If you're riding through Roxborough and Manayunk today on SEPTA's Route 35 bus, you might want to tip your hat to the driver. He's a national hero of Poland.
Official recognition came earlier this fall to Andrzej Sekowski, and 25 years after the fact. His signature act of protest involved a can of black paint, a red ribbon, some grease, and a pig.
It was actually the second pig that earned Sekowski a year in prison for activities found subversive to the communist state. The first one went off as planned.
As regional elections approached in the fall of 1985, he and a friend in the Solidarity movement bought a pig from a farmer, tied a red ribbon - symbolizing communism - to its tail, and painted on its flanks the words in Polish for "I'm voting." Before sending it squealing through Gdansk's old city, his friend greased the pig.
"People laughed," Sekowski says. The pig protesters, whoever they were, became folk heroes. Then Sekowski got cocky. Before setting out to repeat the act in nearby Gdynia, he notified the newspapers. The secret police stopped the Fiat sedan on the way to the city, with the pig, in the trunk, ready to go.
It seems unreal that someone could be thrown in jail for a harmless little prank that showed Communism in a negative light, and proved that people of Poland still possessed defiance."I never knew who told on us," he says.
If you don't see the similarities between this man and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the anti-Muslim film producer who was arrrested without bail and eventually given a prison sentence, you're wrong. The excuse is that he violated parole. The truth is that he was a bargaining pawn by the White House.
If you don't see the similarities here, perhaps you take your country for granted.