Today I arrived very early in the town of Przemyśl, in south eastern Poland – I am here for a business trip with a couple of colleagues. The flight was un-naturally early, leaving EDI at 0640. But the good side of that was that, after a long drive, we still had the day to wander around the town.
In the main square was this statue to Pope John Paul II. He, of course, has huge significance in this country. Not only was he Polish, and coming from an extremely Catholic country, but he also lent a huge amount of support to the Solidarity trade union. Solidarity played a major part in liberalising life in a Soviet-dominated country, helping undermine the entire Soviet system, and leading to the democratic freedoms enjoyed today in Eastern European countries.
Clearly he is important to this lady, who spent a good five minutes standing in front of the memorial, obviously contemplating what John Paull had done for her country. I waited quite a while for her to move to let me take a picture of the shrine before realising that her reverent contemplation in front of the statue was in fact the real story of this memorial.