Sunday, 16 August 2009

Pushed around, ridiculed, degraded?

Not yet, though you might say the group is dying away, it can’t be dismissed… Who am I writing about? Approximately the group I’m describing numbers about two million of stalwart, steadfast supporters of the media empire of a prominent Redemptorist and of a certain right wing party which won the election in 2005.

You’re right – the legendary Moherowe Berety are going to have a post on them on my not yet legendary blog. Pity that probably none of them will ever read it and I’ll never see a comment left by one of them like “cosmopolitan traitor of the Polish nation paid by the Jewish forces of evil in conspiracy with Gazeta Wyborcza and TVN 24 mocks at the heart of Polishness”. But you’re wrong if you assume I’m going to ridicule them, I just want to put them under a microscope, that’s the goal.

source: Gazeta Wyborcza

The term to my surprise was first used in October 2004, not long before they became really famous after the elections of 2005 when they were reckoned to clinch the victory of Lech Kaczyński as a president and his party in parliament – against all odds and against the pools. In the voting which borne testimony of Poles’ disillusion with democracy they emerged as a group which supported the certain party, politicians and vision of our country. Soon they were mentioned in parliamentary debate by Donald Tusk who pointed at them as at the social group backing the minority government of Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. At the beginning old ladies took umbrage at the term, but in a little while they started taking pride in being a part of a no longer dismissed community. The contempt for them, held by the youngsters led up to the humorous action initiated before elections in 2007 – “Zabierz babci dowód” (EN: take away your grandma’s ID). The jocose campaign, resulting from their active participation in the previous voting was intended to encourage young voters to take matters into their hands rather than treating it seriously. However, I disapproved a bit of it – ladies in berets are also a part of civic society and have a right to cast a ballot and have a right to vote for whoever they want. They other story is that I would do everything to mobilise the rest of the electorate to go to the polls in order to outvote them.

As I recall in 2006 all the leftist and liberal media were taking a peek of that group, examining and exploring it inside out. What they turned up was indeed nothing startling but brought to the social awareness the picture of a person quite often forgotten, demeaned, neglected. Not many people realised such elderly women were around us, trying hard to scrape along on their benefits, going every day to church, in their excessive free time listening to Radio Maryja, united in the family under the umbrella of “father director”. They all have one common denominator – they got lost in high-pace Poland rapidly developing after the transition of 1989. The society has been moving forward, embracing the western lifestyle, values, fads, but they couldn’t conform to the changing country. Tight with money, afraid to visit supermarkets, reluctant to relish on modern technical devices they were the possibly most unattractive target customers for the advertisers. Meanwhile the group, growing in number, gathered around the radio station of Tadeusz Rydzyk, where they had the opportunity to feel a sense of community, where they could get in touch with the people like them – also lonesome, lost, conservative, religious. The cause was good, but the business made on it – hang on... The listeners are brainwashed, they put stock in everything what “father director” says, with two major implications – firstly it’s their endowment for the media empire, foundation, etc. Those poor people each month after they get their pension or benefit head for the nearest post office to order a remittance to their spiritual leader. Secondly they emanate the hatred. In the first case it’s their naivety – they’re really besotted, manipulated, they believe in the good cause. The second goes in turn to my ‘beyond comprehension’ filing cabinet – how does it go together with the Christian teaching of the love to the fellow men? One of the most common picture from their annual rallies are the footages by TVN – the members of Radio Maryja Family shouting out at the journalist and cameraman of the liberal station – “Jewish envoys, embodiments of the evil”. In such way they were set against the enemies by their spiritual leader. Their stance stems directly from the fear of the unknown and manifests itself in such feats like tagging “Jews, liberals” all the ones who dare to dissent.

Their round-ups were regularly attended by politicians from Law and Justice, the most famous speeches were made by Jarosław Kaczyński. Two years ago he declared “the Poland is here” (PL: Polska jest tutaj) – as some hostile media took in the round-up spot was the last piece of the free Poland – who raided the rest of our country? This year former prime minister endorsed the new business – mobile telephony set up in affiliation with father Rydzyk. The rates compared to the ones offered by the competitors come out poorly, the allegedly user-friendly handset sold by the operator is three times more expensive than a basic phone in a supermarket and is produced on a Russian license – in a word the next scam, but the loyal followers will fall for it.

I feel sorry for them – lost, manipulated, full of hatred, intently seeking the way to give vent to their negative emotions, regrets, grief… All in all it’s just distressing…

1 comment:

Michael Dembinski said...

A well-argued, well-observed and well-balanced post. To understand the MBs' world view, you need to understand that this generation represented the biggest group of losers of the post-communist transformation. They were too old to adapt to the market; they hanker after the certainties of the old system, but despised it because it was anti-Catholic and anti-Polish.

They are confused; into that confusion steps a leader, Ojciec Dyrektor.

We can take some comfort from the fact that demographically this group is getting smaller by the year, politically their influence is ever on the wane.