Plight of sealed-off Poland is grim
Vienna — 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:
* 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.
The BBC report broadcast Dec. 17 but recorded the day before conveyed a vivid picture of a suddenly militarized country with convoys of armored vehicles and troop carriers moving in along the roads leading into the capital - possibly in readiness for any attempt Thursday to demonstrate on the streets in memory of the shooting in the Baltic ports during the Dec. 17, l970, riots.Special warnings were broadcast to students and other young people indicating severe penalties if they attempted to mount any such protests.There are, of course, plenty of rumors. One was that Soviet transport planes had landed at Warsaw Monday night, but the US Embassy in Warsaw (in radio contact) did not confirm this. In fact, the State Department and other Western diplomatic sources have said that there has been no sign of any unusual Soviet activity, either by the Warsaw Pact units garrisoned in Poland or by the Soviet troops in adjacent bloc countries.Reports of confrontations between troops and workers have mentioned several different areas. Warsaw radio has confirmed there were clashes at Katowice, the mining capital in southern Poland, and at Gdansk, the Baltic port where Solidarity was born in the 1980 summer strikes. Both cities are strongholds of the union where resistance to the imposition of martial law was most anticipated.Elaborating, the radio said that when ''the forces of order'' moved into the Wujek mine at Katowice Thursday, they were met with resistance from striking workers armed with axes, hammers, stones, and other weapons. It said that 41 police were injured, 7 workers killed, and 39 wounded. The report did not disclose how the fatalities had come about.The clash at Gdansk apparently occurred Wednesday after security forces moved to clear the Gdansk shipyard. Fighting broke out on the streets; 162 police and 164 workers were hurt, the radio said. The radio also reported further arrests of people described as responsible for agitation at industrial centers and in the universities. As for Mr. Walesa, some reports say that, in his isolation from both family and associates, he is a psychologically broken man. It would not be surprising. He is an intensely emotional person, deeply religious, and wrapped up in his large family. The organization he was instrumental in establishing and in forcing the regime to accept has been falling around his ears. All this is happening partly because, since the union's national congress in October, he had seemed powerless to keep the radicals from brushing aside his own moderate, patient line. He is said to have refused to enter into negotiations with the military council unless he first be permitted to confer with the Roman Catholic primate, Archbishop Josef Glemp, and some of his closest union advisers. It is said also that the primate has declined to meet with Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski unless and until Mr. Walesa is again a free agent.Such stands would be in character for both men. Each doubtless would be ready to resume the unprecedented tripartite meeting that brought together top representatives of the union, the regime, and the Catholic Church shortly before the emergency. It proved in vain. But whatever the success of the military clampdown, the government will still find it impossible to pacify Poland without calling both men in again.