The women’s protest last Tuesday made some waves. Certain right wing commentators suspect that the protest was a desperate attempt of ugly women to find someone who would like to fuck them. Popular Catholic priest, father Janusz Chyła, does not shares this point of view, as he assumes that at least some of them might actually do have partners. Therefore he made an appeal to “husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and priests” to defend their women from “feminist ideology that destroys women, families and life”. As a good Christian, he is not full of hate, but of love and pity. He seems to be honestly worried. “Emotional reactions of #BlackTuesday advocates show about the condition of their conscience” – he Tweeted – “They are wounded people, who should be embraced with care and prayer”.
Prime minister Chief of Staff Beata Kempa sees no reason why women would want to protest, as they have it better in Poland than in many Western European countries. She suspects that those stupid women were simply misinformed and manipulated. But in the same interview she said that the anti-judge media campaign that would become a laughing stock, if not for the fact that it was paid for by the money syphoned from state-owned enterprises (we wrote about it here) was a great success, so I guess we can ignore what she says as an utter rubbish.
What we cannot ignore is that just day after the protest took place, Police have entered several women’s organizations, seizing documents, computers and hard drives, thus completely paralysing their activities. The government claims, that this is an investigation into financial fraud caused by employees of Ministry of Justice during previous government. No one seems to believe that excuse, as the investigation could be done without paralysing NGO’s that government is not too keen of – after all, copies of the same documents should be easy to obtain from the ministry itself. Some activist point out, that Police has seized also confidential documents related to vulnerable persons. But would it be just a piece of a bigger puzzle? Let’s take a step back and look: PiS and Polish church did not wanted to ratify international convention on domestic violence. For many PiS activists “domestic violence is not the problem”, and so the organizations that help victims of domestic violence lost their government grants. Now, PiS controlled prosecutors investigate how previous government financed such organization, so one could expect that those NGO will not only loose their current grants, but they might be forced to return money they were given in the years 2012-2015. Does anyone else wonders, why Polish women have to protest?
But don’t worry, when PiS government will finally sort out those bloody feminist, prime minister Szydło will just go to the PiS controlled TVP and say, that everything is as should be. She just said it when asked about the new legislation that dramatically cuts pensions to those retired, who even for one day served in the institution of the communist Poland. No matter if you were brutal secret police agent, who spend his days beating opposition activists or a traffic militia officer, who spent the whole career controlling trucks and attending traffic accidents. No matter if you were librarian in a intelligence academy or a lecturer of Marxism there. No matter if you were rejected during verification in 1989 after the long career in communist institution, or if you were a legendary cop risking your life fighting crime in 1990’s, who just happened to be sent for a month to Militia Academy to attend Human Rights course just before the collapse of the communism: there is a blanket rule, everyone who even for a day was involved with the communist regime had lost the vast majority of his or hers pension overnight. This new law is considered unjust and unconstitutional, it’s a form of collective punishment and undermines trust in the state amongst such important servants of the country like intelligence officers, policemen and military people. Because if all of your achievements and years of service for your country can be crossed-out overnight like that because for some time you were working for the communism regime, then perhaps one could expect, that some further government will do the same, who happened to serve under ministers Ziobro, Błaszczak or Kamiński from PiS government?
But what Beata Szydło has to say about that? “This bill brings back justice and shows, that Polish state won’t allow victims to suffer and tormentors benefited”. But is that a fact? Under this new legislation a criminal, who spent half of his life in jail will have higher pension than a policeman who was locking him up, as the new bill does not recognize the fact, that during communism there were still thieves and murderers to be caught and speeding drivers to be fined… Do they really think that before 1989 Polish borders did not needed to be protected, foreign spies captured, fires extinguished, citizens evidenced…? And guess who will not fall in scope of the new legislation? A current PiS MP and former communist prosecutor, who was accusing the opposition activists, Stanisław Piotrowicz and his colleagues. Are you surprised? I am not.
But luckily, there is still something else in Polish media than monotonous voice of Beata Szydło spreading lies and round-meaningless words with the same intonation. There are some important news, that tell a lot about the quality of journalism in the media taken over by PiS. The Polish Press Agency PAP for example informed, that people should keep chestnuts close to their electronic devices, as they allegedly suck up harmful electromagnetic radiation. Incidentally you can also cure rheumatism by keeping one or two conkers in your pocket.
