Should Polish people start panicking? Law and Justice (PiS) together with Samoobrona (Self-Defence) and the League of Polish Families (LPR) created the euphemistically-termed ‘rich and varied’ coalition whose aim it was to re-build Poland, or rather build Poland anew. It seems their plans haven’t quite gone the way they wanted them to go.
I’m not one for doom and gloom but following the political turmoil here in Poland, it’s hard to keep a positive outlook on life. Several days ago Poland (together with Ukraine) won the right to host the 2012 European Championships. The mood has changed somewhat…
Political commentators and observers have been quick to point out that things seem to be going awry for Poland’s ruling elite. PiS, headed by the Kaczyński twins, has been dead set on creating a ‘new’ Poland, a kind of utopia in which only the pious and God-fearing reside. Some say they’re building castles in the sand, others believe the ideas are worthy but their methods are questionable. Others still maintain that the PiS government is simply a grandiose house of cards which may look sturdy on the outside but has begun to creak and is ready to fall.
I’ve isolated five reasons why it may be time for Poles to start worrying and strangely enough all five points seem to have come to the fore this week.
Firstly (political zeal), the much-maligned Vetting Act which aimed at weeding out all ex-communists and Secret Police (SB) collaborators has been found to be a spectacularly bungled legislative experiment. So much so that a whole host of journalists and former Solidarity activists have decided to ignore the legal necessity of submitting so-called vetting declarations. The two most controversial cases being that of Bronisław Geremek, former advisor to Lech Wałęsa and Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland’s first non-communist Prime Minister since World War II. According to the Kaczyński twins, both Geremek and Mazowiecki have lost their respective posts in the European Parliament and in the Order of the White Eagle. The BBC makes reference to the Geremek case, while Poland.pl briefly discusses Mazowiecki‘s predicament. What is worrying is the government’s complete lack of elasticity in creating legislation which not only seeks to eliminate the ‘wrong-doers’ but also inadvertently targets eminent and distinguished activists such as Geremek and Mazowiecki.
Poland the Polish government seems to be increasingly in the firing line with regards to homophobia. The Guardian notes how the European Parliament has decided enough is enough and will be investigating claims that the Polish government is openly using anti-gay propaganda. The BBC also discusses this controversial issue. In fact, PM Kaczyński only recently talked about the obvious benefits of lowering the number of gay people in society.
Thirdly (lack of integrity), the suicide (reported in USA Today) of Barbara Blida, former Left Democratic Alliance (SLD) member and Construction Minister, has cast a dark shadow on the Internal Security Agency (ABW) and the methods employed by Messieurs Zbigniew Ziobro and Zbigniew Wasserman, respectively Ministers of Justice and the Secret Services. Blida shot herself after members of the ABW raided her house. It was thought Blida was going to be arrested on charges of corruption. Rather than express remorse and sorrow through a public show of sympathy, Wasserman was quick to wash his hands of the whole affair and in effect laid the blame on the head of the ABW who did the honourable thing and handed in his resignation. In a parliamentary address that shocked many commentators, Wasserman indicated that no innocent person would have shot themselves in such a situation and he suggested that Blida must have been guilty to have done so. What is troubling is Wasserman’s lack of integrity and honour in such a tragic situation.
Part II to follow…