- December 10, 2012
Political chauvinism echoes through primitive provocations
On November 24, 2012, at the Rasos cemetery vandals conducted another anti-Polish nationalistic attack and vandalized the Mausoleum of the Mother and the Heart of her Son. About 11.30. am. The police was informed about an inscription in Lithuanian fixed on a wall next to the gravestone threatening the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania [Polish: Akcja Wyborcza Polaków na Litwie; AWPL] and a member of the European Parliament, Waldemar Tomaszewski, and a cardboard box with a potential bomb and a written inscription reading “Poles will die”. The police has begun the investigation.
The Saturday incident generated public outrage among members of Polish community in Lithuania as well as in Poland and was loudly broadcasted in the media and the Internet. It is not the first anti‑Polish incident that has occurred in 2012. Moreover, it was aimed at the patriotic feelings of Poles and connected with threats made against a person who represents the concrete policy. Among numerous comments on this topic there are several that incite to revenge which cannot be accepted.
This aggressive nationalistic anti-Polish incident is just another provocation aimed at AWPL that is becoming a significant political power in Lithuania. It is directly connected with the increasing role of the party, its position in Lithuanian parliament and participation in the governing coalition. We have to react calmly to every provocation. The recent actions of the nationalistic extreme movement and the opposition can be the proof of that. Attempts to question the electoral results of AWPL, denying the victory and false interpretations of the Law on the Elections, and finally causing confusion in the public opinion go together with similar outrageous actions. The moment to cause problems for the new government was not chosen by coincidence. “The only proper” political force in Lithuania is not able to accept its defeat which is the proof of the lack of the political culture.
It has to be stressed that the provocation is the result of the recent chauvinistic hysteria in the media from which the national authorities detach themselves and pretend that the situation does not concern their citizens. That passive attitude adds fuel to the fire. Moreover, the recent incident is not another joke of hooligans but a nationalistic attack inspired by the xenophobic mood present in the society. Nationalistic and outrageous reports presented in the first channel of the national television (Savaites komentaras), national newspapers, hundreds comments of the Internet users caused another primitive provocative act.
According to the false opinion existing in the society, the leader of AWPL is a politician presenting very extreme views. In reality W. Tomaszewski is a tolerant and honest politician who enjoys the respect of Poles, representatives of national minorities and Lithuanian people as well. The attempts of threatening him are only a pathetic demonstration of their organisers’ villainy. Another anti ‑Polish act will not bring honour to Lithuania nor help its organisers to achieve their main aim – the intimidation of Poles. It is a duty of the national authorities to react to such incidents because if they do not undertake any action, the perpetrators will continue their activity with impunity. The highest authorities should put an end to such xenophobic incidents of the extremely nationalistic groups.
Of course, it is high time the authorities took care immediately and properly of the Mausoleum of Józef Piłsudski at the Rasos cemetery that is a holy place for all Poles. Recently, the faction of AWPL in the municipal council has tried to allocate 400 thousands LTL for the needs of the Rasos cemetery. The appropriate steps have to be undertaken immediately in order to protect one of the oldest necropolis in Europe. The most important need is the installation of the monitoring system at the cemetery. Judging form the comments posted on Lithuanian websites, it will take their authors a lot time to recover from nationalism.
Tłumaczenie Karolina Rolka w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Rolka the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.