What do monkeys, Jews and Poles have in common? Very little actually but go to any Polish football ground and you’ll hear hundreds of hooligans making disgusting monkey gestures at any black players on the pitch and shouting a whole variety of Jewish insults at the players of the opposing team. With the whole of Europe working towards stamping out racism, Polish football has become somewhat of an anachronism.
An unbelievable racism-related story hit the Polish headlines this week. The Prosecutor’s Office in Kraków-Krowodrzy decided to throw out a case filed by the local Jewish community. During the Kraków derby (Cracovia Kraków vs. Wisła Kraków) Cracovia fans made monkey gestures at Wisła’s Brazilian-born Cleber. Wisła fans, on the other, shouted “to the gas chamber” at Cracovia’s Maciej Łuczak as well as “f##king Jews” and the suchlike at Cracovia’s other players and fans. The justification for throwing out this (obvious) case (of racism and anti-Semitism) was the police’s inability to stop these racist and anti-Semitic chants. What is more, Prosecutor Dorota Kuk-Turek astonishingly claimed that these racist and anti-Semitic chants “were not criminal in character”.
It gets better. Kuk-Turek outdid herself by claiming that there are historical reasons for the anti-Semitic chants of the Wisła supporters and said that the antagonisms between the two Kraków teams reach back to 1906 because Wisła had always been traditionally “Catholic” and Cracovia traditionally “Jewish”. She continued, saying that Cracovia’s best players had traditionally been “of Jewish extraction” whereas Wisła had traditionally never taken on “non-Catholic” players. These stereotypes, she claimed, have survived until today.
Seemingly unaware of how ridiculous her reasoning might be to the rest of the civilised world, Kuk-Turek went on in her justification to say that the crime of inflaming racial hatred and racial abuse is premeditated in nature. She was not able to ascertain whether the racist and anti-Semitic chants committed by the hooligans were premeditated or necessarily targeted at a particular race in which case they were not a crime. She also dug herself another hole by ridiculously claiming that the anti-Semitic chants were not targeted at the Jewish nation but rather a particular player of the opposing team. Kuk-Turek’s decision is causing controversy in the media but the questions beg: why is this woman still working in the legal profession? Why isn’t someone doing something about this?