The Meaning of Honour and why Britain has lost its own.
by Alexandra Thompson
Poland celebrated its 100th Anniversary of independence this Sunday. A frightening picture is depicted. One of a divided Polish society in an unhappy country, with claims that many citizens have rejected liberalism and democracy in light of a growing nationalist sentiment. A conveniently worrying image for those discrediting a democratically elected government running their country. I should know, I was one of those so-called ‘fascists’, ‘neo-nazis’, ‘white supremacists’ marching through the streets of Warsaw.
Let me rephrase. I was one of the 200,000 patriots celebrating my country. My Polish ancestors fought the Nazis for a free Poland, and now incredulously – I’m branded a Nazi for celebrating my country’s independence. I did not hold racist banners, nor I did I shout anything inappropriate. And being only partly Polish, I can assure you that my other British South African half did not feel discriminated against.
Nazi totalitarianism is loathed in Poland. The trauma left by the German Nazi occupation is still palpable; they killed almost 20% of the population, targeted our elites, flattened our capital city and destroyed our infrastructure. Those thousands of ‘fascists’ breaking international headlines are Polish citizens including families, children, and war veterans. Those same war veterans that fought fascism first – hand.
Together we proudly walked through the streets of our capital brandishing Polish flags, signing patriotic songs. We celebrated home, a home that our nation has long fought for. One hundred years ago, Poland was reinstated on the world map after 123 years of geo-political oblivion. But our happiness was short-lived. Soon followed fascism and communism both under which celebrating our country’s independence was prohibited. To openly celebrate the 11th of November is thus a relatively new freedom.