Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Glory Days

Looks like the end could be near for the Gdansk shipyard where Lech Wałesa and the Solidarity movement lit the fuse that led to the collapse of the communist regime in Poland and the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet satellite governments from the Baltic to the Black Sea 28 years ago.

[Slick flash video of Solidarity struggle]

17,000 worked beneath the Gdansk cranes - now, 3,500 are employed.

The future of the dockyards has revealed divisions in Polish society, with Walesa, now 64, weighing in. "The era in which Germany united, Europe united and the world started moving to a new global unity started in Gdansk shipyard," he said.

"It is the first monument to these events and it should be preserved for humankind. We should do our best to make the yards profitable, but without destroying them."

The final straw, according to senior officials at the yard, is a European Union demand made late last month that millions in economic aid be repaid and that two of the three remaining slipways where ships are constructed be closed.

If Poland does what the EU wants, it will be the end. The Gdansk shipyards will become economically enviable.

Requiéscant in pace. Amen.


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