If you read the front page of the NYT, WaPo, LA Times, or any other major newspaper and if you depend upon evening news to keep you informed, you will miss the good news from Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Because only Arthur Chrenkoff seems to be checking up on it. Today is his semi-monthly Afghanistan update (click link above) and it comes on an especially notable day for him -- the 23rd anniversary of the end of martial law in Poland (Chrenkoff is a Krakow native who moved to Australia in 1988). As Chrenkoff notes:
I can only say thank you to the rainbow coalition out there who supported us in any way they could. To Ronald Reagan who kept a candle lit every night in the window of the White House to show his thoughts were with us - and, on the other side of the spectrum, to people like Francois Brutsch in Switzerland, who with others organised a committee of socialists, Trotsyites and independent leftists opposed to the Soviet oppression of Eastern Europe . . .
The martial law was not the end. The system merely stagnated for another few years, and then in 1989 collapsed from within, when the communist leadership realized there was no more room for maneuver and nothing left to save. Poland was the first domino to fall - some, like Serbia, Georgia or Ukraine are still falling, fifteen years later. It been a long revolution, and nothing like we'd expected that Sunday morning, December 13, 1981. But that's history for you - you never know where it's going to lead. One morning you wake up and there's nothing on TV, another morning there are dozens of Western channels on cable.