The Smolensk disaster

This morning’s shocking news of the death of President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other prominent Poles in a plane crash near Smolensk is a tragedy for this country. Everybody at Polandian offers their deepest sympathies to the people of Poland and especially to those directly effected by these deaths. The fact that the crash happened as the group were on their way to take part in ceremonies commemorating the Katyn Massacre adds immeasurably to the sadness. The name Katyn, already blackened in the collective consciousness of the Polish people, will forever be associated with another national catastrophe from this day.

The sudden and violent death of a head of state is a severe trial for any nation. That such a large group of other leading figures in Polish society should be killed at the same time will make this a doubly testing time for Poland. Questions are already being asked about responsibility. The aging Tupelov 154 in which the party were flying is bound to come under suspicion, although there is no evidence that it has a worse safety record than other, comparable aircraft.

It has to be said that Kaczynski was not a popular figure among our readers, but nobody would have wished such a sudden and appalling end to his political career.

[later edit by scatts] – I would obviously echo Jamie’s words above. The President was the most senior figure on the aircraft but the list of lost Poles is staggering and not just politicians but the military, religious leaders, historians and many others. Impossible to pick anyone out but my wife is particularly upset by the loss of so many strong & popular female figures as there were so few of them to begin with. Twelve hours on from the tragedy I find a few key points keep repeating themselves in my mind:

1/ Nobody would choose this way out but it does mean Mr. Kaczynski will be remembered very differently to the way he might have been had this not happened.

2/ Excellent opportunity for Mr. Komorowski to secure (or not) his position as the next President of the Republic of Poland.

3/ Why oh why were so many important people on the one plane? The risk profile for this flight was just ridiculous – not the best of planes, crappy airport, poor weather conditions, very early morning and yet crammed full of Poland’s finest. I heard a story that there was another plane doing the same route but that one was full of media people, is that true? If so, why not as a minimum have each plane carry half and half dignitaries and media folk? Not that media lives are less valuable but at least they are not running the country. (I suppose that last point is debatable)

4/ Given the passenger list I find the decision to ignore instructions to land elsewhere quite amazing, especially as they had already had to abort earlier attempts to land at Smolensk. I suppose we will never know, unless the black box recordings have some clues, as to why this decision was made. I have to say it is hard to believe that the pilots made the decision themselves. As has already been commented, was the feeling on the plane that the Russians were just being awkward buggers and therefore instructions were given to land and teach them a lesson? Are we expecting to hear a recording of the pilot saying “I have been instructed to land at your airport….”? The search for an answer to this one may run and run.

5/ What kind of horrid job lies ahead for those charged with identifying and then bringing the bodies back home.

6/ Massive funeral coming up.

Unprompted by us, Zosia drew this and placed it by the television.

President

And one picture from the Palace earlier today

President 2

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90 thoughts on “The Smolensk disaster

  1. Faris Madi says:

    My deepest sympathies to the people of Poland.

  2. Yes, I wish to say what sorry news for Poland and its people. I just looked news report on Television set.

    I say you I am sorry to hear about it, and to all families on this jet that have lost the life.

    Marina.

  3. I’ve been sitting here writing in Starbucks in Wroclaw, and the amount of conspiracy theories being casually thrown around is disconcerting. This tragedy is shocking and damaging without the benefit of jumping to baseless conclusions.

    This country has been tested countless times over the centuries and it’s still here, stronger than ever.

  4. Bartek says:

    I hope despite the huge loss Poland will shake off quickly. Now there is now other way but to move forward, although early presidential election will might shake up Polish political scene. We should avoid turmoil and don’t let the tragedy cause serious disruption to our public life.

    Scatts asked on his blog one good question, namely why so many public figures were on board of one plane.

    I can’t stand the conspiracy theories I’m still hearing and blaming Russians for the tragedy.

    I feel very sorry for the families of the deceased politicians. I sincerely hope they died quickly, without unnecessary suffering, burning alive is the worst kind of death one could imagine.

  5. Stefan says:

    What came across my mind almost the moment I heard the news was the Gibraltar plane crash where General W.Sikorski died. I’m afraid we won’t avoid conspiracy theories. It’s good that politicians and reporters have so far been showing reason and responsibility.

