My first thought, hearing of the Polish tragedy, was that history’s gyre can be of an unbearable cruelty, decapitating Poland’s elite twice in the same cursed place, Katyn.
My second was to call my old friend Adam Michnik in Warsaw. Michnik, an intellectual imprisoned six times by the former puppet-Soviet Communist rulers, once told me:
“Anyone who has suffered that humiliation, at some level, wants revenge. I know all the lies. I saw people being killed. But I also know that revanchism is never ending. And my obsession has been that we should have a revolution that does not resemble the French or Russian, but rather the American, in the sense that it be for something, not against something. A revolution for a constitution, not a paradise. An anti-utopian revolution. Because utopias lead to the guillotine and the gulag.”
By ROGER COHEN Published: April 12, 2010
Continuation of the article The Glory of Poland