European blue champagne

Maciej Pinkwart

The blue champagne


1st of May 2004. Today nobody is special interested in celebrating of the workers’ fest… Sunny, warm, springy, a bit of clouds... The cork from the bottle of champagne, drunk this midnight lies in front of me. The champagne was blue, bought in Slovakia, in the shop nearby the border cross in Oravská Polhora, close to Polish Korbielow. We have drunk it with our family in Gliwice, for the occasion of Polish accession to the European Union.

My enthusiasm, even emotion caused by this fact perhaps is a result of this: my family roots are just par excellence European – my grandfather from the Father side, born in Frankfurt am Oder was German, whose ancestors derived from the vicinity of Glogow (Glogau) in Silesia. In that vicinity oldest people remember that before the 2nd WW present village “Bienkow” was named “Pinquart”. And grandmother from the side of my Mother derived from well-known Soltys family from Lwow – the town, which by the History ordain and the order of Josiph Vissarionovich lies in Ukraine by now… But this family conscience I have gained relatively late, meanwhile European enthusiasm I felt long time ago…

However I have never the complexes of “poor relative from the province”, which – as I see – Polish politicians manifest, even those who are reckoned as “Euroentusiasts”. I have not meant – and do not mean now – that Europe should give me anything as a present or indemnity, that I was betrayed by her, cheated and left for prey to red Russian bear. I haven’t thought that we gave the present for Europe when – as Polish actress Krystyna Janda says – The Pope became Pole… I do not think that famous Lech Walesa jump above the wall of Gdansk Shipyard caused the fall of Berlin Wall… I am a historian and I think that the History is the process and is made by geopolitical circumstances, and historical persons only symbolize and manifest them.

I do not wait for additional payments to my farm – because I have none… I do not care for bad changes in VAT tax, because I always have to pay some taxes and all of them are to big…I do not expect that Europe will give me anything for free, because anytime in my life I got nothing for free and anything I have I have got from my own work. My parents have gave me no flat nor car – and thanks God I have not to have any claims to them that they gave me to small flat and to old car. They had nothing and were nobody important; but they were good and honest people and certainly loved me in their own way – what I can appreciate only now, before my own death. Unfortunately – without believing that I shall have any occasion to tell it to them… But I feel grateful to them for being frank and tolerant, for making for me possibilities of profit for the free world. The world was too slow in admit it to me. But I am lucky – I got it. My parents had no such chance.

My daughter kindly agrees that it is an important moment in our live. My grandsons, fortunately, will only be taught about today’s date, like about Battle of Grunwald or Round Table Conference. In my opinion 1st of May 2004 is else more important than any other events in Polish History which have isolated Poland from Europe or only led to today’s date. I can realize that emotions similar to main was an experience of Poles on 11th of November 1918, when Poland has erupted after almost 150 years of slavery and got out from the state absence.

And now, deeping virtues and does not loosing faults, preserving her all peculiarities, bigos, pickled cucumbers and pork-chop cutlets with cabbage – Poland takes a seat by the family European table, as equal among equals. And let it will be a Swedish board, from which everyone can take everything as he likes, as he tastes – without reprimanding for his taste and preferences.

Only this – and as much as this – I expect from the fact of Polish accession to UE. No, I do not resign any benefits, au contraire -  I want from Europe too much more than poor little farmers, then milk factory owners, producing dirty milk from dirty cows, then discharged miners and requalificated founders, then unemployed engineers and uninvested physicians, looking for private salaries in public hospitals. I want even more then euro-candidates to euro-MPs, which expect gigantic appanages for Strasbourg lessons of completely foreign languages (among them – the parliamentary language…). I want even more then euro-protestants from Catholic Family League which treat Polish accession to UE as Anschluss, but they contest a seat in Euro-parliament, because of Polish interest and their own too. I want much more from Europe.

I want the cathedral Notre-Dame in Paris and the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona. I want Shakespeare as my own dramatist and Umberto Eco as my own novelist. I want to stand on my Acropolis and look at my Greece, which had started to form me even before my Rome has conquered her, created my law system and taught me the syntax of accusativus cum infinitivo which I have found some years ago in regional language of Polish highlanders… After my Rome my Christianity had came, which called great antic culture “barbarian” and on the debris of the temples of Zeus and Jove have build churches – my Vatican basilica San Pietro, my London cathedral Saint Paul, my Zakopane Witkiewicz chapel in Jaszczurowka.

Today, on 1st of May 2004, with the sense of owner, I take in hand my Sofokles, my saint Augustine and my Erasmus from Rotterdam, I admire – with a little bit of fear – my Leonardo from Vinci, I do reverence to my Wislawa Szymborska and to my Jostein Gaarder, I am in love with my Monica Belluci and my Sophie Marceau, I try to understand theories of my Albert Einstein and my Stephen Hawking and I dream about deep breath in lavender air of my Provence, about plunging of palm in Baltic water in my Memel… I dream about drinking my favourite wine in my favouriteJerzy Tyszkowski and Maciej Pinkwart Frankonia with my far relatives in my Germany where I shall come from my Poland, crossing my Oder, without answering silly questions: where I’m going to, what I’m passing through, or if I have my passport…

Of course, it could be possible on such condition, that my government of my country will be able to built such motorway, on which my French car could ride in some hours without losing chassis because of road holes.

Long live our freedom in our Europe! Cheers, prosit, salud! Blue champagne is drunk. Made in Europe – Italy, from European oranges and grapes from Spain, bought in European shop in Slovakia, drunk in European glasses in Gliwice (earlier – Gleivitz) in Poland. European champagne. Ours.


Wolfgang's commentary to my text:


Dear Maciek, I read your commentary about Polands membership in EU with great interest, big pleasure and with full congruence. I agree with all you are feeling and thinking. You gave ONE very important secondary object: You are thinking in history dimensions - Jutta and me are thinking and feeling from the same basement, and we are very taken aback, that this historical dimension seemes to be not popular in the European society. To many people have forgotten (or they dont know it), that in this Europe we had to suffer nearly 2000 years under feudal rules, wars, blood and slaveries. On the other side we have a common spirit, we have the same movements of religion, of  philosophy, of writing, of art, we had in Europe the reformation of church with all the following terrible battles, and  - off all - we have the Enlightenment in our history. That all makes ONE history, ONE culture and ONE Unit. With the building of EU first time we start to bethinking that we are united. It's strange, that before this act of European Union we had a time of collapse of destruction and hate with symboles of criminal caricatures like HITLER and STALIN. Sometimes I get the idea, that we needed such signes of apocalypse, but if I remember the over 50 Millions of murdered people and more in these 20 years of 20the century, it's not allowed to speak of a necessity. We only can make a spiritistic consolation: The agonies and dolors of our ancestors are the sacrifices that you and me today can say that all these magnificents in Europe is MINE - is OURs.
We have to see our wonderful future in way of Unit and freedom and not under the ridicul sight of small minded sight of daily changing economy. In all this total synopsis we shell not overlook the problems of the small farmer - he must have a worthely life in this new Europe too, but first time we all are responsible for them, we all between Dublin and Warshaw, between Stockholm and Sicily. That are new dimensions in your and in my Europe.