    Anyway the people who wanted to revive the pre-war Poland, the Poland whose representatives were murdered in Katyn, have now lost their lives themselves. This is a sort of the end of an era.

  6. Mike says:

    An unnecessary waste of human life as always. This will certainly reshape the future of Polish politics, but the country will be mourning for a long time. He wasn’t popular, but he is certainly a figurehead in Polish politics and recent history.

    We must not forget the families of those on board who are currently not getting a mention.

    I will be interested to know why the pilot did not divert to Minsk to avoid the bad weather at Smolensk after having to circle 3 times before landing!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Polish_Air_Force_Tu-154_crash

  7. Joanna says:

    Thank you for all. I know, that a good people are still there….love you…
    Joanna from Poland

  8. Mary Lynn says:

    As someone who has had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful country, I wish to convey my deep sympathies to the lovely people of Poland at this difficult time. Our prayers are with you all.

  9. some dude says:

    You know who I feel sorry for? Jaroslaw Kaczynski. He’s lost his family, his friends, his supporters virtually in a moment.

  10. Pawel says:

    What came to my mind when I heard this was the incident involving Lech Kaczynski and his trip to Tbilisi, Georgia. The pilots then judged it was too dangerous to land there, but Mr Kaczynski didn’t care. He started a furious row on board the aircraft. He was late for his appointments, and later demanded pilots be discharged from the army.
    I wondered if it was a similar case this time. Only maybe this time pilots obeyed?

  11. Bartek says:

    From the pieces we get from the media it can be inferred that air traffic controllers urged pilots to land in Minsk or in Moscow, there might have been pressures to land in Smolensk. We’ll probably never know what happened on board, I feel sorry for passengers, after three go-arounds they surely realised what they were in for.

  12. Jeannie says:

    Sending condolences to all who lost loved ones on that flight. It was quite a shock to hear about, indeed.

  13. Adam says:

    It may also be that all those on board decided to go ahead with the landing, treating the advise to land somewhere else as a ‘provocation’. It would not have been the first time or the last that Russian authorities have placed ‘obstacles’ or delays in the way of President Kaczyński. Indeed, the pilot may well have felt himself competent enough to undertake the landing without any need for encouragement.

    Either way it is a tragic day for Polish politics. Now we have the Russian investigation to look forward to and can only hope it will be fully transparent and done in cooperation with Polish authorities.

  14. Jeannie says:

    I am with PAWEL on this one. Bingo.

  15. guest says:

    A big tu-154 is not a small polski fiat. even if teh tower says “pull up” or change the course one can not be 100% if the pilot actually had the chance to do it.

    So plz stop writing your stupid theories until the black boxes are analyzed.

  16. Adam says:

    I would advise against jumping to conclusions. The situation in Georgia was specific. The danger perceived then was totally different i.e. it was the ‘potential threat of finding themselves under fire, the reality of which is disputable. Here we have weather conditions, and it serves no purpose to suggest that there might have been any dispute between the pilot and the president. The information that the pilot was advised against landing should also not be taken at face value. It is far too early to be declaring to know or to be assuming to ‘know’. That sort of behaviour is at best irresponsible and at worst deliberately misleading and intended as an ad personam attack. Please, let’s not go rushing into judgement just yet.

  17. chris mcg says:

    Wow, what a tragedy. I’ll pray for the families tonight. Lets hope they are remembered in the ensuing Presidential dogfight. RIP all who lost their lives today.

  18. Celina says:

    Well, one cannot help creating conspiracy theories. The circumstances are just conducive to it. The top Polish Government officials in a Russian made plane heading for the commemoration ceremony in honour of the victims of the massive crime committed by the Russians? How convenient for some to have all those people with anti-Russian sentiment eliminated at one go. Ok, so perhaps it’s just an uncanny coincidence. Maybe fate can be ironic! And it decided that on the 70th anniversary of those murders Katyń should claim yet more high profile Polish victims.

