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Author: Basil Kerski

We need innovation and courage to rejuvenate democracy

A conversation with Basil Kerski, director of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt

IWONA REICHARDT: With 2020 behind us, we are now entering into the third decade of the 21st century. There is a sense that the beginning of each decade can indicate a certain change which determines the years to come. 1989 and 1991 marked the beginning of a new post-Cold War order; the first decade of the 21st century was marked by the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001; while the second decade of this century started a bit earlier, with the 2008 financial crisis. This time we have the COVID-19 pandemic which started in 2020. In a way, all of these events were surprises as well….

BASIL KERSKI: It is hard to say whether decades are a good measure to describe political and economic phenomena, but let's say that this is some sort of ordering perspective. We must distinguish between two things. First, the breakthrough events are always preceded by some processes that are visible and predictable. Only then, do we see their effects. When it comes to 1989 and 1991, I think that the process that everyone had expected was the democratisation of Central Europe.

February 3, 2021 - Basil Kerski Iwona Reichardt

Where there is word, there is responsibility for mankind

A conversation with Basil Kerski, director of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk. Interviewers: New Eastern Europe.

NEW EASTERN EUROPE: For today’s meeting you brought with you a book authored by the late Lord Ralf Dahrendorf…

BASIL KERSKI: Yes, this is his 2006 work titled Versuchungen der Unfreiheit. Die Intellektuellen in Zeiten der Prüfung. Ralf Dahrendorf wrote here about the breakthroughs which we experienced in the 20th and early 21st centuries. These were the events of 1945, 1968, 1989 and 2001. The most interesting in this book is the chapter where Dahrendorf analyses the challenges that still await us. Reading this piece today, we can see how much of his forecast is confirmed by reality.

January 2, 2019 - Basil Kerski

Resolving borders and building bridges

When we think back to June 1991, we see great value in the treaty between Poland and Germany. It was a new beginning in relations between the two states. Yet, the treaty was more than bilateral, it was also a building bloc in the construction of a new Europe, without which there would be no united Germany, NATO or the European Union. Every time I cross the Polish-German border, which nowadays is merely a formal line, seeing as there are no controls or checkpoints, I feel like a free European. I feel the positive aspect of history and the great decisions that led us here. I write this because as a teenager, I experienced a completely different reality, a continent divided by the iron curtain. Even in the 1990s, a time when Poland was already free and Germany had united, cross-border travel was not as pleasant an experience as it is today, because the Oder and Nysa rivers marked the periphery of the European Union. At that time, we still had to wait at the border and go through border control.

June 16, 2016 - Basil Kerski

Migration, fear it not

Had I not been a migrant myself, I probably would not be alive today. That is why I will always sympathise with migrants and refugees and that is why I understand that integration is not just dependent on the migrants' efforts and readiness to adapt to a new culture. The prerequisite for successful integration lies in the goodwill and openness of the accepting societies and nations.

November 1, 2015 - Basil Kerski

The Passing of Bohdan Osadczuk (1920-2011)

We are saddened to inform that Bohdan Osadczuk, a symbol of Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation, passed away on October 19, 2011. We are reprinting his portrait by Basil Kerski, which was published in Nowa Europa Wschodnia on his ninetieth birthday. From Kolomyia into the world In Poland, Bohdan Osadczuk is esteemed mostly for being one of the […]

October 20, 2011 - Basil Kerski

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