Poland: R.I.P. Black Saturday 10.04.2010

Candles in Warsaw, photo by Maria Seidel

Candles in Warsaw, photo by Maria Seidel

As we live through the first 24 hours of the tragedy of the Polish nation, social media present various reactions to this morning's events, when Poland lost its President and 95 other important personalities.

On Facebook, people are gathering in newly established groups:


[*] for Poles who died today near Smoleńsk.

We unite in tragedy

R.I.P. Black Saturday 10.04.2010

Some still struggle with accepting the facts:


Others stress the importance of remembering today's catastrophe and the place where it happened:


Many point out the sad irony of the entire accident:


They flew to pay tribute to the victims of Katyń and became victims themselves…

In front of the Presidential Palace, Warsaw, photo by Maria Seidel

In front of Presidential Palace, Warsaw, photo by Maria Seidel

Social networking site ‘Nasza-Klasa’ also hosts a significant amount of posts expressing condolences to families, sadness for the nation and a new vision of unity around the person of the President for the entire country:


When he lived some supported him, others opposed him. The tragedy caused everyone to back him up! It's sad that only now he was chosen for the President, while we used to joke about him during his life… now it's only sadness and grief because Our President is gone and many others too. It's sad and depressing that only now he is appreciated (*) Feeling strongly for their families and those who really regret it all !!!!


A scout girl in Warsaw, photo by Maria Seidel

While waiting for official statements, on forums and in comments to news articles, people start discussing the actual reasons behind the accident. Roled lists the most obvious ones:

1. You fly old trash, which even pilots fear to manage.
2. You fly old trash in difficult weather conditions, without seeing a thing.
3. You decide to land this trash in an airport which is unsuitable for difficult conditions.
4. On board you have 80+ people, mainly the important ones.
5. It is common knowledge that a certain person already has a history of forcing pilots to be “less scared” [referring to the President's previous request to land in bad conditions]
The results, if one can think clearly, are for them to see.

Wujek_extrema speculates [PL]:

Sadly, I do believe in the pressure put on pilots. I can almost hear one of them say: “We will not let the Russians dictate what we should do” – especially on the way to Katyń. It will be an international shame on us, once it becomes official.

nych refers to the possibility of the President's intervention [PL]:

If the Russians advised them not to land, I am sure Kaczor [President] personally decided otherwise, he could not run late for the mess.

xyz points out the potential reasons behind decisions of this kind [PL]:

There were experienced pilots and generals on board. They must have been conscious of landing risks of that type of machine in those conditions. It could have been the case of some people taking the advice of changing airport as planned delay/making it impossible to take part in celebrations and maybe they were too ambitious – we will never know the truth.

pfg questions the irresponsibility of having so many officials travel on the same plane [PL]:

I do understand that the President flew with MP's, his ministers, general Gągor and other officials. But all major army heads in one plane – it is unbelievable.

While we are still waiting for answers to those questions, Wykop users focus [PL] on the fact that the world is learning the truth about the Katyń massacre itself. Hemus writes [PL]:

@JamesikR Despite the tragedy of the whole situation, you are right. Even though I have mixed feelings, I think that maybe today's tragedy will open the eyes of the West and we will not hear in future statements about the “Polish concentration camps.” Death of those dozens of people will not shade the death of thousands.

Mczarny follows up on the comments of users who claim that high traffic on main search engines is due to simple curiosity about the accident:

Thank God for human curiosity. I will go further to state that today's tragedy will not go wasted and will show what others were fighting for – the memory. Sadly, they paid the highest price.

Zexon comments [PL] on a positive note, mentioning that is can also lead to better relationships between Poland and Russia:

And maybe there'll be an improvement in the Polish-Russian relationships.

All flags at half mast, photo by Maria Seidel

All flags at half mast, photo by Maria Seidel

Blogging engine blox.pl, in response to increasing amount of blog reactions, has asked [PL] readers to collate their posts in the comments section. Bloggers, like Grzegorz Ajdukiewicz, share [PL] their stories of the day, including photos:

This tragical event totally ruined my day. I started going to an event in the series called Photo Day (already edition #8.0). In the area of closed for refurbishment Central Station dozens of reporters gathered. One of them marched next to me talking on the phone. I heard “President,” “all died?” etc. I thought it was a joke (saying something in the crowd to start a gossip). I walked out of the stinky underground passage and walked into the almost closed down bar, where to my surprise they still had a TV LCD. It was on, a few people stared at it with open mouths. It was 9:56 AM. Everything became apparent. It was not a joke! Sadly!

Others, like yesss, keep their posts very short [PL]:

Pity for the people, it is people I am sad for. Not looking at colors and opinions. Deeply sad.

Bronisław Komorowski, who stepped in to lead the country until the next election, reassured the Poles in their feelings of this day in his official speech [PL]:

Today in the light of our national drama we are united. Today there is no left, no right wing. Division of opinions and beliefs is of no importance. Today we are united, standing in the front of the enormous drama, in the eye of the death of many people. We join in the pain of families of the victims and in the worry of our Motherland bereaved by them.

A special thanks to Maria Seidel for providing photos from Warsaw.


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