    And supposing Kaczyński decided to go against the diversion orders (as one of the above contributors suggested) can you blame him for it, considering he had “obstacles” deliberately thrown his way before and had therefore good reason to believe it was just another foul play in order to foil his timely arrival at the ceremony.
    I don’t have any reason to defend him, as I don’t really know him well enough, but these are just my inferences drawn from the facts that came my way.

  19. bajekbe says:

    It’s amazing: when Lech Kaczynski was alive, we watched in tv only his twisted face, bloopers, unpopular opinions, etc. Now we see all day him and his wife smiling, bits of interviews showing his good sides, etc. He finaly gets the respect he deserved as a human, but now it’s a bit to late.
    Journalists, who criticized his presidency now are saying how nice and intelligent he ALWAYS was, but when he was alive they never tried to show his human face to public. It’s sad.

  20. island1 says:

    Pawel? Is that really you? We thought you’d disappeared into a black hole, or Torun.

  21. island1 says:

    Agreed. I’m tempted to delete any conspiracy theories that appear here. This is not the time.

  22. Leszek says:

    If we look at the timing, we can see that there was precious little time to land and get the dignitaries to the site of the commemoration in time for the start – at least, according to the reports, so far. It might be that a decision to land was made simply because diverting the plane to another site would mean forcing everyone to wait until the Polish delegation arrives.

    Conjecture. The black boxes will make it all clearer.

  23. Lon says:

    I am actually touring Poland this week and arrived in Warsaw Saturday morning from Poznan. On the way another passenger told me about the death of Polish President. Could only wonder what scene awaited us in Warsaw… but on arrival all was call and streets normal. Walked from my hostel to the Palace with local friends in pause and reflect with the larger and larger crowd.

    Sad day for sure. But the beauty of democracy is the health of the country does not lie in the individual leaders personality and Poland will recover and move ahead. Yes many many questions will be asked and good ones about aircraft and risk assessments. And of course all major tragedies have conspiracy theories that will never die.

    My heart goes out to the families and friends.

    Blessings. Will be interesting to see what Warsaw is like today.

  24. DeCoy says:

    My condolences go out to all affected by this accident.

    Nice to see the Polish people showing their emotional sympathy with all the candles, flowers and flags (either at half mast or with black streamers).

  25. Mike says:

    We’ve just heard the sirens wailing across Warsaw at 12pm for 2 minutes silence. It gives you goosebumps to hear silence across the city. Very poignant.

    The video of Jaroslaw Kaczynski at the crash site on the BBC website is heartbreaking. The politics will go on, but the families of those lost will live with this forever.

  26. Scatts says:

    Yes, you only have to look at the faces of Jarosław and Donald to see what they are all going through.

    We heard the sirens too but strangely TOK FM we had on in the background was only silent for about 30 seconds. Unless the Chopin they played was supposed to be silence?

  27. Albert says:

    As a friend of Poland I send my condolences to the Polish people. Despite my usual scepticism, this time I can’t stop thinking about a conspiracy.

  28. Mike B... says:

    We will grieve, reflect, investigate and then take the action that is necessary. My late father and all his family was arrested by the NKVD in 1940 in Kalusz. My Uncle Josef was murdered by the NKVD in 1942. General Anders attempted to gather names so that those murdered and the murderers would be known so that after the war the guilty will be prosecuted. Dad fought with the Polish RAF and my other family members fought in Italy. People forget Poles continued fighting in Poland until the early 50’s when the last few hundred were captured and executed.
    It is too late to take action against individuals. It is never to late to fight against cover up and the rewriting of history.
    The Slavs are brothers. We can now be open and truthful. I want the Russians to release their archives in full so the living relatives of those murdered and of those of the murderers can know what sort of people they are related to. Finally I grieve in particular for the man who did so much for the London Polish Government in exile is now dead.
    Remember General Sikorsky and General Anders.

  29. Lon says:

    I was at the Palm tree at 12non when all the horns and sirens went off… thought was a min or two… moving moment… anyway heading to airport early in a few to get out of the way and on my way.

