The two who stole the moon
"The two who stole the moon" is a delightful Polish story of two naughty twin boys who are a pain to their village. One day they steal their mother's last loaf of bread, and go out on a mission to find the moon. With help from talking trees and pelicans, they find the moon ultimately, and catch it in a fishing net. They bring it back, sell it and become extremely wealthy. The story remained popular while Poland withstood the ravages of Communism, and was made into a hit film in 1962.
Two brothers are again at the helm in Poland - twins Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczyński. The latter was elected President of Poland in December 2005. The former, by whatever twists and turns of politics that Poland's newfound democracy produces, has just been inaugurated as Prime Minister. It must be a proud day for Jadwiga Kaczyński; which other mother, born of the red-blooded common stock as you and me, can claim so much pride?
"Mrs. Kaczyński, how do you do?"
"Fine, I say."
"Been so long since I met you. What have your sons been doing?"
"My elder boy Jaro is the Prime Minister of Poland."
"And what came of your younger son, Lech?"
"Oh! He is just the President of Poland!"
Sons of an engineer and soldier who was a veteran of the ill-fated Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis, they hold the reins of perhaps the most battered country ever. What other nation, for ever gasping for the freedom to breathe the air of sovereignty, has been partitioned as many times as Poland? And every time a foreign army has come marching in, the Poles have stood up to be slaughtered and shake the conscience of the world. When Germany invaded in 1939, the world finally woke up, and fought a bitter six year war to free it. Only to leave it gasping in the hands of the Soviets.
And yet there was Lech Walesa, and Solidarność, and Karol Józef Wojtyła (better known as John Paul II), and a new Poland was announced to the world in 1989. A country that has since entered NATO, is a new and emerging power in the European Union, and a fast rising powerhouse of the East European economy. Provided the brothers can deliver.
Poland still has to recover the ravages of its past, and struggle to build a nation that can deliver to its people good standards of living, education, healthcare and employment. There are still tears to be wiped. And it is Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczyński who have to do it.
It also happens that these very brothers were the stars of that famous Polish film. And the Poles know them as the two who stole the moon. As they did in the film, can they go out and steal the moon for Poland?