A day to reflect upon freedom
I have a week behind me very different from an ordinary one.
It included many public holidays, hence many people took the whole week off. Including colleges at the Embassy getting a well deserved vacation. So it was definitely a week less packed with activity than what I usually experience.
Secondly the weather was just unbelievable. I guess Swedes are often quite obsessed with weather and I grew up in a family where sunshine and 25 degrees was the recurrent vision of a true summer – a vision that very seldom materialized. So when I see it appearing in Warsaw in late April I am just stunned. As were our friends from Stockholm visiting us last weekend.
And writing these lines I need to have all possible windows open to be able to breathe…
Thirdly I had the honour and pleasure to participate in the celebration of the Polish Constitution Day this Thursday May 3rd.
The Constitution adopted that same day 1791 is said to be the world’s second oldest and the first of its kind in Europe. Meaning not least that the whole idea of rule of law has a very long tradition in this country, though tragically oppressed for so many years in the following two centuries.
During Indepence Day November 11th the celebrations took place at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. This time outside the Royal Palace where the Constitution was adopted (even if President Komorowski told us later on that some of the preparations had taken place in what is now the Presidential Palace where he afterwards hosted the reception).
This day gave an additional opportunity to reflect upon democracy and freedom. Gained by Poland in the remarkable transition 1989 –and still lacking in many other countries.
May 3rd is celebrated also as World Press Freedom Day, and to glance through the report presented by Freedom House is very useful as a reminder of how much more there is to be done, globally, to promote the fundamental cause of freedom of speech. The link below is highly recommended. http://www.freedomhouse.org/article/release-freedom-press-2012-findings
This quote from the website summary is worth reflecting upon: “The report found that only 14.5 percent of the world’s people—or roughly one in six—live in countries where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.” Both Poland and Sweden being among them.
North Korea is found at the bottom of the ranking at place 197 and e.g. Belarus is not far above on place 193…
One year ago, these days were also the days of the State Visit of the King and Queen of Sweden when i.a. the declaration on intensified cooperation between Sweden and Poland was signed. This week we will get two visits from Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stockholm – indicating the increasingly close interaction we see emerging.
And at the end of the week we will be honoured to receive the Nobel Laureate in Literature 2011, Tomas Tranströmer. More about that in upcoming blogs.