Meanwhile in Cuckooland 65

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For nearly a decade now, first half of April in Poland is the time, when Smoleńsk paranoia intensifies. This year, though, was different. We’ve been witnessing a final, 96th monthly celebrations of Smoleńsk crash. Jarosław Kaczyński, who said that he is not going to stop until they will reach the truth, settled on just a monument on Piłsudski square. But was that even a minor victory for him?

Of course Macierewicz’s muppet show, I am sorry, I wanted to say “special commission to investigate Smoleńsk crash” has no doubts, that there was an explosion. Or even two. But their “technical report” was ignored, even by the government controlled TVP, where it was only mentioned briefly. Macierewicz though proudly announced on his Twitter, that there was one foreign paper that picked up on their conspiracy theories: British tabloid Daily Star. Judging for the fact, that just a few days earlier Daily Star informed that Aliens from planet Nibiru are on Earth to harvest human bodies, and Putin’s involvend in Syria is in fact fighting the aliens who set up their camps there, I would say this is exactly the place where Macierewicz’s report belongs.

But not only Macierewicz’s investigation proved to be a total failure. It has become pretty clear that Smoleńsk project in general has to be put aside. Of course, president Duda still tries to put on a brave face, when he said in his speech during unveiling the new Smoleńsk monument that “he believes, that this monument will unite everyone of us, regardless of the political views. Because it belongs to everyone and it is for everyone”. But would he be stupid enough to believe his own words, spoken outside the illegally constructed monument on the square taken over from Warsaw by the central government under the pretext of national security? The monument has been relocated despite being designed for a different place by it’s author. It has been mocked long before it has even been unveiled (it has been pointed for example that it looks exactly like from the comic book “Tytus Romek I A’Tomek” where 30 years ago it’s author Papcio Chmiel mocked modern art).

It’s a bit ironic, that the monument that is supposed to bring everyone together has to be guarded 24/7 by the police. Incidentally, when in Gdańsk there was a risk of a flowerbed being vandalised by a football fans, as by coincidence the flowers were planted in a pattern similar to the colours of the football club rival to the local one, instead of ensuring constant police presence to protect it, the flowers had been replanted. Aparently the will of football hooligans has to be respected, the will of majority of Poles, who are against this monument, not…

All that Kaczyński gained by his montly seanses of masochistic onanism with Smoleńsk crash is a birth of a new opposition movement Obywatele RP, that emerged from the protests against taking over the public space by PiS. He felt so threatened by them, that on 10th day of every month, the whole centre of Warsaw had to be fenced off and protected by a heavy police force, with the costs growing from month to month like a snowball and finally reaching more than two millions. The town was paralysed and even ambulances on the way to emergencies were forced to make an u-turn and seek alternative route made many people furious. Kaczyński, in a tongue-in-cheek analogy to king Kazimierz I Odnowiciel (English: Casimir the Reviver) was nick-named Jarosław I Ogrodziciel (English: Jaroslav the Fencer). It hardly helped him to gain new supporters.

But after giving up on his montly rallies, he needs a new place to commemorate his late brother. Usually bereaved families visit their close one’s graves, but he was, despite fierce opposition of majority of Poles, buried in crypt at Wawel Castle in Kraków. This was propably the first crack that started division of Poles after they were initially united by the Smoleńsk tragedy: while they were shocked by loss of their president, they did not considered him equal to national poets, kings and marshall Piłsudski, who are buried in this holy place. Any of already existing 460 places of rememberance of the Smoleńsk’ victim was not good enough for Kaczyński as well. And so a commemorative plaque has been placed in the parliament’ building. That was yet another step too far:
– firstly, the idea of placing the plaque in there hasn’t been consulted with anyone by PiS
– secondly, placing it in secret goes with the worst tradition of Polish parliament: 20 years ago another right wing party, afraid that their idea might not gain wide support in the parliament, decided to illegaly place a cross in plenary room under the cover of the night.
thirdly, the plaque was placed next to the one commemorating John Paul II, and most people does not consider Lech Kaczyński to be even closely as important to Polish history as the pope.
– lastly, Jarosław Kaczyński seems to consider parliamentary building as his own backyard – during unveiling of the plaque, journalists from stations other than TVP
were not allowed into the building.

But enough of Smoleńsk. Especially, that there were some other monuments, that were placed under the cover of the night. This time much more unique. An organisation calling themselves „Yellow Alternative“ – in obvious relation to „Orange Alternative“, a happening movement popular in 1980’s – filled a space recently vacated by „decomunised“ monument of Soviet soldiers with „Monument of Purity of the Nation“ – a rubber yellow duck (as Kaczyński’s surname is derived from this bird). Police removed the sculpture, and now Yellow Alternative demands for the duck to be freed, and for her animal rights to be respected.

But is the yellow rubber duck the only political prisoner in Poland? Opposition claims that it is only the beginning.Recently one of it’s MP’s has been arrested for three months under corruption charges. The court’s reasoning: he has been speaking about the accusation to the press, which can influence witnesses. Incidentally PiS senator accused of corruption of much bigger scale somehow hasn’t been arrested despite the fact, that he speaks freely to the media about his charges. Moreover, he hasn’t been even stripped of his immunity by Senate (although that annoyed Kaczyński so he had to give it up at his own will). So much for everyone being equal in the face of the law.

