It seems Poland has it first Savita Halappanavar. A Polish lawyer informed on her twitter that in the case mirroring the Indian’ women ordeal in Ireland, an expecting mother died after the doctors refused to perform abortion on her in critical situation. They were waiting for the fetus’ heart to stop beating on its own and when it finally did, the mother’s heart followed soon after – the woman died of the septic shock. The information was confirmed by women rights activist groups and then papers wrote about it as well.
This adds to the list of victims of the PiS government that, unfortunately, becomes longer and longer in recent days. According to various reports at least 10 people have died in the forests on the border between Poland and Belarus since the crisis started. And with winter coming, unless the government changes its attitude and stops breaking human rights, this number is very likely to go up. Apparently, when it comes to refugees, even those unborn children can’t count on Polish government protection – a 29 year old pregnant women from Congo lost her pregnancy after Polish soldiers threw her like a sack of potatoes back to Belarus over razor blade wires. Luckily she managed to safely reach France, where the doctors confirmed the miscarriage. The refugees dread Polish border guard now more than death – according to activists who bring first aid and humanitarian help to the people hiding in the forests, another woman, diagnosed by the doctor with endangered pregnancy, categorically refused to be taken to Polish hospital.
The grassroots movement to help the migrants despite government actions is growing. Thousands of people across Poland donate money, clothing and other items of need to the network of NGOs and ad-hoc organized groups, who transport it to the border where local residents (no other people are allowed to enter the areas bordering Belarus – unless to visit a cemetery for the All Saints day – apparently visiting graves of the dead are more important for our government than to help those still alive) deliver it to the people hiding in the forests. Houses where refugees can get help display a green lantern. Two of the activists were stopped by the police while giving a lift to two Iraqi citizens and will be now accused of people trafficking. I wonder what would be the grounds of it, and if I can be at risk as well when I am picking hitch-hikers with a slightly darker shade of skin? Surely I have no way to check if they entered the country legally?
And what does legality even mean? Is the law really meaningful if you have been denied basic human decency and basic humanitarian aid for months? The group of people trapped in the camp in Usnarz Górny for over 10 weeks now (see more here) grew desperate and forced their way into Poland. They were apprehended and forcibly pushed back into Belarus again – despite the European Court of Human Rights ruling that orders Poland to provide humanitarian and legal help to them.
Even though there are people willing to help migrants – for example Władysław Grochowski, an owner of a hotel network, declared will to take 100 refugees for whom he could provide accommodation and employment – the government still pumps the narration of them being a threat to Poland. The flagship news, sorry, propaganda program in TVP even broadcasted material about how migrant gangs terrorize Sweden. They illustrated it with a clip showing motorbike gangs attacking the shop with machine guns – which happened to be footage from the film set of a Swedish Netflix crime drama “Snabba cash”.
With such inhumane treatment of refugees and smear campaigns run by the government propaganda, no wonder that some people question if Poland is really a Christian country, as the ruling party politicians claim. To ensure there is no doubt about it, the Ministry of Justice proposed to add a cross to Poland’s coat of arms. This would be part of wider changes to a Polish national symbol, along with swapping the order of stanzas in the Polish national anthem (funnily enough, those who are most adamant about the importance of that change don’t even know the words past the first couple of lines). Apart from that government is dealing with some other important things like appointing a third-range PiS politician with no relevant background as chief of the Polish Space Council (yes, this is a thing) or trying to salvage something from those respirators purchased by the government during the peak of the COVID pandemic last year from some shady arms dealer. The respirators (those that were delivered at least, as most weren’t) turned out to be overpriced and so useless that nobody wanted to purchase them at auction even at the fraction of the original price, so the government decided to modify them so they meet the basic standards required by medical equipment in the UE. The cost of that modifications remains secret, sparkling doubts if it is not just yet another stage of that scam, that already cost the taxpayer a crazy amount of money.
The government seems to be completely unmoved by the fact that they received yet another penalty from the European Court of Justice. This time Poland had been ordered to pay 1 000 000 euros per day for ignoring its ruling about the illegal Disciplinary Chamber of the High Court (the body introduced by PiS to discipline judges that don’t want to follow orders of Zbigniew Ziobro). Moreover, they just suspended a further judge for acting according to the rulings of the European Tribunal.
Mateusz Morawiecki went to the European Parliament, where he tried to defend the actions of his government, but it turned out to be more of Morawiecki’s roast than a debate. For example, a Dutch MEP reminded him that he himself wrote a book when he explained why (in contrary to the recent ruling of the puppet Constitutional Tribunal of Poland) the European laws have priority over the local law:
A message to Polish citizens:
➡️ We hear you & we stand with you
➡️ Nobody is blackmailing Poland
➡️ Nobody wants to punish Poland
➡️ But actions have consequences, which are the responsibility of the Polish Government alone.#ZostajęwUnii pic.twitter.com/kRGuyHGlie
— EPP Group (@EPPGroup) October 24, 2021
To salvage the trip from becoming a total waste of time, Morawiecki met Marie Le Pen – he probably wanted to make it clear in which direction Poland under his leadership is coming, as just a couple of years back Jarosław Kaczyński said “we have as much in common with Ms Le Pen as we have with Mr Putin”. Actually, pro-Russian activism in Poland was described very well by none other by Jarosław Kaczyński himself, who back in 1998 told today’s editor of a pro-PiS propaganda paper in an interview about how pro-Russian activism hides behind the mask of traditional, Catholic, and national values… Who would expect back then that it will be him who’ll send Poland down this path?
