Those annoying teenagers! We need to do something with them. Look at this 14 years old encouraging people to participate in Women’s Strike on his Facebook! We should send police to his house to threaten him with up to 8 years of imprisonment! Or that Michał Rogalski, a 19-year old who was so annoyed that he can’t find any reliable numbers on COVID pandemics that he began to compile his own statistics and with his team of volunteers became the only source for reliable COVID data in Poland. He discovered that government tried to hide over 22 000 of new cases! Nosy bastard! But he’s sorted as well: from now on, local institutions are barred from publishing the statistics. If he wants to get his numbers, he would have to rely on Ministry of Health publications.
COVID statistics is not for the kids to play with. Because if done right, it could indicate that we’ve already reached threshold from which the whole country should go into lock-down. And the government does everything to avoid it, as it would further impact its ratings… “I don’t want to be political, but I just feel like someone has slapped me in the face” wrote Rogalski on his Twitter. And rightly so: in normal country he would be recognized for his work, 225 days of immaculate statistics insight into the pandemic. But this government hates to be controlled. Yesterday, during another of the women’s protests, a photo reporter was arrested by the police. According to police spokesperson, the officers were unaware that she’s a journalist. Which is impressive, if we know that not only she had professional cameras on her but she also showed her press ID to one of the officers and the crowds around was shouting “leave her alone, she’s a reporter!”
After that footage has emerged, the police changed their version. Now they claim she assaulted a policeman. By flashing the camera flash at him. Well, it might not be a Star Wars style laser gun yet, but the technology will get there one day, for now she has to deal with what she has at hand… Anyway, according to the police spokesman, she deserved it, as she wasn’t impartial. She was participating in one of the previous protests with her (female) partner. Apparently if someone takes part in those strikes deserves to be beaten. During recent march in Warsaw a group of thugs with telescopic batons started to beat people and drag them out of the crowd. Some people tried to disarm them fearing that it might be another attack from right wing thugs, but it turned out those people were actually cops from elite anti-terrorist units – they put an reflective armbands and then dragged captured people behind the lines of riot police. A riot police, who surrounded the protesters and asked them to disperse (which was impossible, because they were surrounded by riot police) and as they failed to do so, released a tear gas at them. People were desperate to escape, Kasia Babis – a comic artist and left wing activist – wrote, that men simply gathered on two sides of the fence and threw girls over it so they can escape through private property. The residents of the property in question later came to the rescue with ladders, allowing people to get away through their building.
Meanwhile Police’s press team, trade union and unofficial profiles of cops on Facebook do everything to prove, that all those jokes about policemen being idiots are true and to reverse 30 years of hard work to convince people that new Policja has nothing to do with communist Milicja. And so we heard, that if attacked by a thug with a bat, one should not defend himself, because the attacker might be an undercover police officer. After several MP’s, including a deputy speaker, were detained, or at least beaten or had pepper gas sprayed in their eyes, the police claims that this happened because they were attacking the police officers. Speaker Czarzasty apparently even severely injured one of the policemen.
An opposition MP challenged Kaczyński – a deputy prime minister for safety – in parliament after she has been assaulted by the police officers, who snapped her MP’s ID in half.
“First, take those SS-man’s lightings off” – he responded (the woman’s protest symbol is a red lighting bolt). Then he accused opposition of organizing the protests during pandemic (which is not true, it’s a grass-root movement). “You are criminals! You have blood on your hands! You should not be here!” – he told him, to which the opposition responded with the chanting “You’re going to jail”. He then returned to the pulpit to add “if there will be a rule of law in Poland, it will be you, who are going to jail”. You can watch the whole exchange here.
I believe he’s right. There is no rule of law in Poland, as we could easily see, as he was speaking out of order, after the speaker announced a break and he was not wearing the mask and was met with no consequences, while just earlier this day an opposition MP from Konfederacja (an COVID-denialist nutcase) has been removed by speaker for his refusal to wear the face mask. Where Kczyński is wrong though is that when there will be the rule of law, it won’t be the opposition who end in jail.
But for now, PiS keeps using state institution for their political fight. The MP who disclosed personal data of the police thugs is now being investigated, despite it is legal to do so for the public benefit to expose the officers breaking laws. But no investigation is conducted when it comes to police officers abusing their powers, even though there are tens, if not hundreds, of examples already when courts ruled, that political protesters were detained illegally. But one prosecutor in Wrocław faces disciplinary action. Why? Despite pressure from above, he declined to release a thug who attacked a journalist (see more here).
