When I submitted my last week‘s piece I was met with editor’s reaction “the government has been reshuffled, it’s important, you cannot omit that from your piece!”. I was of a different opinion: I did not believe that it is really of any significant importance, it’s just one more staged drama in Kaczyński’s puppet theatre. I also wanted to do some research on the new ministers to see if anything changes, as, unlike their predecessors, they are not known faces. And, last but not least, it was too soon to gauge any reactions.
It turned out that I was right. Nothing really changes. For example minister of environment Jan Szyszko has been replaced by Henryk Kowalczyk. He has been known so far as grey eminence of PiS, with the interest in economical issues. He has no previous record of any interest in environmental matters (except for that he supports minister Szyszko’s method of fighting bark beetle by destroying the forest altogether). Well, he might not be ranting about Satan destroying Polish nature yet, but he says that he is willing to listen, especially to experts and foresters. And Jan Szyszko made sure, that he will not be short of “experts” to listen to: portal oko.press has published a list of 40 people that minister Szyszko placed in strategical areas and institutions that are in control of minister of environment. It is doubtful that new minister will overturn the latest changes to the hunting law, that apart making hunter’s rights superior to freedom and property laws of other people, allows them to hunt in National Parks and reservations. Yes, not as a rule but in special circumstances, but guess who will be in charge to make that decission: Polish Hunting Association.
Meanwhile opposition against hunting as a hobby grows amongst the Poles. Number of activist team up in local groups, such as Wrocław Przeciw Myśliwym and block group hunting (when organized battue frightens all the animals in the area, driving it towards the hunter’s rifles), that is considered the most harmful to the environment, is growing constantly and hunts blocked by them are now almost daily occurrence (hence the changes in the new hunting law according to which such actions will be punishable by law). The voices that contradict hunting propaganda are becoming heard, such as this interview with the farmer about the true relations between farmers and the hunters community. With the new law being voted in also by the opposition, I am afraid that this will be the last of the PiS worries and we have no hope to overturn it.
Meanwhile the changes in other resorts also do not make any difference. The new Health Minister for example is mostly known as one of the first doctors to sign “declaration of faith”. This document, written by personal friend of pope John Paul II, states, that “Human body and live, as a gift from God, is holy and intouchable (…), moment of conception and death depends only of God. If such decision is made by a man, he not only acts against 10 commandments, by committing things such as abortion, anti-conception, artificial insemination, euthanasia, but by in vitro procedure he rejects the Creator himself”. As a signatory of this letter our new minister agrees, that “basic foundations of honour and freedom of doctor is only his conscience, enlightened with the Holy Ghost and teachings of the church”. So much for any good change in the field of woman rights to decide about their bodies. And who knows, maybe they will start a campaign against sex altoghether, as according to the new minister and his colleagues who signed this declaration, “only those chosen by God and tied to him in a holy sacrament of marriage have right to use those organs, that are sacrum of the human body”.
So if you hoped for changes in the ministry of health, the story is the same as in the ministry of environment. And so on, and so forth, no matter which ministry you would look into. Ministry of Defense will now have Mariusz Błaszczak in charge, man, who has no previous record of having anything to do with military, but who is one of the most faithful sidekicks to Jarosław Kaczyński. Minister Macierewicz will now be back in charge in his “commission to explain the Smoleńsk plane crash”. This commission does nothing apart from occasionally ridiculing itself in a press conference when they present another conspiracy theory. But it cost millions of taxpayers money. And now it’s chief Antoni Macierewicz will also have an armoured limo to his disposition. It has been awarded to him by minister Antoni Macierewicz before he got sacked.
Surprisingly the reactions to the government reshuffle seemed to be strongest in the PiS camp. Some people (or at least Twitter accounts, as the information war is strong in Poland) went so far as to blame president Duda for the whole matter – president, as a chief of Armed Forces, was in open conflict with minister Macierewicz. Voices of outrage were coming from everywhere. In an open letter a group calling itself “Ecological forum of youth” claiming to have the support of 16 000 people and “a Toruń centre” – that is, Father’s Rydzyk imperium – behind them, protested against the sacking of Jan Szyszko as environmental minister. They have accused Jarosław Kaczyński of “being encysted by leftism to such extend, that he cannot distinguish between normality and anormality”. They threaten to withdraw their support for PiS as they feel duty to stand against leftism, that wants Poland to be a country where a Moose is protected and unborn children are murdered”. The letter has been signed by Marcelina Puchalska, incidentally an intern in Ministry of Environment under Jan Szyszko…
Meanwhile the PIS MP’s were having a hard time trying to convince journalists, that this is normal reshuffle, as usually such changes happen when some ministers proved to be bad or comprimised themselves, and here outstanding ministers are replaced by even better ones. Somehow nobody buys it. Outside of PiS, the changes are, at best, considered to be another attempt of hiding controversial figures in face of the oncoming local election. Hiding Macierewicz, Szyszko and so on and replacing them with Beata Szydło and other unknown faces worked last time, right?
