Pathos Without the Politics

Mention the word Smoleńsk anywhere in Poland and you can expect an overtly political or emotional response, one way or another. Anywhere, it would seem, apart from Zakopane, where the unveiling of a monument to mark the second anniversary of the plane crash that killed 96 people including Poland's then president and his wife, passed without polemic. The monument was erected at the church at Olcza, near the shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. The parish priest, Father Miroslaw Kozlowski, said pilgrims had asked for a monument to the victims of Smoleńsk in the Tatra mountain area. Although invited, neither Jarosław nor Marta Kaczyński, brother and sister-in-law of the late President Lech Kaczyński, were able to attend the ceremony. The newspaper Gazeta Krakowska reported that the couple's absence was due to the non-political nature of the ceremony. Father Kozlowski added: "Apparently, their obligations do not allow them to pray with us."

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