- April 20, 2013
Poles in Lithuanian do not feel discriminated anymore?
Such a sensation recently announced “Gazeta Wyborcza”, referring to the results of the research of mutual perception of the poles and Lithuanians, who conducted in Poland and Lithuania Institute of public affairs. Studies took account also of minorities: Polish in Lithuania and Lithuanian in Poland. The results of the research were presented at a meeting of Polish and Lithuanian experts in Warsaw, and the special guest of the next Polish-Lithuanian Valdas Adamkus was relations status discussion. It was the first attempt to explore the statistical relationships of contemporary Polish-Lithuanian in both countries at the same time.
Polish-Lithuanian relations need the positives and successes, to break the losing streak, and a spiral of recriminations, requests, pretensions and grimace. Perhaps this is why the Polish official for one of the biggest revelations of these studies found that 73 per cent of respondents-the Lithuanian Poles and 86% of respondents-Polish Lithuanians said they had personally met with the manifestations of discrimination. What does that mean? A bit like with a glass half-empty or full: on the one hand, this means that every fourth Pole in Lithuania and what the seventh Lithuanians in Poland suffered (or believes that suffered) just because they belong to a national minority. How to understand the discrimination-as limiting rights, insulting, or even the fisticuffs, trouble at work, school, or maybe repudiation of love-it’s hard to say. On the other hand, the majority of respondents prefer not to talk about discrimination or believes is too strong, or has had enough of feuds and prefer not to escalate the conflict, whose effects probably already felt.
Closer to the true answer to the question whether the Poles in Lithuania they feel discriminated against, it seems to me more precise question: Whether the rights of Poles in Lithuania are respected? In this respect, the respondents-Lithuanian Poles-are divided: 40% (i.e. about half of the larger group than previously) claimed that 44% of that, so that laws are respected, and as many as 16% no opinion in this matter! In Poland, however, the prevailing opinion that the rights of compatriots in Lithuania are violated – so think 48 percent of respondents-poles. The impact of the media policy? Or maybe the Lithuanian side Poles simply have more trouble with the knowledge of their rights and fail to see (or don’t want to see) they become sources?
In the case of respondents-Polish Lithuanians is much better: 76% recognised that Poland respects their rights. It follows from this that three-quarters of Lithuanians do not have any objections to your homeland-Polish and the 10% of Lithuanians considers that its rights are violated, however, not met with discrimination. In the case of Lithuanian Poles is “split” showed nearly 30 percent of the respondents! This shows a fairly large perplexities in the same Polish community, which after 50. the Soviet years and 20. the Lithuanian “machine” sometimes does not know what it should be, which is good for her, what has consistently seek and what must be reconciled. It’s hard to even talk about a common attitude, because it views the oldest and youngest generations may differ dramatically.
IMS Research results seem to contradict the results of the recent elections and parliamentary and local-in which the electoral action of Poles in Lithuania, which builds its image the only true defender of Polish on the belief that the Lithuanian Poles are discriminated against, is gaining increasing support in areas inhabited by these poles. Could it be those customarily voted on “their” stopping down eye on ideology, “the gallant defender”?
Another issue is the credibility of those fairly extensive research. Some touchstones might be matching results from other tests. So, for example, recently published the data of the Lithuanian census of 2011 (undoubtedly a fundamental) showed that 77 percent of Poles in Lithuania reported Polish language as a mother tongue-in ISP 70% of respondents-the Lithuanian Poles said they had with the family speaks English (for comparison, 88 percent of Polish Lithuanians in the family speaks Lithuanian!). The difference 7% may result from another shot questions, but also confirms that studies are not ISP’s may very accurate, but quite well reflect some trends, because soon we will return to them and through their Prism we look at Polish-Lithuanian relations.
Tłumaczenie by Katarzyna Dąbrowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Katarzyna Dąbrowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.