- October 16, 2012
Polish newspaper „Gazeta Wyborcza” plays things just the way I have foreseen
A couple of months ago I noticed that Gazeta Wyborcza’s attitude towards Poles in Lithuania is double-faced. I was also afraid, that they may wriggle out of it as they have in habit. Wyborcza newspaper, on one hand, published some information concerning Polish people’s discrimination inLithuaniawhich was based on competent materials from PAP. On the other hand, they would publish things that are highly unfavorable for Polish people. I specifically have in mind people critical of Polish minority who are in favor ofLithuania, for example Jan Widacki, who is famous for his ‘original’ saying , that the Domestic Army (AK) for Lithuanians in theVilniusarea is like Ukrainian Uprising Army (UPA) for Poles. Today however, my suspicions have come true and I was not surprised, nevertheless I was disgusted by it.
In brief, Adam Michnik overtly comments that in the conflict betweenPolandandLithuania, both parties are to be blamed (Where do we know it from?); he also proposes a policy of love- irrespective of some serious issues. He tried to prove his objectivity by talking and writing about things in which both parties are mistaken. Obviously, I do not agree with the things he blamedLithuaniafor, I think that it was merely a way to get Polish support (the journalist is making reference to Jan Widacki). This is obviously my personal opinion, which I could easily prove. Because I would rather avoid writing at length about that matter, I will proceed with the next matter, which is, his critique ofLithuaniapolicy, that critique being rather characteristic. He would talk about it inVilniusand write articles in his newspaper. In his opinion, Lithuanian governors are to be blamed, which is by the way true, for:
1)the lack of solution concerning the matter of Polish names’ spelling
2)the matter of bilingual names, which concerns only Lithuanians inPoland
These are issues that are less urging, which have also been solved only inPoland. I thought, that the Wyborcza newspaper may take a turn, which would be that if Lithuanian government solved the matter of spelling of the names, they would be able to break up Polish education system, without breaking its law (which would be destroying Polish language in academic environment); it also would not seem as id they support stealing land (which would be financial disability of Poles in the Vilnius area). These are the most urgent issues. The Wyborcza newspaper, after fulfilling the least urgent matters, their journalists will be announcing what a wonderful deed had been made by the Lithuanian government and that we are to be patient and wait for the next wonderful thing they may do (and here some reassuring sentence that it will, indeed happen soon), about which, after 20 years, we may not even hear.
It will take a lot of time to solve this Polish-Lithuanian conflict- the way Lithuanian chauvinist want it to be solved. I thought that it will be the very reaction the Wyborcza newspaper will have, that every single mentioning of Poles being discriminated, Wyborcza will sum up that way. That a minor problem would be a reason to make a big deal out of the problems of Polish minority. That was the way I would think a couple of months ago, which can be seen in the conversation I had with Natalia Szpourko in the ‘Goniec Wolności’ newspaper.
Yesterday, the election took place inLithuania. Socialdemocratic party won, but our parties did good too, which obviously is not without the help of international observers from OBWE. Today I also read, on Lithuanian website Delfi, quite a disturbing piece of information.
By the way, it is a Lithuanian website, and its Polish language version was created, in my opinion, because its creators wanted to apply to Poles who live in Lithuaniawith the opinion of the local government, which was to make people submissive and obedient. Polish language version of the Delfi website had been created after the matter of Polish people’s rights in Lithuania, has become a major issue. Prior to that language version, there was of course a Lithuanian one, and Russian one, and the owners of the Delfi were not interested in the creation of the Polish-language version. On the website, there appeared some articles in accordance with some Lithuanian chauvinists’ opinions, the articles which Poles would read in Lithuanian language, but also reading some concerning that particular issue in Winoteka newspaper or Kurier Wileński newspaper. I do not have to add that this phenomenon, in some way, takes away the readers from these two newspapers, which have a worse financial situation but publish articles that are draw on the matters of Poles in Lithuania in a reliable way. Not everyone, especially young people, have a good sense of critique. Delfi website, is not a better equipped one, or a more attractive one, especially if you consider the financial matters, but if one can find everything on one website…
But let me get to the point: In the Polish language version of the Delfi website I hale read about the publication of Aleksander Fuksiejewicz’s article in the Wyborcza newspaper. Fuksiejewicz does not reject the idea, that it might be Poland that is declining Lithuania’s willingness to cooperate. “It may be this way: new, social democratic government makes a move, e.g. they postpone the deadline for the controversial law of education to become legit. Warsaw responds, that until there are no Polish names and bilingual names of the streets, both parties hale nothing to talk about”.
It definitely is a clear announcement of making a move, not only in the way I had expected it to be, but much farther. The thing is, that it is no longer a matter of going further in the acceptance of the demands that are listed from the least to the most important, it is accepting the rules of Lithuanian government. It has been a while since we heard about their plans of postponing the execution of the education law. For us, as well as for Poles living in Lithuania, it is unacceptable, as postponing the execution of the law, does not mean its dismissal. Whereas agreeing with that course of action would be according to Lithuanian government’s plans, it would definitely not be according to Polish plans, but it would, nevertheless authorize that law.
A simple example would be standardizing maturity exam both for Polish and Lithuanian schools. A child from Polish school in the Vilnius area, who is educated according to the program of a minority school, will not have time to study the Lithuanian education program just to have the same maturity exam. In the government’s opinion, the choice should be easy, either the choice should be of the Lithuanian school’s program, or it can be that parents will take away the children’s childhood and they will have to study both programs. It is not the first and probably not the last vicious act of the Lithuanin’s chauvinists. It is only a pity that they manager to find people who agree with them and who help them lead the Policy which is highly unfavorable for Poles, and by that I mean not only the article in the Wyborcza newspaper, but many other things. We should bear in mind that what Polish people in Vilnius want are the things that other minorities in Poland can take for granted.
Fuksiewicz also writes: one thing is worth remembering. Only about half of the children form Polish families attend Polish schools. The rest are educated in Lithuanian ones. When it comes to Polish-Lithuanian relations, and the fact thatWarsaw is getting more and more complaints from Polish minority, it is worth considering, that these complaints do not necessarily come from all or most of the Poles who live there. The question is, whether it is obvious that it is still the issue of the complaints that are not made by the parents who are still resistant but by those who have yielded under pressure.
Tłumaczenie Emilia Borkowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Borkowska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.