November 1982: We remember how Lech Walesa stood up to the communists
A couple of weeks ago, we recalled Hungary 1956, or the month that Hungarians fought Soviet tanks.
Today, we recall Lech Walesa, the man who became the face of freedom and anti-communism in Poland 1980:
"In November 1982, overwhelming public outcry forced Walesa's release, but Solidarity remained illegal.
In 1983, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Fearing involuntary exile, he declined to travel to Norway to accept the award. Walesa continued as leader of the now-underground Solidarity movement, and he was subjected to continual monitoring and harassment by the communist authorities.
In 1988, deteriorating economic conditions led to a new wave of labor strikes across Poland, and the government was forced to negotiate with Walesa.
In April 1989, Solidarity was again legalized, and its members were allowed to enter a limited number of candidates in upcoming elections. By September, a Solidarity-led government coalition was in place, with Walesa's colleague Tadeusz Mazowiecki as premier.
In 1990, Poland's first direct presidential election was held, and Walesa won by a landslide."
Walesa's presidency will be judged by historians. Like any other leader, he made mistakes and scored successes.
However, his greatest contribution to world history is that he was a simple man who rose to the occasion in the 1980's. He was a hero, a freedom fighter and a man who challenged Soviet repression.
We must always tell our children about what happened in Hungary 1956, Prague 1968 and Poland 1980s.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up to communist tanks and these men and women did it.