One of the readers, Miroslav Rudišin, has written to me regarding my recent reportage from Poland (here). He wanted to clarify, that the bikini made for the Nymph in Jelenia Góra’s spa district of Cieplice, was actually not an attempt to censorship her naked breasts, but simply an innocent joke. I am glad to correct that factual mistake, but this shows the atmosphere in Poland: I was not the only one, who’s first thought was that someone tries to censor the piece of art. Nowadays things, that were just joking about a year ago, are becoming true.
For example on 4th of September kids went to School, for the first time disorganized as per regulations introduced by educational deform. And so, what just a year ago was a sour joke, today become real: the new curriculum includes poetry of PiS’ court poet Wojciech Wencel, which will definitely help to achieve PiS aim to shape the young minds into the “true patriots” (provided that teachers and pupils will take it seriously). Let’s have a taste of this momentous literature by taking a close look at the Wencel’s poem “In hora mortis”. I will try to provide poem’s analysis from the angle of how it can be useful in a Polish school, but remember that it has been some time since I’ve analysed some poetry in class, so I might be not best at it:
Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła póki my giniemy
Poland has yet not perished so long as we still die
póki nasi starsi bracia wędrują do ziemi
so long, as our older brothers go under the soil.
In this stanza an author paraphrases the beginning of the Polish national anthem, but changes “so long as we live” into “so long as we die” to stress, that the only way to keep our country alive is to keep dying. As long as it’s not us, but our older brothers who loose their lives, apparently. Some biblical reference to Kain and Abel perhaps?
tam tajemne biją źródła tryskają strumienie
there a secret sources feed the streams
tam śmierć pada na kolana przed wiecznym istnieniem
there death falls on its knees in front of eternal being
This is an example of the cross-referencing between subjects in the schools, very trendy thing in modern education. While analysing this poem, the pupils learn, that the streams have their sources underground (geography) and about eternal Chtuhlu (which could serve as a piece for discussion during the Religious education class, if not for the fact, that religious education in Poland is basically a Catholic brainwash. But we can always use it as introduction to foreign literature, i.e. H.P Lovercraft).
I will now skip a few stanzas and focus on those ones:
gdy przestaną nas hartować strzałem w potylicę
when they stop to toughen us with a shot into the occiput
samoloty będą spadać za lub przed lotniskiem
the planes will fall before or after the airports.
This stanza stresses the futile fate of the Polish nation. Our nation is so tough, because they (you should know who they are, but as you are not Polish, I will help you out: the author probably means not only Soviets massacring Polish prisoners of war in Katyń forests, but the enemy of the nation in general, so probably pretty much everyone in the world apart from our Hungarian brothers) are still shooting us in the back of our heads (that could explain brain damage of some right wing politicians, they were apparently already shot). But even if they stop doing so, it will only get worse, as the planes will begin to crash around the airports. Which would be bad, as currently on most occasions they not only manage to find their way to the airports, but also instead of crashing, they land safely. So perhaps it is indeed worthy, in order to ensure survival of our nation, to feed our older brothers to the enemies? The numbers would have to be worked out to make that decision, which would result in lesser amount of deaths, but this will be done in the mathematics class. It is also a variation of classical trolley dilemma to be discussed during philosophy class.
mroźny wiatr ze wschodnich kresów wciąż nam wieje w plecy
frosty wind from the eastern borderland still blows in our backs
gnie się trzcina nadłamana tli się płomyk świecy
the broken reed bends, the fire of the candle smolders.
Frosty wind from East will be Russia of course, but its blowing into our backs, does it means, that we are pushed West by Russia? Since it blows into our backs, then we are probably going there anywhere, so I am failing to see what’s wrong with it. And I have no idea what author wanted to say in the second verse.
a im bardziej bezsensowny twój zgon się wydaje
and more futile your death seems
tym gorętsze składaj dzięki że jesteś Polakiem
be more grateful for that you are a Pole.
Here, for the change, the message is clear: essence of being Polish is to die a futile and nonsensical death. And we should be grateful for it. Luckily I am not Polish enough, as though I am really tempted to go to the bathroom and slash my wrists now, I will settle with a hefty face-palm and just drop it here. I guess it’s enough of right wing poetry for this week.