  30. Mike B... says:

    And I have even been re-educated by the Russians I can no longer spell Władysław Eugeniusz Sikorski and Władysław Anders. Maybe we Poles should stop spelling our surnames with “ski” and “ska” and become Ivan Ivanoviches … “sky” and “skya”. Are there no Poles with backbones any more? Honour must always be put first. Were those who gave their lives wrong?

  31. Pawel says:

    It is me;) You know so much to do so little time… I try to have a look at your Polandian posts when I need some comedy;)

  32. GUEST says:

    There were maybe 10 really important persons on board. The rest was either well known politicians, Katyn families representatives and so on (not really more important then mentioned media people). It is said that 88 people died, but please stop saying that all of them were as important as President. Otherwise we would need to use 88 planes.

  33. Peter says:

    A monumental tragedy. Some preliminary observations and questions.Why were so many top officials on the same flight? It seems hard to believe that an experienced pilot would ignore 3 warnings not to land. It’s likely that a superior officer on the flight was directing him. What was the point of this sojourn? The official ceremony with Tusk had already taken place. Kaczynski was vehemently anti-Russian and didn’t like Tusk’s rapproachment with Putin. Was this trip made for political purposes to try and show up Tusk and Putin. And why is the Polisk Air Force still flying 30 year old Tupolevs? One would think that they’d have enough acumen to demand some new Boeings from the Americans in return for Afghanistan and missile defence. Sad, sad , sad.

  34. guest says:

    Why were so many top officials on the same flight?

    -the government and the president (staff) flew in separate planes. One can not really expect that they fly with 5 different planes.

    It seems hard to believe that an experienced pilot would ignore 3 warnings not to land.

    -The airport WAS NOT closed by the Russians. And so the pilot tried to land AND EVERYTHING was OK until 1.5km /~200m. This was the time when the tower said that the pilot should change the course and pull up…but it was not possible (reasons unknown !) and the plane crashed.

    Was this trip made for political purposes to try and show up Tusk and Putin. ?

    -The trip was made for the 22.000 victims who died 70yrs ago, you ignorant.

    And why…still flying 30 year old Tupolevs?

    – the Tupolevs were “brand new” .

  35. Steven says:

    Cock pit recordings will reveal what we all know. It was unsafe to land, the Pres. began to rant as he always does, and this time he killed many many people. Not only that, but he was not invited. It is the PM,s job to travel and attend such ceremonies. It is the Pres, job to be in Poland, running the business of Poland. To avoid the usual bickering and media hype, the PM chose to let him butt in once again, for the last time. What a tragedy indeed.

  36. guest says:

    steven, shut up you F* moron.

  37. The Russians have made no attempt to assassinate much more inconvenient political figures than Kaczyński; they seem quite happy to slaughter their own internal opposition, but don’t currently appear to be in the business of either assassinating or removing from office foreign leaders. Do any of you conspiracy fans really think that they would not have been a little more subtle in trying to kill Kaczyński than on their own territory at such an auspicious moment?
    Rather than get any more heavily into a search for villains and the (usual) suspects, let us try, just for a while, to take measure of the outpouring of sympathy for Poland around the world. Look how strong it appears to be in Russia. All people understand what grief and sorrow is all about; instead of making things worse, this could be a moment for reaching some kind of rapport, give our neighbors room to share our feelings. At the moment it looks like they could rise to the occasion, and that some good could come from this tragedy.

  38. Mike B... says:

    Katyn also represents the 1.5 million Poles deported to Soviet labour camps and the clearance of the Poles from their land which then was the east of Poland. This crime stills needs to be addressed, first by honesty and second by teaching the young who currently live in these areas what actually happened. We can give some credit to the post war Germans and the way they handled their guilt. The Russians are like the Japanese nothing is said in history books and their children are kept ignorant.

  39. island1 says:

    Gentlemen. These are emotional times, but let’s try and keep it civil if we can.

    Steven: This is not the time to be launching personal attacks on a man who has just died in violent and tragic circumstances.

    Guest: Please try and keep you disapproval polite.

  40. island1 says:

    The Russian response is very interesting and represents and real opportunity for new trust and respect between Poland and Russia. It looks like the Russians are trying very hard to be as supportive as possible. There was incredible footage last night of Putin and Tusk huddled around a monitor, exchanging whispered conversation, as Putin received reports of the recovery operation.

