I would like to start this week’s column by giving you a peek into the process of writing them. Every day I trawl Polish news for some absurd happenings and dig through all of the links sent to me by my friends and readers. At the same time I am keeping track of the “serious” news, and then I am aiming to build my piece in such a way, that in a humorous form, using that absurd news, I am conveying the serious message about what is going on in Poland.
Most of those news from Absurdistan are so absurd, that I don’t even have to try and make them any more funny (which is actually sad), but sometimes I add a little joke from myself. On the other hand, there is so many of those stories, that most of them don’t even get into those pieces (and yet, my articles are still almost every time much longer then they should be). But sometimes those that I abandoned end up in one of the later pieces after the plot twist.
For example a couple of months ago I was writing about Magdalena Ogórek’s idea of incorporating hunters into a territorial army and making them the first line of defence against the invaders. I wanted to make a laugh of it saying that perhaps next idea would be to make soldiers doing hunters jobs, but decided against it. I thought that would be a silly joke, and so I’ve deleted this topic whatsoever from the final version.
But now my might-have-been joke finally gets into the Meanwhile in Absurdistan, but this time as a serious news. See, in Mazowieckie voivodship, soldiers will be given time off to go and hunt wild boars, after hunters proved to be not too keen to realise absurd ideas of minister Jan Szyszko.
But while those unthankful hunters do not run to praise every single stupid idea of minister Szyszko, despite all he has done for them, he can’t complain about lack of supporters. State Forest employees are dependent on him, so they have no choice but to participate in embarrassing support rallies, like this recent one organized to counterbalance Szyszko’s defeat in the dispute with EU about logging in Puszcza Białowieska. There was everything, brass orchestra, banners of support (“SZYSZKO=BALANCE IN FOREST AND IN NATURE”), a touch of right-wing poetry (“Mr Professor, talk to us more | talk to us more, we were longing for such speech for years | every single word of yours sends shivers down our spines | talk to us more, be with us, God bless you”) and more:
There was also a speech by father Duszkiewicz, a hunter priest: “In God’s eye, nature is for man. Man should use it, and state forest workers are a wonderful tool in God’s hands, that superbly carry on the God’s will of using Polish forests and natural resources, by fulfilling God’s words (…) Minister, from the spiritual side of things I can say that you stood up against evil, against Satan’s own ideology, it has to be said as it is. This is why you are being destroyed and humiliated with such a fury“ (Voice from the crowd: “DOWN WITH SATAN!”).
The religion is more and more present in Polish politics. Participants in the sitting of parliamentary commission about GMO crops spontaneously burst into singing a religious song. When the question was asked “who you serve: God or Mammon?” one of the ladies from back rows answered: “we are descendants of Jaxa Gryfita, of Roman emperors, we are descendants of Jesus and King David, and so that message, that sparkle that was supposed to come out from Poland, I am that person. A priest told me that I am Holy Mary, it all checks up”.
I got lost in the bit where Holy Mary turned out to be a descendant of Jesus, so I just live it here. I have absolutely no idea how to comment on it. Perhaps Svejk would be happy to live in today’s Poland, he liked it so much “kdyz tak lde blbnou na kvadrat”. Speaking of which, the Police has issued next years calendars already, with pictures of Mariusz Błaszczak, minister of interior, and his deputy. I wonder if one can end up in jail, like poor innkeeper Paliviec, if the flies will shit on their portrait?
Well, unfortunately, it seems that Polish kids won’t get this reference, as I don’t expect them being asked to browse works of Jaroslav Hasek anytime soon. On the other hand, if it comes to the Bible, then please see, if you could solve this mathematical exercise:
“The Bible (first book of the Kings, 7,23) says, that King Solomon ordered a round water tank to be built. It’s circumference was 30 ells and radius 10 ells. What estimate of π comes from that information? Find in the Bible fragment describing those events”.
Yes, I am not making it up, this is from the math handbook for 14 years old published in 2015.
But some people are browsing other documents. Minister of foreign affairs, Witold Waszczykowski has lost his court case against transparency NGO Sieć Obywatelska Watchdog after refusing to publish expertises he referred to when he accused the European Union of election fraud when it comes to re-election of Donald Tusk as a president of European Council. And so he has a problem now, as it seems that there was never any expertise, and he just pulled this out of his bum, so he has nothing to be published. Not that he cares, this is, after all, nothing compared to other actions of PiS.
As for example the one, who was indeed fraudulently elected, Julia Przyłębska, who is a chairman of PiS’s dummy Constitutional Tribunal uses government money and asked the prosecutors to chase Gazeta Wyborcza journalists that wrote about her husband’s secret work for communist Poland intelligence. Note, that she did not start a civil defamation case as a private person, but accuses the paper of “attacking the institution” – just as minister of defence did before when Tomasz Piątek wrote his book about Macierewicz’s connection to Kremlin.
