A 24-hour-long warning protest, defending Poles in Lithuania, began on Friday. Among the signers of a special declaration, that criticises the attitude of Polish government and praises the High Commissioner for National Minorities in Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, there are the Memoriae Fidelis Association, the Freedom and Democracy Foundation, the Borderline Organizations’ Federation, the Republic Right Party and the All-Polish Youth. In front of the Embassy the “Wnet” Radio met the judge Bogusław Nizieński, Adam Chajewski (Borderline Organizations’ Federation) and Aleksander Szycht (Memoriae Fidelis). The reporter from the Lietuvos rytas newspaper, Eldoradas Butrimas, came to talk with the protesters and convince them to look at the Lithuanian side’s arguments. “Wnet” Radio found its republican, Ryszard Piwowar, so we asked him a couple of questions.
Tomasz Otocki: Why did you join the demonstration defending Poles in Lithuania?
Ryszard Piwowar: I support the demands. I believe that the things that Lithuanian government does to Poles are really wrong. It’s hard to understand for me, since for instance in Poland, German minority has double names of cities and other convenient solutions. The actions in Lithuania are totally beyond such standards.
T.O.: According to you, what should happen for the Lithuanian-Polish reconciliation to finally take place?
R.P.: I think that we need understanding from the other side. We, in Poland, are positive towards Lithuania. We don’t protest against the Lithuanian language being an official one in Sejneńszczyzna region and we don’t want Lithuanian to be incorporated into Poland. We fight for basic things that theoretically are guaranteed by the EU, which is not particularly interested in Poles, though…
T.O.: You mentioned the German minority in Poland. So you support the idea of bilingual notes in Śląsk Opolski or releasing the minority from the obligation to go beyond the electoral threshold in parliamentary elections?
R.P.: From a historical point of view, such matters bother me a bit, obviously, but I am able to understand them. They don’t irritate me. Let the notes in Silesia be.
T.O.: Do you travel to Lithuania?
R.P.: I’ve been in Vilnius and Druskininkai a few times. I met Poles living there. The last time I’ve been there was four years ago.
An extensive relation from the 24 hours long protest can be found on DELFI PL webpage.
Tłumaczenie Emilia Zawieracz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Zawieracz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.