When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Geopolitics

The Train Wreck That Is Poland Right Now

Everything is collapsing: The zloty is sinking, a virus is spreading, diplomacy has disappeared, and so has the rule of law. And the government claims everything is going just fine.

Photo of police forces standing behind barbed wire on the Poland-Belarus border.

Police forces on the Poland-Belarus border.

Monika Olejnik

-OpEd-

WARSAW — Everywhere we look, there is a disaster.

The zloty is sinking because of inflation, which we owe to the head of Poland's central bank Adam Glapinski, a political ally of ruling PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski since the early 1990s when the pair demonstrated against then President Lech Wałęsa and joined in burning his effigy.

At the same time, we also have a COVID-19 catastrophe. As we've witnessed, 25,000 daily cases and hundreds of deaths are not enough for the government to introduce any kind of restrictions. The Prime Minister is afraid of demonstrations that could lead to deaths from COVID-19, while tens of thousands of people recently attended the National Stadium without masks and nobody checked whether anyone was vaccinated.


When journalists ask representatives of the Health Ministry why there are no restrictions or vaccines mandates, the answer is that we have a different culture than in other countries, we are not like the Germans or the Austrians… we are more rebellious!

The power of anti-vax

How are we different from Spaniards, French, Italians, Czechs, Ukrainians, Austrians or Germans? What is this utter nonsense? This government is simply afraid of anti-vaccine sentiment. It is shameful that the Medical Council of the Prime Minister says one thing and the government says another. Why do you need this Medical Council, Mr. Prime Minister, if you do not listen to it?

Is it a restriction of freedom?

Or do Poles have different organisms than other nations, and will somehow survive this pandemic? When we hear about COVID-19 infected newborns at the hospital, our hearts go out to them — but we also ask why nobody told their mothers that they should get vaccinated during their pregnancy.

And is it so difficult to go to the cinema, theater, restaurants with vaccine passports or negative test results? Is it a restriction of freedom? Is following traffic regulations when driving a car a restriction of freedom?

Photo of Polish President Andrzej Duda giving a speech in Warsaw on Nov. 11

Polish President Andrzej Duda giving a speech in Warsaw on Nov. 11

Damian Burzykowski/Newspix/ZUMA

When Kaczynski gets involved

And finally, we have a moral disaster at the border, as historian, journalist and Holocaust survivor Marian Turski declared. We are in a diplomatic debacle indeed. When Aleksander Kwasniewski was Poland's president, he took a stand in the Maidan Square conflict in Ukraine to such an extent that he probably lost his chance to become UN Secretary General because Putin never forgave him. When there was a conflict in Georgia, President Lech Kaczynski got involved. But now that there is a conflict on the Polish-Belarusian border, and President Andrzej Duda tells the German president: "We will not accept any arrangements that were made without our approval."

Sure, it is bothersome to see Chancellor Angela Merkel talking to Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko or President Emmanuel Macron talking to Vladimir Putin. But instead of being annoyed by this, Mr. President, you should have organized a Franco-German-Polish summit. That's what the presidency is about, not just throwing around big words.

So the best we can do is flex our muscles, since the government itself can't confront any of these disasters. And on each front, it is Poland's citizens and good name that pays the consequences.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Dottoré!

Sowing The Seeds Of Paranoia

"They must be dumping garbage — good, it makes for good fertilizer!"

"Slowly, we were the only ones left"

Mariateresa Fichele

"Dottoré, I know a lot of flags, and let me tell you why. I grew up in the province of Caserta, and — like everybody in those days — my parents owned a piece of land, and they would take me with them to farm it.

I remember there were other kids in the fields around us. But then, slowly, we were the only ones left because everybody was selling the land, making a lot of money off of it too.

Papà wouldn't listen to reason and he kept the land. But in the meantime, instead of farmers, trucks began to arrive. Many many trucks, unloading thousands of barrels and burying them into the ground.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