“Barbarity is the word to describe this situation. It is hard to talk about it,” says Father Kiedrowicz referring to the Smolensk crash.
SCND: April 16, 2016
The funeral of tragically deceased General Andrzej Błasik (left in the photo) will take place on Jasna Góra. His ashes will be buried at the National Remembrance Temple. Błasik’s remains were found at the site of the Smolensk crash by participants of the Katyn Rally.
Father Marek Kiedrowicz talks about the funeral.
wPolityce.pl: What were the circumstances in which the participants of the Katyn Rally discovered the remains of General Andrzej Błasik?
Father Marek Kiedrowicz: In September 2010, when on our way to Katyn, we stopped at the Smolensk crash site. The remains were discovered in the muddy, unfenced area, six months after the tragedy. Polish archaeologists came to examine the site a month later. “This is a mass grave and fragments of victims’ remains are still embedded in the Smolensk soil,” said Maksymilian Frątczak from the Institute of Prehistory UAM. When motorcyclists discovered two parts of bones, we had no doubts that those were human remains. We secured them and transported to Poland as carefully as we could. They were passed to Garrison Proseccution in Gdynia, where I was informed that they would be identified in order to inform the families. This is how we know that the remains were those of General Andrzej Błasik, the Air Force Commander.
Did you witness the discovery?
No, they were found by my fellow Rally participant, Waldemar. I secured them and brought them back to Poland.
How did you react to the fact that victims’ remains were still being discovered in Smolensk six months after the crash?
Sadly, I was not surprised. Information, that human remains could be discovered among the aircraft’s parts and victims’ personal belongings, was repeated on TV, in programs such as Anita Gargas’ "Misja Specjalna". Despite that, this situation is hard to comprehend, and even harder to talk about. The initial negligence has resulted in a situation that goes against our culture and our religion. It is unthinkable that several burials could be organized together, even worse – that remains could be added to already buried bodies. Lack of respect for the victims’ bodies, disregard for their families, and pretending that there is no issue... the best word to describe this situation is barbarity.
How do you think situations such as re-burials of Smolensk crash victims affect their families?
Such situations deepen the unhealed wounds of the families, none of us is able to comprehend the extent of their suffering. Those families live in a permanent mourning. Many of the families have no certainty that the remains of their close ones have been buried in the right graves. These families need our care, support and prayer. That is the least we can do. They need peace and subtlety, but they also need support in their quest for the truth about their loved ones. We cannot stay silent.
How do you feel about the ceremony on Jasna Góra, and what are your reasons to participate in it?
It is extremely important for me to be able to contribute towards a dignified and respectful send-off of the victims’ remains. We, the motorcyclists of the Katyn Rally, feel honored to be able to participate in this service. I personally brought the remains of General Błasik back to Poland. You could say, I have become his aide. It is a tremendous honor, but also a responsibility. Thus, I try to accompany the General and his family in his final journey. My fellow Rally participants think the same. When I think about the Smolensk crash, I know that something very bad happened on that day, and that something bad continues to take place. Therefore, we need to act as best and as appropriately as we can. We owe it to those who died in the service to Poland and to their families.
From the Editor's Desk: A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption.
In 2007, a group of law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear.
From the Editor's Desk: A chilling and unflinching portrait of one of the most fearsome figures in world politics.
In 1999, the “Family” surrounding Boris Yeltsin went looking for a successor to the ailing and increasingly unpopular president. Vladimir Putin, with very little governmental or administrative experience - he’d been deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, and briefly, director of the secret police - nevertheless seemed the perfect choice: a “faceless” creature whom Yeltsin and his cronies could mold in their own image. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see in him the progressive leader of their dreams - even as Putin, with ruthless efficiency, dismantled the country’s media, wrested control and wealth from the business class, and destroyed the fragile mechanisms of democracy.
From the Editor's Desk: "Blowing Up Russia" contains the allegations of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko against his former spymasters in Moscow which led to his being murdered in London in November 2006. In the book he and historian Yuri Felshtinsky detail how since 1999 the Russian secret service has been hatching a plot to return to the terror that was the hallmark of the KGB.
Vividly written and based on Litvinenko's 20 years of insider knowledge of Russian spy campaigns, Blowing Up Russia describes how the successor of the KGB fabricated terrorist attacks and launched a war. Writing about Litvinenko, the surviving co-author recounts how the banning of the book in Russia led to three earlier deaths.
Already during the first night of the crash, the Russians were removing the most important pieces of evidence from the crash site, that is, the remains of the Polish President’s Tupolev, TU-154M. Parts of the aircraft were transported away without any prior planning, and some of them were purposefully destroyed. Read more here
"Russian Image Management"
The trip to Smolensk was expected to highlight Russia finally admitting culpability in the massacre, after long having blamed it on the Germans, an atrocity they had tried to conceal for over 70 years.
As for the reception committee, it had different ideas. Putin wasn’t looking forward to such an occasion. Into this poisonous reception brew was President Kaczynski’s well-known public criticism of Moscow and Putin, a habit that has ended the lives of others within Russia – and abroad. A few discouraging Russian requirements – that Kaczynski could not attend in any official capacity – did not halt the Poles. Kaczynski would go anyway on non-official, “personal” business. To Russians, such a distinction would be meaningless, not lessening the possible international excoriation of such an event. A problem ripe for a modern, Russian solution: a tragic, ‘natural’ accident.
World-renowned forensic pathologist goes on the record: "I have been doing autopsies for 50 years, and I've investigated more than fifteen, twenty airplane crashes […] I've been in countries all over the world where families think that the government is hiding something. Whether it is Zimbabwe or Israel, or Philippines, the government may not like an outside person checking to make sure they got it right. [But,] they never interfered with that. The family, the next of kin, always has the right to do what the wishes of the family are. In the 21st century, the body of the dead person no longer belongs to the state. It belongs to the family. So, it is unusual - something that I have never experienced before - where the government [of Poland] has not permitted the famil[ies]" to conduct independent forensic examinations of their loved ones' remains [...] I've never heard of a body coming back to a country and the family being unable to open up a casket. I've never heard of the family not being able to get an autopsy… Read more here
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