If there is one thing that PiS does well, it has to be chopping trees down. If they want to do it, they don’t take chances, that some eco-protesters will disrupt the work. There was no place for the delay, as this is the election year, and they have to at least pretend that they are going to realise their election promises. And so despite that the construction of the shipping channel across the Vistula Spit, that is to allow direct access to port of Elbląg (to which the only access now is through Strait of Baltiysk, controlled by Russia), has still not been approved, they had to go ahead, as the tress could only be chopped in February, before the bird nesting season began.
They could not allow any delay also for the other reason: the environmental organisations asked the European Commission to intervene, and so the trees had to fell before the EU bureaucracy had a chance to react. To ensure that work has been carried using heavy machinery and numerous lumber-men, that worked day and night, protected by Forestry Guard, the private security company and strong police force, while border guard planes were patrolling the area from above.
The police made everything to ensure, that potential protesters know that they are being serious. T get the message across they not only sent a vast number of police officers and vehicles there but also have put vehicles fitted with LRAD system on display (despite the fact, that this system, designed to disperse crowds by emitting painful high-frequency sounds has been deemed illegal in Poland).
The forestry spokesman said, that such heavy security was needed for the safety of the passers-by, but so far nobody was able to find out, why other logging sites in Poland are not being protected by hundreds of men in uniforms…
But the trees were not the only things that fell recently on the Polish coast.
In Gdańsk a group of activists threw of the plinth a statue of father Jankowski, a parson of the church local to Gdańsk shipyard, that has became an important spot for opposition activities in the 1980’s. He was a very controversial person, known for his flamboyant lifestyle and anti-Semitic speeches, but recently he became also in the centre of paedophilia scandal. After some of his alleged victims came forward, many public figures who had dealt with him in the 1980’s and later admitted, that they suspected that something might be going on in that field. The statue was privately funded, but the city of Gdańsk was trying to start a discussion, if such a person should be commemorated in the public space. After the monument was tipped, the city wanted to take advantage of the situation and remove the statue altogether, but the supporters of father Jankowski forced the city services to give up the statue and, after inspecting it for damages they have put it up again. Since there prayers have been held there, and the flowers have been laid under the statue, and some volunteers keep eye on the monument to ensure it won’t be devastated again.
I am surprised that the police was not sent to sit outside there, as this seems to be a common thing nowadays. The controversial monument to the victim of Smoleńsk crash has been guarded by at least two officers at any time. The police in the north-eastern town of Suwałki have been also constantly watching the house of deputy minister of interior for over three years. He claims that this is necessary as once a dead body was found nearby (the press fact-checked this and it was true, something like that happened in 1999), but if we remember, that this is the guy who orders police to dress as special agents and pretend to be his bodyguards, or forces them to sit with the scissors and cut the paper strips that are then thrown down from the helicopter as confetti (we were writing about this here), the more likely explanation is that he just wants to feel important and have as much attention of the police force as the ordinary MP Jarosław Kaczyński, who’s house is also protected by the police 24/7 (to the despair of his neighbours, who can’t stand hearing the police van’s engine idling through the night).
With so many police officers forced to waste their time watching politician’s houses, illegally erected monuments or law-breaking logging of trees in protected areas, no wonder that so many of them quits the force, as they don’t want to participate in this comedy, especially that their salaries can be also considered a joke. I am surprised, that there are still some left to fight crime.
The salaries in public services are actually a very big issue: not only policemen, but also teachers, doctors, nurses, firemen, veterinary inspectors and clerks in courts and prosecution offices are talking about going on strike over wage issues. They are desperate, as nowadays one can earn more sitting at the till in Aldi than doing a responsible job for the state. Recently a prosecution office clerk asked her superiors for permission to take a side job stocking shelves in the supermarket, but she was refused, as “members of the prosecution office cannot undertake jobs that would undermine trust to the prosecution or justice system”. The question of how one can trust the institution, that after 11 years of service pays its workers 1700 zł (circa 10 000 CZK), so they struggle to make their ends meet, has not been explained.
