Sir Elton John will be honored in Poland for his role in the collapse of Communism. The singer will be presented with the Medal of Gratitude when he performs in the town of Sopot on Sunday (08.07.12) for risking arrest in 1984 when he publicly praised trade union leader Lech Walesa during a concert in the country.
Walesa went on to become president in 1990, leading the revolution to change the country from a Communist state to a democratic one and he will personally present the honor to Elton when he performs in the seaside town. Magdalena Charkin-Jaszcza, of the European Solidarity Centre (ESC) in Gdansk, explained: "We award this to foreigners who helped Poland during its long struggle for freedom. Elton John came here and gave us the support we needed when we were living in a police state where people were getting beaten up and killed like in George Orwell's [dystopian novel] 1984
Damian Domski, 32, a Polish immigrant who is a worker at Age UK and a gay rights activist, put forward the 'Rocket Man' hitmaker as a worthy recipient of the accolade. He said: "If I meet Sir Elton on Sunday all I want to do is shake his hand and say thanks. He used his fame and influence at a very important moment for us in Poland. Solidarity activists were effectively being criminalized and he renewed their courage to keep going."