During one of his campaign speeches, the current president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, who runs for re-election, compared promoting “LGBT ideology” to something worse than communism. This statement has led to a spiral of hatred, which met with a backlash from a number of activists, politicians, media, and LGBT+ community in Poland and abroad.
In the times of the pandemic, I chronicle my observations. I try to write about things that are important and not so closely related to the disheartening reality we now live in. However, this time I feel unable to remain calm. A person who perpetuates the wheel for hatred will bear the responsibility for for the evil and disasters that will inevitably follow.
In Poland, words that are far worse than hate speech have recently been uttered (by President Andrzej Duda, followed by Law and Justice MP Przemysław Czarnek, and others). These words were a clear enticement of crime.
Because words matter and could be deadly. Especially in light of the fact that the current mood in the world is terrible. Paris saw a demonstration with such slogans as “Death to Whites”, London something similar.
In this context, racist attitudes in Poland are even more dangerous. There seems to be a broad acceptance of such words and behaviors. Even if it is a silent consent and given by few, what does the rest of the society do about it? They should be out on the streets, protesting even more vehemently than in the past.
An individual who crosses the line of hate speech should never be given the right to run in a presidential election. A battle for the souls of Poles, not so much for their beliefs, has started. A highway to hell has been opened. Is there a chance it gets closed? I do not know. I fear, though, that it might be too late for that.
Words that exclude started some of the worst massacres in history. Maybe one should never exaggerate. Maybe in our civilization it is impossible – but just maybe. I do not believe that anything is impossible.
So many times before we chose not to believe that – Europe would not believe that civilized bourgeois would fight to death (in Sedan), that a cultural institution that was being constructed for decades would collapse in just a few months, that in a political fight for power certain things are acceptable, while other are not. After all, these are but mere fables of honor, decency, and moderation.
When certain lines are crossed, even when the individual who does the crossing wants to take it back, it may be already too late. Using racism for political gains – and at that the kind of racism that, even though it may not be reflected in reality, it soon becomes very real – is the worst thing that could have happened to us all.
I am not sure what conclusions shall we draw from this situation. No sensible reaction could bring desirable results.
Consider “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”. And there is also another painting by Goya – “The Third of May 1808”. It seems far to easy to get from one to another.
What shall we, therefore, do in this situation? I cannot answer that. The most adamant reaction possible seems right as long as it is guided by at least some shreds of humanism and decency. But since I do not know the answer, at the moment, each and every one of us needs to deal with this quandary on our own.
The article was originally published in Polish at: https://liberte.pl/spirala-nienawisci/
Translated by: Olga Łabendowicz