Polish Debating Society. Second Approach. “Zombowanie” of Russian television

Polski Klub Dyskusyjny. Spotkanie drugie © DELFI (fot. R.Rotkiewicza) http://pl.delfi.lt/aktualia/litwa/polski-klub-dyskusyjny-podejscie-drugie-zombowanie-rosyjskiej-telewizji.d?id=66201676#ixzz3IbUHE6ZY

For the second time, Polish Debating Society invited us to the discussion on the subject of national minorities in Lithuania. The meeting was supposed to deal with the topic “Lithuanian Left and national minorities”, however, just as at the first time, the participants often forgot to stay on the message intended.

Earlier, it was said that among the guests of the debate there would be Deputy of the Sejm, Gedminas Kirkilas, however he had to cancel his visit because of Services for Special Affairs’ staying at the head office of “Order and Justice”. He was replaced by Remigijus Motuzas – next ambassador of Lithuania in Moscow, Lithuanian philologist, teacher, educational activists, diplomat, politician, Minister for Science and Education in 2004-2006, ambassador in Sweden in 2006-2011.

And indeed, it was Sweden to which Motuzas compared the situation of minority groups in Lithuania.

According to Motuzas, in Lithuania we vote for the parties, while in Sweden groups of people, young and elderly, organise meetings at which they discuss political programmes without considering the name of a party itself. By comparison, they estimate which programme brings them the most benefits, which one offers the most, and only then do they go to the ballot boxes. Contrastively, our politicians try to make themselves agreable to everyone.

Motuzas’s further conclusion was that “Swedish reforms aim to eliminate the difference between minority and majority as soon as possible. Immigrants are given considerable bonus payment for studying Swedish. For that reason, there is nothing surprising in the view of a black family walking the streets of Stockholm and speaking Swedish to one another. Is such a solution good for Lithuania? I think it is not. National minorities are our heritage, our treasure and we need to do our best to maintain their identities.”

The first discussion, with Antanas Valionis as a guest, was followed by the evaluation of the meeting, during which it was noticed that it could hardly be called a discussion, as there were more questions asked than answers given. This time it was much more closer to the discussion. Questions were asked and answered by the participants themselves.

Apart from the most important problems of Polish minority in Lithuania, namely, National Minorities Act, original name’s writing, bilingual signs, once again the fact that arose emotions was absence of Polish television in Lithuania, low amount of Lithuanian and high amount of Russian productions on the Lithuanian screen.

Social and political activist from the Salcininkai region, Julia Mackiewicz, showed the problem of local Polish people’s russification.

Mackiewicz says that she has been visiting the Salcininkai region schools for three weeks. She talked with higher grade students and asked them to name a person who is a leader for them. The answer was shocking. Almost all of them consider Putin as their leader.

“Why do so many Poles look to Moscow? It is because they watch Russian instead of Lithuanian television. I do not watch it neither, because it is sad to look at Polish being presented only in a bad light. When local Poles do something right it always remains in silence, on the other hand, when they do something wrong, it will never go unnoticed and will be commented on for many days on. This is how the authorities made us turn to Russian.” Kleczkowski said.

In Motuzas’s introductory speech, the question was asked “what does Polish minority actually expect?”. What the politician meant was that the rights which they have are sufficient, “nowhere are there so many Polish schools as in Lithuania.”

This statement was challenged by Bożena Mieżonia from Vilnius Vagabonds Society.

She said “When I attended school, all the courses were held in Polish. Presently, some of the classes are in Lithuanian. Isn’t it so that Lithuanian country wants to make Polish schools Lithuanian ones, with the exception of the fact that they will additionally teach Polish in them?”

As a response Matuzas claimed that the country should provide minority language courses and courses in minority language to all willing to take them, but they are also obliged to teach the official language at a certain level.

I managed to add some points to the discussion by making a comment on the politician’s statement about “Polish minority group’s caprices”.

“All the rights, including those establishing Polish schools, are the Soviet Union leftovers. I can remember that after first year at the Vilnius Pedagogical University in 1994 we were allowed to take the exams in Polish only if the lecturer knew it. From that time, we, the minority, were only loosing our rights. School courses were, one after another, ‘becoming’ Lithuanian, until the lost of National Minorities Act. That is the reason why the elder generation started to think nostalgically about the Soviet Union times, times when we had more rights. This is also one of the reasons for russification of young people. Parents’ and grandparents’ memories and “zombowanie” of Russian television is a dangerous mixture, which has already put down its roots in Polish minority.” This is how I contributed to the discussion.

Remigijus Motuzas ended the discussion saying that “Polish community has exceptionally high propriety, elegance and amiability, which the Lithuanian may only learn from them”.

Deputy for Polish Debating Society, Mariusz Antonowicz, has already announced that the next discussion will be held in Polish and it will deal with the matters of Polish community.

Source: http://pl.delfi.lt/aktualia/litwa/polski-klub-dyskusyjny-podejscie-drugie-zombowanie-rosyjskiej-telewizji.d?id=66201676

Tłumaczenie by Aneta Gębska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Aneta Gębska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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