Commentary Europe

Professor Nowak: Disappearing identity is Europe’s problem

Historian Professor Andrzej Nowak has been awarded the Lech Kaczyński prize during the “Poland - A Great Project” congress. The prize is granted to prominent academics and artists who promote the understanding of Polish history and traditions.

In an interview for Polskie Radio 24, Nowak said that “the existence of Poland and its identity is inconvenient for many influential political forces in the modern world”.

He argued that erosion of identity was a disease in modern Europe. “We are witnessing a cultural phenomenon which is tied to the erosion of identity, including conscious efforts at combating identity, not only of the national kind,” he said.

He indicated that the reasons for this were partly economic.

“The modern market economy does not need someone with identity but rather someone who can adjust to the needs of the moment. People are being persuaded that they can change their gender or identity at will. This is a symptom of a disease as this is contrary to human nature. Memory and history are a kind of medication which can inoculate against loss of identity. The existence of Poland and its identity is inconvenient for some influential political forces in the modern world that see to cancel out all traces of identity in Europe.”

The distinguished academic added that Poland stands out in Europe and its quest for identity because it still has preserved values such as family, church and nation.

“In Poland there is still opposition to a view of unnatural chaos that is to replace institutions, tradition and natural forms of human coexistence such as families and forms of communicating with the spiritual world such as religion and the Church. This is why those who want to destroy Europe have to assault Poland,” he indicated.

  • Professor Nowak paid tribute to thousands of Solidarity activists in the 1980s. He regretted that they had become marginalized after 1989 despite their efforts. “It is they who deserve our highest respect,” he concluded.

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