According to Artur Zapolski, the president of the Polish Debating Club, it is not easy to grasp the gist of objections made by Jarosław Narkiewicz, the vice-leader of the Lithuanian Parliament, referring to the meeting of Polish minority delegates with the Marshal of the Polish Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz. Narkiewicz suggested that the Marshal acts with the intention of destroying ‘the unity created over many years’.
After the meeting of Bogdan Borusewicz, the Marshal of the Polish Senate, with the Polish Debating Club, Jarosław Narkiewicz wrote a comment under one of photos with the Marshall on Facebook. The comment was as follows: ‘In Gdynia and, especially, in Gdańsk, there are many Poles of the Vilnius origin…that is interesting how do they regard and if they even know about the Marshal’s attempts to divide and destroy the unity of Polish minority in Lithuania, which was created over many years?…’. Next, Narkiewicz tried to explain this comment in the interview for the portal zw.lt, saying that ‘everybody would like to observe the actions of the Polish state focused on uniting, associating and connecting Poles all over the world, not the other way round’.
As Zapolski noticed, ‘In this interview, the vice-leader of the Lithuanian Parliament points out, for example, that the Marshall do not search for common points. But that was the aim of the meeting with our Club: searching for common points! That is why this meeting should not be considered a threat for interests of the Polish minority in Lithuania, and also for the people of the Vilnius origin living in Tricity. Both the Marshal and the members of our Club really care about searching for solutions to problems of Polish minority and improving the image of Poles in Lithuania’.
Zapolski does not understand the objections towards against the Polish Debating Club and Marshall Borusewicz. He emphasized that destroying unity is not the aim of the Polish Debating Club. ‘There are various beliefs, views and opinions among Poles. We must bear in mind that many Poles does not vote for the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (AWPL). However, the problem of Polish minority is that those different political views are not presented in public discourse. Moreover, during the last discussion in our Club, the Polish signatories of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania also elaborated on the difficulties of internal democracy within Polish minority. Fortunately, the need of such a democratic discourse has arisen, that is why the Polish Debating Club was founded. It was founded, because we noticed a need for listening to different, alternative Polish discourse, as well as analysis of the Polish minority condition and the strategy of satisfying our demands. Excluding AWPL or ZPL (the Association of Poles in Lithuania) from such a discourse is not our objective. It is the other way round – we want to discuss with the representative of these organizations and we are happy that the members of the party of Polish minority, but also members of Lithuanian political parties, come for meetings held by our Club and engage in dialogue’, claimed Zapolski.
Zapolski, the president of the Polish Debating Club, emphasized that since we live in a democratic country – as mentioned also by Jarosław Narkiewicz in his interview for the portal zw.lt – abovementioned initiatives should not provoke anxiety, as they do not pose a threat against politicians. These initiatives aim at helping and monitoring politicians. ‘Since even Jarosław Narkiewicz elaborated on the existence of various views as the essence of democracy, it is obvious that people are willing to familiarize themselves with these views. That is how I see the reason of the meeting of Marshall Borusewicz and the members of the Polish Debating Club. We, the Polish Minority in Lithuania, are going to face a challenge – we have to find a resolution to controversial issues. And such a resolution depends mainly on our attitude, the attitude of Poles in Lithuania. That was emphasized by the Marshall during the discussion. Our Club does not doubt that AWPL and ZPL have their own vision of solving problems of Polish minority; we also do not reject achievements of these organizations. Personally, I am not sure if good result achieved by the Polish party in the last local elections should be considered a success right now. That will be a real success only when the demands of Polish minority will be met’, said Zapolski.
Tłumaczenie by Joanna Stępińska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Joanna Stępińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.