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A voice from Poland

ESSAY / It is embarrassing to look at how horrible the Law and Justice Party (PiS) and the government are behaving. We sign signature campaigns.


I feel a little like the little prince, the one who lands on a rare planet. In a way, I'm alone here, locked in, locked down, as we all are, just as the Communists wanted: "In all countries, unite!" So we seem united against an invisible enemy. I am a boxer fighting this invisible enemy, without the audience, and this game seems to have no end. Here is my small, private planet, while the larger planet is called Poland.

Governments in many countries decided to take care of the weakest – incredible in the age of global belief in progress. Instead of growth and increased profits, we decided to lock in to protect the old and the weak.

But, on my planet, I can't sleep at night. And poets should not write about politics. Poets can complain, it is their social duty. When we witness injustice by the rulers, we will raise our voices. What's difficult now? Feelings. What's happening around me. I have friends all over the world and keep in touch. Viruses are international, global, but the way we handle them is very national: We close borders. Some use the situation to fight for total power: Trump, Erdogan, Orbán, Kaczyński…

Borrowed dogs by neighbors

Here, in Warsaw, I try to make sense, but it's not easy. We are actually completely locked in, police and military patrolling the streets. Is rifle the best weapon against the virus?

Throughout April, all the parks were closed. The fines were high. You were only allowed to walk 200 meters to the store, to a hospital, or to air the dog. People began to borrow dogs from friends and neighbors. Even those living together received fines for standing too close to each other on the street. The forest was not allowed, but it was allowed to go hunting – the government advised us to take the children in search. But people started to protest – the best thing about Poland is that we never give up, we love to protest. We are veterans in protest.

It is embarrassing to look at how horrible the right-wing party PiS and the government are behaving – they want to commit coup d'état. They wanted to hold presidential elections on May 10. They want to change the constitution. Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin was able to produce 30 million ballot papers, but the election was not carried out – both the election commission and the postman were barred from fulfilling their duties.

The help comes not from the authorities, but from people locally.

Government of Poland

President Andrzej Duda has just appointed two new Supreme Court judges, which is against the law. We also know that the Ministry of Health bought and paid far more than necessary – but without checking the quality they got worthless mouthfuls for over NOK 12 million. The ski instructor who got all the money is a friend of Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski's family. The transaction was arranged by the brother of the Minister of Health, and was concluded by Deputy Minister Janusz Cieszyński.

Andrzej Duda. Photo: Wikipedia
Andrzej Duda. Photo: Wikipedia

The government has hidden facts about the number of infected and dead. If someone has a heart disease or other and gets infected and dies of covid-19, it is the heart disease that is stated as the cause.

At some nursing homes, all people are sick, without a single doctor being sent there. But a nurse here in Warsaw volunteered and took care of 24 sick people, alone. She only did her duty, she said.

Unemployment is high. A friend tried to call ZUS (equivalent to NAV in Norway) and was told that he was number 987 in the queue – after a few hours he was number 865, then the signal disappeared. His company went bankrupt. There was no real help from the government.

Protests in line

At the same time, the government is not doing anything to protect us. The doctors act on their own. It is very difficult to get tested, and the situation in the hospitals is really bad. Well, it is no better in Spain and Italy. But here in Poland, the doctors did not get help.

And recently, a woman from the right-wing party (a woman, mind you) initiative for a law that prohibits total abortion. We protest again: Women hold posters with pictures of women in mouthwash with a characteristic thunder print. I have such a heart with a thunder on my Facebook profile now. The women stand in line with the posters in front of the store – two meters away, so the police can't take them. We sign signature campaigns.

Niels Bo Bojesen (Dk) Reopening. See Libex.Eu

Human comfort

But we find solace in individuals who show heartbreak and help each other. People volunteer and help. For example, some restaurants make free food for the hospitals. Many women sew mouthwash – at no charge. For mouthwash is required, for everyone, every day, everywhere. The help comes not from the authorities, but from people locally.

Even those living together received fines for standing too close to each other on the street.

Every night we see people on their balconies clapping for the doctors. My idea then is that people are great, people are beautiful! But then, "Maybe they do it for themselves?" For everyone, talk about what will happen in the future. I think everything stays the same; only the shape changes. Maybe we will be more controlled, more distant. Yet we will love and hate in the same way, be jealous, proud, afraid, happy, sad, and dream and hope.

"We are good"

Our government wants power. It wants to hold elections as soon as possible because it knows it will otherwise lose. This is the priority of the authorities – at the same time as people die, lose jobs, suffer, while many children have neither the Internet nor the computer, but are required to attend school online.

Poland's official TV channel says "we are fine". I'll save you some more long circus stories. I'd rather wait for a Polish Gogol or Bulgakov to write about this and at least make it sound witty.

In these times, I continue to read Emil Cioran, this Romanian-French thinker, for his melancholy comfortes me in a way. As Cioran wrote in a letter to his friend Arșavir Acterian: "I hope your health problems are not as serious as you seem to suggest. Anyway, I wish there was some literature in your fear. "

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