“Why so serious?” one is tempted to quote Joker having seen the panic on the columns of some Western media which finally noticed the rampant Polish neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism. Good for them – better later than never. But where were they for the last decade?
Poland as a topic, as well as the “far-right”, began appearing more frequently on the global news market in the last two years. There are plenty of reasons to analyze the one or the other (how seriously is this being done is another matter) – however, the explosion of shock and panic that the biggest so called media of record displayed over the past weekend reeks of dishonesty and hypocrisy.
This hype occurred as the result of selective observations by Western journalists of the mass celebrations of the Independence Day in Poland. These ceremonies take place annually on the 11th of November. On this date in 1918 or more precisely in night between the 10th and 11th November, marshall Józef Piłsudski, recently released from the Magdeburg prison, arrived in Warsaw. The Regency Council handed him over the command of the military formations and three days later transferred all its powers to him. Thus the 123 year old division of Poland between Russia, Prussia and Austria-Hungary came to an end.
Alas, the historical events of almost 100 years ago serve only as a pretext for the mass mobilization of right-wing political hooliganism in Poland and its systematic infusion into the mainstream of public life in this country. So – looking at the surface – it is a good thing that international journalists and various liberal “professional citizens” finally felt shocked by these pathologies, but still it makes sense to ask how come it’s exactly now that you took note of it and felt so disturbed and appalled? I am asking a straight question and I demand a straight answer – why now? Dear Colleagues, you are exactly 10 years late! It took you quite a while.
Even if we set aside the fact that the phenomenon picked up steam as early as late 80s, the last decade has been particularly illustrative in this regard. What is known as the Independence March was first organized in 2007 in Warsaw and it marked the beginning of a whole decade of rapid growth of militant Polish neo-fascism.
Quite strangely it somehow evaded the attention of the journalists worldwide. In 2017 this very event suddenly fell into the focus of so many analysts and experts. The specialists in question uncovered “far-right tendencies” and “mass fascist rallies” under “dangerous slogans” such as “White Europe of brotherly nations” and a number of racist and anti-Semitic incidents. It is even stranger that they became aware of this right-extremist rampage only this year considering that in contrast to past celebrations of the Polish independence local fascists behaved – by their standards – rather moderately. Not that this alters the disgusting nature and quality of their performance in any way, but why hasn’t the alarm bell been ringed when these guys behaved much more brutally?
Where were the journalists from NBC News, Guardian or Wall Street Journal when the “patriotic youth”, during its regular November manifestations transformed the Polish capital into a warzone in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014?
It was then, and not last Saturday, the most engaged patriotic activists participated in massive brutal attacks on small-numbers of anti-fascist demonstrators and the police. The Warsaw landscape resembled the Wild West. The battles were fierce – the police were attacked with stones, bats, torn off fences, street signs and tram tracks, pieces of benches and bus stop roofing, torches, Molotov cocktails. Dozens police cars were burned as well as those of media disliked by the patriots, it took weeks to restore the public transpiration infrastructure and the pavement of the central squares had to be renovated completely; dozens of trees were destroyed – either burned or their branches served as barricades and weapons against the police.
This, however, is only the beginning of the total-horror story about the Polish patriots. Journalists were beaten, in 2013 an attempt was made to set a squat on fire. The building has been left fully unprotected by the police, even though it was clear to anyone that the anarchist center would be one of the priority targets for the demonstrators. The inhabitants of the squat barely managed to protect themselves with the help of the German Antifa, which had been warned in advance and asked for assistance. Had this battle been lost, around a hundred people in the building would have burned been burned alive as it happened with those in Odessa almost a year later.
After this “defeat” the patriots didn’t lose courage or confidence. Instead of th squat they went ahead and set on fire a rainbow, erected as decoration on one of the central squares in Warsaw and then, with the burning artifact in the background they spoke to journalists about how proud they are having “destroyed the symbol of modern plague”. Later on they moved towards the Russian embassy were the guard’s booth at its entrance was set on fire and attempts were made to tear down the fence and attack the building.
Police managed to turn away the attackers after a three-hour long operation with water cannons, teargas and rubber bullets. 275 people were arrested only at this spot and 55 were taken from the battlefield to various hospitals with heavy injuries. I could go on and tell a lot more stories, but it hardly makes any sense to list out all the barbaric acts of Polish patriotic activists.
Again, the question is what exactly prompted the “public opinion” to pay special attention last weekend when the Independence March had not ended in series of war-like incidents. This time around the demonstrators managed “only” to beat up a few women. Also, this year the mobilization was relatively weak – the patriots gathered “only” 70,000 people, which is less than half the people from the record 2015, when Warsaw was literally blocked by a 150,000 strong rally. By the way it would be useful for some Western journalists to remember these figures next time they get around worshiping the so called Committee for Defense of Democracy in Poland which, at its peak, managed to mobilize maximum of 50,000 people. These protests keep being called “the most popular social movement since 1989” – not even remotely true.
This year the slogans – as repulsive as always – were relatively “modest” given the typical imagination of Polish patriots. Screams and yells about “white Europe’ and “the Jewish occupation” are a moderate standard for them.
Years ago they shouted in the streets: “Russian whores out”, “fuck the Jewish occupators”, “whole Poland sings with us – fuck the Arabs” “fuck the Jews, fuck the Arabs – Poland only for Poles”, “let’s fuck the Arabs because it’s not OK to fuck goats” (sic!), “Polish Vilnius, Polish Lvov”, “don’t eat kebab – don’t feed the Arab whores”. This is only their repertoire from 2015. Back then they also sang “Auschwitz-Birkenau tra-la-la-la” and carried banners with pictures of garnished breaded pork cutlets subtitled “We prefer our own pork-steaks – we don’t want Mohammed” (sic!) or less avant-garde slogans such as “death to the enemies of the homeland.”
Where things were headed was clear from the beginning – even in 2007 the slogans were “media has circumcised the brains of Polish people”, “Poland won’t be the second Palestine”, ‘the Zion Elders were exposed”, while the organizers wore brown shirts and black ties speaking to slightly taken aback journalists.
Is it not a bit embarrassing to get shocked only now?
Short reportage by the Polish National TV from the violent events in Warsaw in 2014.
Assault on one of the squats in Warsaw, 2013.
Setting the rainbow on fire at the March in 2013.
Clashes between Polish nationalists and police during Independence March, 2014.
Night clashes of Polish patriots with police, 11 to 12 November 2014.
Massive clashes in the center of the Polish capital in 2011
11th November 2014 – the nationalist demonstrators vandalize the center of Warsaw.
Clashes with police in 2012 in Warsaw.
In the eighth minute, during the conversation with a journalist from the national television a protester calls the police officers “Jewish whores.”