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Jaruzelski – martial law was 'necessary evil'

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 02.12.2011 11:58
Just days before the 30th anniversary of the introduction of martial law in Poland, General Wojciech Jaruzelski claims in a new book that the measure was “a necessary evil.”


The publication comes two weeks before the 30th anniversary of the crisis, on 13 December 1981, as the Solidarity protest movement soared in strength.

The 88-year-old general says that Starsi o 30 lat (30 years older), will be his final work, as his “mental and physical state do not allow me” to write another.

Jaruzelski has been in and out of hospital over the last two years.

Thousands were imprisoned and approximately 100 killed during martial law, or the State of War (Stan Wojenny) as the term literally translates.

The period lasted from 13 December 1981 to July 1983, with detainment regularly enforced for those who broke the curfew or engaged in what was deemed to be an illegal gathering.

In an interview with television station TVN, Jaruzelski claimed that the media's depiction of the crisis continues to be sensationalistic and lop-sided.

“Around 13 December, there is a focused portrayal (through television, film and much of the media), that presents an emotional assessment of martial law – tanks, truncheons, tear gas and the grim bearing of Jaruzelski on the television screen,” he said.

The former leader also referred to the annual vigil outside his Warsaw residence, during which his detractors protest against the introduction of martial law.

According to the general, last year saw an especially large gathering.

“Never before have such crowds gathered outside my window,” he said.

“It was almost like a concert by Miss Doda,” he said, referring to the blonde Polish pop star.

Jaruzelski has always argued that the introduction of martial law precluded an invasion from Moscow.

Historians are divided over this hypothesis.

Jaruzelski himself wrote that even though it was “the lesser evil [...] it was still evil.” (nh/pg)

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