How Wałęsa Is Disgracing Wałęsa

Lech Wałęsa will appear today at a Libertas convention in Madrid: 'Because my name is being dragged through the mud, because I'm being suspected of having sold myself, I'm prolonging this action. Let's fight'.

It will be Mr Wałęsa's second speech for Declan Ganley's pan-European party, following one in Rome. At how many more Libertas rallies has the former president agreed to appear?

'Maybe at one hundred, maybe at two hundred', Mr Wałęsa answers such questions nonchalantly, as if the deal he has struck with Mr Ganley was nothing but his private business.

Well, it is not. Lech Wałęsa, former president, the legendary leader of Solidarity, is not just a private individual, even if that is how the communist authorities very much wanted to have him. Lech Wałęsa is our global brand. Someone to be proud of. Or ashamed of. Everything that concerns him concerns us. Even how he earns his living. Such is the fate of heroes.

Lech Wałęsa is a symbol of peaceful democratic changes in Poland and elsewhere in Europe, our ambassador in the world. And now this ambassador disgraces us.

Firstly, he appears at the rallies of an eurosceptic party, an umbrella organisation for, in Poland for instance, nationalists and populists. And he takes money for it.

Secondly, he comes up with pathetic excuses, such as that he goes to Madrid to tell Mr Ganley that he does not support his views.

Mr Wałęsa has to make up his mind whether he wants to remain a symbol of our freedom or a star for hire - a second-league political player. It is impossible to be both.

Neither hostile IPN prosecutors or historians such as Mr Cenckiewicz, Mr Gontarczyk, or Mr Zyzak, nor the Kaczyński brothers can do as much damage to Mr Wałęsa as Mr Wałęsa himself.

Translated by Marcin Wawrzyńczak