It is true that comprehensively holistic approach requires an observation of matters behind the structures and policies of the states. This concern not only economic fundamentals, being spotted in times of economic and financial turbulences, but also and more importantly an understanding of a rich cultural tradition, an existence of great thinkers and believers, the ones who created history. It goes far beyond territorial borders and fells into an area of doctrines, schools or paradigms. This was truly evident in a post war Europe, by witnessing in its western part a cultural and intellectual diaspora of political émigrés from the occupied East European countries. Jerzy Giedroyc who after a war for fifty years has been living in Paris (he died in 2002), was one of them and could be called a great man of great influence in post war European politics, qualified with less borders and more beliefs (some may notice today a reverse trend, but this would be a part of another discussion).
As a publicist, Giedroyc was publishing in Paris a monthly journal of literature and political thought “Kultura”. As a political figure, he was a influencing many politicians by his writings and by keeping a cultural gravity for many thinkers, who later were architecting a fall of Soviet empire and were in the frontlines of reuniting Europe. As a producer, he gathered a circle of believers and friends, willing to act and cherishing a tradition of statehood, which was taken from occupied East European states. As a citizen, he was a Polish of Lithuanian nobel family Giedraičiai born in Minsk of Belarus in 1906.
Giedroyc was a man of morals, not afraid to defend them. He was a man of Paris and less of London, where political circles of Eastern European émigrés were forming. Certainly, not of Washington, though he was in good relations with Brzezinski and kept many contacts there. Giedroyc was man of shades, of nuances. He was not a supporter of a divide between friends and enemies that was well accommodated in a polarity of the cold war. He granted a refuge to Czeslaw Milosz, a Nobel Prize winner for literature and “a last citizen of Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth” as he called himself, who was refused by circles of London. He was a man of values, not of a real politik. He believed in partnership, not in dominance.
Giedroyc had his vision of Central and Eastern Europe living in harmony – Poland, the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine not dominating over each other, but sharing and defending common values and their independence. It was achieved with Poland, the Baltic States, or other Central European Countries entering the EU, however, this is not yet a case for the EU Eastern Partners.
That vision and these beliefs today have a chance to flourish. The EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius of Lithuania, who now is a rotating presidency of the EU, will be held on 28-29 November 2013. It is expected that it will give a hand to EU Eastern Partners by bringing a new perspective to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, or even to autocratic Belarus. The initiating or signing of Association Agreements with a deep and comprehensive economic and free trade area with EU will open a new page in this relationship and will contribute to independent and proactive policies of EU Eastern Partners.
Once again infused by beliefs we may witness a creation of history.
Photo: House of Jerzy Giedroyc, Maisons-Laffitte, Paris, 2013