Wałęsa asks forgiveness of Kaczyński

Polish Solidarity hero Lech Wałęsa begs Law and Justice chairman Jarosław Kaczyński for forgiveness. The move comes as a surprise as Walesa faces an ongoing lawsuit.

Polish Solidarity hero Lech Wałęsa has asked Law and Justice Chairman Jarosław Kaczyński for forgiveness.

The former Polish president and Solidarity hero Lech Wałęsa wrote a post on Facebook in which he seeks to reconcile with his political adversary.

“Brother Kaczyński,” the post begins, followed by “you and me and our entire generation will soon pass into eternity. I would like to leave order behind myself. I would like to leave united with my foes.”

I beg you for forgiveness and am also capable of forgiving you

The post comes as a surprise because Kaczyński and Wałęsa have been political opponents since the early nineties, when Jarosław Kaczyński and his twin brother Lech left President Walesa’s chancellery when he was still in office.

In March 2018, Jarosław Kaczyński sued Wałęsa for defaming his name and that of his deceased brother and former Polish President Lech Kaczyński. The suit cites Wałęsa's main offense as claiming that Kaczyński had ordered the landing of the presidential aircraft in Smoleńsk, despite the pilots’ warnings. This was, in Wałęsa’s mind, the main reason for the plane crash in Smoleńsk April 10, 2010 when President Lech Kaczyński and 95 other high ranking Polish officials were killed.

Kaczyński has requested thirty thousand PLN (8,230 USD) in damages for charity as well as a formal apology. Wałęsa, when asked whether he would apologise, emphasized on many occasions that he would not and even went as far as repeating his accusations.

Thus the apology in the Facebook post came as a surprise to many. “If I have done anything to hurt you," wrote Wałęsa, "I beg you for forgiveness and am also capable of forgiving you and your brother for what you did to me.” The last was a reference to accusations that in the early 1970s Wałęsa collaborated with the Polish communist secret service (SB).

Files and handwriting analysis revealed by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in January 2017 proved that Wałęsa had been a communist spy working for SB. IPN, which prosecutes crimes from the Nazi occupation and the communist era, said the former president and Nobel Peace laureate, referred to by his code name "Bolek", signed a collaboration agreement and receipts for payment from the secret service. There is "no longer any doubt" that the 73-year-old collaborated, said IPN official Andrzej Pozorski.

Wałęsa, who co-founded the independent Solidarity union in 1980 and then negotiated a bloodless end to communism in Poland in 1989, has been dogged by the allegations for years but has always denied them.

In recent years, Wałęsa has also become a vocal opponent of the Law and Justice government. In July, he called upon supporters to join him at the Supreme Court to protest the judiciary reforms. “Enough of destroying Poland!” he wrote on Twitter. In a reference to Jarosław Kaczyński, he continued, “I will lead the struggle to remove the main culprit of all of these tragedies."

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