Meanwhile in Cuckooland 201

Hallelujah! It’s such a great time to be living in Poland now! Petrol, for example, is cheap like nowhere else in Europe. True, you might not feel it at the forecourt, as for the average salary a Polish person can buy only 700 liters of petrol (Czech: 800 and German, for example, 1800), but as the billboards inform us, our fuels are amongst the cheapest in Europe. Technically it’s true, if you are German you can buy petrol cheaper in Poland than at home, but how is it relevant to a Polish person living in Poland and earning a Polish salary – I don’t know.

But apparently, government gave up already on doing actual things – remember 2011, when Kaczyński demanded that government lower fuel prices by slashing taxes on them? Back then the price of petrol broke through 5 zł / l price, while the price of the barrel was nearly twice as much as today when Poles have to cough around 6 zł per liter… But today he is in power, so he is against slashing taxes: “state should not limit its income” he says. And so you might complain about high fuel prices, but at least the billboards inform you that you’re wrong and the fuel is actually cheap.

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Because while the state should “not limit its income”, surely there are no limits on spending on propaganda. And so for a mere 1.1 million zł, there will be another advertisement campaign, promoting another of government pet projects: reconstructing of the Saxon Palace in Warsaw. Poles are apparently wrong opposing the idea of reconstruction of that old building with no historical significance, in place of which a big square allowing for state celebrations is, and where in the last remaining fragment of the building the grave of the unknown soldier is located – one of the most symbolic places in Poland. They need to be told the correct way of thinking.

It seems Poland is going full-blown North Korea. There is even a “press center” on the Polish-Belarussian border now, where hand-picked journalists can participate in guided trips around the area provided by the Border Guards who will ensure that they won’t see anything they are not supposed to see. Meanwhile, the real journalists who write about serious issues, like Ewa Siedlecka, who wrote about a hate campaign steered from the Ministry of Justice are getting in trouble. Apparently saying that judges who retweeted hateful trolls took part in that hate campaign is defamation. Incidentally, she was also found guilty for retweeting another journalist’s analysis, so I am not sure if retweeting is bad or not now. Apparently, it depends if you are with PiS or not.

The message has to be clear and only one voice is to be heard. Even children are taught what to think. The government has organized action when children can draw pictures for the soldiers who “defend our borders”. You can find a gallery of those pictures here but I warn you, it might be both the saddest and the scariest thing you’ll see today. I am not a parent, but when I see a picture on which two soldiers and a helicopter aim guns at a family with a child, I would rather show that picture to a child psychologist, not hand it up on the internet for all to see… I am not sure either if promoting pictures showing the Polish invasion of Belarus is a wise thing to do under the current political climate. And yes, this is a government-organized action, Polish Post even offers free delivery of works and postcards whose authors want to express their gratitude to the Polish forces stationed at the border (but enclosed envelopes are not allowed, so we can be sure that only correct words of support reach the soldiers). And then there was that concert for soldiers:

Apart from Polish forgotten stars of one-hit, like Jan Pietrzak above, who is now a big friend of PiS so they always give him well-paid gigs, we had some forgotten one-hit starts from abroad, like Los Ketchup or Lou Bega as well… Alas, they have sung their hits in standard versions. Mambo No 5 would sound better on such an occasion with the lyrics like that:

“A little bit of tear gas in my life
A little bit of concertina by my side
A little bit of beating is all I need
A little bit of freezing is what I see”

A Disco Polo band led by Sławomir Świerzyński, known mostly for plagiarizing other people’s songs and brown-nosing PiS on public TVP did exactly that and recorded a new version of his (at least until its original composer turns up [EDIT: my friend just pointed to me that this song is a plagiarism as well, you can listen to the original here]) greatest hit:

And we all heard it before. During Stalinist times musicians were also recording songs praising the hard work of soldiers protecting our borders. But at least back then the music was good:

And all that while Jarosław Kaczyński is becoming a leader of free Europe. At least that what’s his acolytes believe after the summit of all radical and pro-Russian parties took place in Warsaw. Marine Le Pen (about whom PiS just a few years back said “We have as much in common with Ms. Le Pen as we do with Mr. Putin”) was one of the most prominent guests there, along with Victor Orban, and while PiS claims this is only a private party event, she was receiving treatment worthy of the head of state. It seems that she particularly enjoyed the ride in government limo under police escort in Warsaw, as she has even tweeted about it:

