24 June 2014
My First Medal
Well, well, I've just been awarded my first medal. On June 5, I was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by the President of the Republic of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski, "for outstanding services rendered to the promotion of Poland's transition to democracy." I haven't received it yet, because I was unable to go to Warsaw for the official ceremony, and I don't know if the official citation has an explanation, but the award is clearly connected to the help that Index on Censorship gave the Polish dissident movement in the early 1970s, while I was editor. Our contribution was to help publish, distribute, and smuggle to Poland copies of a magazine called Zapis, that was printed in London and chronicled the activities of dissidents in Poland, along with the human rights abuses of the Polish communist government. The award was one of many given by the present government to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and the inauguration of democracy.