How democracies die



July 4, 2018 - 11:00 PM

President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, is seen on Jan. 28, 2018 during the Large Hill Individual competition at the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, in Zakopane, Poland. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Zuma Press/TNS)

It’s only recent history that the mind’s eye can still picture a then-spry Lech Walesa scaling fences and leaping atop platforms to lead the rallying cry of “Solidarnosc!” (Solidarity) in Poland’s fight against Russian tyranny.

Walesa was a union shipyard worker whose out-sized mustache matched his energy to fight oppression beginning in the late 1970s. The Solidarity movement was instrumental in breaking communism’s grip across the Soviet bloc of Eastern Europe.

After its fall, Walesa was democratically elected Poland’s first president. In 1983, he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize.

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