Minister Błaszczak’s subordinates are busy tracking and harassing opposition activists, as it has emerged after one police officer ditched his job, unable to follow such orders, and then went with the case to the media. Meanwhile Zbigniew Ziobro, minister of justice, continues his private vendetta against doctors who were treating his late father, accusing them not only of medical error, but also of carrying unlawful experiments on his father, corruption, falsification of documents and sinking the Titanic (ah, sorry, I got carried away, he did not accuse them of the latter. Yet.). This case goes on for more than 11 years, and the older of the doctors, a world-famous cardiologist, recently quit his job, saying that he is no longer able to carry on his duties due to the stress caused by constant harassment of his, his co-workers and his family. As Ziobro family have lost the case again, they are going to appeal and have it examined again in a higher court in Kraków. To ensure that ruling will be right this time, they have started an investigation into expert witnesses and a judge that was looking into the case so far, and to be perfectly sure, the chairman of the court in question has just been replaced.
Stanisław Piotrowicz, a PiS MP, when caught on spreading lies by a journalist from Onet.pl, in a heated exchange accused the latter of acting in the interests of the German owners of the portal. “Well, I don’t blame you, I understand that you work as your employers expect you to” – he said. And I believe him, after all as former communist prosecutor praised by his superiors for his actions against the democratic opposition in 1980’s, he knows a lot about how it is to do some indecent things in order to earn few pennies…
After all, for PiS only “national media” are trustworthy. For the rest of the population, they are as trustworthy as the Russian media reporting the Crimea invasion. For example, we have the same women interviewed twice: once as Anita Zapładka, once as Magda Bąk…
But at least the chairman of TVP have one worry less of his head. In a recent plot twist, they managed to find an expert witness who blamed a third party driver for the accident that happened on Jacek Kurski’s way back from Opole Festival: his driver stopped on the hard shoulder and then decided to make a u-turn, entering the path of a correctly travelling car. Now allegedly the other car is to blame, as Kurski’s chauffeur was signalling his manoeuvre (except that according to Polish highway code, you still have to give way to everyone when making a u-turn).
But while the indicator might not be visible from the distance, the bright banner at the gate to the guest house run by Piotr Rybak was noticed not only locally, but across the world. Rybak, who has been sentenced for burning the effigy of a Jew and who co-organized this year’s Independence March in Wrocław, that honoured Britain First’ Jayda Fayden as their respectable guest, wanted to make it clear who is welcome in his establishment, or rather who is not. The banner says:
POLISH HOUSE: NO ENTRY TO JEWS, COMMIES AND ALL THIEVES AND TRAITORS OF POLAND.
Somehow this banner avoided being noticed by the local police, just as the right-wing happening with portraits of MEP’s hanging from the gallows escaped the attention of the Katowice police protecting the event. Perhaps the only way to make it big enough to be noticed by the police standing few metres apart is indeed to realise the idea of one of PiS’ local councillors. He tweeted that “there should be more gallows and the whole Civic Platform party should be hanged”. Luckily Zbigniew Ziobro has noticed, but he blamed the opposition, saying “opposition gives permission for aggression, and every action generates reaction”. No wonder then that his subordinates from local prosecution office refused to proceed with the case against organizers of that happening, saying that there is “not enough data”, even though names of every single one of the participants in the happenings was provided to them.
But it’s not that the Police has a problem with eyesight – they were very good at spotting a small sticker someone placed on a TVP company car. The sticker had a quote from the manifesto left by the man who set himself on fire a few weeks back, so they did everything to ensure that nobody would be able to read what the sticker says. Two police officers were bravely blocking the line of view with their own bodies by standing along the car’s rear bumper.
Unfortunately for Polish patriots, those Police officers are not the only one with the sharp eyesight, so someone has noticed that the participants of Warsaw Uprising portrayed on new patriotic Mural in Łomianki looks kinda strange. Apparently copying the picture of the soldiers from the infamous SS-Sturmbrigade “Dirlewanger” and adding white-and-red armbands does not make them national heroes… But what to expect if the whole research seemed to be limited to putting “Soldiers Warsaw Uprising” into the google image search?
But at least Anja Rubik finally heard some positive (?) words from the right regarding her sex-ed project mentioned in last week’s piece. Right wing publicist Bronisław Wildstein said, that she might be just the right person to run sex-ed project, as “she is an attractive woman, so she might have a lot of sexual experience”. Apparently in his dirty mind being a model is exactly the same as being a whore and the fact that he put it into a slightly veiled form in his column does not change much. And it’s only sad that this is the man awarded by president Duda with the highest Polish medal.
But the saddest thing of that week is that PiS is just in course of finally submitting the judicial system to themselves, including changes to the election process. Presidents veto a few weeks back seems to be just a small obstacle (or a planned diversion) and currently, the parliament works on the new law even worse than the one that Andrzej Duda refused to sign before. But apparently Jarosław Kaczyński do not trust him anymore, so he decided to come with another distraction: during this extremely important parliament proceeding, he ostentatiously read a book: “Atlas of cats”. This worked well, as not only it was a show how much he cares about the opposition objections to his actions, but also managed to divert media attention from what was really going on in Sejm on that day. And then, the book was auctioned for charity, bringing him some more positive PR. Even desparate stunt of one of opposition MP’s in which he threw the file of documents in direction of the PiS seats (hitting sejm’ stenographer in her head) failed to bring the important things into the public focus.
If those laws will be put in place, then Poland will officially be no different to Belarus.
This piece was published in
Picture: Bundesarchiv CC 3.0