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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Lessons of great editor

Participants of Lviv Discussion Club started the intellectual season with cognizing of the journalistic oeuvre of Jerzy Giedroyc, which was published in The Day’s book series “Subversive Literature”
26 February, 2014 - 17:35

After short vacations the participants of the Discussion Club gather again to discuss another personality from the series of The Day, “Subversive Literature.” This time, taking into account the situation in the country, the participants of the discussion chose for reading the book by Jerzy GIEDROYC From the notes of an Editor. Having shortly familiarized themselves with the biography of the outstanding Polish writer and publicist, the participants of the Discussion Club continued with familiarization with the policy of the magazine Kultura, with Giedroyc being its founder and chief editor. One of the main ideas of the newspaper, according to the participants of the discussion, was that the main staff of the publication was always surrounded by people who contributed and helped Kultura. So, the newspaper always had new and fresh thoughts.

Giedroyc’s thoughts concerning the Ukraine-Lithuania-Belarus concept turned out to be interesting as well for the participants of the discussion. Many of them discussed the Polish-Ukrainian dialog, where the discussion developed. Students divided into those who were sure that Giedroyc thought about Ukraine only from the point of strategy and those who considered that his thoughts and ideas were disinterested. It should be noted as well that Giedroyc considered namely the dialog as the most efficient form of achieving the result. For young journalists it was very interesting to get to know the opinions of the editor namely in this period, for at some point of time Poland was in a similarly complicated situation. Intellectuals, whose thoughts and recommendations of that time, Giedroyc’s in particular, Ukrainians should take on board, helped to solve the conflict. For Ukraine is a bridge between the East and the West (namely a bridge, not a buffer state, Jerzy Giedroyc noted), which can be used very successfully. And he offered to do so, only on Polish example.


Tetiana RUSINKEVYCH, first-year student of the journalism department, Ivan Franko National University in Lviv:

“After reading the book From the Notes of an Editor, I discovered Jerzy Giedroyc above all as a diplomatic journalist. The fact that he not only managed to publish his periodical Kultura, but also made it popular and influential is an extraordinary phenomenon. We, journalists, have much to learn from the outstanding editor. Even more interesting are Giedroyc’s efforts towards Polish-Ukrainian dialog, its mechanisms of solving problems between the neighboring countries in Central-Eastern Europe. I also like that not only does he broach burning issues, but also answers them, offers a program of actions, in particular, for the Polish government. Giedroyc does not idealize his Fatherland, he points at disadvantages of his people, which should get rid of their arrogance concerning close people. The concept Ukraine-Lithuania-Belarus, promotion of the idea of their independence reformatted a considerable part of Polish minds, especially concerning our state. Probably, for the editor Ukraine was above all a strategic ally, for if Ukraine, Lithuania, and Belarus cooperated, Poland should have reinforced its positions in Europe. However, Giedroyc offered to reset the cultural sphere as well, which envisaged mutual learning of history, religion, and science of neighboring countries. Unfortunately, the personality of the outstanding journalist is underestimated in our country. But wasn’t it thanks to his effort that namely Poland was the first to recognize the independence of Ukraine, and Balkan model did not repeat with us?”

Lilia TULUPENKO, fifth-year student of the journalism department, Ivan Franko National University in Lviv:

“Real recognition of personality of Jerzy Giedroyc, known in the intellectual and political circles of Europe under no other name than the Editor with a capital letter, took place in his lifetime on the level of modern Polish political and cultural generation.

“Jerzy Giedroyc was the first Pole, who in the after-war years started to ponder over what Poland’s relations with Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Russia should be. Giedroyc was from the galaxy of strategists with a special feeling of the world, who was not seduced by uncertain today, rather he built a vector of transformations in long prospect.

“The Polish editor, who was strict and demanding like a father to his own country, criticized the short-sighted nationalism of his compatriots. The intellectual called to get rid of any desire for Lviv and Vilnius and focus on working on their own literary and political culture. In conclusion Giedroyc laid foundation for education of Polish independent opinion and led the Polish literature to a qualitatively new European level.

“So, Geidroyc helped Poland to assert itself namely as a European country. And this merit is more important than all political, economic, and military achievements. However, Poland would not have been able to become a full-fledged participant in the EU and NATO, if Giedroyc did not hold the previous revision on people’s reconsidering themselves as a Polish society.

“Why Ukrainians today should familiarize themselves with Pole Jerzy Giedroyc?

“Giedroyc for the whole time of his painstaking work as an editor in all ways helped to reinforce the Polish-Ukrainian dialog on the level of equality and mutual respect. Owing to Giedroyc’s publications, the Western world saw and discovered Ukrainian writers from the constellation of ‘Executed Renaissance,’ who were executed in the 1930s.

“At that time, when Ukraine did not exist as an independent subject on political map of Ukraine, a Pole from Minsk, Giedroyc together with leading Ukrainian intellectuals and publicists created on the pages of Parisian Kultura the contours of European Ukraine. With the help of Giedroyc not only Poland asserted itself, but Ukraine as well as an intellectual nation, which is able to produce its geniuses and be spiritually close to Europe.

“Giedroyc believed in common democratic future of Poland and East-European bloc, which should have included Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. This notion of his ‘Poland+UBL’ partially remained unarticulated. Partially, because Poland and Lithuania are creating their present day in the family of other European countries; Belarus, which is in the system of coordinates of the Kremlin, seems to be lost for Europe for long, whereas Ukraine continues to be in the zone of turbulence.

“East-European political triad of Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine could have created its lobby within the European Union, which would have to count with them as with independent influential political subjects and this would have led the mutual relations on a new political level. PUL could have had an essential influence on economic and cultural policy of Europe, which would have enriched the latter. Such East-European bloc could have created a reliable shield against pro-Kremlin expansion.”

By Viktoria BOBROVA, second-year student, journalism department, Ivan Franko University in Lviv