By Michael A. Szymanski
Its mid-July, and the world’s greatest bicycle race, the Tour De France, is in progress. Once again, Polish cyclist Raphal Majka is making a name for himself. After the ninth stage (of 21), Majka is in second place in the “King of the Mountains” classification. The leader of that competition each day starts the race wearing a distinctive white jersey with red polka-dots. How appropriate is that? Majak, currently riding as part of the Russian Tinkoff team, is certainly hoping to win the mountain classification. He is also in 11th place in the “points” classification and is 32nd overall. Meanwhile, Chris Froome is leading the overall competition. As I write this (Monday evening), there is a rest day, and 12 more stages lie ahead. By the time you read this, everything may have changed, but I’ll be cheering for Majka’s success. Elsewhere in this issue we have reports on the Polish soccer team that was successful enough to make the quarter-finals of the European Soccer Championship for the first time ever before they lost to Portugal in a dramatic “shootout” after the end of a tied game in regulation play. I think we can take some solace from the fact that Portugal went on to beat France for the Championship.
The controversy over “Brexit,” the pending exit of Great Britain from the European Union, will give us all much to talk about and even more to think about as we see the reactions happening in Britain and across the world. In the news from Poland we report on a rise in “hate crimes” in England, much of which arises out of the prejudice against Poles who have moved to Britain under the open border policies of the E.U. Polish workers and their families living in Great Britain are bearing the brunt of despicable behavior by some cowardly Englishmen, but we do also report on at least one Britton who recognizes how wrong the prejudice is, and who has the strength of character to say so.
Because of the Russian annexation of the Crimea, tensions have been high between NATO and Russia, and it is heartening to see the reports from the NATO summit in Warsaw. We have a press release from the white House recapping the remarks made by President Duda and President Obama as Obama participated in his third visit to Poland since he took office. Obama’s presence at the NATO summit is itself an important expression of mutual support between Poland and American. We have other reports on the summit that confirm the future presence of NATO troops on the soil of Poland and other Eastern European countries that will enhance the security of the area, much to Russia’s chagrin.