Of course, it’s not that the state is too poor. They have money to spend where it really matters. The president’s office for example have recently ordered 200 silver bookmarks and paid 37 800 zł for them. The lady from the prosecution office would have to work over two days to be able to afford one. But it’s her own fault. What stops her from being a prime minister cousin? If she was one, she could land in a cosy job as a manager of the company that is to built off-shore wind turbines on the Baltic sea. To be fair, Monika Morawiecka is no stranger to the energy market, but her nomination is somehow provocative, if we remember that she used to be strongly against renewable sources of energy, pointing out that they would harm the market for the Polish coal…
Government has also threw lightly 1 260 000 000 zł on TVP to ensure it won’t go bust in the election year and will be able to continue spreading it’s propaganda. It’s quite outrageous if we remember that this is about 125% of what Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy raised during its 27 years of activity, and the amount of equipment they provided for the Polish hospitals is enormous. But the government has its priorities, and if Poles don’t want to fund their propaganda channel (only about 13% of Poles are paying TV licence fees), they will take money from their pockets anyway.
But I have to say that PiS values media recipients. An information portal on Białowieża Forest designed by pro-PiS paper and funded by the government with a grant of 7 150 000 zł after nine months has 230 fans on Facebook and 134 subscribers on YouTube. That means that one viewer is worth 2970 zł…
Every way to promote PiS politicians is a good way. The steam engine shed in Wolsztyn, that thanks to being the last one in Europe that still operates regular trains is a world-class tourist attraction was allegedly told, that they will receive a grant of 20 000 00 zł on the condition, that top PiS politicians are to be a guests of honour during annual parade of steam engines, that happen to fall just three weeks before European elections…
The paths that public money take are quite unexpected. For example, the Ministry of Justice just awarded a grant of 40 000 000 to a foundation that helps to wake up comatose people. This is a very noble aim, but surely there could be a more appropriate ministry to fund such an institution… I don’t know, like the Ministry of Health for example?
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence is spending money on conducting research on the morale of the Polish soldiers. This research was ordered by… Romania’s Ministry of Defence. OK, Romania is our NATO partner, but should we be sharing such a crucial information with anyone?
But apparently, strategic information about Polish armed forces are now becoming public domain. It had emerged that minister Antoni Macierewicz disclosed secret information about the stock of weaponry during a public audit of the previous government in 2016. He seems to show completely no respect to the procedures. It also turned out, that his favourite driver, who participated in the serious accident back in January 2017 did not possessed relevant qualifications to drive a privileged vehicle, nor had he valid medicals during the time of the accident. But according to the prosecution, it is allright, as his car has it blue lights switched off, as it was driving in a column, preceded and followed by other vehicles with a blue lights on…
But one cannot expect logic from the Polish state any more. One of the PiS MP’s stated during the debate on domestic violence that “fighting domestic violence means fighting Polish family”. Minister of Agriculture is trying to take revenge on Czechs. They dare to introduce additional controls on Polish meat after the scandal with irregularities in the Polish slaughterhouses emerged? Well, in retaliation we are going to introduce special controls of the Czech beer! But, to be frank, seeing how the Czech Agriculture Minister enjoys testing Czech beer, I can understand why his Polish peer wants to get some as well:
Ministr Miroslav Toman: Zkontroloval jsem kvalitu českého piva: teplotu, trvanlivost a obsah sladu. Vše v pořádku. pic.twitter.com/I4d0k4bFNG
— Zemědělství ČR (@MZeCr) 21 lutego 2019
Meanwhile, Polish courts are busy with consideration of ridiculously obvious cases. The court in Elbląg ruled, that calling a radical right organization ONR ‘fascist’ is not slander, because they are indeed fascist. The case of 2 year old Kellan Leśniak is more complicated. He was born in the USA from an anonymously donated egg by a surrogate mother. His father has Polish citizenship and wants his son to obtain Polish passport as well, but apparently, it is impossible, as a Polish citizen can have an unknown father, but the law does not provide for the situation, when the name of the mother is not known. But under US law it is illegal to disclose the identity of an anonymous donor. The stalemate continues since August 2016, and the young boy has to leave Poland every three months, otherwise, he would be deported.
I guess deportation will also be the fate of a 40 years old Polish man that was recently arrested by the Norwegian police. For a few weeks he was spreading excrements on the walls of several buildings in a small town of Holden. He was caught with the backpack literally full of shit.
Meanwhile, in Wrocław someone wrote “Jesus is King” on the wall of Jewish cemetery. The wall was promptly cleaned by the volunteers, only for the sign to emerge the next morning.
Britain has Banksy, Polish “graffiti artists” cover walls with either Jesus or shit. I don’t know how to comment on that, but somehow it makes me sad.
This piece was written for Britské listy
Picture: Public Domain