This Is How the
21st Century Begins
Michnik, Gazeta Wyborcza (liberal), Warsaw, Poland, Sept.
are events in history that become the symbolic indicators of either
hope or terror. The 20th century provided such events: the assassination
of Archduke Ferdinand, which unleashed a great war; the Reichstag
fire, which revealed the repulsive face of fascist nationalism;
the murder of Kirov, which showed what Soviet communism was really
like; Auschwitz, the symbol of the ultimate extermination; Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, which, regardless of their reasons and intentions,
remain a symbol of the dreadful destructive force in the hands of
20th century also had its hopeful signs: the defeat of fascism,
and the Solidarity movement, which began the peaceful dismantling
entered the 21st century full of great hopes, but also anxiety.
Undoubtedly, a sign of hope is that democracy is blossoming in so
many countries. What happened in New York is a symbol of the terror
that the greatest pessimists warned against. The attack was the
deed of madmen whowhoever they areneed no justification,
no legitimacy. It is enough to have money and a dead conscience.
They killed completely innocent people to achieve ends thatobviouslycannot
be reached in this way.
devil whom the world of progress, democracy, and knowledge wished
to bury has unveiled his terrible face.
in Poland, we have felt the tragedies and triumphs of the 20th century
on our own skin. Now we join with the American people in their pain
and despair. We add our cry of outrage.
a former dissident, is the dailys editor in chief.