Wake Up and Be Great, Necessity Calls!

Josiah Mackenzie || Creative Commons 2.0

I don’t care about politics, you say. My dear peer, my reply to this statement is always the same: if you do not care about politics, it means that you do not care about your money as either. When a politician indebts our state, we are indebted as well. Our children too. They will pay for your indifference. Silence is the biggest enemy of truth. It’s not true that you are so busy that you have no time to care. Noone is ever that busy. When the necessity calls, a great person acts. The question is: are you a great person?

I am the baby boomer of the end of 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s in Poland. Born in 1978. It was with an utmost interest that I recently googled the current age pyramid in Poland. It turns out that the numbers suggest what I’ve expected. Nowadays, people living in the country are mostly 30-34-year-olds. Then there is my age box: 30-39-year-olds. Therefore the Poles between 30 and 39 years old constitute the majority of the population.

Recently, I was at a concert of The Cure in Łódź, Poland. We, the the 30-39-year-olds, came to the city from all around the country. 20,000 people in total. On a daily basis, I see the same people running around the cities, jogging to maintain good shape. They swim next to me at the swimming pool – while I try to reanimate my spinal cord, they make dozens of kilometers to later on enter a triathlon or Ironman race. We are the people who spend most time playing football on public sports fields after work, not the kids for whom these fields were constructed. We do what we want.

Believe me, it’s not easy to train for marathon. Nobody pays us for it. Quite the contrary – we pay for it with our health, free time and actual money. But we can afford it since, according to the Central Statistical Office of Poland (GUS), this age group earns relatively well in comparison to other Poles. In general, we’re doing quote good. We are proficient in languages thanks to our friends from other European countries. We are also quite mobile. We search for jobs in big cities, in the capital. We travel abroad to improve our financial situation even further. What we do out there does not make Poland ashamed of our actions. Quite the contrary. Our hard work has transformed the image of Poland created by the generation of our parents – the one of a Polish thief, a Pole who lives off of state benefits. Thanks to us this is a thing of the past. It’s long long gone.

I remember as if it was yesterday how hard it was to get to a good high school or to a dream university. 25 people fper one spot at the Law Faculty at the University of Gdańsk. 15 people at the Faculty of Managment, 5 per stupid geography. To watch a good movie we had to previously sign up on a list to rent it from a video store. To play football on a playground we had to arrange to meet without phones and Facebook so we wouldn’t have to play only with three other kids on a big field and without a ball. Sand in the sandbox with traces of urine did not scare us off. We were not killed by Chernobyl or by Lugol’s solution. We did not have to hide from bad foreigners. We dealt with them. And we did not need 24/7 monitoring, fences or asked our parents for help. We survived the skins. We can survive their successors since as compared with the skins and their pocket knives, the present-day pseudo-nationalists are nothing, actually. If we wanted to meet a girl we didn’t need dating portals. It is thanks to us – the people who once got the flow of the famous social activist Jurek Owsiak – that our health services are still (somewhat) alive and kicking.

We are in the best of ages possible. Maybe not the young and beautiful anymore but also not naive any longer. The times of acne faces has passed. There would have been more of us if many have not left for other countries – but still, we are the ones who should take over and rule people’s hearts and minds. We should – that’s what democracy is all about. In democracy wins the majority. And we are the majority. We have the advantage of having a common generational code, whether we want it or not. The Cure, Depeche Mode, Kult, Ciechowski’s Republika. We are all connected by the same cultural experience. Not by MTV. Rather by Bogusław Linda and imported Tarantino. We live, we write, we make jokes modelled on the Bareja’s movies portaying the absurdity of living in the times of Polish People’s Republic and make references to Monty Python. A list could go on for ages. We still care for reading actual books. We can focus our attention on something for longer than a few minutes.

This is why I cannot comprehend why do we allow ourselves to be pushed over and around by someone else. That the money from our hard work are taken away and spent for somebody’s own needs first and only then, after satisfying their own needs do they think of us, those who support them financially. Why is our generation not present on the political scene? A statistical Pole is 39 years old. A statistical MP is 50, a senator 56. Due to the lack of term limit and the fact that both the politicians and the electorate are used to his/her posts, Polish politicians are also older than their metrics suggests. Due to our deed of abdication, the greybearded politicians constantly feed on absurd divisions in solidarity and allegiance. We versus they. You have to choose.

Iwona Śledzinska-Katarasinska is an MP since 1989. Does the name ring a bell? Probably not. I remember her mostly by her being cought by police while driving under the influence. Of course, in many cases we truly owe a lot to the people who have their origins in such organizations as Solidarity or Worker’s Defence Committee (KOR). Our apartments, for starters, although often later on burdened by the frank loans. No matter. It is thank to these people that we got them in the first place since they overturned communism, guided us through the period of transformation – but their fire has long subsided and their time shall come to an end as well.

It’s been already 27 years. That’s a lot of time. Jarosław Kaczyński, Donald Tusk, Grzegorz Schetyna, Waldemar Czarzasty – they are the people of the previous age. We should thank them for their services and dispense with them. They have travelled much too long without a valid ticket. This is also to some extent an aesthetic matter. Let me repeat: we are the majority. We are already a few paces ahead from the start. The politicians who rule over us now and have done so for the past few years have nothing in common with us. It is only a matter of organizing ourselves and a willingness to do our utmost since – as once Ryszard Kapuściński wrote in The Emperor – no fortress will collapse on its own.

The article was originally published in Polish at: http://austen.liberte.pl/pobudka-zmiana-czasu/

Translated by Olga Łabendowicz

Bartlomiej Austen