Freitag, 16.6.2017, 15:00h

Konstanty Gebert


Either Solidarity or Fraternity?

Fraternity, one of the three slogans of the French revolution, called for a vision of society in which all Frenchmen were brothers. This eventually evolved into a vision of the nation based on adherence to a common ideal rather that being the result of preexisting blood bonds; yet the word itself implied just that. Two hundred years later, the Polish solidarity movement declared mutual support between different groups based on their adherence to common ideals, yet it eventually evolved into a vision of nation as an organism, tied by bonds of blood. These two misnomers made for much misunderstanding; political evolution would have been much clearer had the names been reversed. The fraternity of solidarity will be examined in close detail.

Konstanty Gebert is an author, journalist, lecturer, and political activist based in Poland. In 1976 he graduated from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warsaw. He was a prominent figure in the democratic opposition in the 1970s and 1980s and cofounder of the unofficial Jewish Flying University (1979), the Polish Council of Christians and Jews (1980), and a trade union of the employees in academia, technology, and education that merged with Solidarnosc (1980). After the government imposed martial law, he wrote and published articles for various underground publications under the pseudonym Dawid Warszawski. Gebert also served as a war correspondent in Bosnia for Gazeta Wyborcza. His articles have appeared in a variety of national periodicals and foreign media. He has written numerous books, including a first-hand account of the Polish Round Table negotiations of 1989 as well as books on French policy toward Poland, on the Yugoslav wars, the wars of Israel, Torah commentary, and postwar Polish Jewry. Gebert is the founder of Midrasz, the first Polish-language Jewish periodical in postcommunist Poland, and regularly lectures in Poland, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the U.S.