- July 20, 2012
Kwiatkowski: For Lithuanians Poles are worse than Russians
In an interview with a Latvian, Russian-language newspaper “Westi Segodnia”, President of the Association of Teachers of Polish Schools in Lithuania “Alma Mater” (or Association of Polish teachers in Lithuania “Macierz szkolna“ – pl. Stowarzyszenie Nauczycieli Szkół Polskich na Litwie “Macierz Szkolna”) Józef Kwiatkowski said that currently for Lithuanians Poles are worse than Russians because they are better-organized.
Kwiatkowski is convinced that in national minorities’ schools students should be taught in their mother tongue. “The only right choice is to teach all the subjects in the mother tongue and use Lithuanian only in Lithuanian classes. It was like that in the Soviet times. Lithuanian was taught since the first grade. As a result, Poles maintained their culture and mentality and at the same time had a good command of both spoken and written Lithuanian. Thanks to that, alumni of Polish schools did not have any problems with continuing their education at Lithuanian universities and studying there in Lithuanian language” – said Kwiatkowski.
The President of “Alma Mater” said that Lithuanian Poles can count on Warsaw’s support. “The President of Poland and the Sejm safeguard our interests at all levels. However, sometimes it seems to us that their help could be more significant” – admitted Kwiatkowski. He added that Poles in Lithuania get a great deal of help from Polish Americans who appeal to the United States Congress on the behalf of the Lithuanian Poles.
Kwiatkowski declared that currently Poland and Lithuania are rather cool towards each other. In his opinion, those are politicians who artificially get the relation worse to divert people’s attention from economic problems. “But during the struggle for independence Poles stood by Lithuanians and at that time Polish flags did not disturb anybody. Among Poles there are no enemies of Lithuanian statehood but the authorities cannot use our potential” – stressed Kwiatkowski.
In the Polish activist’s view, for the Lithuanian society emotions provoked by Poles are more negative than those provoked by Russians because the former are better-organized. “Currently Poles are worse than Russians. Worse because we are better-organized, we have our own party voted also by Russians. And that is because we have the same problems” – stated Józef Kwiatkowski.
Tłumaczenie Małgorzata Mitoraj w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Małgorzata Mitoraj within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.