Winter 2021. Poland hasn’t seen so much snow for years, so the traffic on the roads moves slowly. The government TV blames opposition for it. The COVID vaccinations go on and the PiS MP, who criticized others for jumping the queue, jumped the queue to get vaccinated. But it has to be said that not everyone on the right is so keen to get vaccinated. Actor Wojciech Olszański, who under the alias of Aleksander Jabłonowski took the role of the self-appointed conscience of the nation calls to murder Bill Gates before he murders us all. For some time not even the most open critics believe any more that his character of Polish Adolf Hitler clone is an artistic performance – most see it as a job for psychiatrist by now.
Olszański is not the only one who lost his nut recently. Mariusz Max Kolonko, who for decades served as US reporter for major Polish media outlets, was drifting more and more towards conspiracy theories, and, as a result, moved from broadcasting for the leading TVP station to having a YouTube channel recorded in his broom closet. Finally, he inspired the new Political movement that was supposed to shake the foundations of the Polish state, which of course failed, despite gaining some following. Since there he appointed himself “President of the United States of Poland in exile”, moved out of his “studio” full of conspiracy theories books and now “rules” from his living room, issuing decrees and ordering arrests of the members of the actual government from his sofa.
Meanwhile, the real Poland is officially in lock-down, although its legal basis, just as Kolonko’s decrees, are also questionable. Still, if we believe the government, hotels are supposed to be closed. Yet when a fire broke in a Spa centre in Solec-Zdrój, dozens of guests had to be evacuated, including Krystyna Pawłowicz, a PiS politician and a judge of the façade Constitutional Tribunal and her two butlers. Sorry, government bodyguards. Pawłowicz, with a charm characteristic to her, accused everyone of lying, said that there was no fire at all and that she was in the spa for medical reasons – which changes nothing, as this is still illegal since 24th of October. And, anyway, it’s just yet another dirty attack of the leftists on her.
Meanwhile at the instruction of Pawłowicz’s party colleagues other businesses who opened of desperation – as due to lack of government help it’s either this or going bankrupt – the Sanitary services harass businesses. Inspectors have instructed to visit premises under false pretences and then hand pre-written decisions to the owners, forcing them to close again. Those not willing to cooperate will be met with the excessive force of the police riot teams…
And despite the fact that the doctors cry for help, reporting that the health service is collapsing, battle with entrepreneurs who want to open their businesses for people other than Pawłowicz and her party colleagues seems to be the major activity of the government on the COVID front. But it does not mean that they don’t do anything. They just have more important issues:
– the Minister of Education is fighting obesity in little girls by shaming them, despite that obesity is a much bigger issue for the school-age boys than girls.
– one of the other ministers goes for the fight with bi-lingual signs on the train stations in the regions inhabited by the German minority
– there are also changes in the Institute of National Remembrance. Its Wrocław office is about to get a new boss: a former skinhead and radical activist of neo-Nazi organization and a big fan of Leon Degrelle, who did a PhD in history at the Catholic University of Lublin.
Regular readers of this series will not be surprised after all this is a general direction this country is sliding towards. And the radical right does not even hide it. Krzysztof Bosak, a right-wing MP and former presidential candidate, recently shared a clip from a YouTuber, endorsing his views that the picture of Gilead as portrayed in “The Handmaid’s Tale” is responsible for growing hate towards Christian Conservatism. Apparently, he does realize his party view’s similarity to the fictional radical Christian regime.
And views like that are being normalized. Recently one of the mainstream papers published an interview with pro-life activists, in which she suggested that “we should consider how to punish women who get abortions” – even under current law it’s only those who performed or helped with the termination of pregnancy, the women herself does not commit a crime.
There was also drama in PiS satellite party. I can’t really make sense of it, as it seems to be complicated. It seems that Jarosław Gowin, leader of the party Porozumienie Jarosława Gowina thought that it’s enough for his name to be included into the party name, so he does not have to call elections for the party leader, despite his term running out a few years back. So now Adam Bielan claims that since Gowin’s term ran off, he is a chief of the Porozumienie Jarosława Gowina. In response, he and his sidekicks were thrown out of the party, but they claim the decision was illegal. Actually, I was wrong. It was not complicated at all. The real questions here are “who cares, why now and is it Kaczyński’s doings anyway?” He might be trying to weaken his coalition partners using Adam Bielan, a former member of PiS and one of Kaczyński’s prodigal sons who would be desperate to be welcomed back by him.