  41. domingo says:

    As for that allegedly crappy tupolev, famous Air Force One is the same age:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_VC-25

  42. 4 OJ 4,5 says:

    Nor is it the time to be launching conspiracy theories as PISsers are doing. And yes, it will be much more civil to blame the president later when all the available facts are revealed. But more likely the pilot will be blamed even though it would seem he was only following orders.

  43. Peter says:

    True, but you’re not seriously comparing Air Force One with this TU-154, are you? Even Aeroflot has stopped flying this aircraft. Would the Americans have sent VP Biden, the head of the Joint Chiefs, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and scores of other top echelon officials on the same flight. This was unbridled stupidity and hubris. Two other facts have come out. The Smolensk airfield is a small military one with no ILS (instrument landing system). Attempting to land there at night with zero visibility and no localizers was a very bad decision. In addition the controllers there only spoke Russian so there were likely serious difficulties in communicating. We’ll get a better idea of what happened when the CVR transcripts are released.

  44. Kuba says:

    Lets observe the mouring period of a week like all of Poland. It is a tragic time and we should respect those who have passed.

  45. Steven says:

    Guest, act like a guest, And Island, it,s not a personal attack, it,s a fact, The man had a history of butting in and flying to many places the PM was invited to go.Several times it,s been documented that pilots are put into tight, political situations by this man, and this time he went too far. The obvious will soon be revealed in recordings. Terrible tragedy, brought on by an insane little man.

  46. I wish to say that Russia is not my favourite nation in our world, although with our new President here in Ukraine I may well be learning it’s national anthem very soon.

    But, to my mind, it of the absolute certainty that firstly Russia played no part in this tragedy, it does not invite such important people from Poland to its land only to murder them, Russia has no such murderous quarrel with Poland, differences about USA missile location and Polands continued support for Ukraine’s hopeful enter to EU, but these are differences, not matters that enrage Russia to thoughts of harming Polish people.

    Secondly I believe Russia will do all to investigate this terrible thing that has happened. It knows for sure that the world is watching, it maybe even learn the lesson during Kursk tragedy when it was condemmed by much of world for not holding quick and good investigation.

    This my view.

    Here our newcasters are speaking about this tragedy every hour on our Television sets and Radio’s, I do not yet look newpaper but I believe they will be doing such also.

    To my mind Poland is a good friend to Ukraine, never Soviet owned but I still think our Soviet comrade because of our histories together.

    I say you again I am sorry this terrible thing has happened to Poland.

    Marina.

  47. Scatts says:

    Just a point of detail – it wasn’t at night, it was nearly 11 am Russian time.

  48. Scatts says:

    I liked the way they appeared to be looking at and talking to a black suitacse! Obviously one of those special issue KGB field ops communications devices.

    I agree, this is a great time for Poland and Russia to kiss and make up. Not sure that’s possible though but we can hope.

  49. guest says:

    Can you just shut up please ?

    Take your pills and go back whereever you came from. [excessive rudeness cut–sorry guys, take your name-calling somewhere else]

  50. guest says:

    the time is great, but the price is way too high. Way too high.

  51. Celina says:

    Can anyone come up with a good reason why the black box went to Moscow rather than Warsaw? Is there a chance it could be tampered with?

    Could it be that adverse weather conditions provided the perfect cover-up for any ill intentions? How about the display of the Russian sympathy? Is it genuine? Just a thought.

  52. Scatts says:

    I know, but the price just seems to be getting higher and higher all the time. Surely it has to end somewhere?

  53. Peter says:

    I think there is no chance the Russians murdered Kaczynski and the other’s on that plane.

    As cruel as it sounds there really was not anyone worth killing.

    In todays age pulling off such a massive conspiracy is extremely difficult. If it failed (and it most likely would have failed) the ramifications would be disastrous.

  54. island1 says:

    Nothing strange about it. Air accidents are investigated by the aviation authorities in the country where the accident took place, the nationality of the plane and the passengers is irrelevant. When Pan Am Flight 103 (a US aircraft) was bombed over Lockerbie in Scotland the initial investigation was carried out by the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch. After it became clear that the crash was the result of criminal activity the investigation was handed over to the Scottish police, who worked in collaboration with the FBI.

