Saturday, April 9, 2011

Poland Remembers...

One would be forgiven for believing that the month of April is jinxed.17 years ago on April 6th, the genocide in Rwanda started.One year ago tomorrow, Poland marks the 1st anniversary of the tragic plane crash that killed all 96 passengers aboard the aircraft, including President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and many high ranking officials of the Polish government and society.They were on their way to Katyn, to observe the 70th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviet secret police, between April and May, 1940.

A memorial commemorating the victims of the Smolensk plane crash, at the military cemetery in Warsaw. Photograph: Grzegorz Jakubowski/EPA (Source:

The events that sparked the genocide involved the shooting down of the plane that was carrying then Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi. What followed would stun the world forever.Over 1 million people massacred in 100 days.
So what is it with April? Hard to tell.This year i have had the pleasure of experiencing winter and now spring for the first time ever, in Poland. I was struck by how gradually everything seemingly 'springs back to life'. Everyone is in better mood, it is much warmer, but not as hot as the summer months.It is hard to miss the transformation. Still, there are the occassional grey and rainy days, and this time, strong winds.The best days of spring are still ahead.
That for me, best explains the resilience of the Rwandan and Polish spirit.The ability to remain strong and to look forward to better days ahead.

For now, Poland remembers...

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