Today, I would like to present you my second letter to my Mother. I describe here my meeting with former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Walesa who gave me new strength to act.
I met a man who gave me new strength. Destiny unites people.
This man had fought an almost hopeless fight against a superior enemy for years. Finally, he won the battle because he had always been convinced of doing the right thing, of being on the right side. He had to take risks, he had to make sacrifices and for his courage he received the greatest award humanity has to offer – the Nobel Peace Prize.
I was invited as a special guest to a gala evening organized by the UNESCO in Düsseldorf in Germany. For several years I have been a Special Ambassador of the UNESCO, the United Nations’ organization for childcare, which is doing a lot of good things for children from all around the world.
On the eve of the gala I met a man who made me feel a lot better – Lech Walesa. He was a leader of the Solidarność, a union movement in Poland that made history. Due to Lech Walesa and his movement, millions of people can live their lives in peace and freedom today. As a leader of his union he revolted against the governing powerful rulers, the communists. At the beginning he hadn’t been taken seriously, afterwards he made a lot of enemies and they threatened him. However, more and more people followed his example. At first hundreds, then thousands. Finally, the communists were driven out of Poland and not much later the same phenomenon happened in some of the neighbouring countries.
One single man made that happen.
I was introduced to Lech Walesa the evening before the gala. We took to each other right away and decided to sit next to each other during the following evening.
Lech Walesa told me that he and his wife had read my books. ‘People all over Poland know your work, Waris. You are very famous there, almost like a pop star. Girl, you have got a mission and you will reach your goals! I know what I am talking about!’
Afterwards, this very important man told me his story and he gave me so much courage. At first sight everything seemed to be easy and logical. It was almost like a story from a fairytale, always with a happy ending. However, today I think that it’s incredible how much courage and power of will Lech Walesa must had had to get through all these things. It just shows you that even only one person can bring down or raise a nation.
‘When I started my fight being a simple electrician and member of the union at the shipyard of Gdansk, I knew that I would start the end of the communist dictator regime,’ he told me. ‘My family got threatened and I got imprisoned but I was stronger than them because I believed in my mission and I knew that God was on my side.’
My cheeks began to glow. ‘Thousands of people were imprisoned, tortured and killed by the communist rulers. The freedom of speech was prohibited. People lived in constant fear.’
Then Lech Walesa put his cheek close to mine, just like children do when they want to tell each other a secret. ‘I know that you will succeed in your mission, in your personal fight against female genital mutilation or anything else you choose to do, Waris. I know that you will end all the injustice and suffering that is caused to millions of girls. You are very strong and you will win your fight! Someone who truly believes in a mission never gives up and can achieve everything.’
From this moment, Mama, all my doubts were blown away. From this moment, I felt totally convinced that my fight against female genital mutilation is important and the right thing to do. Whenever I feel like loosing grip since then, I think about Lech Walesa and his fight and his victories. These thoughts are like wings for me.
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