The government institutions are already adhering to Russian standards – the journalist who wrote a reportage investigating why the murder of the president of Gdańsk (see here) has not faced justice yet had been ordered to reveal her informers. The recent debate in parliament also looked worryingly like what is going on in Russia. The newly proposed law would ban promoting LGBT equality or “denying that marriage is the union between a man and a woman” went under discussion in Parliament. During that discussion right-wing politicians and activists spouted disgusting hate and lies – the LGBT was compared to NSDAP and accused of “aiming to destroy marriages and families”, “attacking civilisation and the church”. “I want to live in the middle ages, because this is a normal time for us” – said another PiS MP. A picture of men with the guns, where someone photoshopped their guns into giant dildos has been shown as an argument against the LGBT movement:
Można być “idiotą”, można być “skończonym idiotą”.
I to jest komplement.
Nie bądź jak@piotr_kaleta_ z @pisorgp, z mózgiem wypranym propagandą, który używa przeróbki zdjęcia @guardian do uderzenia w osoby #LGBT.
Węgierski przyjaciel uciekający z orgii mu nie przeszkadza. pic.twitter.com/0SjJep5UN7
— Obywatele RP #FBPE (@ObywateleRP) October 29, 2021
But LGBT is not the only way to demoralize Polish children, luckily the schools are trying to stop this disaster. Several schools in the Pomerania region ordered their female pupils to cover their arms and legs at all times (including physical exercise classes). Luckily they don’t have to wear burqas yet. On the other hand, in Łódź female students are not allowed to wear trousers as a part of their formal attire. So it is unclear if schools should sexualize children or not. But surely they should not dress up for Halloween, as according to one priest it’s basically the same thing as dressing up as a prostitute.
And who are those beacons of moral value, PiS politicians? Just recently one of them got high on drugs and stole a tractor. Other has been ordered to pay 50 000 zł penalty for placing illegal billboards and posters all over the city before last election (but refuses to pay). Another one sued a journalist who wrote that he should not get a job as a manager of a shipyard dealing with international customers because he does not speak English… and lost. The court learned that his English is indeed non-existent. Another one lost a job in Central Anti-corruption Bureau after being caught masturbating in public (but soon after got a cozy job in Polish Post). Yet another one was promoting anti-vaccine propaganda and when to a surprise of absolutely no one ended up in hospital with COVID-19, went on Twitter to demand the intervention of a health minister after waiting in A&E for 8 minutes. The chief of the Polish Press Agency can be probably considered to be a PiS politician as well after it had emerged that his institution basically works as yet another government propaganda outlet. And prime minister Morawiecki raves something about the EU starting World Word III during his interview with Financial Times. You might laugh, but perhaps they know something we don’t, as the Minister of Defence just announced a huge program of militarisation. The number of soldiers is going to be more than doubled, just as the military spending. “It will be well over 2% of GDP” – said Kaczyński, before falling asleep during the press conference. People have also observed that he was wearing his watch upside-down (the joke goes that he does not really get all that “turning the clock” thing yet). But it is a little bit worrying that while the country faces growing inflation (it approaches 7%) and several groups of public servants – from teachers, through court workers to medical professionals – are on strike due to lack of funding and the anger against the government is growing everywhere (during my recent visit to Poland I seen people openly displaying not only symbols of the women’s strike but also vulgar slogans against the ruling party on their cars or clothing – look for example at this offroad truck with the sign “FUCK PIS” plastered on its front), the government-controlled by this demented old man decides to spend a fortune on the army (the soldier’s pay is expected to be quadrupled!).
But for now, the only thing similar to the war will be another march of “patriots” through the streets of Warsaw organized by neo-nazi thugs. While the courts are deliberating if the event has been registered properly this year, the nationalists already announced they are going to march anyway. As usual, the riots and vandalism from the right-wing thugs are expected, so PiS and its allies have already prepared the narration: the speaker of the parliament accused the opposition mayor of Warsaw of provocation because due to some road works piles of cobblestones are located near the march’ planned route. Judging from past experience, the neo-Nazi thugs will have to exercise extreme self-control, as the provocations are present at every step: trees, vehicles, art installations, bookshops, city bike renting station, bus stops and pavements, or even people’s houses were all strategically placed along the march’s route by the leftists in hope that the march participants will lose control and break them, smash them, or set them on fire, which would allow the Left to further spread the lies that the march is not, in fact, a peaceful walk of patriotic families with children…
This piece was written for Britské listy
Picture: screenshot from Terenwizja‘s youtube channel