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On Air: What does it feel like to be Polish?

Krupa Thakrar Padhy Krupa Thakrar Padhy | 14:00 UK time, Monday, 12 April 2010

polandmourns.jpgDid what happened today really happen? asked The Nation on Saturday.That's the question the Polish community around the world have been asking all weekend as they mourn the death of their President and dozens of deputies, dignitaries, officials and military leaders killed in a plane crash.

The irony of the it all? The crash took place in Russia 'where Polish politicians never travel en masse, indeed rarely travel at all.'

They were on their way to mark the the 70th anniversary of Katyn where thousands of Poles were massacred by the Soviet secret police during World War II. Poles are now calling the plane crash the "second Katyn" and the forests "cursed," "haunted" and "damned."

Lots of mixed reaction on the CNN analysis of the crash here. Ariadna85 says,

'What are you talking about??? President Lech Kaczynski was not popular in Poland. Latest researches showed that well educated people and those aware of the state of economy would NEVER vote for Kaczynski. Anyway it is a great loss to every Pole.'

Mourning1 has welcomed Russian support following the tragedy,

'I' m Polish and I want to thank Russia's: leaders, media and ordinary people for all this help they are giving us. I was rather anti-Russia, but I respected them and knew that we have to cooperate.'

Not all are convinced that the tragedy will have a positive impact on Polish-Russian relations. A_picazo reacts on Twitter,

'My Grandma (here in Canada) immigrated after the war from Poland. She's quite upset, and truly believes Russians may have had something to do with the tragedy. She hopes that the US, or some other independent organisation is part of the investigation.'

T K on the BBC agrees that something doesn't quite add up,

'My first thought was - why would Russia assassinate the Polish President? Was it someone else on the plane they wanted to kill?
Cant believe that in the modern age planes would be so badly maintained that they'd fall out of the sky.'

Andrew Nagorski believes that what happened has only reinforced the memory of Katyn.

'Now it's not only a name that connotes a past tragedy with continuing political overtones; it will also live in the memories of today's Poles as a symbol of the loss of so many of their countrymen who experienced the full range of the country's recent history-and its battles over the meaning of the place where they, too, came to die.'

Igor Kondratowicz on the BBC site shares Andrew's concern.

'Frankly, I cannot imagine what is going to happen. We will have a presidential elections in two months, we lost nearly all of the top officials, army's chiefs are dead. I hope that my country will not plunge in chaos.'

Others like Abd Magda are still overwhelmed,

'I can not believe it. I have been crying all morning. He was a good person, good president and all the others. And my uncle died in that tragedy as well. I just can not come to terms with it...'

What does it feel like to be Polish? Has the past weekend changed how you view your Polish identity? Do you think the tragedy will impact on Polish-Russian relations? And how does a country handle having its intellectual heart ripped out?

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