Lithuania in the News
6th September 2009
|The Baltic Way of 20 Years Ago Commemorated in Lithuania and Internationally|
Lithuanians join hands in 1989. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
This impressive human chain 20 years ago was recreated this year in a symbolic manner through lots of major activities centring on August 23, with many people taking part and the events resonating internationally. People joined hands on sections of the route as in 1989. Relays of runners traversed the route from Vilnius and Tallinn, with Latvia’s President Valdis Zatlers himself running in the last leg to Riga. Enthusiasts with powered paragliders flew all the way from Vilnius to Tallinn. Teams of canoeists rowed all the way along the Baltic Sea coast. Flowers were dispersed from aircraft, just as they were along the route in 1989. Even motorcycle clubs took part with a “Baltic Chain Run”.
Many Baltic leaders were in Vilnius for August 23. Speakers of Baltic Parliaments - Estonia’s Ene Ergma, Latvia’s Gundars Daudze and Lithuania’s Arûnas Valinskas - attended a meeting for the occasion at Lithuania’s Parliament, while the Prime Ministers of the three countries - Lithuania’s Andrius Kubilius, Latvia’s Valdis Dombrovolskis and Estonia’s Andrus Ansip - in a
President Dalia Grybauskaitë reliving the Baltic Way between
Vilnius and Paneveþys in Lithuania. Photo courtesy lrp.lt
The international significance of these events is demonstrated by the fact that the European Parliament, the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and UNESCO have all recognised the importance The Baltic Way and of the date ‘August 23’. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, meeting in Vilnius, adopted a resolution on July 2, 2009 to make August 23 a day of remembrance for the victims of Nazism and Stalinism. Earlier in the year on April 2, the European Parliament made a similar resolution. On July 30, 2009, UNESCO listed the Baltic Way in the Memory of the World Register, citing it as the “human chain linking three states in their drive for freedom”. Some time ago the Baltic Way was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest human chain. In the ‘Mini-Europe’ park in Brussels on 23 August this year, the Baltic Way was commemorated by the opening of a new addition to the park - a chain of 200 human figurines linking Baltic monuments already in the park, Lithuania’s Vilnius University, Latvia’s Freedom Monument and Tallinn’s fortifications.
www.balticway.net, www.baltijoskelias20.lt, www.oscepa.org, www.portal.unesco.org,
www.lrytas.lt 20-27/08/09, www.balsas.lt 17&22/08/09, www.delfi.lt 22/08/09