The show is over, the reporters gone, the curtain has fallen over the farce on the Kirchenfeld Strasse in Bern. The time for reflection has arrived.
It was as normal as it was unforgivable that some Poles exiled in the West would one day start a TV operation intended to serve publicity more than politics. The seizing of the Polish Embassy in Bern was not destined to compel Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski to make political concessions; this would be a hopeless operation. It was an attempt to once again focus the attention of Western public opinion on the more and more forgotten Polish drama.
It was also normal that Solidarity immediately denounced the action, which was more stupid than dangerous. The clandestine leadership of Solidarity not only did not inspire the Bern operation, but it is the main victim of it. It came at a time when the group of five members of the Provisional Coordination Committee who represent the clandestine leadership of Solidarity was trying to emphasize the big Aug. 31 victory, when thousands of Poles did not capitulate and came into the streets despite the biggest deployment of police forces since the Dec. 13 martial law Proclamation. The Bern siege diverted the public interest from the drama in Poland to a cheap, sensational show.
It was also normal that the Polish authorities did not hesitate to exploit this opportunity to denounce Solidarity. It is not the first time that the military regime has tried to establish a link between Solidarity and terrorism.
Last May, during a special television appearance, a spokesman of the Polish Interior Ministry revealed that Juan Fernandez Krohn, the pope's assailant in Fatima, Spain, "had been in Poland between July 17 and 22, 1981," and reportedly met Solidarity leader Lech Walesa. A few hours later, the organ of the Polish Communist Party paper, Trybuna Ludu, made another revelation, Father Krohn, the party paper said, "was not the only unusual guest of Solidarity. Italian newspapers have published reports of contacts between extremists in Solidarity and persons who later were found to belong to the Red Brigades. . . . There was also the Western secret services' particular interest in what went on in Solidarity . . ."
Thousands of people visited Poland when its frontiers were open, and shook hands with Walesa. Among these were Father Krohn and Luigi Scriciolo, the secretary of UIL, the Italian Labor Union. Mr. Scriciolo, arrested last December as an accomplice of the Red Brigades, was the terrorist contact that Trybuna Ludu referred to.
But what the Warsaw regime intends had nothing to do either with the attempted assassination of the pope or with Italian terrorism, as it has nothing to do with the farce in Bern. The aim of the Warsaw junta is to take advantage of every and any thing in its campaign to discredit Solidarity, which may have been decapitated and forced into clandestinity, but managed to defy all the police and military forces in Poland. The Polish press loses no opportunity to "unmask" the links between Solidarity, terrorism and the West. Polish national television, long before the Bern tragicomedy, broadcast a "documentary" filmed in Moscow that linked Solidarity to the Mafia, its leaders to criminals and showed them in the act of receiving thousands of dollars.
The Moscow show as well as the current Bern propaganda are only episodes in the campaign to push the thesis that the troubles in Poland are of a terrorist nature and are the result of an "imperialist plot" and subversive activities of the United States. This campaign is not surprising since that thesis is the only argument in the official propaganda from Moscow and Warsaw that is "able" to explain the Polish events.
In fact, if there is no terrorist guerrilla activity in Poland today, it is not despite Solidarity but thanks to Solidarity. For those who know both the Polish resistance tradition and the hatred for the current regime, it is a miracle that Poland does not yet know the phenomenom of armed guerrillas. Solidarity has brought about this miracle.
From its very inception and as in its present clandestine period, Solidarity has never ceased condemning violence. During the 18 months that Solidarity existed legally, not one window broken in Poland could have been attributed to the independent trade union. On the contrary, a number of violent acts, such as prison revolts, were prevented or attentuated through the union's intervention. It's for that reason that Walesa was proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize of 1982.
Adam Michnik, one of the principal Solidarity advisers, in June 1981 prevented, by his courageous personal intervention, the lynching of several policemen in a Warsaw suburb. Today Walesa is isolated and Michnik is one of six Solidarity advisers arrested while interned and accused of subversive activities.
The only act of terrorism that took place during the legal period of Solidarity was the unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the Palestinian terrorist chief, Abou Daoud, in August 1981 in the lobby of a big hotel in Warsaw. Daoud, responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics of 1972, just 10 years ago, was a regular visitor in Poland, where he controlled the Polish and East European arms traffic to the Palestinians aboard a civil aircraft of the Polish national airline LOT. Since then, Daoud has disappeared, but the arms he "imported" still kill, as did the Polish automatic rifles used in recent terrorist attacks on the Vienna synagogue and a Jewish restaurant in Paris.
The first real Polish act of terrorism since Solidarity was born, was the military coup d'etat last Dec. 13, followed by the murder of eight minerssin the "Wujek" coal mine in Katowice and of five miners from the copper mine in Lubin.
Poland has now entered an even more dangerous period. The military takeover has solved nothing. As the Aug. 31 demonstrations showed, the junta is unable to impose "normalization" either by propaganda or by bayonets. Isolated and frustrated, the junta will feel more and more that it has to resort to lies as in the Bern affair or to force as in Lubin and dozens of Polish towns. Terrorism would be a real danger for Poland -- and not only for Poland. But it is not Solidarity that is responsible for this.