It is unclear what legal basis allows for a private guest of the political party to be provided with a police escort, but in Poland, we are well past the time when such questions were asked. Remember that the State of Emergency on the Polish-Belarussian border? It has been extended once, and under the Polish constitution, you can’t extend it anymore. No problem, at an express pace a new law was introduced and now the Minister of Interior might issue “entry bans” there as he pleases. Which in practice means exactly the same, it’s just called differently. This is of course illegal, as not only takes away the presidential prerogative of introducing a state of emergency (yet, Andrzej Duda, who calls himself “steadfast”, signed it promptly as ordered by Kaczyński) but also limits citizen’s freedom to travel and press access to important events at the border but who cares. To top it up, the Minister of Interior introduced new ordinances day before the new law took effect. And what you can do about it? Nothing. But at least the hunters will go and shoot in the forest just outside the zone, where hundreds of refugees are hiding in the forest. What could go wrong?

But some have it good. The Prime minister’s wife managed to sell the land they bought on the outskirts of Wrocław from the church back in 2002. They paid 700 000 zł for the land worth 4 million, and likely to increase in price, as by this time it was clear that this area is to become a logistic and industrial hub for the city. After Gazeta Wyborcza wrote about it, Morawiecki was outraged and threatened to sue, and PiS promised new law forcing politicians to disclose their wealth (which would not concern Morawiecki anyway, as he separated his estate from his wife’s). Morawiecki’s wife promised to sell the land needed for the area development back to the city at the original price and donate the money to charity. Of course, nothing came out of any of that, and recently the land had been sold to another, freshly established company, at the price of nearly 15 000 000 zł.

The company that is tasked to build a fence on the Polish border is also expected to make a fortune. The fence is to be much more expensive than the one built by Lithuania and the job was given, without a tender, to a company controlled by PiS politicians. As if anyone is surprised by this. There is a certain irony, that the vast majority of steel in Poland is imported, in a great part from Russia and Belarus. So it’s just like that Trump’s wall, just the other way round: we are going to build it, and Mexicans are to make fortune selling us steel to do so.

Meanwhile further results of the new abortion ban are observed. A hospital in Białystok refused to perform an abortion of a fetus with acrania – without a skull. Such defect is always lethal and the expecting mother fell into severe depression and was thinking about killing herself. Two psychiatrists diagnosed her with a severe psychotic disorder caused by extreme stress and recommended termination, yet the hospital refused to help her, calling up the advice of the ultra-catholic lobbying organization Ordo Iuris that claimed that suicidal thoughts are not putting women’s life at risk.

Ordo Iuris bragged about their success in “saving the baby”, advising that women and “her child” should be now placed in the complex care of a prenatal hospice (that’s their name for that concentration camps for women with defective pregnancies ensuring that they won’t go through an abortion, but suffer the rest of pregnancy and then watch their incurable children suffering and dying), but luckily with the help of a feminist organization the women got her proper medical help elsewhere. But the Białystok hospital makes it clear: “Even a year ago, our position will be different, but after the ruling of Constitutional Tribunal doctors are afraid that they going to lose their right to practice and face criminal charges” – the management of the hospital wrote in their official statement.

But if you think THAT is crazy, just look at what is going in the local politics. The local council in Dębica seriously debated about populating the woods in the city with “wolves, a bear, and crocodiles” (yes, crocodiles) in order to limit the number of wild boars roaming the area, as those animals are allegedly natural enemies of boars. So far the introduction of crocodiles had been postponed though.

But the biggest madness of last week happened in Stary Sącz, where during debate of abolishing infamous anti-LGBT resolution one of PiS councilors first incoherently driveled something about St Kinga being their patron, and having a church of St Kinga there for millennia (fun fact: Poland adopted Christianity in 966) and then stood up and began singing Bogurodzica, a medieval religious song from Poland, in the past used in a role of a Polish-Lithuanian anthem:

And you know what is the worst thing? Not that one loony woman believes that singing ancient hymns should save Poland from LGBT. But the fact, that when she signed to other people they should stand up, every single person in the frame did and joined her.

This country is doomed.

This piece was written for Britské Listy
Picture: screen from



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