The changes that can be visible in education (as in the new curriculum, the pupils will only learn about Polish martylology and will have no idea about history in general) can be seen in other resorts as well. For example there are important changes in ministry of foreign affairs. Apart from opening new embassies (most recently in Senegal, but so far none in San Escobar), they decided to pick the new motto for the service. The old mission statement “To serve Poland, to build Europe, to understand the world” has been replaced with the new one, in line with the government politics. And so now the diplomatic corps will have to live to the words of the oath taken by the Home Army during second world war: “To be faithful to my motherland, Republic of Poland”.
But nowadays minister Waszczykowski might be the last person who is responsible for the Polish foreign politics. Knowing how terrible he is in everything you could think that it might be a good thing, but, alas, it is not. Everyone else in government is messing up with our relations with outsider world, from the ministry of Interior that wanted to include pictures from Lviv and Vilnius in the new design of Polish passport, what understandably upset Lithuanians and Ukrainians, to the local government in Opole, where the newly appointed Wojewoda from PiS decided to remove EU flag from the roof of his building. To be sure, that nobody would even thing of putting the EU flag back up, the whole flagpost was cut down as well. Minister Szyszko also puts his three pennies into Polish relations with the foreign institutions: not only he refused to observe European Tribunal decision that banned him from logging trees in protected areas, but also decided to threaten Brussels with a 2.5 billions euro bill for “damages caused by obstructing the protection of Polish forests”. And sadly there is no chance that someone will edit it out before presenting those letters in Brussels, so everyone will know what an idiot he is. In other direction censorship works well: when European institutions wanted to poll Polish local government about the situation regarding air pollution, the ministry of environment removed all the uncomfortable questions from it before sending it down to the local councils… But it did not helped: in Poland everyone knows it already.
In other fields ministry of environment seems to have a good eye for a detail. The new list of the hunting animals included jackals. That is: all six of those, that were spotted in Poland so far. The ministry claims, that “we need to hunt them to learn more about those animals, since they are naturally migrating to Poland”. But is it the real reason? Or perhaps the real deal is in that young jackals looks very similar to wolves, which are protected in Poland, but hunters want to shoot them very badly. Now they can always say that they took a wolf for a jackal and evade responsibility for shooting protected species.
But at least economy is doing well. According to minister Waszczykowski French economy has no chance to compete with Polish. We are also soon to become one of the richest countries, as according to Minister Morawiecki big corporations are already approaching him to ask, if they can pay more taxes, as they feel that they are not paying enough – this is propably because unlike the previous government, that was effective like the Olsen gang while under his rule the tax office delivers results like Clint Eastwood. Finally someone from the government admitted that they have as much respect to the law as Dirty Harry…
But, what the hell, the end justifies the means, isn’t it? We will have money, right? And then when we add all the profits that we are going to make from our energy market based on coal (as, according to the ultra-liberal magazine, renewable energy has roots in Nazism – duh, as we all know, or at least those of us, who read right wing magazines, Hitler was a lefty) then we will be perhaps even able to afford constantly buying new limousines for the government (the list of VIP’s that had accidents while being transported by government drivers now includes former president Lech Wałęsa and secretary general of NATO).
Things in Ministry of Defence seems to be not going so well. After the Polish Arms Group took over the bankrupted Autosan bus factory in Sanok, there was a need to organize some orders for it. Despite that the tender was set up for Autosan to win, the bus manufacturer failed to deliver its offer on time, and as a result the Polish army will be using buses manufactured by MAN. The ministry accused person responsible for a delay in placing an offer to be “associated with the previous government” but it quickly emerged, that it was a person employed by PiS. The real story behind this is that Autosan willingly delayed their offer, as they were aware that being manufacturer of low floor small and medium-sized city buses they won’t be able to provide modern coaches required for the army. Simply nobody dared to tell that to the minister.
