Delivering a speech on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the August Accords, Polish President Andrzej Duda has addressed the Belarusians who are now ‘fighting for freedom and basic human rights’. Part of his speech is in the Belarusian language.
Andrzej Duda addresses Belarusians (English subtitles)
“Highly respected ladies and gentlemen, dear Belarusian friends! I am addressing you on the day that is exceptional for Poland, since millions of us associate it with the word ‘Solidarity’ which is of paramount importance to us. The Poles need not be reminded of that: 41 years ago, thousands of strikers forced the Communist regime in Poland to sign the obligations that later made it into history as the August Accords. Among other provisions, the consent to the establishment and activity of trade unions which were free and independent of the Communist government was of special significance. And thus, one got a chance to set up the Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarity,” he said.
Poland’s leader showed support for the Belarusians who had to flee their country in fear of being persecuted. He urges them to feel at home in Poland, stressing that they do have an opportunity to continue their activities there:
“Dear Belarusian friends, Solidarity became not only a symbol, but also a determinant of the Polish politics, its key word. At the present time, we have on our minds not only those who fought a long fight against the regime then, but all the people who are struggling for their freedom and basic human rights all over the world. These days, this fight has fallen to the lot of our Belarusian neighbours. For over a year, Poland has been a home for many of you. Here you have found protection from persecution as well as an opportunity to continue your political and economic activity. I do hope you are facing amity, understanding, and solidarity here as well. As President of the Republic of Poland, I would like to give a clear stand: feel at home here in Poland! Poland will be a home for you as long as you need that. We will never stop supporting you in the same way as we support Belarusian political prisoners regardless of their views, confession, nationality. Belarus is a country, the liveable future of which is essential to us, Poles, too. Its enjoying independence within its inviolable borders is one of the important factors stepping up the stability and sustainable development of Poland and other countries in our part of Europe. Belarus is inhabited by our brotherly nation that deserves living a decent life in a democratic and fair state. Poland respects and understands Belarus, and we, Poles and Belarusians, are very close nations.
Long live Belarus! Long live Belarus! Long live the brotherhood of the peoples in our region! Long live solidarity!”
The above mentioned agreement (known as The August Accords or The Gdańsk Agreement) was signed on 31 August 1980 in the Polish city of Gdańsk. Among other things, it included the then authorities’ consent to legalise the bodies of the independent trade union Solidarity (‘Solidarność’ ) and to abolish censorship. The agreement concluded with the Communist government was the result of the so-called August events, i.e. the wave of nationwide strikes that forced those in power to make political concessions. It was the first time in the Eastern bloc that the Communists authorised the establishment of independent unions.