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Adam Michnik

  • Polish editor
  • Born October 17, 1946

Adam Michnik (Polish pronunciation: [ˈadam ˈmixɲik]; born 17 October 1946) is a Polish historian, essayist, former dissident, public intellectual, and editor-in-chief of the Polish newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza. Reared in a family of committed communists, Michnik became an opponent of Poland's communist regime at the time of the party's anti-Jewish purges. He was imprisoned after the 1968 March Events and again after the imposition of martial law in 1981. Michnik played a crucial role during the Polish Round Table Talks, as a result of which the communists agreed to call elections in 1989, which were won by Solidarity.


After the French Revolution, it was not the treason of the king that was in question; it was the existence of the king. You have to be very careful when you judge and execute somebody for being a symbol.




I do know that you have to choose between the logic of reconciliation and the logic of justice. Pure justice leads to new civil war. I prefer the negotiable revolution.




Why am I such a Euro-enthusiast? Because I knew it was an anchor of democracy.




The threat to Russia isn't liberal Europe or America. It is nonliberal Islam and nonliberal China. Russia has to change. It can't be otherwise. It will take time. You have to be patient.




Politics and ethics belong to different worlds.




Poland is an ally of the United States of America. It was our duty to show that we are a reliable, loyal, and predictable ally. America needed our help, and we had to give it.




Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Arabs can be elected to the parliament in a democratic election.




Politics is the art of achieving political goals - of achieving what is possible in a given situation - that is, in a situation that has its conditions and its limits.




The ethics of journalism are one thing. Another thing is the ethics of business.




I consider that 9/11 was the day when war was started against my own work and against myself. Even though we are not sure of the links, Iraq was one of the countries that did not lower its flags in mourning on 9/11.




For those of us imprisoned in Poland, the Prague Spring was a harbinger of hope.




The main difference between the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution was that the former was mostly the work of Communist party members and others who wanted to bring about 'socialism with a human face.'




Every revolution, bloody or not, has two phases. The first phase is defined by the struggle for freedom, the second by the struggle for power and revenge on the votaries of the ancien regime.




In Czechoslovakia in 1968, communist reformers appealed to democratic ideals that were deeply rooted in the country's pre-second world war past.




I do not accept being a prisoner of fear. Of Communism, of fascism. That, one can bear. But of one's fear. No. Never.




France can never accept that it is no longer a dominating power in the world of culture. This is true both of the French right and the French left. They keep thinking that Americans are primitive cowboys or farmers who do not understand anything.




Pacifism as a mass movement aims to avoid suffering; pacifists often say that no cause is worth suffering or dying for. The ethos of Solidarity is based on an opposite premise - that there are causes worth suffering and dying for.




I believe that a man can only be useful to his country when he can look at it clearly.




An ethical action, like an unethical action, is usually analyzed by politicians purely in pragmatic terms.




The Polish freedom movement of 1968 lost its confrontation with police violence; the Prague Spring was crushed by the armies of five Warsaw Pact members. But in both countries, 1968 gave birth to a new political consciousness.




I think it's always dangerous to make political arguments in a religiously ideological way. And it's very dangerous to treat as traitors to the American nation those who think differently.




Politics is the art of realizing what there is to realize.




If you're powerful, you are much more likely to be blind and deaf to signals from outside.



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