with whom I spoke at that time, who would be contemporaries with those who now denounce Poland, this is not a new sentiment. It was disdain before, and it is disdain now. The rhetoric has adjusted to support current interests. Its hostility to Poland itself is unchanged.

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