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Lech Walesa

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By Dan Fesperman and Dan Fesperman,Sun Staff Correspondent | June 4, 1995
WARSAW -- In tracking the baffling career of Lech Walesa, one can't help but wonder: How has the father of Polish democracy also become one of its most despised offspring?Mr. Walesa, after all, was the extraordinary leader who helped awaken Eastern Europe from its Communist nightmare, the humble dockside electrician who pressed for freedom under the bright banner of a union called Solidarity.In doing so, he captured the world's imagination, a Nobel Peace Prize and the first freely elected Polish presidency in 1990.
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NEWS
By Lori Montgomery and Lori Montgomery,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | April 5, 1999
GDANSK, Poland -- Lech Walesa, legendary hero of the anti-Communist Solidarity movement, former president of Poland and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is sitting at his big wooden desk pretending to read a newspaper.He flips through the pages and rattles them impatiently. He sips his coffee, then rattles the paper again. Head down, eyebrows raised, he barely notices his visitors. Who has time to notice such things? Not Walesa, a busy man on the go.But on this recent gloomy day, Lech Walesa is going nowhere.
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NEWS
November 3, 1995
LECH WALESA AND his Solidarity movement played such an epic role in the collapse of the Soviet empire that Poland's presidential elections Sunday will be watched closely throughout the world. No fewer than 13 candidates are seeking the chief executive's office, but the only ones likely to get through the first round are Mr. Walesa himself and Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former communist official who is now campaigning as a Social Democrat.That Mr. Walesa is even regarded as a finalist shows how this one-time shipyard electrician should never be underestimated.
FEATURES
By Jean Marbella | October 1, 1996
It was 1983, and it was good: For the Orioles, no doubt, going into postseason play for what would be their last time until this year. For Cal Ripken, with a head full of hair and barely tapped fuel reserves, having played just 279 of his 2,316 -- and counting -- consecutive games.But like any vintage, 1983 had its winners and losers, its passing fancies and enduring legacies. Who and what were they?Michael Jackson sang "Beat It" and didn't mean a lawsuit. TV featured the sign-off of "M*A*S*H" and the debut of "Wheel of Fortune."
NEWS
By Adam Michnik | November 24, 1990
Warsaw.---LECH WALESA wants to be president, and I do not blame him for this ambition. It worries me, however, that he wants to be an ''ax-wielding'' president who rules by decree and who likens democracy to a driver's control over a car. ''Now that we are changing the system, we need a president with an ax: a firm, shrewd and simple man, who does not beat around the bush.'' These are Mr. Walesa's words.What worries me more than his words, however, is the way he treats Solidarity as an instrument for the fulfillment of his personal ambitions.
NEWS
By DAN BERGER | October 31, 1991
It's trick or treat time at the Royal Palace in Madrid.The good thing about a conference opener at which no one shakes hands is that since it couldn't be worse, it can only get better.Lech Walesa is willing to be the whole government in order to lead Poland away from dictatorship.
NEWS
By Kay Withers and Kay Withers,Special to The Sun | March 19, 1991
WARSAW, Poland -- Polish President Lech Walesa arrives in the United States today more of a hero to Americans than he is to Poles.Americans still hail him as leader of the Solidarity labor movement's 10-year battle to free Poland of Communist rule and build a pluralistic and capitalist society.The last time Mr. Walesa visited the United States, in November 1989, he was acclaimed by a joint session of Congress as a symbol of East Bloc freedom.Last November he was elected president of Poland after a bitter and sometimes dirty campaign tinged with anti-Semitism.
NEWS
December 6, 1990
IT'S A BAD thing that reason, political realism and patience in Poland should have lost out against populism, impatience and ++ the idea that a society can change from one day to the next.The Poles will find out that the leader of their choice will disappoint their faith in charisma and intution. Poland's democracy is still a tiny seedling that has to be nurtured the way Prince Minister [Tadeusz] Mazowiecki did. It is not served by a dictatorial and unpredictable leader.Lech Walesa -- currently still very popular -- will soon encounter harsh, everyday reality.
NEWS
By William Pfaff | November 27, 1995
PARIS -- The tragedy of Lech Walesa is not only that he failed to understand his limits, but that he failed to understand his triumph. George Steiner's splendid book on the absence of tragedy in modern drama, ''The Death of Tragedy,'' notes that tragedy is an affair of injustice. There is no Biblical tragedy because God's dealings with man are ultimately rational, and the purpose of those dealings is justice. Even Job, who is tormented, is in the end recompensed. God recognizes his fidelity, and gives him back ''twice over all that he had lost.
NEWS
By William Pfaff | December 9, 1990
Paris.--THE POLLS still say that Lech Walesa will win Poland's run-off presidential election today, but it is no sure thing. Given the frightening turn Poland's affairs have taken, it is essential that he do so. It also proves to have been essential that he and not Tadeusz Mazowiecki won the first round November 25.One's deepest sympathy was with Mr. Mazowiecki, a self-effacing intellectual attempting to carry out a rational reconstruction of Poland's ruined...
