After over two-year attempts, in Seimas, discussions concerned with the new project of the Protection of National Minorities Act have begun. The opposition, whose destruction has failed this time, was very much under threat. Its arguments during discussion were indeed of substantial weight. Even the very intention of introducing to the marshal’s responsibilities the project constituting a part of the governmental programme, they have called AWPL’s blackmail. Unfortunately, all the substantive arguments tried to be presented by the right-wing’s representatives, proved to be entirely empty as far its intellectual aspect is concerned.
I am going to qoute only some utterances of the Protection of National Minorities Act’s opponents in order to familiarise the reader with the level, on which the apparent representatives of the nation were conducting their discussion. Povilas Urbys, a non-partisan MP from Panevezys, opposes the project due to a trivial reason, I would say. Because he claims Polish people in Lithuania are not a national minority of any kind, unlike the Lithuanians in Poland. Why? Simply because the Polish Lithuanians are living on their ethnic territories, whereas Lithuanian Poles are not. They cannot thus be a national minority but at most- a community, explains Urbys, when regarding the definition of minority itself. Disregarding the lack of historicity of the MP’s statement with respect to the territorial ethnicity, I am bound to notice that in Europe the alleged authochtonicity of a minority is always measured via cosidering the length of their stay on a given territory. Moreover, the Panevezys MP’s innovative claims are still unknown today, both inn Europe and across the world.
And personally, I have serious doubts as to whether anyone would be interested in them.
But forget Urbys. MP Marija Cigriejiene, a representative of the conservative Kaunas tautininkases, proved far better at this topic than Urbys. According to her, the Lithuanian Poles cannot be counted as a national minority because.. they have their own country- Poland. Because, to the best of Cigriejiene’s knowledge, only national communities without a country can be regarded as national minorities. For such a statement from this conservatist, I have only one ad vocem: Cigriejiene, despite being a professor, it would be advisable to sometimes follow President Chirace’s advice and stay quiet. There would be less of compromitation then.
But forget Cigriejiene. There are yet two another ex-ministers of foreign affairs in Seimas. These two are really ”noble”. One of them, Audronis Azubalis has called the alternative passing of the Protection of National Minorities Act an ”FSB Project” aimed at triggering national riots in Lithuania. Across the world, the judicial protection of national minorities is a stardand aiming at preserving the ethnic stability in a given country. In our counry, on the contrary- according to Azubalis- the Protection of National Minorities Act on a european level- is a threat, a sabotage of secret services of the hostile country. Ughh, I am at a loss of words. We are ”fortunate” to have such a political class, I just do not know how to express it.
Yet another ex-leader of diplomacy(in the distant past but still)- is Povylas Gylys. He occasionally wrote an article of a catchy title ”How Warsaw puts Vilnius to its knees”, in which he showed the intellect of an in-flagranti policy expert. That is, unless someone has not been to the foreign policy ”course”focused on discussing ”the Lithuanian goat” once mentioned by President Komorowski, or about ”the Lithuanian shitheads”in a primitive poster of the Poznań football hooligans. Gylys, vendictively, for an umpteenth time already, brings these facts to light to accuse Warsaw of ”krimine komprehens” and prove a ”servile” approach towards Poland of those MPs, who favour the Protection of National Minorities Act. For we do have our ”savigarba”, he teaches the contemporary Lithuanian diplomats how to actually explain to Warsaw their refusal to pass the acts awaited in the Polish capital. After something like that, I have personally only one wish- to be explained since when honour(”savigarba”)is associated with the constant avoidance of fulfilling previously made promises? If backtracking on a word already given for a several times according to Gylys is honorary, it poses no surprise that some Lithuanian politics are no longer welcome in Warsaw.
But, not to be entirely pessimistic, in the end I would like to focus on sociodemocrats pretending to cook something for national minorities. These ones are working with genuine momentum. In Seimas, they simoultaneously accepted both projects-their own and those of conservatists, concerned with the double spelling of surnames and topographical names. And it seems unnoticed that one projects contradicts the other. Better still, the most important is the actual cooking itself. Maybe finally, we will make some kidney stews with apple pie..
Tłumaczenie by Katarzyna Piskorz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Katarzyna Piskorz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.