- April 3, 2013
Filut: Strong in diversity
Winter played a trick on me and snowfall foiled all my plans. There was nothing left for me but to get down to tidying my office. Rummaging through books, I came across a stack of old election leaflets. They show grinning conservatives, liberals and democrats, candidates from the electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania who stare earnestly into the future, representatives of smaller parties peeking anxiously. I admit that for a moment I was overcome with an urge to pack these old papers and put them out to pasture but… thanks to that bloody journalist curiosity I began to flick through them. I had a ball and my recollections from the election fever successfully distracted me from snow.
The Polish march to elections under the banner of “Strong in unity”, Kubilius’ conservatives – “Let’s create a better Lithuania”, supporters of a former President Paksas, the Lithuanian counterparts of Polish PiS lovers, cheer “Law and lawfulness”. Gems of slogans! The conservatives really did contribute to Lithuania’s development… so that thousands of people left the country. For the Glory! It’s the same with the slogan of “PiS lovers”, “Law and justice”, as with that of their conservative adversaries. There’s law, but justice is rather limping. There are various examples, but I’ll give a few. In the majesty of the law, the state treats international laws unevenly and does not hurry to legalise bilingual street signs in the areas where national minorities live. In the majesty of the law, money is wasted on various projects such as hiring experts who are to approve or disapprove projects. Subsequent governments revive or set aside the building of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which costs millions of litas. Millions snatched from taxpayers by governments. Even officers complain that the state thinks of them only when riots break out. Of course, it would be stupid to accuse the Paksas’ party for everything… but such is the case.
Another slogan which is supposed to draw the Polish to the Polish party is as “good” as Lithuanian slogans. Why? After all, the Polish party is the only one in Lithuania which does not “pride” itself on smaller or larger scandals. United, close-knit and strong, thanks to its unity, it celebrates a historic victory and co-governs Lithuania. The answer to the question “why?” is simple. One just needs to think for a moment. When a team, group, society unifies under one idea or slogan of a party – their individuality is gone. Yes, unity consolidates and gives strength but at the same time it impoverishes us all, narrows us to the one rightful opinion of the party. I’m thinking of an analogy with a research centre or a team of engineers. If they are creative and they all have their individual opinions as to a solution to the problem they work on, they are able to achieve wonders, find solutions to all situations. But as soon as one dogma begins to dominate – it entails stagnation.
It is interesting that we all choose this way, blinded by ideas of unity and strength. Both EAPL and Lithuanian political parties. As a result, each year we fight for oh so serious issues as the writing of surnames and street signs not only in Lithuanian but also in Polish. The Lithuanian dogma of a bad Pole along with the Polish dogma of a Lithuanian oppressor are still dominant and they keep us at loggerheads. The Lithuanian-Polish conflict seems to have lasted for ever and it is not unity that politicians lack to solve the problem, but diversity. The ability and willingness to see the issue from different perspectives and to understand that there is no one, but several ways out. It has been known for years that despite the variety of roads, they all lead to Rome. Unfortunately, both Poles and Lithuanians, tormented by their hang-ups and pettiness, seem to have chosen the most difficult and winding path. Despite that, however, I hope that sooner or later we – Poles and Lithuanians – will march together as a diverse unity, just like in the days of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Hand in hand towards building a country which would be acknowledged by Moscow, Warsaw or Brussels.
Those Polish and Lithuanian patriots who prefer to swing their swords do not have to agree with me and they have a right to do so. After all, we are different and we have different opinions as opposed to the citizens of North Korea who became close unity during the ruling of the Kim dynasty. I can only add: “What I have written, I have written”.
Tłumaczenie Aleksandra Christ w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Aleksandra Christ within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.