By Michael A. Szymanski

This week we thank Al & Pat Koproski for their contribution of an item they have titled “Cuba’s Polish Connection.” Cuba has a small but significant Polish population, and has had a connection with the music of Chopin as far back as 1844 when Julian Fontana, a friend and student of Chopin, was the first to play Chopin’s music in Cuba. Cuba celebrated the 200th anniversary of Chopin in 2010 with a series of concerts and cultural events that included the unveiling of the Chopin statue by sculptor Adam Myjak which the Koproskis tell us about in their article.

Speaking of Chopin and Polish music, we can also thank our own Frank Dmuchowski for telling us all about the “Tribute to Poland” concert last Friday at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts where the Macomb Symphony Orchestra performed works by Polish composers Moniuszko, Fryderyk Chopin and Mieczysław Karłowicz, featuring the Dunajec Dance Ensemble and acclaimed pianist Kazimierz Brzozowski. The performance was dedicated to the memory of Noreen Sinclair, who so tirelessly promoted Chopin and Polish heritage. We miss her very much, but she is with us inspirit through events such as this Tribute.

Another nod of thanks to Frank Dmuchowski for his thoughtful observations on certain historical lessons our presidential candidates should have in mind as the November elections fast approach. Frank addresses the current Iran crisis with an analogy to events leading up to World War II as various world powers failed to stand firm against the rising tide of Nazi Germany. The fact that England and France tried too much to placate and negotiate with Germany signaled a weakness that gave Hitler the confidence to attack Poland and begin the Second World War. Diplomacy and negotiations are not to be ignored, but successful negotiations arise either from mutual benefit or bargaining from a position of strength (and most often both). The current problem is to prevent or contain Iran’s efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons. If you believe Iran wants nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes, I may have a bridge in Brooklyn I could sell you at a real bargain price! Another historical event that comes to mind when I consider the Iran crisis is the Cuban Missile crisis. There again, it was necessary to confront a threat, and President Kennedy came through.

Next, I wish a slightly belated happy birthday to Lech Walesa, and thank Mike Smith for his article on Walesa’s birthday celebration in Gdansk including coverage of the Lech Walesa Award given to Belarusian social activist and human rights defender Ales Belyatsky.

Finally, let me give a reminder to inform yourself and be ready to vote intelligently in November. As I write this, I am anticipating the second presidential debate and I am curious to see what happens. Oh, just one more thing…GO TIGERS!


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