NEWS
By William Pfaff | November 27, 1995
PARIS -- The tragedy of Lech Walesa is not only that he failed to understand his limits, but that he failed to understand his triumph. George Steiner's splendid book on the absence of tragedy in modern drama, ''The Death of Tragedy,'' notes that tragedy is an affair of injustice. There is no Biblical tragedy because God's dealings with man are ultimately rational, and the purpose of those dealings is justice. Even Job, who is tormented, is in the end recompensed. God recognizes his fidelity, and gives him back ''twice over all that he had lost.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | November 12, 1995
WARSAW, Poland -- In classrooms and on campuses, in living rooms and workplaces, a week before the presidential runoff election young Poles are saying: Forget their favorite candidate's Communist past. He is, many of them argue, the force for the future.Many first-time voters in next Sunday's election say they will choose Aleksander Kwasniewski, 40, a telegenic former Communist, because as a man who speaks English and knows some economics, he is a modern man.Lech Walesa, 52, who as leader of the Solidarity labor movement cracked the Communist system and who has been president for five years, is an emblem of history and should remain that way, they assert.
NEWS
November 3, 1995
LECH WALESA AND his Solidarity movement played such an epic role in the collapse of the Soviet empire that Poland's presidential elections Sunday will be watched closely throughout the world. No fewer than 13 candidates are seeking the chief executive's office, but the only ones likely to get through the first round are Mr. Walesa himself and Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former communist official who is now campaigning as a Social Democrat.That Mr. Walesa is even regarded as a finalist shows how this one-time shipyard electrician should never be underestimated.
NEWS
By Dan Fesperman and Dan Fesperman,Sun Staff Correspondent | June 4, 1995
WARSAW -- In tracking the baffling career of Lech Walesa, one can't help but wonder: How has the father of Polish democracy also become one of its most despised offspring?Mr. Walesa, after all, was the extraordinary leader who helped awaken Eastern Europe from its Communist nightmare, the humble dockside electrician who pressed for freedom under the bright banner of a union called Solidarity.In doing so, he captured the world's imagination, a Nobel Peace Prize and the first freely elected Polish presidency in 1990.
NEWS
By Larry Hufford | May 6, 1994
NELSON MANDELA and Lech Walesa have much in common. For starters both won the Nobel Peace Prize for achieving the stature of a hero of conscience. What is a hero of conscience? A hero is one who engages in deeds of courage. Conscience involves the development of a moral judgment that opposes the violation of a previously recognized ethical principle.Both Mr. Mandela and Mr. Walesa spoke out against inhumane oppression and systems which dehumanize the individual person by denying citizens basic civil rights, civil liberties and economic opportunity.
NEWS
By DAN BERGER | October 31, 1991
It's trick or treat time at the Royal Palace in Madrid.The good thing about a conference opener at which no one shakes hands is that since it couldn't be worse, it can only get better.Lech Walesa is willing to be the whole government in order to lead Poland away from dictatorship.
NEWS
December 11, 1990
Ten years after leading the strike that gave life to Solidarity, nine years after being jailed, seven years after winning the Nobel Prize for Peace, months after hounding President Wojciech Jaruzelski and Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki from their offices, Lech Walesa is elected president of Poland. It serves him right.The shipyard electrician with a grade school education who became the magnetic leader of the Polish people replaces the Communist general, Mr. Jaruzelski, who had jailed him and suppressed Solidarity before bringing it to power.
NEWS
By Kay Withers and Kay Withers,Special to The Sun | October 5, 1990
WARSAW, Poland -- Premier Tadeusz Mazowiecki announced yesterday that he would run against Solidarity leader Lech Walesa for the presidency of the Polish republic."
NEWS
By WILLIAM PFAFF | October 31, 1991
Paris. -- Poland now has a parliament which accurately reflects the crisis of Poland's society. It is the crisis of all the ex-Communist countries, and is responsible for the confused struggle to discover terms upon which people can not only solve their practical problems but also go on living with one another after what they have done to one another in the past.In the parliamentary elections held Sunday, the major parties representing both of Poland's post-Communist reform prime ministers were rejected.
NEWS
By KAY WITHERS | September 22, 1991
Warsaw. -- During my first winter in Poland I got on the wrong bus for the Parliament. A fellow passenger escorted me off the bus, through a park piled with snow-drifts, to the foot of a hill on which sat the Parliament building.He gestured airily when I thanked him. "No problem," he said, smiling. "I was only going to work anyway."This was no isolated incident. In those days Poles fell over themselves to be hospitable to a stranger.This summer I parked my car, for want of another space, near the doorway of a public lavatory, swearing as I tried to avoid a jagged piece of iron in the gutter.
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