From his retirement in Lądek-Zdrój, Lech Walesa Started celebrating his 80th birthday by posting a pork chop with a candle on social media. “This is what I want to eat, now that the doctors have forbidden me from everything,” he joked to friends and family. It’s not the most suitable for a long history of medicine like yours, but he assures that this is only an exception. He has a pacemaker-defibrillator implanted in 2008 at the Methodist Debakey Heart Center in Houston, and its battery needs to be replaced every few years. In 2021, one of the device’s anchors broke and that added an operation. “Now he talks a lot about health issues, but the important thing is something else,” he recalculated the route when he realized that the conversation was disturbed by medical issues. The same faith that drove him one day to rebel against the communist regime leads him now to accept with peace the vulnerability of his health and the proximity of death, where he assures that he is not afraid: «I am not afraid of anything, “only to God and little to my wife.”
As the founder of the Catholic union Solidarity and with his participation in the workers’ uprising in August 1980 at the Lenin shipyards in Gdansk, where he worked as an electrician, he started a movement that would cross borders and end the overthrow of the Soviet regime. Now, at the end of his life, he remembers the price he paid for it: the prison time, the punishment his family suffered and the death of many comrades.
“All that served to change Poland for the better… I have done incredible things that I could not have done without the help of heaven,” he said, “our generation must live in a time in which we must understand that the State thinks about the old terms and that it must think about the whole world, in terms of continents and peoples. He considered one of the most difficult moments and at the same time one of the his greatest achievement was the signing of the Polish-Russian treaty, already as the president of Poland. «It was in the most difficult conditions in the world, with the prime minister telling me not to sign it, and I decided to sign… Can you imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t signed it? “Maybe now we’re in Ukraine and fighting a war with Russia.”
Wałęsa also identified his greatest failure, seen from his 80 years: «I say a lot that I, I, I … without explaining the decisions, which I made only because I convinced. Like when Jan Rulewski was beaten in Bydgoszcz and the entire National Commission was convinced that a general strike should be called. But I opposed it, because I felt it was a provocation, that the authorities wanted us to start a strike to cut off the supply of water, gas, electricity and bread, and blame us… but I didn’t explain my intuitions. “and that created discomfort.”
October 15 election
Wałęsa hopes to go to the polls on October 15, in a decisive election for the future of Poland. “I don’t know what God’s will is and we always have to accept it, but if I were still here, of course I would go to vote and I would encourage all Poles to do the same, vote patriotically, and I would that is doing now “They need to understand better that their best comes at the expense of our homeland, which has been destroyed and betrayed,” he criticized without citing the ruling Peace and Justice party (PiS).
PiS has often portrayed Wałęsa as a secret collaborator of the communist regime it helped overthrow. And he is eager to defend himself against these accusations in an intervention in the “Million Hearts March”, which will take place this Sunday at the Dmowskiego roundabout in Warsaw, and which he intends to attend against all the advice of his doctors. “Of course I will go and I encourage you to go too. And if Donald Tusk allows me to speak, I will speak,” he claimed a place on the speakers’ stage. Because, at 80 years old, Walesa not only does not avoid the wet, but he seems to enjoy it more more than a child in a pond.
With the same ease he saw the great controversy that caused in Poland the premiere of the film “Green Border” directed by Agnieszka Holland, criticized by the government and caused demonstrations throughout the country because it talks about a corrupt police and the harsh treatment of refugees at the border between Poland and Belarus. Where the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, stated that he was “very angry that Mrs. Holland desecrates the Polish uniform with such disrespect,” Walesa commented that “Holland is a great woman: she feels the things we don’t want.” , but he warns us and shows us not to do it.