"The fight is a part of the Polish ethos"

In Poland nationalism has grown into a thriving official ideology. The regime is demanding that the citizens defend all internal affairs and both the state and the church remain silent on issues of hate crime and racism. Lidia Ostalowska, writer and journalist, claims that the ”utopia” that the nationalistic ideology envisions for the country appeals to many young Poles.

September 17 2016 Text: Lidia Ostalowska
The migration crisis is in full blow, and many Polish users of Internet believe they are well informed. Outside our western border there is a regular war. Armed young immigrants take over city centres and introduce Sharia laws. They rape women, children and animals. When they don't have the strength, they take potency drugs from pharmacies. At schools the language of instruction is Arabic only, and the pools serve the Arabs for toilets. Such messages are replicated thousands of times.
 
Aneta, nurse from a hospice, teaches her political vision of the ongoing drama on the “Stop to the Islamisation of Europe” fanpage: “The one to be blamed for everything is Angela Merkel, a granddaughter of Adolf Hitler. Under the guise of respect for human rights she carries out a deep-laid plan. For extermination of indigenous Europeans she receives money from Soros, a vengeful Jew who hates Europe, and Poland in particular. When the Islamisation of Europe is accomplished, Soros and Merkel will set off on a luxury yacht to Dubai where they intend to spend retirement together on one of the artificial islands”. Aneta's Internet activity was described recently by young reporters Kaja Puto and Ziemowit Szczerek.
 
This coincided with the address of Jarosław Kaczyński, the President of the Polish party Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość), who, after winning the last elections, considered himself to be a father of the nation. “We will not adopt any laws about hate speech, no such inventions,” he announced. Poland, unlike the West, will be an island of freedom of expression, unaffected by political correctness. 
 
More than half of Poles sees an increase in nationalist sympathy in the society (Millword Brown poll). However, the Prime Minister Beata Szydło is not worried. Recently, with one gesture she dismissed the Council for Prevention of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. She spoke words that must have been appreciated by the nurse, Aneta, terrified by the vision of relocation of refugees: “I will say it very clearly: I do not see the possibility that at this particular moment Poland would accept the immigrants”. 
 
The ruling camp sacralises the national State. It encourages the public to be gushing proud of Polishness, skilfully strengthening the people's emotions. It expects that individually and collectively they will defend what is familiar. The defense is necessary because the fight (and defeat) are part of the Polish ethos.
 
A few times a week media inform about the various acts of hatred.
 
Łódź. A bald thirty-year-old stubbornly fights for Polishness of trams. He regularly ambushes an Algerian woman, he insults her, kicks her, does not allow her to enter the tram or pushes her away from the car. 
 
Warsaw. A Syrian refugee, Radwan, is biking back home from work in a café. Someone is chasing him, calling him names, pounding with a metal rod in the head. Radwan is bleeding intensively. This is already the third assault like this. (The police accepted the complaint, but considered that the ground of the incident had not been racism).
On the door of Lambda - an organisation actively supporting the LGBT cause - a neo-fascist Celtic Cross and the words “white power” appear. The object of the attacks are also other organisations established to protect minorities and promote the open society: the Campaign Against Homophobia, the Klamra (Buckle) Foundation, the HateStop Initiative and the Amnesty International. Spraying offensive slogans, threats, knocking out windows, and even beating attemps.
 
Białystok In the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Marya mass is to take place on the occasion of the 82nd anniversary of the foundation of the National Radical Camp (ONR). Technical university authorities advise foreign students not to leave the campus then, for their own good. During the jubilee, the priest, Jacek Międlar, a young chaplain of the nationalists, announces that the Church should not tolerate “nasty cancer-stricken Poland and Poles”, and a chemotherapy should be “an uncompromising nationalist-Catholic radicalism”.
 
With devotion, the chaplain of the provincial police concelabrates the mass. Then through the streets of the city runs the procession under the banner of “Nationalism, our way”. Polish nationalists carry green flags with the symbol of the Falange (raised hand with the sword), but there are also black-red-white colours of Forza Nuova brought by guests from Italy. The relations between the formations are obvious. ONR is a new incarnation of the extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic group from before the war that did not refrain from the terror and was fascinated by the fascism.
 
The Church apologised for the proclamation of the “views which are contrary to the Christian faith” before the altar, but when it happens in the public space, the Church usually does not take stand.
 
In Wrocław (now the European Capital of Culture) on 18 November 2015 NOP and Młodzież Wszechpolska (All-Polish Youth) organised in the Market Square in front of the town hall a manifestation against the “Islamic savages” and the EU policy. It was attended by Piotr Rybak, an author of anti-Semitic proclamations, very active on Facebook, an ally of the populist party Kukiz'15. He prepared a puppet with black sidelocks, and a kippa and with the EU flag, he poured something flammable and set it on fire. No one reacted, even the police.
 
Only the Wrocław public prosecutor's office initiated an investigation ex officio and accused Rybak of incitement to hatred. Events in the Market Square were condemned by the City Mayor, the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews Polin was outraged, the Polish PEN Club appealed to the highest authorities for an “immediate suppression of the increasingly insolent racist excesses in Poland”, and the intellectuals asked: “Now they burn puppets, one day they will burn us?”, and the  Wiesenthal Centre placed the burning of the puppet of the Jew in Wrocław in the list of the 10 the most anti-Semitic events of the year.
 
But the altar and the throne remained silent.
 
They share the conservative vision of Poland for the Poles. the Catholic Poland, the patriarchal Poland, deaf on foreign novelties. Closed, and thus idyllic. And vulnerable in their idealised identity.
 
Today's nationalism has deep political roots and sources. How come there was the Blessed Virgin on the flags of Communist troops? “It originated from a desperate need to gain confidence of Poles”- responds Marcin Zaremba in the book “Communism, legitimacy, nationalism”. After the war, Poles did not believe in the good intentions of the authorities and considered them foreign. Of course, the Communists knew about it. “The party, through propaganda and policies towards national minorities, developed a xenophobic, ethnic and non-civic national community, not only closed to the world, but hostile to the world,” wrote the historian. “By forcing one vision of the national history, the party eliminated any national discussion of Polishness, patriotism, nation, thus impoverishing the nation's thinking about itself”.
 
For the 45 years of the People's Poland nationalism grew into the official ideology and re-mained its only living element when pompous acts of love for socialism became empty rituals only. 
 
After the democratic turn, probably all aspects of the communist doctrine were criticised. The exception was the red-brown alliance. This is no coincidence. Nationalism continues to be useful to the authorities because “it offers a social reconciliation and unification opportunity”.
 
This utopia appeals to many young Poles. On the facades of buildings and on the bus stop shelters they place the stickers: “To kill the enemy of your homeland is not a sin, it is the road to heaven”. New fashion.