If there is really something like “social media revolution”, it is what I am observing right now on my Facebook. As I live in Scotland, I cannot actively participate in events in Poland, and I have to look at my country from distance. And from this perspective one thing is sure: if PiS succeeded at anything, they succeeded in making Poles really angry.
Of course my Facebook feed gives me insight to my own social bubble only, but even here we can make some observations that are a gauge for the magnitude of the things in Poland.
For some time already I observed how my even least politically engaged friends became strongly politicized. They snapped at different moments – some after the attack on constitutional tribunal, others after Poland was shamed by our diplomacy on that or other occasion, the last ones went active only after Kaczyński and his people started the process of taking over the courts. Some logged to their Facebook account after years of inactivity only to share news about some manifestation or simply to express their anger. The avalanche is already in motion.
I just came from a week in Scottish Highlands, where I had very limited access to the internet. I sat at my computer, hoping to catch up with some of my friends and browse Facebook to see what’s up with others. But it is as nothing had happened. During the peak of the holiday season, nobody discusses holiday plans or sharing selfies from sunny beaches. As on typical Friday evening, I would expect to see some selfies from the pub, news about going for weekend excursions… Not this time. Today nobody discusses anything like that at all. My Facebook feed only contain some right wing propaganda shared by my few friends from the opposite end of the politcal spectrum. And there is a traditional Friday post from my old university friend. As every Friday, he posts a question “who is going to join me tonight”? Usually it contains a linkt to a musical event or one of the pubs. This time? The march from the district court to the market square. This was the only one post from non-right winger this evening (or is it? I have no idea about this friend’s political views, and the anger is shared even amongst some PiS voters). The others went silent, as they left their houses to join the others in the centres of their towns. Then, after 21:00 Polish time the flood has begun.
One after another, my friends started to share pictures and movies from manifestations. Those from big cities and those from small towns. I am from Wrocław and most of my Wrocław friends, even those, whom I would rather suspect of joining French Foreign Legion or doing something equally crazy than being in a slightest way involved in politics, are tonight at Wrocław market square. As most of them were yesterday and day before.
Several of them shared their mobile footage – they don’t know each other, they all went to the market independently, so they are standing in different places, filming in various direction. I am shocked to see that no matter where they stand and in which direction they are filming, all you can see is a sea of people’s heads filling the whole space (and Wrocław’s market square is one of the biggest old city markets in Europe!)
President Andrzej Duda escaped to his summer residence in a small coastal village at Hel peninsula. But he is not the only Pole who holidays there, and unlike him, the other citizens are able to drop everything and take action when the country needs it:
My friends young son is aghast, as from what he can understand, politicians might take away the internet from him. While painting his own white-and-red flag for tomorrow’s manifestation he observed: “It is a bit reckless of PiS that they annoy people so much, isn’t it?”.
8 years old Lukas already understands. Will PiS understand as well?
Photo by Artur Śleziak, used with permission.