Saturday, 18 September 2010

It takes one cross to break out a row

This week’s bolt out of the blue was the decision to move the cross from outside the presidential palace to the chapel inside the palace, from where it will be moved to Kościół Św. Anny and then taken from there on a pilgrimage to Smolensk plane crash site on 10 October (if the pilgrimage will take place at all). The decision to has drawn another line of divide in the nation, but it has to be said over three-quarters of Poles, as shown by the survey carried out for Rzeczpospolita are of the opinion the decision was right.

Another poll, prepared for Gazeta Wyborcza reveals around two-third of Poles think the late president shouldn’t have been buried on Wawel. The figures speak for themselves – “Poland” doesn’t gather around the cross, Poland dismissed the efforts of Jarosław Kaczyński to make up for his twin brother’s (at best) ordinary presidency and establish him as a national hero.

This week I managed to persuade my colleagues that Jarosław Kaczyński is absolutely sane and what he does is a part of a well-thought-out scheme. This guy has a vision of a country, which actually doesn’t strike a chord with most people in Poland, so the only method to bring Poles round into his plot is to make them believe everything that has been built within the last two decades is evil, by means of discrediting most politicians (excluding himself, his brother and a handful of others, such as Jan Olszewski) who have run Poland in that period. If followed out successfully, it would give him a moral justification to take over power. To put it simply – he needs to destroy a lot to start over with his project.

And my colleagues managed to persuade me Jarosław Kaczyński is not capable of overthrowing the president or the government – the group of his followers is too weeny to pursue such scenario.

Now some quotations from the last two days and some questions triggered by them…

Będziemy musieli czekać do nowej władzy, by uczczono pamięć ofiar tej katastrofy, prezydenta RP w sposób właściwy i godny. Does it mean efforts to replace the authorities will be stepped up? Is it possible to agree on a clear-cut definition of commemorating the fatalities properly and with dignity? How sizeable and splendid should the monument be? (I know one dog owner who already has an opinion how big the monument of Lech Kaczynski should be).

Gdyby Polska była normalnie funkcjonującą demokracją, na scenie politycznej nie byłoby już premiera, Bronisława Komorowskiego, Radosława Sikorskiego, Bogdana Klicha i Tomasza Arabskiego - another insult to Poles, around fifty per cent of them still back PO. If democracy in this country doesn’t function properly maybe is it time to replace it with a better political system? A good example how a proper democracy works is Jarosław Kaczyński’s party – just speak your mind and feel the whip of democracy on your back, as Elżbieta Jakubiak did.

If defenders of the cross sang Ojczyznę wolną racz nam wrócić Panie, does it mean Poland is not free? Do those people realise comparing Poland under Tusk’s and Komorowski’s rule to the times of partitions, nazi occupation or being a part of Soviet bloc borders on a blasphemy and is a serious accusation?

Czułam się lepiej widząc, że cały naród płacze (Małgorzata Wassermann) - does anyone else feel better when millions of people cry?

Kaczyński says first lady’s presence in Smolensk would be inappropriate… Is resorting to moral blackmailing appropriate? Is it appropriate to point who should be active in politics and who shouldn’t? Is it appropriate to suggest so many Poles must be wrong to support PO? Is it appropriate to deny 28 families or anyone else a right to visit the crash site?

Ukradli krzyż Whose cross is it? It wasn’t put up by the defenders but by the scouts? They granted themselves ownership of the cross...

It seems the rough-and-tumble around the cross won’t last long. The defenders are running out of steam and more and more Poles are sick of watching that lousy comedy going on. If Jarosław Kaczyński keeps stirring things up, Poles will wipe him out from the political scene in the coming elections. You can say Kaczyński is wicked or mendacious, but he had a vision of Poland, now the focal point of his political plan is not a moral revolution, but glorifying his brother. Instead of building new motorways and railways he’d build monuments of the late president.

Every day I wake up with a sigh of relief. Let’s face it – Bronisław Komorowski is a mediocre head of state, but what would have happened if Kaczyński had been elected a president? Poland would have turned into a place where everything revolves around the plane crash, monuments, crosses, plaques, investigations, glorifications, passing moral judgements, blamestormings, recriminations. I doubt public discourse would be focused on real economic and social problems… By the way – has anyone heard any politician from PiS speaking about pension system reform, health service, public debt or any other burning issue? They gave voice when they put forward a bank tax, but in general the debate doesn’t centre around any issue that could help move Poland forward.


Steve said...

I love the "if Poland was a real democracy, ..." comments people make. I think they mean "If I was Dictator, ..."

Stefan Kubiak said...

I’m highly critical about the current government and Civil Platform that makes it up. Their economy, especially finances, proves inefficient and their foreign policy doesn’t seem to exist. As for the Smolensk disaster you must objectively admit that their indolence is on the verge of criminal negligence. Consequently, I’d love to vote for someone who’d replace Civil Platform, or at least its leaders. The only serious alternative appears Law and Justice, elements of whose policies may be quite attractive. They are, however, jammed by hysterical ado about metaphysics. The cross affair combined with the guys calling for divine monarchy over our republic (enthronement of Jesus Christ king of Poland) give an impression of a monstrous festival of irrationality. In addition the only response of PiS supporters to the slightest criticism (even friendly and in good faith) is sending you to Civic Platform and insult.

Stefan Kubiak said...

However, I recommend this, especially after the 18th minute. It still doesn't change my approach, although we have to give it to J.Kaczynski, that there are elements of his programme that are avoided by the media.