I am no longer being told that calling my own country “Absurdistan” is not fair. Probably because everyone sees by now, that it fully deserves this name. Just recently, for example, a (puppet) Constitutional Tribunal (illegally) ruled that Polish High Court broke European Law by adhering to the ruling of the European Tribunal of Justice.
But I guess it might be OK in the alternative universe of PiS. Because there is no doubt, that they live in one. Recently the Polish embassy in Berlin organized an exhibition on Polish road to independence. You might expect that such an exhibition would mention people like Adam Michnik, Lech Wałęsa, Jacek Kuroń, etc. but no. The main (and only hero) of that story is Kornel Morawiecki, the late father of PM Mateusz Morawiecki. Perhaps the ambassador is just scared, as apparently not peddling government propaganda enough is now a sackable offense, as the spokesperson of the Ministry of Sport has learned when her actions to celebrate Smoleńsk crash anniversary were found to be not sufficient.
If we believe PiS and the Polish Right, Poles are a heroic nation as no other, which they proved saving Jews in mass during the war with no regards to their own safety. I wonder if it’s still the same nation, as now we had several cases in which nurses or doctors saw their cars vandalized. Apparently their neighbors believe that they are spreading the virus and expect them to not come back home until the pandemic is over.
Luckily, the Police is there to serve and protect. Serve and protect Jarosław Kaczyński, that is. Two opposition activists decided to use a newly-installed mailbox at Kaczyński’s fence to deliver a letter to him, but they were prevented from doing so by several police officers, constantly guarding the street outside Kaczyński’s home (despite him having private security). You can watch it here:
Police seem to be unpredictable nowadays. After they were doing nothing for months with the van that blasts homophobic lies from the speakers installed on it, the citizens turned out to block the van themselves. In one such case Police decided that those, who stopped it will have to answer in court for blocking the traffic and let the van driver go. Just a few days later the van was stopped again, and this time Police has sent the van driver to the court, deeming action of the woman driver who stopped him “justified”.
One is sure: no attempt to criticize government will be tolerated. A one-person protest has been prevented: the man was allegedly told by the police that under new anti-epidemic rules even single person is not allowed to hold any signs with the political message. But according to the same police officer walking the street with the sign saying “Nice weather today” is OK, so how is that law related to COVID-19?
What you can’t do is get a new passport. Apparently possession of the document allowing one to leave the country is not a citizen’s right anymore. Traveling abroad is no longer a necessity. Even if you work there.
This is why anti-Kaczyński protests took place in Cieszyn and cities on the border with Germany. The protesters are fed up with the government’s failure to understand that in the times of Schengen borders are no longer what they used to be, so it makes no sense that people can’t walk across the bridge from Cieszyn to Český Těšín or from Zgorzelec to Görlitz, but are allowed to, for example, commute 140 km from Łódź to Warsaw.
The government tried to control the spread of the virus by the phone app but even the programmers, who created it in the first place now warn against its installation, pointing it’s a complete disregard to the protection of the private data and additions of numerous functions that cannot be controlled by the public. And let’s remember that by installing it, Poles will give access to their mobile phones to the government who just illegally passed their data to the Polish Post in order to organize illegal presidential elections…
Elections… That’s a whole new topic. The chaos is so great, that I have to admit that I completely lost the plot. Nobody knows what is going to happen. Formers presidents and prime ministers call for a boycott. So did leading opposition candidate Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska, at the same time refusing to resign from taking part in those elections. As a result, she falls to fourth place in the ranking and now independent candidate Szymon Hołownia seems to be the only one with a chance to beat Duda, provided that elections are going to be fair. But one thing is sure: unless postponed, the election has no chance to be done right. Remember: they were supposed to happen next Sunday and still, nobody knows IF they are going to happen and HOW. On top of that one of the fringe candidates got his hands on the leaked ballots. And he was not the only one: perfect copies ready to be printed out at home are available online (I won’t link them for legal reasons) so if you want to cast a vote or two (or a hundred and twenty) in the oncoming postal vote, you can do it without waiting for a Postman to drop one for you.
Concerns about those elections are growing also abroad: several judges, academics and organizations call for UE to take action against the Polish government. Therefore PiS is trying to prove that Poland already passed the peak of the epidemic and that elections are going to be safe. Pro-Government weekly “Sieci” went even further and published a piece in which they put in doubt if the epidemic exists at all and accuse “Bill 666 Gates” – as they call him – of staging a worldwide conspiracy to depopulate Earth. WHO and the new mobile 5G networks are somehow to blame as well. But if you don’t believe in those conspiracy theories, at least you’ll be happy to know that there is less and less of new confirmed COVID-19 cases. To achieve that, the government had limited the number of tests: between 24 and 27 of April, the number of tests halved from over 14 000 to just over 7000 per day. Despite warnings from experts, the lock-down rules will be relaxed: Poles will now be able to go to the shopping malls and children will be allowed to go to kindergartens. But schools and universities will remain closed: apparently, unlike 3 years old, students can’t be trusted to observe social distancing measures and refrain from touching their faces…
So how about that: isn’t it true Absurdistan?
This piece was written for Britské listy
Main Picture – a collage of public domain graphics and Andrzej Duda’s picture by Katarzyna Czerwińska