Plight of sealed-off Poland is grim
As its first week of martial law ends, the clearest picture that emerges of Poland is one of an occupied country wholly taken over by its own Army. The blunt summary is grim:Skip to next paragraph
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* The country is almost totally cut off from the outside world. All international communications have been sealed off. At home, Poles are cut off from one another. All internal telephones are subject to tapping. Mail is under rigorous military supervision. The media is muzzled. Any travel is restricted.
* The wholesale arrests of Solidarity activists mean that as an overt, legal body, the first independent labor union in postwar communist Eastern Europe has been rendered virtually nonexistent. Of the union's 107-member national commission, only its chairman, Lech Walesa, remains nominally in any state of liberty. But even he is at best a government ''guest'' with no freedom of movement or contact except - by official admission - with his custodians, the military council.
* Worker resistance to the military takeover has been scattered but sometimes vigorous. Two unconfirmed reports have said that nine lives have been lost since martial rule began, but how and where was not clear at time of writing. Diplomatic reports have said that troops flushed stay-in workers out of several Warsaw plants apparently with neither resistance nor bloodshed.
Warsaw radio, in a broadcast Thursday evening, made the first official admission of major industrial unrest involving at least seven persons killed and scores of members of the security forces and workers injured.
Radio and television are reduced to a single national program. Broadcasts carry only official news and announcements, with nothing but mostly military music in between.
Diplomats and foreign correspondents stationed in Warsaw are forbidden to travel outside the city. All domestic travel is curtailed. Normally Warsaw has eight daily newspapers. Only two now appear - the Communist Party's Trybuna Ludu and the Army's Zolnierz Wolnosci.
The government says Solidarity's activities are only ''suspended.'' It says there will be no return to the abuses and misgovernment of the bad Edward Gierek years that fueled public discontent and brought Solidarity into being.
It says that reform will be resumed once ''normality'' and law and order have been brought into Polish life. But, if Solidarity is reborn, it will not be with the independence of its exciting first 18 months.
Most of the above represents the reasonably well-established facts. The rest of the picture is necessarily full of ''gaps.''
For instance, the number of arrests of Solidarity leaders is far from certain. The situation Tuesday night, according to the Reuter message, was an estimated 6,000. In his apparently somewhat later message, a BBC correspondent put the figure at about 13,000.
These two figures would seem more likely than the 45,000 mentioned by French Premier Pierre Mauroy, if only because the union only had up to 20,000 paid officials or part-time activists working throughout the country.