Meanwhile, the lack of army coaches were visible more than ever. It took them 4 days to reach the villages of Rytel and other places in Northern Poland, where the tornado of the magnitude of 9/10 in Szyszko’s scale has toppled hundreds of thousands of trees. State Forests estimated losses at 7 millions of cubic metres of timber. While local people, energy services and fire brigades supported by volunteers and scouts were clearing roads trying to reach villages cut off from the world, the soldiers, including newly created Territorial army, were marching in Warsaw during annual military parade. If only they had those buses…
The army was sent there only after Minister Macierewicz personally learned, that soldiers are needed. He did it by flying a helicopter to the most damaged village of Rytel, then getting into the military jeep that just couple of metres down the road got stuck in mud. Luckily for him, the local volunteers were there to help him out.
But Ministry of Defence had some victories as well: they managed to defend Westerplatte! Westerplatte is a peninsula in Gdańsk where in 1939 a small Polish military unit was placed. The moment in which a German warship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on it is commonly considered as a beginning of the second world war, and so every year the celebrations are held there in early morning of 1st September. For years the celebrations were co-organized by the scouts, but this year the army regained control by preventing a scoutmaster from accessing the tribune and paying respect to the victims. The whole scene can be seen here. And they done the right thing! They cannot be trusted, those scouts. Who knows, perhaps they would try to omit paying respect to the true hero of the Battle of Westerplatte – Lech Kaczyński (joking you not, the name of Lech Kaczyński is now being invoked during every single military celebration).
And future also looks good: the country will be protected with some kind of magic shield created by hundreds of people reciting the rosary all along the Polish borders. Poland now has such a powerful weapon, that even Kin Jong Un would not dare to attack us, unless it works only against Muslims. I am not sure about that as it’s not clear from the information provided by the organizers of the event. But history teaches us, that it worked for the Bolsheviks as well: Holy Mary was allegedly helping us out in the past. According to the president Duda, the battle of Warsaw in 1920 was planned on 15th of August, the Assumption of Mary day, and only because of that we managed to prevent Europe from the Bolshevik hordes. Personally I think it was very kind of Bolsheviks to agree with us on the schedule of the war.
Meanwhile the Polish TVP is nearly bankrupt. The government had to lend it 800 millions to keep it going. But still they are not that desperate to broadcast a commercial for the book “Tajemnice Antoniego Macierewicza” that investigates minister of defences connections to Russia. The publisher had his clip refused, arguing that “it is unacceptable to force the broadcaster to broadcast opinions that are not shared by it”. Does it mean, that from now only commercials of chips that Jacek Kurski likes and cars he think are a good buy will be allowed on public TV? As if that so, I doubt they will be able to pay that 800 millions back.
But there are good news as well. Poland finally wants to take some refugees. And it comes from no one else, but a nationalist MP Adam Andruszkiewicz, who demands that men, who raped a Polish tourist in Italy were to be trialed and sentenced in Poland. I had to say it was quite unexpected: until now, they were against taking refugees, as there might be some rapists amongst them. Now they want those very ones, who are almost certainly guilty of rape. Minister Ziobro has already sent prosecution team to Italy to… ehm…
Well, it’s not clear why he sent those people there, as nobody knows what they would actually do there, having no jurisdiction or legal basis to do any investigation at all and being not asked for by the Italian side. Even the prosecutor’s spokesperson struggled to answer the question what the Polish prosecutors could do there:
Anyway, it might be hard to get those rapists trialed in Poland. Not only for the fact, that, unbeknown to deputy justice minister Patryk Jaki, extradition is only possible if the accused commited a crime in Poland. But also because the same minister Jaki announced on Twitter that he would reintroduce death penalty and tortures for them. If anyone had still any doubts that Poland is no longer a civilised country, then it was cleared once for all.
And there is that one more thing: strangely enough Polish gang of rapists, who tortured and raped a women for 10 days before she managed to alarm the police can only expect up to 15 years in prison even despite the fact, that the victim has later died in hospital due to her injuries. They haven’t head a team of top prosecutors sent after them. Perhaps if they were black, or at least Muslim, it would be different?
This Piece was written by Britske Listy.
Picture: Screen from Sergio Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” via Wikipedia