• April 21, 2015
  • 357

Storm in a teacup

With astonishment I am following the ‘debate’ that broke out in Lithuanian media and social networks ‘on the Borusewicz issue’. It came almost from nothing and it will end in nothing. It shows however, how easy it is to ‘wind up’ emotions that serve only the completely marginal groups or persons.

It started with the visit of Marshal Borusewicz in Vilnius. During it, he met with the Polish Discussion Club (PKD). He did not meet with the representatives of AWPL/ZPL (Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania/Association of Poles in Lithuania). Why? So far it’s unknown but probably there was a short, symbolic meeting planned at the airport. It did not take place either due to technical reasons or because someone took offence about this meeting with PKD. I stress that those are merely my suppositions. That where the issue could end.

It did not end, because a marginal organization under the hyped name – Federation of Borderlands Organizations (FOK) – out of Poland, saw its chance to shine. The organization used to busy itself with picketing the Lithuanian embassy in Warsaw. They were very successful as they amassed a ‘crowd’ of about 30 people. Now they picked a mode of ‘fighting’ much less strenuous for the ‘warriors’; that is writing open letters.

The first one was to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and concerned the visit of Borusewicz in Vilnius. It didn’t create much of a stir. The Ministry replied something and the matter seemed closed. FOK however went further and wrote another letter with ‘questions’ this time straight to Marshal Borusewicz. That would have probably also come to nothing if a Liberal party candidate defeated in the last elections – Renata Underis – didn’t decide to ‘defend’ Borusewicz, and PKD at the same time, against the ‘antagonistic’ FOK. This defense meant that, using the language of a Calvary Market street vendor, she scolded … AWPL. I don’t know why one of Polish media in Lithuania decided to make this ‘defense’ public. To this, in turn, PKD did to remain indifferent. On one hand they explained to FOK to leave them out of their business, at the same time distancing themselves from Renata Underis who gave them such a disservice. That statement extended the list of Polish media in Lithuanian that joined this pointless ‘dance’.

Besides, not only Polish ones in Lithuania, also Polish ones in Poland. Namely Gazeta Wyborcza ‘committed’ a text whose starting point and weighty argument for the theses included in it, is this ‘scandal’. Text quite extensive and equally unequal. At times even manipulative. That’s how I perceive omitting the information that FOK is an organization operating in Poland. From the text it can be inferred that it operates in Lithuania, because its activists are ‘supporters’ of Tomaszewski and AWPL. Based on the fact that PKD does operate, and even Borusewicz met with them, and the fact that ‘supporters’ of AWPL are attacking it, the author posed a thesis that it is the end of ‘artificial unity of Poles in Lithuania’. Understood as AWPL gaining the lion’s share of Polish votes in this country. This conclusion does not convince me at all.

There were always Polish circles in Lithuania that remained at cautious distance from the dominating party, and sometimes even in open opposition. When it came to elections it got ‘lashed’ and that was that. Will this time be different? I don’t know. We’ll see. I wouldn’t like it to, in terms of evolution of AWPL, because creating a competing party doesn’t make sense. One thing I am sure of. It is definitely much too early for such ‘triumphant’ (because that’s probably how author’s feelings should be understood) conclusions.

‘The Borusewicz-gate’ at this point was already following the logic of a storm in a teacup. It is no wonder then that even more marginal organization than FOK (if that’s even possible) also decided to shine. Wierni Polsce Suwerennej (Faithful to Sovereign Poland) also out of Poland, perceived an attack of Jews on Poles in Lithuania. United Jews in the persons of Borusewicz, Gazeta Wyborcza and PKD. Besides they see Jews everywhere, so they didn’t have to particularly strain what they have under their hair or lack thereof. Obviously this text was also picked up by Polish media in Lithuania. Forgetting the annotation – ‘satirical text’.

In such state of affairs dominating among the Poles in Lithuania party named AWPL, surely felt wounded that in such a fun fight it’s standing on the sidelines. Therefore it issued forth a statement with the mouth of the organ called ‘AWPL Press Office’. Statement that justly on social networks gets parodied as news form North Korea. There are ‘tabloid portals’ and ‘tiny articles’ and even ‘a certain PKD’. And with Borusewicz they didn’t even mean to meet. Ever. The most important thing is that all this is an attack at AWPL. As always.

I’m writing this now because I think it is the end of ‘The Borusewicz-gate’. Or maybe it’s only my hope?

I believe however that it’s worth to recount the sequence of events to observe a phenomenon. Namely, it seems that serious media and organizations allowed themselves to be wound up by those (let’s put it mildly) less serious, to pointless ‘war’ from nothing and basically about nothing. As if there aren’t any other problems. The only gain came to these ‘less serious’. Because in a way, they ‘shined’. No gain came to those serious, because they showed how easy it is to steer them and how sometimes they don’t differ that much in style and level from those ‘less serious’. And certainly no gain came to the Polish community in Lithuania. Fortunately it probably doesn’t even know what it is about. And this time such ignorance proves to be a good thing. Sometimes it is really better to work in a garden than watch/read/listen to embarrassing quarrels about nobody knows what. Which should be a warning to those media and organization that want to seem serious.

Translated by Antonina Górka within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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