Speaking of Beata Szydło, there is finally an expert opinion about her accident nearly a year ago, in which after hitting Fiat Seicento driven by a young boy, her armoured limo crashed into a roadside tree. According to an expert witness, her column was driving only slightly over a speed limit – at about 55 km/h, then after braking sharply it has hit a tree about 15 m further down the road with a speed of 30 km/h. The car was basically a write-off. So the boy in Seicento is to blame, they suggest.
Let’s stop here for a moment. It seems that most modern Audi A8 not only has very poor brakes but also in its armoured version looks worse after hitting a tree at 30 km/h than a 1980’s Ford Sierra that has been crashed into a tree at 50 km/h? And that before we even speak about injuries – as in the incident Beata Szydło has received a significant injuries, so I guess that my friends Wartburg was much safer, as when he crashed itinto a pine tree while doing nearly 40, he walked out with merely a bruise.
I know, I know, what I talk here is rubbish and it cannot be treated as a serious scientific discussion with an expert opinion. But OK, in that case lets forget all of it and use Ockham’s razor instead: perhaps the simplest explanation of the aftermath of this accident would be that Beata Szydło’s column was simply driving too fast, as usual, and the whole circus with impossibility of read the car’s speed from it’s black box and having to search for expert witnesses for such a long time serves only one purpose – to frame a young driver?
But while the young seicento driver’s nightmare continues for nearly a year now, elsewhere life is going on as usual. Some other young people take part in a pilgrimage to Jasna Góra, Polish most important Catholic sanctuary. Annual pilgrimage of Footbal Hooligans this year shocked everyone by unveiling a huge transparent with Celtic cross and slogan “WHITE UNITED”. The protesters from Obywatele RP movement, that fights against racism and radical nationalism, unveiled their own transparent saying “Christianity is not about hate”. In result, they were attacked verbally and had pyrotechnic flares thrown at them. Finally they were beaten and forcibly removed from the area with no reaction of either police or the priests observing the situation from distance. Their banners then were burned. The even has been celebrated with pyrotechnical show, as for some reason extreme right in Poland seems to have some fetish about flares. Perhaps because marches with torches are so 1930…
Last Sunday Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy had it’s 26th Grande Finale. Polish right seems to be allergic to this successful charity organization (we were writing about it in detail last year). PiS does everything to make it hard for Jurek Owsiak to run it – they kicked it out from TVP, ordered bank controlled by the state to do not cooperate with the charity, ceased long time cooperation with Polish Post and so on. They failed miserably: the transmission of WOŚP events was taken over by privately owned TVN, thus giving another blow to the TVP, as over 13 000 000 of Poles at various times tuned into TVN to watch the event. The banking service was provided by mBank, that made a biggest donation in history – 7 000 000 zł, and the whole action is likely to break another record. Last year they have raised over 105 000 000, and it is prognosed that the sum will be again significantly bigger this year. Even a hideous slander published by PiS controlled media, like this article, which can be described only as a spat of abuse, wont weaken support of Poles for Owsiak’s charity action. On the contrary, reaction of vast majority of Poles is best summed by this funny cartoon:
“Here you go, one hundred for sick kids, another one to piss Kaczyński!”
TVP under Jacek Kurski had a hard time. Last time they were criticized for pretending that one of the biggest charity event in Europe is not taking place. This time WOŚP made it to the main news program but just to be used as a pretext to show, that other organizations (mostly those run by Catholic Church) are helping better. Also, last year they electronically removed a WOŚP heart from the coat of one of the interviewed MP, but this time they had to deal with the live program. And I guess it is not easy to crop the footage on the go in a way to avoid showing that guests of the program have red heart stickers of WOŚP attached to their clothing (as people who donated proudly wear their heart on this day). One of the camera operator was having really a hard time as one of the guests sickened his heart to the collar. He resolved to showing this guest in close up for most of the time. In a result, the viewers had unprecedented chance to watch a close up of a crumbled powder covering measles on his nose.
But if you think that only PiS and it’s TVP is a laughing stock, think twice. As the citizen’s project of the reform of abortion law was thrown to the bin in the parliament (this time, as in case of hunting law, also thanks to the opposition, as there was a chance to take it further, but the opposition MP’s voted against it), the streets against roared in anger, as women had yet again march on the streets. And rightly so, as in result the only project that made it to further proceeding is a radical one, that even further restricts Polish abortion laws. Katarzyna Lubnauer, head of .Nowoczesna explained, that it was a mistake, as they are a new party and many MP’s are unexperienced and don’t understand the procedures. Well, seems that just like in the government, also in the opposition replacing one face with another does not changes much, as her precedent Ryszard Petru was also famous for his gaffes and mishaps.
Well, yet again Poland proved, that despite fears of the right we don’t have to wait until we will be taken over by radical islam. We have it already here. You don’t believe? Look at this picture of the participants of Saudi conference on the topic of Women in society. And then look at this TVN program where 7 men discuss abortion:
Can’t you see, that we are already there?
This piece was published in Britske Listy
Picture: Łukasz Widziszowski, WOŚP press service.