Terrorists are freedom fighters, repressive governments become saviours, and right becomes wrong in the semantic battle.
The implementation of martial law in Poland was a move made by the government to preempt a strike by the independent trade union Solidarity, a strike which would cripple many facets of life in the country and effectively tip the balance of power in the favour of the trade union and other anti- governmental organizations.
The basic facts as given above were subjected to vastly opposing interpretations by the Soviet Union and America. While the Americans upheld the right of the trade union workers to rebel against an oppressive and incompetent government, the Soviets condemned the “subversive” and anti- Polish activities of the group. The Americans look at the struggle as a freedom fight, as a heroic struggle against the unjust. This is immediately evident from the tone of the articles written in the New York Times.
Drew Middleton’s article1for example justifies Solidarity’s strikes and bid for power by comparing the events of the time to the history of Poland’s struggle against Russia. He follows the story of Polish insurrections against Czarist rule, emphasizing the brutality of their control over the Poles, using phrases like “….when he crushed the Polish insurrection of 1830…” when describing the Czar Nicholas the First’s reign. He goes on to impress upon the reader the terrible nature of Russian governance –
He builds up a picture of the subjugation of Poland by Russia in the 19th century, from an analysts point of view, implying the parallel with current (i.e. 1981-82) Communist governance. He clearly sees the Polish Solidarity workers as heroes and valiant fighters against injustice; phrases like “as regularly as the tides, Polish resistance to Russian domination has been reborn and has flourished” clearly point to his comparison between Imperial Russia and