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Attacks In Poland For Speaking Foreign Languages

Walking in Warsaw
Walking in Warsaw

New signs from Poland that racism and xenophobia are on the rise. A Polish lecturer at the University of Warsaw, Jerzy Kochanowski, was beat up on a tram in Warsaw for speaking German to a professor from another university, Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reports.

An inebriated man near Kochanowski reportedly told him not to speak German in his presence. When Kochanowski responded that he would continue to speak it because his friend doesn't speak Polish, the drunken man punched Kochanowski in the face. No one helped the professor, the newspaper reports.

It wasn't the only time that a person has been attacked recently in Poland for their use of a foreign language. In the Polish city of �omża, a local man and a Romanian woman who was performing at a European film festival were attacked by three young men when they spoke in English while walking on the street, Gazeta Wyborcza reported in a separate story. The horrified girl managed to escape and the man found shelter in a store but the shop assistant refused to call the police for help, the paper said.

The man reportedly was terrified that no one tried to help him. The police said the attack wasn't related to the woman's nationality, Gazeta Wyborcza said.

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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