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Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Plans for Saturday?

I suppose I could watch the first England WC game or go to my friend's wedding in Poznan, but to be honest, this is where I'll be:

JOIN THE MARCH OF EQUALITY IN WARSAW (text below courtesy of Antoni Lazarkiewicz)

The March of Equality will take place on the 10th of June in Warsaw.

The March of Equality is a political manifestation against any discrimination of minorities in our society. It is not only about gay people, but also about the disabled, national and racial minorities and the rights of women.

The rights of citizens of the European Union are being trampled by the Polish authorities.

We are fighting for ideas and liberties which are obvious to the majority of European societies, yet in Poland are still considered extremist, libertine, perverted etc.

The organizers of the March of Equality have serious reasons to expect that this year's demonstration will not be properly protected by the authorities. Year after year,
groups of violent youngsters from right-wing organizations have been trying to attack the peaceful rallies by throwing eggs, and even stones or bricks at the protesters. Over the
last two years the mayor of Warsaw, Lech Kaczynski, tried to use his authority to block the March of Equality. Courts overruled his decisions. This year, Mr. Kaczynski is no longer the mayor of Warsaw; he's been elected the president of Poland.

The process of modernization of our society will take many years and it is probably impossible to accelerate it. But no change will ever happen if the public debate fells victim to political, religious and ideological censorship.

We will execute our civil rights. We will march on the 10th of June, despite our fear that we will fall victim to physical violence. The presence of foreign observers will diminish the threat. It will also have a positive impact on our society. Poles will realize that the European Union is
not only a sphere of economic liberty but also a Commonwealth of values. If a society wants to be member of this Commonwealth, it has to obey its rules. Your presence at the rally will also demonstrate that the other members of the EU care about the state of our democracy; that they are not indifferent towards our problems.

We already know that some MEPs - mostly from the Green Parties - have openly expressed their support for our demonstration. Many of them will come to the March.

We hope that this protest will not be treated by the authorities and public opinion in Poland as an event organized by the "leftist extremists" as they are being refered to by the official propaganda. It is very important to us to underline that our agenda is the mainstream of
European politics, and not extremism. We hope that we will have a chance to meet and discuss the ways of social development in our country. We are counting on you!

POLITICAL BACKGROUND

Poland has a new ruling coalition. Six months after last year's parliamentary and presidential election, three parties have signed an agreement to rule together. While the main political power remains in the hands of the Law and Justice party (PiS), two smaller partners have joined the
government. Both of them received the posts of deputy prime ministers for their leaders.

The ideology of PiS is right wing, conservative and nationalist. It won the election thanks to the support of Radio Maryja, an orthodox-catholic broadcast with strong influence over frustrated and ill-educated people of rural Poland. Radio Maryja can be found in annual reports of the
Human Rights Watch as an example of xenophobic and anti-semitic rhetoric. Aggressive propaganda of RM has led to public condemnation by the Pope Benedict XVI, but despite
this and many other protests it is still protected by the political establishment.

PiS would be considered a relic of old-style politics in any Western-European country, but it is relatively liberal compared to its two smaller partners.

The League of Polish Families (LPR) is a neo-fascist movement. Its leaders have often expressed hatred of other nationalities. Photos have been leaked to the press of their
rallies, where members of the party were using the fascist salute. Their MEP, Wojciech Wierzejski, is well known for his violent homophobia. Three days ago, when asked about
next month's March of Equality, he said: "if they [gay people] decide to come and demonstrate, then they should be hammered into the ground with baseball bats".

Well, Wierzejski's friend, and leader of LPR, Roman Giertych, has just been nominated as vice-PM and minister of education of our country. During a press conference on the 16th of May, he said that he would put an end to the "promotion of deviation" in Polish schools. Any meetings between students and activists of the gay movement will be strictly forbidden.

After Giertych's nomination, a wave of protests swept through all major Polish cities. Thousands of young people: high school and university students, parents, alongside with teachers and intellectuals, took to the streets to show their opposition to the nomination. Within two days, over 60 000 people signed a letter posted on the Internet demanding his resignation. In response, Giertych commented that the protests were organized by left-wing extremists, communists and the "homosexual lobby". Mr. Wierzejski, again, sent an official letter to the Minister of Interior, asking him to investigate the ties between homosexuals, pedophiles and the
drug mafia.

The Self-defense party (Samoobrona) is a political movement of frustrated farmers. Twelve years ago they started refusing to pay back their bank loans and their protests became violent. The charismatic leader of Samoobrona, Andrzej Lepper, is a cynical political gamester. He is also
a criminal with multiple jail sentences for organizing and taking part in violent and often bloody riots. Very recently he was sentenced for one and a half years of probation for throwing public insults at another politician.

He announced that hed appeal to the European Court of Justice against the Polish state for this sentence. That means that he will be appealing against himself, since he just became our deputy PM and head of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Let's face the facts: Poland is ruled by a coalition of nationalists, criminals and neo-fascists, unparalleled in the European Union.

If You have any further questions or remarks, please feel free to e-mail me at a_lazarkiewicz@mac.com. The Democratic Party of Poland is not directly involved in organizing the March, but we are trying our best to support it.

The internet site of the March (with english and german versions) Please, pass this message on to anybody who might be interested.

Antoni Lazarkiewicz,
Partia Demokratyczna (The Democratic Party of Poland)

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4 Comments:

Blogger Krista said...

Thought it may not be a 'pleasurable Saturday afternoon', like watching the footy or attending a friend's wedding, your involvement in this march is so important. What else can we do as individuals but organize together and stand up for true justice, even if it not a popularly held idea at present? I'll be joining all of you in spirit.

6:02 pm  
Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

I'll block all potential missiles with my head. Not much left in there, anyway.

7:26 pm  
Anonymous Basia said...

Hi Becca. I found your blog through the ex-pat site and have been enjoying your entries for the last couple months. I am a Polish-born American, currently living in India.

I am so happy you will be taking part in this march! The rhetoric of the LPR and Radio Maryja sickens me. If I was in Poland right now, I would be joining you. You go girl!
Basia

5:58 am  
Anonymous Antek Lazarkiewicz said...

Thanks for Your support!

4:28 pm  

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