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Paula Sawicka on minister Zalewska


Paula Sawicka, the Chairwoman of the Program Board of our Association, commented for the Wrocław edition of Gazeta Wyborcza the pronouncement of minister Anna Zalewska, who – in „Kropka nad i” program – provided pathetic replies to the questions on Jedwabne murder and Kielce pogrom.
“When asked about Jedwabne Zalewska said that “it is a historical fact, in which many misunderstandings and many biased opinions have appeared”. I do not know how misunderstandings may appear in the fact. Fact is a fact. It seems that the head of the Ministry of Education uses different dictionaries than we do. She changes meanings and she is a Polish philology graduate. She refers to the professors, who have different opinions than Jan Tomasz Gross. She does not mention that IPN [Institute of National Memory] published a multi-volume work on crime in Jedwabne based on the documents, without interpretation or opinions. This is not repression – this is clear evidence that we should start worrying about education in state schools managed by Zalewska” – said Paula Sawicka. “Minister of education said that children should be taught “memory and respect so that Holocaust is not going to happen again”, and she proposes poisoning the minds of young people. Her statements about Jedwabne and Kielce pogrom are lies and offending viewers’ intellect” – she added.

NGOs appeal to Pope Francis


At the initiative of Helsinki Human Rights Foundation 40 Polish NGOs wrote to the Pope asking him to mention the problem of hate speech during his meetings with young people. In this appeal it is stressed that responsibility for word is one of the key challenges of today’s world. Freedom of speech guaranteed in Art. 54 of the Polish Constitutional Act and in Art. 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights is linked with responsibility. But hateful content is not subject to protection. Counteracting hate speech requires taking legal, and litigation steps but, first of all, education activities. Words of the Pope addressed to young people may play such role. Signatories include The Open Republic Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia.

OR letter on the lecture by Stanisław Michalkiewicz


On July 16 the National Fund of Environment Protection and Maritime Economy organizes a lecture by Stanisław Michalkiewicz entitled “Poland in the European Union”. We protest against inviting by a state institution a man, who instead of building bridges in the more and more divided society, stubbornly and maniacally burns and destroys them. We are convinced that you are able to invite a person, who can indeed deliver a lecture about Poland in EU. Stanisław Michalkiewicz’ activity to date makes us sure that he will use this meeting to spread hatred and to offend all those who – in his opinion – do not deserve respect – we write in the letter to the Fund’s management.

“It starts with a beetroot…” – Magdalena Czyż on hate speech


Boats with refugees should be sunk, „We invite you… direction – Oświęcim, camps wait – hate speech becomes a sign of recognition of the Polish society, whereas the police, prosecutor’s offices and courts pretend that the problem hardly occurs –  writes Magdalena Czyż, the Vice-president of our Association in her text “It starts with a beetroot”. The author quotes examples of hate speech, which did not cause reaction of the appropriate services and the absurd justifications of such decisions. She also mentions our portal www.zglosnienawisc.otwarta.org, with the help of which you can report all manifestations of hate speech and hate acts in the internet and in public space.

Paula Sawicka on xenophobia


After the referendum, in which the Great Britain voted for leaving the European Union, several anti-Polish incidents happened. Paula Sawicka, the Chairwoman of our Association’s Program Board stressed in TVN24 program “You get up and you know” that problem of xenophobia and racism does not concern only Poles. We are very egocentric and we notice only what happens to us – to us, Poles. Racism and xenophobia is not limited to one nation or minority, it is more general. I think that if we want to evaluate what happens in Great Britain, we should look from a broader perspective, not in a narrow, nation-oriented way – she stated.

Sawicka said that in Poland racist acts also occur. In our country we have a flood of hatred, mostly in the internet, since it is the easiest way. Words full of hate can be heard from the Parliament, from the media. In the past, politicians did not dare to say things which they say today. Moreover, they use emotions to win supporters.

End of jokes


“The Studio Yaya program broadcast on TVP 3 Warszawa on Sunday, at 10:50 and 18:15 (repeated) by Ryszard Makowski and Paweł Dłużewski is praised by the broadcaster as a big dose of good humor and satire regarding our reality. According to different internet comments, the majority of viewers are of quite an opposite opinion: in comments on two so far broadcast sections of this program we meet the following expressions: horrible, shame and tragedy. The shock caused by the bottom-hitting humor presented in the program probably resulted in the fact that commentators did not pay much attention to the content promoted in it” – the President of the Open Republic Association, Marek Gumkowski, writes in his text entitled The End of Jokes about the not-funny satire in the public television program and about the song, which duplicates the most primitive anti-Semitic schemes.

Letter regarding “Studio YaYo”


“Building an open, tolerant, diversified society should be the mission of the Polish Television, just like it is the mission of our Association. This is why we watched with great concern the “Studio YaYo” broadcast of June 26, in which Ryszard Makowski sang a song a basis of which were stereotypes and prejudice against Jews (…)  Anna Dymna, an outstanding Polish actress, said that television should pull the nation’s culture upward, but it pushes it into some horrible pits. This is why we react – we do not want to find ourselves in the aforementioned pit” – we write in a letter addressed to the National Broadcasting Board, Media Ethics Council and TVP S. A. Program Board. Our letter was also sent to the Management Board of the Polish Television and to the parliamentary Commission of Culture and Media.

“NGO versus special services” guidebook


n connection with the recent attempts to put pressure on, and to compromise activists of NGOs by the services responsible for order and security, Stefan Batory Foundation developed a guidebook on NGOs employees’ contacts with such services. We encourage you to get familiarized with the version supplemented by the Helsinki Human Rights Foundation. This guidebook is useful for all those who act in the third sector.

Paula Sawicka on removing phalange from the list of neo-fascist symbols


This week, at the order of vice-minister Zieliński, the guidebook Hate Crimes was withdrawn from use. Polish policemen learned from it and trained the methods of preventing hate motivated offenses. In this guidebook, phalange – the sign of the Polish ONR [Nationalist Radical Camp] was also described as the neo-fascist symbol. And it was the reason of withdrawal of the training set, because – as press section of the Ministry of the Interior justifies it – “it fosters shaping of reluctant attitudes toward certain citizens”.

Paula Sawicka – the Head of our Program Board spoke about the danger resulting from this decision, about the activity of the Ministry of the Interior and on ONR itself in Agata Kowalska’s program on Radio Tok Fm.

Poznań demonstration against racism, xenophobia and hate speech


On June 11 at 12:00, on the Poznań Plac Wolności a demonstration against racism, xenophobia and hate speech will begin. Its motto is the slogan “EACH DIFFERENT, ALL EQUAL” and it is supposed to be a response to the increasing manifestations of racism, xenophobia and hate speech. Being aware that the current rulers will not oppose these phenomena, since they do not see them, we are obliged as citizens, in the spirit of constitutional values, to react firmly. The demonstration is organized by Wielkopolska region of Democracy Defense Committee.