- July 12, 2012
Marcinkievicius: Poles and Lithuanian people see danger where there is no one
The situation of Polish minority in Lithuania is not internal affair of Lithuania anymore said Tomas Marcinkievicius, the chairman of Young Lithuanian People Association in Poland to “ELTA” agency.
In Marcinkevicius opinion being Lithuanian in Lithuania and being Lithuanian in Poland is considered differently. “In Poland I am Lithuanian but in Lithuania I am considered as Pole. I’m not saying that this is insulting. I do understand that I am not like Lithuanian people born and raised in Lithuania but there is no understanding in Lithuania for numerous Lithuanian people living all around the world and there is no understanding that we are all different” – explained the chairman. “We are not like Lithuanian people in Lithuania but it does not mean that we are better or worse. We are just different. We speak with different accent and we used to watch different cartoons when we were children” – added Marcinkevicius.
Marcinkevicius pointed out that relations with average Poles are ordinary. Sometimes the quarrel with authorities may occur. “We live in peace with local Poles. Of course conflicts or quarrels sometimes occur. But it can happen anywhere. Everything goes well with ordinary Poles, it is worse with local authority. I think that sometimes they would like to hide us. But we got used to it for all these years. We should fight for our rights” – announced the Lithuanian from Punsk.
In the chairman of Association opinion the extreme nationalism in Poland is not popular and Poles and Lithuanian people have one common trait. “This extreme nationalism is not popular in Poland and the threat is minimal. There’s no point in discussing the problem. I think that situation is similar in Lithuania” – informed Marcinkevicius. Lithuanian people and Poles have one common trait: we have hang-ups and we see danger when there is no one – said Marcinkevicius.
The issue of names spelling was solved a long time ago. “In Poland everything is easier. If there are people in town who want bilingual names and signs they will have it. Everyone can write its name in his own language if the alphabet is Latin” – said Tomas Marcinkevicius.
In his opinion as Polish Lithuanian there is no political will to find solution of Polish minorities problems. “We should try to understand that the problem is political first of all. It is not internal affair of Lithuania anymore. In Poland this problem is observed if we like it or not” – stated Marcinkevicius.
He also pointed out that Lithuanian people in Poland are loyal citizens but attitude of Poles in Lithuania is a little bit different. “Talking about minorities I would like to point out that Lithuanian people in Poland, although they are Lithuanian people they consider themselves as Polish citizens” – explained Marcinkevicius. They don’t have any political party, they vote for Polish politicians.
The situation in Lithuania is different. “We have a feeling that society is divided: Poles do not feel citizens of Lithuania and Lithuanian people consider Poles as not full members of society. Such situation is bad and harmful – said Marcinkevicius.
Tłumaczenie Dorota Szewczyk-Madejewska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Dorota Szewczyk-Madejewska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.