  55. PMK says:

    I’ll bite and throw in my two cents: I think it was pilot error.

    Well, it’s a huge tragedy, and I think they should stem the loss to their government and worry less about conspiracy theories (although, I think no one is giving real weight to the story that the Russians killed them.)

  56. Steven says:

    Bite me guest, I,ll say what I want, when I want, and exactley how I want. [excessive rudeness cut–sorry guys, take your name-calling somewhere else]

  57. 2,4 OJ 44 says:

    Pilot error? He was following orders. If you want to observe a week of mourning, then mourn the pilot, too.

    Stop blaming a pilot who had to answer to Kaczynski, God have mercy on his soul. What happened to the pilot who refused to land for Kaczynski in a war zone in Georgia?

    The black box went to Russia because the crash occurred in Russia.

    Cover up? Fake displays of sympathy on the part of millions of Russians? Please. Who is being disrespectful and a bit whacky now?

    Disgusting.

  58. wildphelps says:

    The Koreans have a concept called “Han” that is difficult to translate. Roughly, it is a collective sadness that is born of the tragedies in Korean history and is shared across generations and time by all Koreans. Han is felt so deeply, it penetrates to the very soul of a person and to the nation. However, despite the sadness, there is still hope (or so my students tell me). It cannot have been easy, historically, to have been located between China and Japan. Hence, Han.

    Similarly, it has never been easy to be between Russia and Germany. That has been Poland’s reality. The relationships and history are much too complicated for a forum post note, and perhaps as an outsider, I can never fully feel or understand the history, the relationships, or the consequences that have come with Poland’s geography. But I can (and do) admire and love Poland and its people. It was my home for the better part of a decade, and I have family there.

    While I was never a huge fan of President Kaczynski, one never wishes such ill on others. Nor do I wish for more grief for Poland related to Katyn – that “cursed” place as President Kwaśniewski so aptly described it.

    As we watched Wajda’s film “Katyn”, I watched my wife struggle at times with the film’s narratives used to try to portray an entire nation’s grief and frustration at the tragedy, the lies, the denials. To experience a tragedy like Katyn is traumatic – not to be allowed to come to terms with it or openly to grieve and to have an honest reckoning is perhaps worse. And while I could not fully feel or share the pain or anger she felt as a Pole, I could feel and share her pain as her husband; it bothered me to see her hurting.

    To say that Poland has its own sense of Han is not necessary. For those of you who know Poland and its people, well… you know.

    Now for Poles, Katyn will be associated with more sadness. But ultimately there is hope. President Kaczynski was adamant in having a reckoning on what happened 70 years ago. And in the last few months there has been more dialogue and discussion about what happened than ever before. It is not the full disclosure that Poland deserves, but it was a modest start. With this tragedy, the world has an opportunity to learn of the evil that happened in those forests. Can that not be a small bit of hope? That there be cooperation and conversation?

    Poland is a place that can be stunningly beautiful and stunningly sad at the same time. In the Han Poles will experience these next few days, I desire above all else that they also have a sense of hope. Hope that the leaders not lost will provide stability. Hope for better days. Hope for the truth. Hope for forgiveness.

    Yes, sadness, yet, ultimately there is hope.

  59. island1 says:

    Charles Crawford has a thoughtful and well-informed analysis of Kaczynski’s legacy on his site:

    http://charlescrawford.biz/blog/the-legacy-of-lech-and-maria-kaczynski-si-monumentum-requiris-circumspice

  60. island1 says:

    Fascinating parallel.

  61. Bartek says:

    I just had a quick flick through your comments, too many conjectures here. Black box record should reveal the truth.

    two other things I noticed:
    1/ more and more poeple discern the great hypocrisy – those who slung mud at presidents a few days ago since Saturday have been almost worshipping him.
    2/ media coverage and ordinary people went separate ways – I spent the whole day in Warsaw and almost nobody talks about the tragedy, people behave normally, smile, live on, but are nicer to one another – reassuring.