Meanwhile the government officially steers the country onto the track to Polexit. Mateusz Morawiecki’s recent speech sounded as if it was written by Dominic Cummings. Everything we know from Brexit propaganda was there:
– this is not the EU we joined
– we can’t let unelected bureaucrats from the EU rule us
– the UE milks our country, which is rich and prosperous and can do very well outside
or even that “they need us more than we need them!”.
Cover of this weeks pro-govermnent weekly does not beat around the bush: “We need to say ‘enough’ to the EU” screams the biggest title:
So what will come first: PiS removing Poland from the EU? Or Poles removing PiS from power? We will see.
But, apparently, not all of us will live to see it. The government’s COVID response hasn’t got any better. To say that the response is chaotic is like saying nothing. Here the government proposes to change the rules for the paramedics, so they earn even less (their salaries are a joke already). Here, government wastes millions on converting the orthopaedic hospital into COVID ward then changes his mind, as because doctors protested pointing out that they don’t have necessary training or equipment “the atmosphere in the hospital might not be as it should”. As a revenge, they won’t get new beds. Meanwhile if anyone had doubts if the temporary hospital at the National Stadium is a Potiomkin’s village, here is an interview with one of the doctors working there. According to him, the medical staff just strolls around empty beds, having nothing to do, as nobody seriously ill is allowed in that hospital. There is twice as much medical staff as there is patients, and the staff that came from outside Warsaw have been placed in a luxury, 5 star hotel. “My flat is smaller than this room” – says the doctor – “I feel like an idiot. I came here to help, to save lives… Meanwhile I am starring in some propaganda cabaret. I am pissed, because they lied to me”.
The decision for the winter holidays are also more and more confusing from day to day. First the government announced that you can’t invite more than 5 people for Christmas. But don’t worry, you can meet them in church, as there will be no limitations there. Then all children will have their winter holidays at the same time (usually various parts of Poland have them in different weeks to avoid overcrowding in winter resorts) but it would not matter anyway, as everything will be shut and we will all be asked to stay at home. Except that we won’t, as one of government deputy ministers, who happens to be an co-owner of a ski-resort, intervened and so now going to ski-resorts will be allowed. Provided that social distancing will be observed. Which definitely will be easy, since the whole country will take their winter holidays at the same time, right?
But if they are afraid to go to the mountains with the crowds, people can always visit Kashubian village of Łebcz, which is likely to become a tourist attraction, after a commemorative plaque was unveiled in the local church. It says “In this church on 16/08/2020 prime minister Morawiecki participated in a holy mass and even visited a parsonage!”. I guess it can become a new tourist route: you can see that, then go to Poznań to see a plaque commemorating president’s speech at the local exhibition centre (the plaque was unveiled by Duda himself!) and finally go to Podkarpacie to see historic chair, on which Kaczyński once sat. The route is long, but there is more than 600 monuments to Lech Kaczyński and other victims of Smoleńsk crash and more than 700 monuments of John Paul II, so an abundance of other attractions en-route.
But if you think this is cringy, just wait to see what I still have in my sleeve. Marcin Najman, TVP’s expert on European Politics (see more here) took part in a boxing match during which he forgot he’s not with PiS any more and tried broke the rules twice – first when he threw his opponent on the ground, then when he tried to kick him. He was obviously disqualified for life, but let’s wait: perhaps the government simply blocks publication of this verdict (as they often do with things they don’t like) or orders “re-assumption of the fight” (as they do when the vote goes not as they wanted). In any way, man with such PiS-like approach to the rules has surely a brilliant career ahead of him under this government.
But one of the PiS MP’s behaved even worse. He published a post on his Facebook with his new secretary saying “Look at this beauty! She’s going to be my new secretary. She proved her professionalism already”. To prove that, he followed with picture of her in a miniskirt, and then an underskirt picture, while at about the same time she posted a picture of her in just thongs leaving his bed.
As PiS politicians do, when they write something stupid in social media, he instantly claimed that his account was hacked. I am really impressed by the hacker’s skills. Taking over someone’s social media accounts happen, breaking into someone’s phone might be more tricky, but getting under the skirt of his secretary is probably something that no hacker achieved before!
This piece was written for Britské Listy
Photo: Weronika Woźniak