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News From Poland – 11/10/23

Political tug-o-war continues over Poland’s new government
Weeks after Poland’s national election, a new government still had not emerged. The hitherto ruling Law & Justice (L&J) party had won the election but lacked 37 seats to constitute a majority of at least 231 seats in the 460-member Sejm (lower house).   President Andrzej Duda, stuck to constitutional practice by first giving PM Mateusz Morawiecki, whose L&J had own the most votes, the first shot at forming a government. The the three opposition groups, which had collectively won 248 seats, strained at the bit and accused him of deliberate delaying tactics. At this rate, their agreed candidate for Prime, Minister, Donald Tusk may not have a government in place earlier than January, they argued.  Meanwhile, Morawiecki desperately struggled to persuade at least 37 MPs to switch loyalties and help him form a government

Lack of consensus cripples far-flung government coalition
Calling three diverse political entities a coalition has turned out to be far easier than actually agreeing on things. Each of the three component blocs were themselves mini-coalitions representing a total 14 different factions, more than the available number of top government posts to go round. Politically, they ran the full gamut from conservative and liberal to hard left. The conservative PSL (Polish People’s Party) would never vote for abortion on request, a key demand of leftists and liberals. Greens and animal-rights activists want Polish farmers to move away from meat and dairy production, a goal most Poles do not share. There is also lack of agreement on which state institutions should be eliminated. Those with shady dealings and/or communist-era misdeeds on their conscience want the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau and anti-communist Institute of National Remembrance dissolved.

Moscow hopes Mid-East conflict will help it defeat Ukraine —Polish diplomat
Russia is hoping the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas will divert the West’s attention and allow Moscow to defeat Ukraine, a Polish deputy foreign minister has said. Paweł Jabłoński expressed that view in an interview with Radio Poland (Polskie Radio).  “Russia welcomes the fact that the international public has focused its attention on the Middle East, rather than the crimes being committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.” He warned that after declaring a victory over Ukraine, Russia would stoke further conflicts.

Suspected child-killer found dead of apparent suicide
A massive 18-day manhunt when the body of Grzegorz Borys was fished out of a swampy pond in a densely forested park in the Baltic port of Gdynia. Forensic experts said Borys had tried to kill himself by shooting an air gun at his temples and cutting his legs and arms with a knife but the actual cause of his death was drowning. His wife had found the body of the couple’s six-year-old son with a slit throat in their apartment, and Borys became the prime suspect.  A Polish Navy serviceman, he was on medical leave at the time of the boy’s murder. Investigators fear that his motivation and other circumstances of the crime may never be known.

A Tusk-led government seems bent on liquidating media pluralism
After gaining full control of the new government, the arising new administration  appears set to liquidate Polish TV’s round-the-clock news channel TVP Info which had openly criticized Donald Tusk and his Civic Coalition party. Since TVP is a public channel it is controlled by the currently ruling government. When Tusk was in power, TVP as well as commercial TV networks all presented a similar liberal-left news monopoly, marginalizing conservative opinions.  those opposed to the liquidation of TVP Info have been urged to voice their opinion to wolnoscslowa@tvp.pl or phone (from the USA): 001 4822 507 0410.

Warsaw works to secure release of Polish hostages held by Hammas in Gaza
There are Polish citizens among the hostages being held by the militant Palestinian group Hammas in Gaza, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau announced. But he declined to give their exact number
“in the best interests of those persons” and due to Poland’s ongoing “diplomatic efforts” to secure their release. Polish officials are reportedly waiting on the Egyptian side of the border to welcome the hostages once they are released. Israel closed that border after some wounded Palestinians made it into Egypt for emergency medical treatment.

Poland, “a dangerous enemy of Russia” could lose its statehood — Medvedev
In an 8,000-word article, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev wrote
that the Kremlin now considered Poland  a “dangerous enemy” that could end up losing its statehood if it continued on its current course, Reuters news agency reported recently. It cited Polish security-forces spokesman Satanist Żaryn as saying that “Russian leaders have been stoking hatred towards Poland for many years, and  Medvedev’s article was full of “hatred and threats against Poland and NATO.” He added that the Kremlin knew that Poland has been blocking the resumption of Russia’s cooperation with Europe.

Climate radicals attack plans to build floating LNG terminal im Gdańsk
The Polish branch of Greenpeace, a radical climate group, has launched a campaign opposing the government’s plans to construct a new floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the port Gdańsk. It argues the project will increase Poland’s dependence on external gas supplies, damage the climate, and threaten protected animal species. A deputy foreign minister, however, accused the organization of “trying to undermine Poland’s security”. The terminal is necessary as part of efforts to make both Poland and neighboring countries independent of gas imports from Russia, the Law&Justice government has insisted.

Tusk’s former cabinet member hopes EP mandate will set him free
Włodzimierz Karpiński, who was arrested on major corruption charges in February 2023, has appealed to the European Parliament to grant him immunity from prosecution. As the secretary of Warsaw City Hall, he has been charged with accepting bribes of up to 5 million złotys ($1.2 million) in a waste-management contract-fixing scandal. One journalist summed up the situation with the jingle “Z celi do Brukseli” (From a jail cell to Brussels.)  Karpiński wants to fill an EP vacancy which would guarantee him parliamentary immunity.  It reminded many Poles of the so-called “Neumann Doctrine.” Sławomir Neumann, a leading Civic Platform figure, is known for saying: “No court will touch anyone who’s with the Platform.”

