A Warsaw Diary, 1978-1981 (Magill's Literary Annual 1984)
Brandys remarks that among the Poles the expression “He lies like TV!”—used of any unconvincing person—has acquired the flavor of a folk saying. Daily, on television, Moscow and its puppet regime in Warsaw bombard the Poles with slogans, party lines, rationalizations, and the “news.” To withstand this onslaught, the skepticism of the Poles must run culture-deep. It does, as evidenced by this reflex-action “folk saying.”
Such tough-minded resistance to propaganda cannot have been built up in a few short years, or even decades. Indeed, Brandys uses every opportunity to demonstrate that Poland’s present-day struggle for freedom is the most recent chapter in “the history of a nation that for nearly three hundred years . . . has been in a hopeless position and whose only chance has been the stubbornness of a people offering resistance to save the country from spiritual death.”
Poland is a victim of geography, the prize in a centuries-old tug-of-war between Germany and Russia. The many partitions of Poland have sometimes, as in 1795 and 1865, resulted in its disappearance from the map. Nevertheless, succeeding generations of Poles have clung to the hope, against tremendous odds, of revived national independence.
To realize that hope, they sometimes rose up in direct rebellion and at other times formed alliances with enemies of the partitioning countries. The latter course has usually left them vulnerable, however:...
(The entire section is 2045 words.)
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