PiS came to power thanks to accussation of previous government of corruption at enormous scale. But even if what they said was true (and if was, why the only arrest so far is on charges of some petty bribe), the scale of their wrongdoing outdone their precedessers by the order of magnitude. Every day new cases emerge: for exampleMinistry for Science and Universities asigned a grant of 230 000 to an organization run by collegues of minister Gowin, that has been established just 18 days before the grant tender was announced. PiS senator Anna Maria Anders spent over 611 000 of taxpayer’s money on flights. She claims that it is part of her job, as she is responsible for international relation, but incidentally vast majority of those flights are to the USA, where she lives and where she „likes to do her shopping“. The cherry on the cake was when, confronted by journalist about the cost of her business class flights she said: „I think I look very well for my age, but I am 67“ – here she started laughing – „so I won’t be flying tourist, or economy clas there and back, if I have to come back to Senate“. Then we have the case of money syphoned out of Poland by Czartoryski family after PiS for unknown reason decided to give them 500 000 000 zł for the art collection that was impossible to say or remove from the public domain anyway. Even the daugher of „prince“ Czartoryski claims, that this was a scam aiming to remove money from the foundation abroad, so it can enlarge personal wealth of her father and his lebanese wife. While she herself signed some documents required for this transfer, she claims to be blackmailed and tricked into it by her family, as she felt that aristocrats should serve the needs of the nation, while her father „hates Poland and Poles“ and believes „he did enough for this nation“ and his wife believes that „Poles cannot be trusted“. Well, she propably learned that from observing her husband…

There seems to be also a big scandal regarding new water law. The new bill introduced by PiS will make farmers liable to pay for the water they draw from their own wells. They would of course need to install water meters there. But they won’t be able just to buy one: in a mysterious way the bill was amended in such a way, that the state institution will buy the metres in bulk and then supply them to the farmers. This solution seems to favourise certain foreign companies.

This is a situation similar to that of Rywin affair from 2002, when the addition of two words completely changed the newly written press law. It had demolished Leszek Miller’s government and the Polish political scene had to be rebuilt from scratch. But somehow I can’t see it harming PiS too much. They seems to be indestructible – propably they are well beyond the point when their action would further shock or surprise anyone.

And even if people are annoyed with PiS, there is hardly a competition. The biggest opposition party, PO, seems to have no plan, other than crying „you have to vote us to remove PiS from power“ and trying to become more and more like PiS itself. They jump at any PiS drop-out, even despite the fact, that it hasn’t really worked in the past: signing in Michał Kamiński, former prominent PiS politician, known mostly for his excursion to Chile back in 1999 when he and his collegues expressed support for Augusto Pinochet, giving him a portrait of a Holy Mary, can be hardly called a success. While he made it into the parliament, he was not welcome by anty-PiS PO voters, and finally has been kicked out of PO. It’s leader Grzegorz Schetyna seems to be not willing to learn from his mistakes, and he just announced that in oncoming local elections, the PO’s candidate for president of Wrocław will be Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski. While he quit PiS in protest against their attack on democracy, his strongly right wing political views remained unchanged, but what is propably even more important in this context, he has no connection to Wrocław at all – but this seems to be a problem completely ignored by both PO and its critics…

There might be soon some more cadres for the opposition, as behaviour of some PiS activists is too much even for them.Piotr Szubarczyk might soon be looking for a new job due to his behaviour during public consultations regarding placing a new monument to „cursed soldiers“. When the local historian opposed this proposal, quoting war crimes commited by one of them, the representative of Institute for National Rememberance interrupted him with „you lie like a dog. You are a liar“. He did not allowed his adversaries to finish even one sentence, shouting at them „you talk utter rubbish! This is bullshit told to stupid commie people after the war!“ According to him, „cursed soldiers“ actions were OK, as they were not killing other Poles, but Jews. Then he became to sing Soviet patriotic songs in an attempt to mock his adversary. Finally the meeting had to be cancelled, as the organizers were afraid of him, saying that he „has poor heart“. He seemed nothing wrong with his behaviour, and later wrote a follow up on Facebook, when he called his opponent „soviet agents“, „extraodrinary scum“, and „cowardly scumbags“. He finished his rant with prophecy, that their grandchildren will one day spit in their faces.

And so the things in Poland are going slowly. And it will be better –thanks to new approach to Politics. But, enough of me, let’s listen to prime minister Morawiecki himself:

„Today our politics, politics of PiS, politics of united right, in Europe and in Poland led to that our actions, our politics is neither white – that is: submissive – nor red – that is: post communist. It iswhite AND red“.

Well, at least he said something that most Poles can agree with.


This piece was written for Britske Listy
Picture: Smoleńsk Crash via Wikipedia, CC 2.5, author unknown.
Screen from the comic: Henryk J. Chmielewski via



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