If science is not your thing, then what about art? For example Polish representation in Show Dance performed in breakfast TV, presenting the dance routine they have prepared for the world championship in China. They are patriots, so their dance aims to show the world all the suffering of the brave Polish nation had to endure during the World War II and Warsaw Uprising. Yes, nationalist and religious propaganda is now forced everywhere. For example 11 years old who do their homework are now to use new exercise book for the subject of Musical Education. They have to provide dates of beginning and end of the World War II and answer to a most crucial question in the history of Music: what fields of arts Pole John Paul II was interested in? All that, after learning a popular song from the times of Nazi occupation… In my opinion such thing can only incite hate to that subjects in kids, which is not the good prognostic. See, Polish schools suffer from poor quality musical education for years, and now the most popular Polish song of recent years is this… I dread to think what would current approach to musical education is going to bring us in a decade or two…
The only hope is in the music teachers. Perhaps they would invoke conscience clause and refuse to teach such rubbish to children? The conscience clause seems to becoming more and more popular, for example the Association of Catholic Pharmacists of Poland (yes, this is actually real thing: http://www.sfkp.pl/) demands right to use it, so they can refuse selling condoms. So far this right was not granted to them, but the problem might soon solve itself, as more and more Poles are afraid of that Catholic paranoia. I’ve seen a Facebook conversation in which some people still living in Poland asked my friend, who lives in Scotland, to bring them a stash of condoms from the UK, so they can be sure, that nobody punched holes in them. Some say, that pharmacists and shopkeepers tampering condoms in order to save un-conceived babies lives is just another urban legend, but seeing what is going in in Poland, I would not be so sure any more…
Surprisingly conscience clause is now being invoked also by hunters. Hunter Sławomir Kłoda went to media to protest minister’s Szyszko plan to kill most of Polish wild boars, which would be the mandatory task for the Polish Hunting Association. He points out that such huge scale killing are very dangerous for the environment, and thus against the hunters ethical code.
Minister Szyszko is so far unsinkable as minister of environment. Nor illegal logging in Białowieża forest, nor ignoring the problem of air pollution, not even hiding his luxurious barn conversion from his financial report managed to make him any harm, even despite the fact, that it is present (although with significantly lowered value) in his wife’s financial report. Now even the hunters, whom he tries so hard to spoil, are going to turn against him. But will that be the last straw for Jarosław Kaczyński to order Beata Szydło to sack him? I don’t think so, as Szyszko is a man supported by father Tadeusz Rydzyk, catholic media tycoon, and a “spiritual leader of Poland” – as long, as we believe the minister of environment.
Of course you won’t hear about such things on the public TV. Just as you won’t hear about the hunger protest of young doctors, who are paid appallingly silly money. This puts the current government in an uncomfortable position, as their demands happen to be the same as postulated 11 years ago by then chairman of the Chamber of Physicians and Dentists (Naczelna Izba Lekarska). The same guy happens to be today’s Minister of Health and he refuses to raise doctor’s pay to the levels he postulated himself a decade ago. PiS controlled TVP does their best to evade the topic, and when doctors and their supporters flooded their comment section and social media pages with comments demanding to broadcast information about the doctor’s strike, they delete them all in bulk. Is that this censorship thing right wing media were accusing TVP of before they took over themselves?
Meanwhile Wrocław’s police again made the headlines. This time for the treatment of a young Ukrainian girl. She used to date a Polish boyfriend, and after they broke up, he reported her for stealing a phone from him – the phone, that he himself earlier gave her as a gift. The police was not interested to hear her version of events, or even to check the phone, containing several pictures of the couple and months of conversations in messaging app. Instead they informed her, that they are fed up with Ukrainians in Wrocław, detained her overnight and humiliated – she was forced to undress and stay naked not once, but twice, under the pretext that under wires from her bra can be used as a dangerous tool.
But this problem should be sorted soon. The problem of migration, that is. Poland is now allegedly protected by the power of prayer, after the “Rosary to the borders” action proved to be huge success. Well, maybe not that huge as organizer claim, as the number of million of participants seems to be strongly exaggerated, but the attendance surprised everyone, and the number of a few hundred thousands quoted by some Catholic media seems to be reasonably realistic. The fact, that some big companies decided to support it might play a big role here: for example Polish Railways offered a special tickets to the border stations priced at 1 zł return. The event was also widely advertised with a professional clips starring popular celebrities, what would not be possible if not for the financial support of the government controlled enterprises, as the total cost of the event was estimated at approx 2 000 000 zł. Involvement of the Catholic Church, that decided to try to control it to avoid schisma, resulted in softening the message, so the intention of the prayer was officially “to thank God for all his grace, and to beg him for the peace on the world”. But the fact, that the event was planned in the anniversary of Battle of Lepanto leaves no doubt, that the real message was anti-Islamic, which can be further confirmed by the commentary of a nationalist MP in TVP. According to Adam Andruszkiewicz, shouting and crying in “some media on liberal site” means, that they are doing a good thing. So nothing new here, everything is good, even if it makes no sense as long as it causes leftist’s butt hurt.
This piece was published by Britske Listy.
Picture: a meme from the internet, author unknown. Picture used for informative purposes.