  62. wildphelps says:

    Your second observation mirrors what friends told me about the days after the passing of John Paul II – that people were nicer and more patient towards one another. The same was also true of the US after 9/11.

    Why does it take a tragedy to make us be civil to each other?

  63. 4 OJ 4,5 says:

    OMG, what dreadful drivel in the prison planet nonsense! Is the international banking cartel a codename for Jews? Wstyd!

  64. 4 OJ 4,5 says:

    Like nothing “the intellectuals” said was true?

    C’mon.

    BTW, can a black box pick up an order that is off microphone? I think not.

  65. Stefan says:

    The ‘Han’ notion is very inspiring. Your utmost accurate observations are really something I, as a Pole, am grateful for.

  66. Bartek says:

    What is happening now is better than what I observed after the Pope had died. Now people are more straightforward.

    I was at high school five years ago. Everyone who’d swear, smoke, binge-drink for a week got converted and later return to their normal sinful lifestyles.

    The worst was when my classmates wanted to go for a Papal mass, but they “got lost” and ended up sipping beer in a pub. Or maybe when another classmate, a hard-line atheist refused to take part in prayers outside school and was lambasted for not keeping in line. To jest Papież, ja pie**ole was the biggest argument against him.

    Now it’s all more sincere. I hope it stays so for longer, not in politics but between ordinary Poles. A good rule is to treat a fellow man as if it was the last day of his life, so that we don’t regret and don’t try to make up like a lot of people who ridiculed Kaczynski do now.

  67. guest says:

    take your pills.

  68. guest says:

    The pseudo intelectuals.

  69. Scatts says:

    Why does it take a tragedy to make us be civil to each other?

    Because it brings people back down to earth and makes them realize what is truly important. Sadly, it doesn’t last very long.

  70. 4 OJ 4,5 says:

    Ah, and you are one of the true “intellectuals.” It’s so obvious from your comments above, guest.

  71. domingo says:

    You, on the other hand, have lost the ability to use your own brain long time ago. It’s so convenient – to let the “opinion-forming” media think for you, isn’t it?

  72. Celina says:

    What I queried was the display of sympathy by the Russian officials. Of course Putin is friendly with Tusk, as he’s his ally, unlike that late bunch on a plane who were his adversaries. Don’t you query the “fate” which played so perfectly into Putin’s hands? He really got more than he could ever bargain for. His adversaries out of the way has unblocked the doors that were preventing his influence over Polish affairs.
    As to the black box, there’s no parallel with America and Scotland, because those 2 nations are in the same camp (so to speak) and united in that tragedy, which is not the case here. That’s why the conspiracy theories are likely to abound as long as there’s no sound evidence to the contrary.
    My twopenn’orth.

  73. 4 OJ 4,5 says:

    More drivel.

  74. 4 OJ 4,5 says:

    Somehow I still manage to function, feeding myself, brushing my teeth, caring for my family. You?

    What is this “opinion forming” media you speak of? Fox News? Rush Limburger? Glenn Beck? Rupert Murdoch?

  75. island1 says:

    Not very long at all, judging by the direction some threads in this comment section are taking.

  76. Bartek says:

    For those who are on facebook a new campaign I’ve already joined – Lech Kaczyński should not be buried on Wawel (in Polish). Poland is on a verge of paranoia…

  77. Steven says:

    Alot of really stupid jokes already flying all over Norway. These people have a really strange and absurd sense of humour that even I as an American find very shocking. I.E. and this is not to be funny or take away from this tragedy.. On a Nor. radio station this morning…Don,t worry no painters or strawberry pickers were lost….

    These people are very strange and dark humoured indeed. Even I take offence, and I have always detested that little man…

  78. Scatts says:

    I’ve been in Frankfurt all day and just got home to hear this news from my wife, who is equally as shocked as I am.

    Strangely enough, I had a feeling this was going to happen. So where will they bury Lech Walesa, for example? For that matter, any past President of Poland? I suppose Wawel is going to be a busy place. I think as a minimum we need an explanation of this decision, like “Every President will be buried there so this is not special treatment for Kaczynski”.

