Two storms passed over Poland last week. Both brought with them destruction and hurt. Both changed the face of the country but for very different reasons.
Meteorologists tracked several super cells that passed over the north-east of Poland pulling up trees, destroying homes and even bringing loss of life. The Masuria region and parts of Warsaw witnessed a meteorological phenomenon completely untypical for this part of the world. I watched speechless for over an hour as the sky was lit up in a way I had never seen before. Lightning flashing constantly in one area with no sound of thunder, like something out of the new version of War of the Worlds. Little did I know that at the same time, the tempest had killed several people in the Masuria lake district and injured several dozen more.
Scientists have recently conceded that there is nothing we can do now to prevent global warming. Climatic change is no longer a possibility but a certainty. It is difficult for individuals like myself to make cataclysmic predictions of the future, but specialists are unanimous in voicing their concerns over the environment (super cells in Poland, snow in Brazil gives them hard evidence of these changes). Yes, these strange phenomena could well be bizarre fluctuations in a never-changing environmental cycle but that certainly doesn’t mean we are free to pillage and sack the earth we live on. A little more respect for our world would go a long way.
The second storm that passed over Poland last week and also shocked the masses was the scandal surrounding the ‘secret’ tapes of Janusz Kaczmarek, former Minister of the Interior and Administration. These recordings were made during his interrogation by the public prosecution service. Rudely dismissed by PM Kaczyński for allegedly ‘leaking’ information to Self-Defence chief Andrzej Lepper about a supposed Central Bureau of Anti-Corruption operation involving Lepper, Kaczmarek decided to go public with what he believes is Law and Justice’s prolonged and relentless attack on the fundamental pillars of democracy. The transcript of Kaczmarek’s interview with the public prosecutor was read out during a late-night closed session of parliament.
This extraordinary Sejm session finished at four in the morning. The press swarmed to the sides of prominent MPs to catch a sniff of what had been read out, to hear something of the contents of Kaczmarek’s transcript (which had been deemed confidential for reasons of national security). On leaving parliament, members of the opposition parties seemed both disgusted and visibly sick at what they called obvious attempts to undermine democracy through the use of methods not put into practice in Poland since before 1989 when the Communists thought nothing of using the security services to keep tabs on opposition members of parliament and put pressure on the media.
What seems utterly clear now is that only a change of government, a change of parliament may remedy the situation.