One can think that in XXI century gay people are not a curiosity any more and women are no longer seen as a cattle and have their own rights. Nobody tells them what to do, or what they should wear. But there are still some countries in which religious leaders feel the right to lecture them on their dress and blaming them for inciting sexual tension in men. With most of the population of that country not being really that religious, those religious leaders struggle to get a following they would like in order to make a change, therefore they are trying their best to use their influences on the ruling class and the institutions of the state in order to force people to observe their religious injunctions. “Girls provoke men with their dress and behaviour”, they say. “Their defiant look awakens men’s sexuality” and “expose them to unnecessary difficulties” What country that would be, dear readers? Iran? Afghanistan? Saudi Arabia? No, it’s Poland.
Father Franciszek Głód, whom we already mentioned in this series, is going at this again. And he is not alone – recently a recording of the sermon of another priest caused a stir as well. Father Murziński decided to discuss fashion. He is very critical of women wearing pants, in his view this is a proof that womanhood is in crisis. He quoted the bible to point out, that “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this. (Deuteronomy 22 5)”. Funny, when coming from the man in a dress, eh?
But the priests aren’t the only one who express their opinion on Fashion. Marta Kaczyńska, daughter of the late president, who lives in the seaside resort of Sopot, is very annoyed by the fact, that people dare to walk around dressed for the beach. In her column entitled “season nudity untamed”, she expresses her outrage that while showing off one’s naked body is considered an offence against morality, hundreds of tourists dare to walk the streets of her town wearing just bikini tops or bathing shorts.
And how Polish children are supposed to grow up to become good Polish Catholics if they are bombarded with things like that from everywhere? Women wearing swimsuits by the beach, women wearing pants everywhere (even Beata Szydło has been seen wearing trousers on many occasions!) and now homosexual propaganda even in child cartoons! Luckily, the state institutions were up to the job this time, and the media ombudsman rebuked kids TV station Nickelodeon for showing a cartoon in which there is an unusual family: two gay men raising a son. Ordo Iuris, a legal association mostly known from their fierce anti-abortion stance, filed a complaint pointing out, that this is against Polish constitution and the cartoon is just trying to spread gay propaganda. But I think they have a problem with something else: the gay couple are good parents, the boy is happy and in general everything is nice and friendly. This definitely goes against the official line in Poland, according to which gays are deviants, degenerates and animals or, at best, unable to create meaningful relationships, as we had a chance to learn from a program on state TV, hosted by former left-wing presidential candidate Magdalena Ogórek.
But would it be the only time when TVP under control of PiS lies? They do it all the time. Recently they amused everyone when they bragged about being “most watched channel” while showing the graphs from which it was pretty obvious that TVN outruns them by ¼… But what would you expect: despite the media law, that clearly states that public TV channels should be impartial, head of National Media Council says, that its role is to present government point of view. In his view, TVP has to counterbalance biased private media, often owned by foreign capital. “Someone has to show to the citizens how government realize the program, for which they voted in 2015” he says. And apparently, if the government fails to meet voters expectations, then they just blatantly lie.
But sometimes it is hard to show the world as imagined by PiS. It happens, that, confronted by reality, even TVP own workers are not up to the task. One of such people has been sacked after the band Girls of Fire has been allowed to participate in this year’s Festival of Polish Song in Opole. Their song “Siła Kobiet”, loaded with the feminist message, has become an unofficial anthem of the recent protests against tightening of anti-abortion laws. Especially the video clip annoyed some people on the right:
Incidentally (or not) the song has won prestigious Anna Jantar’ prize. So, basically, an employee of TVP has been sacked for allowing the best song of the year to take part in the festival…
Those who found Opole festival to be boring and turned to watch other media instead could see some good news coming from uniformed services. For example, deputy minister of interior affair visited cops in Sejny. He handed the keys to their new, shiny police Kia Ceed. Except, that before that they had to hand those keys to him, as they are using this very car since April. And so, because it has been used in regular police work for weeks, they had to spend time valeting it to the “new car standard”. All for that the minister can show that he did not arrive empty-handed. One can call it progress: at least this time they did not have to cut paper into confetti.
As you can see, the police have to be prepared for everything. While they can avoid getting involved with far-right protesters as one of their chiefs claim that the slogan “śmierć wrogom ojczyzny” – “death to the enemies of the nation” is simply a “patriotic slogan”, they might face much more challenging criminals. A rubber duck, that emerged in Wrocław to commemorate the previous one, that has been arrested exactly two months ago in Legnica and never heard about since might get herself in trouble. This time, the monument of the rubber duck displayed the slogans “Tribute to duck from Legnica” and below: “śmiech wrogom ojczyzny” – “laugh to the enemies of the nation”. If we remember, that women from black protests got themselves in trouble for incorporating the symbol of the Polish Underground in their logotype for the women’s protest, perhaps the rubber duck can also be charged for mocking this very patriotic slogan calling for enemies of Poland to be slaughtered?
Interesting things are going in other services as well. According to magazine “Służby Specjalne” (Secret Services), an officer of Government Protection Bureau during preparations for World Youth Day in 2016 have discovered, that private security contractors mostly known for serving as bodyguards to Jarosław Kaczyński have another source of income – they work on the railway, although nobody really knew what is exactly their role there. It turned out that one of the members of the board of direction of the Polish State Railways, pressured by PiS activists, signed them in despite the fact, that the railways have been already guarded by another company, that won the official tender for that contract. This was an obvious scandal, especially that those security contractors are ex-officers of Central Anti-corruption Bureau, a formation created and run during previous PiS government by Mariusz Kamiński. You might remember him as the guy, who back in 2015 was found guilty of abuse of power and has been sentenced by the court of the first instance for three years of imprisonment and 10 years ban on holding public offices. In a first example of president Andrzej Duda breaking constitution, he has been pardoned before the final verdict has been reached, and immediately put in charge of all of the security services in the new PiS government.
It looks like if nothing has changed in CAB since he, as a chief of this institution, was trying to frame his political opponents. The Central Anti-corruption Bureau decided to investigate the whistleblower from Government Protection Bureau. The scandal discovered by him is very inconvenient for Mariusz Kamiński and his friends. Apparently, they found nothing on him, so they decided to fabricate something. It has emerged that they tried to plant false evidence by swapping an ammunition seized from him when he was detained – the ammo taken from his gun has been replaced with the Russian bullets to different type of the gun he has no permission for. This has been discovered by the police officer taking deposits, who refused to take in the wrong kind of ammunition and reported the incident. Kamiński spokesperson said that this is just “a string of insinuation and false information”.
Some say that PiS is like anti-Midas: while king Midas’ touch has been changing everything into gold, whatever PiS touches turns into shit. Forget the Arabian studs or school system, as they don’t really care about that. But when the security services, the obsession of PiS, starts to fight with each other, then we have a serious problem.
But at least one uniformed force in Poland has found a new ally. Foresters can celebrate that U.S. army joined them in their fight with Polish trees. The Yankees have recently chopped a roadside tree using one of their trucks. The crew of the lorry can call themselves lucky: one of the Americans ended up with a broken hand, the other escaped with just some minor bruising… But the dashcam footage from the passing truck shows that their charge at the enemy was very impressive:
So another tree bites the dust. It might be not the most effective way to do it, but responsibility when using resources and materials is not exactly what the Americans are known for. They are not too successful when it comes to showing how good drivers they are either…
This piece was published in Britske Listy
Picture: Public Domain.