EP strips four Polish MEPs of immunity based on fugitive convict’s complaint
The European Parliament has stripped four Law&Justice MEP–Beata Mazurek, Tomasz Poręba, Beata Kempa and Patryk Jaki–of their parliamentary immunity, enabling them to stand trial on hate-crime charges which carry a three-year prison sentence. Their alleged hate crime was that back in 2018 they “liked” a social-media post predicting what Poland would be like if it accepted undocumented migrants. They were snitched on by convicted embezzler Rafal Gaweł who pleaded guilty to defrauding a bank and a Soros-linked NGO. But rather than spend two years behind bars, Gaweł and his family fled to Norway where they received political asylum.

Children’s ombudsman warns against LGBT and anti-Catholic upbringing
Poland’s children’s rights spokesman, Mikołaj Pawlak, has warned that under a new liberal administration Polish school children will get subjected to LGBT and anti-Catholic indoctrination. “The wind of history has begun to blow away the (children’s) true lifeguards, allowing them to be replaced by pseudo-rainbow masqueraders,” he said in an article published by the Catholic weekly “Niedziela” (Sunday). “LGBT rainbow rags and Islamic crescents will replace Christian crosses in public schools, so children are brought up without values and unable to fight evil,” Pawlak added. His remarks have been criticized by opposition politicians and commentators who want him replaced by a more “liberal” ombudsman,

Every day thousands of Ukrainian refugees enter and leave Poland
Ever since Russia unleashed its full-scale aggression against Ukraine on 24 February 2022, refugee traffic to and from Poland has been endless. On day 242 of Putin’s supposedly five-day “special operation,” border guards reported that some 29,500 Ukrainians had crossed into Poland, while about 26,700 former refugees had returned to Ukraine. Since the invasion, Poland has welcomed 11.3 million Ukrainians fleeing Russian war crimes. It is estimated that Poland  is currently home to around 1.5 million Ukrainians. Many of them appear likely to stay permanently regardless of the war’s outcome. Unlike Muslim and other Third World migrants, who are often security risks to the host country, Ukrainians integrate well and help alleviate Poland’s labor shortage.

Will NE Poland’s Podlasie region become a “Silicon Forest”?
Poland’s Podlaskie voivodeship bordering Belarus and Lithuania includes Białowieża, Europe’s last virgin forest where bison, wolves, lynx, moose, bear and elks  roam in their pristine habitat. It is also region known for its colorful Kurpie folklore  and culinary traditions. Its lack of heavy industry has ensured it of clean air and long life expectancy. But now Podlaskie is aspiring to become a kind of “Silicon Forest,” through its blossoming technology and IT scene. Innovation is at the heart of the region’s non-polluting innovation and investment vision. It  already employs more than 10,000 people in the IT sector, including over 4,000 software developers.

Farm radical Kołodziejczak wants moonshine legalized in Poland
Michał Kołodziejczak, the head of a farmers’ protest movement known as Agro-Unia, says he wants home-distilled spirits to be legalized for personal consumption. “Bimber (pronounced: BEEM-bear) is an important element of our cultural landscape,” he insists.” Home-made hooch is also called “samogon” (self-distilled) and in the Podlaskie region – “księżycówka” (literally moonshine). Kołodziejczak has  been organizing farmer protests in recent years, and was elected to parliament in the recent election on the ballot of Tusk’s Civic Coalition (Koalicja Obywatelska).

Iga Świątek once again the world’s best female tennis player
In the latest Women’s Tennis Association’s finals held in Cancún, Mexico, Poland’s Iga Świątek recaptured that title with a commanding 6-1, 6-0 victory over fifth-seeded American Jessica Pegula. Now 22, last year, Iga ran off with 37 straight wins, more than anyone else this century. But her winning streak ended abruptly last September when she dropped into the No. 2 slot after losing to Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka at the US Open. Although that was a greatly deflating experience,  Świątek has publicly admitted that she resisted the impulse to re-encounter  Sabalenka and decided to work on her own performance instead.

Mike Tyson shops for pigeons during unannounced visit to Polish village
Former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was spotted in the  Polish village of Piątnica which he visited recently to buy pigeons from a local breeder. The iron-listed prize fighter once known as “the baddest man on the planet,” has had a soft spot in his heart for pigeons since growing up in New York City. The visit, which had not been publicly announced, was revealed after photos taken by one of the villagers in NE Poland’s Podlasie voivodeship turned up on social media and spread like wildfire. Tyson was the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles

Three Polish films featured at New York’s documentary film festival
This year’s DOC NYC Festival 2023 marks the  14
th annual edition of America’s largest documentary film festival, and three Polish films are among its featured selection. They are: “Apolonia Apolonia” directed by Lea Glob (Poland / Denmark), “In The Rearview” directed by Maciek Hamela (Poland / France) and the North American premiere of “Polish Prayers” directed by Hanka Nobis (Poland).

Lira Ensemble presents Polish Christmas Concert in Michigan
The Lira Ensemble, America’s only professional performing-arts company specializing in Polish music, song and dance, travels to Detroit for a special Kolędy Christmas concert. Founded and led by the indefatigable Lucyna Migała, the Ensemble will perform at Detroit’s historic Sweetest Heart of Mary Church,
4440 Russell Street, on Sunday, December 10th at 3 PM. Tickets (adult $30, student and retiree $25) will be available at the door. Secure, free parking available. More information at: Email: lira@liraensemble.org or Toll free: (800) 547-LIRA (5472).  Lira will be back at their Chicagoland base for their next performance on Sunday. January 7, 2024.