Lech Walesa (1943)

Lech Walesa

1943 On the 29th of September, at Popowo, near Wroclawek, Poland, Lech Walesa was born. He is that who led Polish workers’ uprising from the shipyard in Gdansk, that gave birth to Solidarity Union for free trade and in the end, led to communist regime knockdown from Poland, but also the first Polish president democratically elected. He was Nobel Peace laureate.

1967 Walesa became an electrician for the huge Lenin shipyard in Gdansk.

1970 Riots, caused by the lack of food, when many protestors were killed in front of the dockyard gates, determined him to join the underground revolts of the independent unions, in fact, communists’ opposition.

1976 He lost his job, after he had participated to a new wave of protests of workers and spent the next four years as an activist, being constantly followed by Polish police.

1980 His moment came this summer, when Polish workers, sustained for their attitude against de communist govern supported by Soviet Union, by the papacy election of Polish man – Pope John Paul II – they started strikes in all country. Walesa jumped the fence and took over the protest’s control that was happening inside of Lenin shipyard; soon, he was leading the strike committee made of the representatives of many companies, a committee that stopped the communist govern in Warsaw. Committee, that was renamed Solidarity, asked for the right to establish independent unions and the right for the strikes, two rights that nobody had ever heard in the Eastern Bloc, where communist party must have led everything. Walesa, with his famous mustache, became over night a worldwide hero. He was straightforward, hard and charming and was supported by many activist intellectuals. After hard negotiations, coupled with a general strike, communists yielded. On the 31st of August Solidarity Federation of Free Trade Unions was formed. During the next sixteen months, under Wales, Solidarity enlarged its number of members to 10 million. Solidarity became a mass protest against communist regime and threatened the foundation of Soviet control over Eastern Europe.

1981 Under Moscow pressure, communists retaliated on December, 13, declaring martial law and suspecting Solidarity. Walesa was arrested together with the other leaders and spent 11 months to jail. Solidarity became illegal, Walesa was still to prison but protests continued.

1983 Walesa was given Nobel Award for peace but, being afraid that he would not return, he sent his wife, Danuta, at Oslo, to receive the prize.

1988 A new wave of revolts started and the glasnost promoted by Moscow obliged communists to start again the negotiations with Walesa. Solidarity became legal again and won all free positions of partial parliamentary elections in 1989.

1990-1995 After legislative elections in June 1989, Walesa was disappointed because some of his former companions were glad to govern together with communists. He decided to stand for the newly created position of President, using the slogan “Nie chcem, ale muszem” (I do not want, but I have no choice). On the 9th of December 1990, Walesa won the presidential elections, defeating Prime-Minister Mazowiecki and other candidates; so, he became the first president of Poland democratically elected.

Walesa had less success as a president that in Poland has more powers of representation. He was frustrated because the lack of power and had a libratory behaviour; his straightforward speech and his defiant style, combined with the opposition for the new law of abortion, drew election loss in 1995.

1995 He lost presidential elections. This time he got less than one percent of electors’ votes and withdrew from politics.

He was a great symbol of protests ad a great leader of protests but, in the end, he proved to be too much an impatient revolutionary, neither enough subtle, nor smart in order to become a great statesman.

Walesa is a strong supporter of traditionally family, he is a devoted Catholic and a heavily critic of abortion. He declared that he would have preferred to resign twenty times than to promulgate a law that allows abortions in Poland.

He also declared that he is interested in information technology and that he likes to use the latest novelties in this field. He confessed he assembled many computers in order to find out how they work and that he takes with him a smartphone, a pamtop and a laptop when he travels.

2006 At the beginning of the year, Walesa revealed that he is a registered user of Gadu-Gadu, a Polish instant messaging network and got a special registering number – 1980. After that, he said that he has also used Skype, as lwprezydent2006.




    1. http://www.ro.biography.name/conducatori/93-polonia/396-lech-walesa-1943;


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