Literature and art should unite nations. Our multi-ethnic cultures of the Polish Crown and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were clearly regional but also common. The Union of Lublin brought us great power in Europe, and yet in this symbiosis we preserved our identity, usurping nothing, imposing nothing, and constituting an early protocol of the ideals of the European Union," Kristina Sabaliauskaite, writer and art historian, said yesterday at the ceremony of the presentation of the Two Nations Prize. Speaking at the ceremony, she said that she would speak in the language of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and she spoke in... Polish. This is because from the mid-16th century it was "the language of common contact between boyars, nobles, officials and the court". Of course, the "legal official" language until the end of the 17th century was Ruthenian (Old Belorussian). Then it was replaced by Polish and was used until the Third Partition).
Distinctions for outstanding achievements in the field of cultural cooperation between the Polish and Lithuanian nations were awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Seimas and Senate of the Republic of Poland and the Seimas of Lithuania. The award winners also included historian and director of Eastern European Studies at Warsaw University Jan Malicki, who as an opposition activist in the 1980s edited underground periodicals devoted to the Inter-Metropolitan area, Krzysztof Czyżewski, founder and president of the Borderland Foundation, and translator and educator Eduardas Piurko.
Let us love freedom and respect human rights. Let love and not hatred guide our steps. Let us create strong ties among neighboring nations - with these words the position of all awardees can be summarized.
Photo: Olo Zielinski/ Sejm