It seems the more you learn about the great heroes, the more you see their own personal demons. The West’s Eastern favourites, from Yeltsin to Saakashvili, are human too – with all the ugliness that comes with that.
Lech Walesa, a progressive democrat, activist, President from humble beginnings, and Nobel prize winner, made controversial and shocking comments about homosexuals this year:
They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things. And not rise to the greatest heights … spoiling things for the others and taking from the majority, … I don’t agree to this and I will never agree to it. A minority should not impose itself on the majority.
Monika Olejnik stated that he had “disgraced the Nobel Prize.” However, it is not completely without warning that Walesa holds these views, though Poland is slowly becoming more progressive it is entirely possible that Walesa is stuck in the past. Gdansk, his hometown, is extremely conservative in this respect (albeit a wonderful place to visit as the author has). Adam Bielan, a conservative MEP, was surprised that “only now we are noticing that Walesa is not in control of what he says and that [his views are not] politically correct.”
A majority of Walesa’s countrymen oppose gay marriage, and at a campaign rally at the turn of the century he was quoted as implying that gay people need medical treatment. However, in a landmark election two years ago, Poland’s first transexual representative (Anna Grodska) and first openly gay representative (Robert Biedron) were elected.
It seems that Poland is changing, and Lech Walesa is no longer the revolutionary, but just another reactionary.