But what people care about is Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy. The biggest charity event, hated by the right, delayed by the COVID lockdown and still yet another time managed to collect over 127 000 000 zł, this time for laryngology, otolaryngology and head diagnostics. It might not be the biggest sum in history, but the final was delayed due to Coronavirus and mass events, that lie in the core of WOŚP finale was, for obvious reasons, not possible. The government media are allergic to WOŚP leader Jerzy Owsiak, (see more here or here) especially Jacek Kurski, who’s a prognosis that without the support of public media the charity will collapse turned out to be as wrong as possible – now Poles donate not only to help the good cause but also to annoy PiS, which resulted in the fact that since PiS came to power the sums donated to WOŚP skyrocketed.
PiS and TVP can’t decide what to do with this phenomenon: on one hand, they try to ignore its existence, despite the fact, that WOŚP finale in every January became virtually a national holiday and one of the biggest events of every winter. In the past years, they went to such extremes as to digitally removing red hearts – the symbol of WOŚP – from the clothing of the politicians interviewed by the station. This year they missed one, so a weather presenter in the local station of TVP in Poznań lost her job after wearing WOŚP heart on air. Her bosses claim that it had nothing to do with WOŚP, and her contract simply ended on the 31st of January. But if that’s true then how it is that she still presented the weather on 1st of February? And why the controversial weather forecast from 31st, when she wore the red heart, is not available in the online archives?
She was not the only one who got in trouble with TVP over WOŚP this year. Her colleague, a reporter, was punished for refusing to change neutral material on WOŚP to show that Jerzy Owsiak supports Women’s Strike, and therefore, abortion.
But others in pro-government media don’t have such objections. The message that Owsiak supports abortion was propelled by many outlets and armies of online trolls and the results of this fake news are real. In Świebodzice, a drunken man assaulted three 15 years old girls who were collecting money for WOŚP. The attacker called them “Owsiak’s whores” and claims that Owsiak personally kills unborn babies…
Remember, this is not the first time that government’ fuelled hate campaign broadcasted by TVP ended in tragedy during WOŚP finale. Two years ago, president of Gdańsk was murdered on the stage. And yes, you are allowed to blame them for that. TVP tried to sue people for blaming Adamowicz’s death on their hate campaign against him and lost. And if you want to understand what is the scale of that disgusting government propaganda just remember, that over 29 years of WOŚP the organization raised over 1.4 billion zł and with that changed the face of the Polish healthcare. Equipment bearing WOŚP logo – from MRI scanners, through ambulances, geriatric beds to comfy chairs for the parents accompanying their children in hospitals – is omnipresent there. And now remember, that only in 2020 the PiS government gave extra 2 billion to its propaganda machine. And, alas, we can all see what are those funds used for.
But this is not always the case. Some of the funds, syphoned out of the taxpayer’s pockets, disappear in the meanders of the foundations and organizations related to PiS. Just like the Polish National Foundation, the one that was supposed to promote Poland abroad by the way of the Holywood blockbusters and round-the-globe cruise of the luxury yacht painted in national colours (more: here). So far the results of its activities are, at best, minuscule. That’s why it was probably hard for them to boast about it in the Ministry of Culture’s report published recently. And yet they tried. Let me quote a bigger excerpt, as this is something unique:
“Perspective of social economy obliges us to adopt axiom of the rationality of the third sector bodies, not in categories of Smith’s conception of homo oeconomicus, because investment rationality is in determined in case of foundations (…) with social factors, and therefore the equivalency interpreted is by the fact of achieving social effects as the consequence of pursuing the statutory goals. It’s an antipode of approach to economically quantify results of the activities of the commercial enterprises, that by definition, is being based on decisions based on choices calculating the decisive factors of the market, have to be rational. The analysis of the activities of the Polish National Foundation as amplification of the non-governmental structure in the network of cooperative bodies, during the SARS CoV-2 Pandemic – will be conditioned by the two key ideas present in the social economy: reduction of monetary valorisation of the activities undertaken and the idea of the constituting of the network of the potential of the bodies of the third sector and government financial institutions. While trying to describe and analyse those multivariate projects and community-building and identity-creating effects of activities, one has to point out to the initiatives that can be characterized with short- and long-term results of the activities realized”.
What do you think? It is just a sophisticated way to say “yeah, we got your money, and it’s not your fucking business what we do with it”, eh? Or a desperate attempt to show themselves in a good light? It brings to mind the old classic astronomy handbook I used when studying Physics and Astronomy back in Poland. It was published in 1952 and it the foreword it listed recent achievements and discovered of astronomers from various countries. At this time the Soviet Union had no significant achievements, but that was, obviously, unacceptable in Stalinist Poland. The author pulled himself out of that hole by writing, that Soviet Union has “exceptional successes”, and the lack of names worth mentioning was explained by the fact, that “soviet astronomers work collectively, according to the principles of dialectical materialism”. Sounds familiar, eh?