    I note from here that “The decision was taken by the late president’s twin-brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his daughter Marta.”. This suggests to me that either:

    1/ From now on any President’s family will get a free choice on where they want the burial to be.
    or
    2/ Lech Kaczyski is getting special treatment because of the tragic circumstances = complete nonsense and unfair to every other significant Pole every buried or to be buried outside of Wawel.

    I think this is now in danger of becoming rather embarrassing.

  79. Anglopole says:

    Another irony of this tragedy is that the disaster of last Saturday has served as a platform for the Katyn massacre of 70 years ago to become known all over the world… and this was the late President’s purpose of the trip he’s never completed…
    As for me personally, the sad events have reminded me that I may be a resident or a citizen in another country, may hold one, two or more passports, BUT… seeing so many prominent/or not Poles being killed at one go will always touch me to the core… because no matter what, I will always be Polish.

  80. Pawel says:

    Wawel is a place that belongs to all Poles. It is not fair that some people feel the right they can decide these things themselves. Wawel burial should be reserved only for those situations, where indeed everybody thinks its right. Which is definetely not this case.

    People are actually quite angry at this desicion, like – everyone I talked to. The Facebook group got 22.000 people in few hours… And people plan demonstrations.

    Will they take this decision back (if its still possible after police and other services started preparations) or go forward woth this farce?

    It seems that people are very divided on this one. There is a very strong and numerious opposition, but some people do support Wawel.

  81. former dweller says:

    What a sad , sad group of people who stir up all the b.s. conspiracy theories. Russia this, Putin that. American jews. etc.. Its only 5 days after the crash, and I have heard them all. Too many of you are deaf ,dumb and blind.
    B.T.W
    Most people disliked this idiot before the crash. He was surely going to lose the upcoming elections. Now every other Pole is claiming to have been a supporter. Burying him along with Kings and national heroes. LOL.
    What a joke.

  82. Celina says:

    Hear! hear!

  83. Agnieszka says:

    Really? How do you know he was going to lose the elections? I guess you watch TVN and read Gazeta Wyborcza. You must be a very sad person if that’s all you can say after the tragedy. He was supposedly disliked by most people before the previous election and somehow the people of Poland chose him. Hmm, how can you explain that? Let me give you a clue. The media in Poland is owned by people who don’t like patriots and uncorrupt politicians. In fact, it seems that the media is antipolish.

  84. Agnieszka says:

    Let’s get something straight. Lech Kaczyski was a great president and that’s what a vast majority of Poles think. People of Poland have been manipulated by the media and now they have opened their eyes. The nation voted with the candles flowers and long queues to pay respect to the president. It doesn’t matter what the media says now as nobody of a sound mind will believe it. Also, the protest against the burial place at Wawel was an organized pathetic propaganda of Platforma Obywatelska and Donald Tusk.

  85. Amazonka says:

    One cannot ignore “conspiracy” theories, for lack of a better word, especially when there is firsthand video of exactly how survivors were killed:

    Puting is only laughing.

  86. Amazonka says:

    One cannot be so quick to dismiss a conspiracy, especially when there is THIS to refute any claims of pilot error or an accident:

    Putin is only laughing…

  87. […] be honest, the reason I stopped doing them was because so many prominent Poles were killed in the Smolensk disaster that for a long time I couldn’t be sure the people in the pictures I had chosen weren’t […]

  88. "gość" says:

    Zaczadzeni postsowiecką kłamliwą propagandą, prowadzicie pseudointelektualne dysputy.
    Czy nie byłoby lepiej, gdyby z poczucia wewnętrznej intelektualnej uczciwości postarać się docierać do prawdy na ten temat?
    Ja wiem, że olbrzymia większość ludzi, to tzw. “ludzie dobrej woli”, bez których zło byłoby niczym, ludzie którzy popierają zło, święcie wierząc,że popierają dobro.
    Mówiąc brutalniej, większość ludzi to tzw. “pożyteczni idioci”, z którymi “trzymający pieniądze i władzę” robią wszystko co zechcą dla realizacji swoich zbrodniczych interesów.

  89. Anonymous says:


    TU 154 Crach

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