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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

1 May 2017
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The never-ending Polish – Lithuanian neighbour dispute

Aage Myhre A few years ago my wife and I fell into conversation with two Poles in Oslo. When they heard that my wife was from Lithuania, they were quick to assert that the Vilnius area is actually Polish and never should have been given to Lithuania after World War II. My wife immediately responded that the area Punsk in eastern Poland in reality is Lithuanian and should be re-incorporated into the mother-country. The dispute was in full swing.

I have subsequently many times seen texts reminiscent of history forgery when Polish and international historians describe the Polish-Lithuanian relations in the later Middle Ages. The relationship is often described as if Poland was the leading nation and Lithuania a province in the east, while the reality was as the map above shows, with Lithuania as Europe’s biggest nation for centuries.

But Lithuania is not much better in its attitudes versus Poland and the Poles.
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Comments

I have a colleague, who is from the US and is probably of Polish descent (don't know for sure), who once asked me which country I from (answer: Lithuania) and then asked which part of Lithuania: Lithuanian or Polish?

Arunas Teiserskis I have a colleague, who is from the US and is probably of Polish descent (don't know for sure), who once asked me which country I from (answer: Lithuania) and then asked which part of Lithuania: Lithuanian or Polish? I told him in response that there is no such thing and Polish or Lithuanian parts, only the small section of country, which was occupied by Pilsudsky in between WWI and WWII and that's the only time it was considered Polish. Well, he never said hello to me again, always pretend he's looking other way
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What shocked and worried me when my wife and I met the said two Poles in Oslo, was their intrusive insolence and arrogance in relation to Lithuania

Aage Myhre Arunas Teiserskis, What immediately shocked and worried me when my wife and I met the said two Poles in Oslo, was their intrusive insolence and arrogance in relation to Lithuania. My wife is not a person who gets 'impressed' by such, but I personally got a lot of food for thought. Especially knowing that it now is more than 70 years since the Polish occupation of Vilnius and South-West Lithuania came to its end...
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Poles still consider that they haven't regained their losses

Arunas Teiserskis  Well, it can be explainable. Contemporary Polish national psyche was constructed on the notion, that Poland was one of the biggest victims of WWII. Well, it was actually - but the devil is in the details. Not only it was first invaded by Germany and subsequently Soviets, but it was partitioned and remained so after the war. It took almost 60 years for Poland to become fully independent, but Poles still consider that they haven't regained their losses - territorial, in this particular case. Despite the fact that some of those territories there gained by dubious means soon after the regaining of Polish independence after WWI. By trying to tell that to them, is like telling victim of the crime, that it is responsible for it, at least in some way. It will always hurt and it will be met very emotionally. The situation (on both Lithuanian and Polish sides) won't change to the better, if the self-created and self-pitying national legends will be promoted still further and further.
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Lithuanians (and Polish alike) should take note of Irish example

Arunas Teiserskis Actually I have genuine Polish colleagues as well, and we are still friends, despite having argued on another eternal question - Adam Mickewicz: was he Polish or Lithuanian?  Well in that case, Ireland's example (I live in Dublin) was a good example. It actually shows, that you may be Irish by being native English speaker and local writers may be considered both Irish and English without trying to monopolise them just for one nation. I think Lithuanians (and Polish alike) should take note of Irish example in this particular case.
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The real tragedy is that Lithuanian history, for over 200 years, has been misrepresented, maligned, and hi-jacked

Jon Platakis The real tragedy is that Lithuanian history, for over 200 years, has been misrepresented, maligned, and hi-jacked by foreign occupiers and even our neighbors.
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If you want the west to know the history of Lietuva, you have to tell them in English

Ida Hardy But isn't that true of all history in every country everywhere? I mean how far should we all go back in order to determine whom should be given which land and what do we do with the people living there now?

How do we spread the truth of the history of Lietuva? Tell the correct versions to your children and remind them of what was - but here we are - so many years later. Teach everyone the songs of our people and keep the rituals and the respect for nature. That's how. Where are the bi-lingual stories and songs for children? If you want the west to know, you have to tell them in English.
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Reconnecting 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation, non-Lithuanian speaking individuals

Jon Platakis That is exactly what we, at the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame, are attempting to do, reconnecting 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation, non-Lithuanian speaking individuals, who have a Lithuanian heritage, to their roots. We have been successful in introducing books with Lithuanian content in some public schools. We have taken the lead in debunking the notion that Lithuania was a mere grand duchy and that her rulers were mere grand dukes. It is through our people that we will grasp the opportunity to tell Lithuania's story.
Category : Opinions



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