domingo, 5 de novembro de 2006

Polish government continues to spew homo-hate

Doug Ireland, in Direland

(This article was written for Gay City News, NYC)

"[…] On October 14, the Polish vice minister of education, Miroslaw Orzechowski, was asked by an interviewer for the daily Wyborcza Gazeta about the firing of Miroslaw Sielatycki, director of the Polish National Teacher Training Centre, dismissed in June for having distributed to schools a manual on how to teach tolerance, prepared by the Council of Europe, of which Poland is a member country. The manual included material on non-discrimination against homosexuals and the rights of same-sex couples.

“This is the most drastic form of lies – that two individuals of the same sex can have a relationship,” Orzechowski told the newspaper. “I mean, it does happen, but you cannot legalize it because it ruins our civilization.”

Asked by the interviewer, “Where is the space, then, for tolerance of difference?” the vice minister replied, “Oh, the world used to manage without tolerance and it will keep on going without it. We cannot have a couple of maniacs deciding the fate of our civilization.”

The manuals, which included teaching tolerance of homosexuality, he said, “have been locked up, and will not be distributed any further.”

In a separate interview four days earlier, the new head of the National Teacher Training Centre, Teresa Lecka, had told Wyborcza Gazeta, “The school’s role is to teach the distinction between good and evil, between beauty and ugliness… The school must show the drama, the emptiness, and the degeneration that homosexual practices lead to… Active homosexuality is a practice that is contrary to human nature. Polish schools should prefer good patterns of behaviour that lead to family relationships.” Teaching about homosexuality, she said, must show “the limits of freedom for young people.”

Both these senior Polish officials were appointed by the Kaczynzskis’ ultra-homophobic minister of education, Roman Giertych, head of the Catholic nationalist, gay-baiting, anti-Semitic League of Polish Families party, the third member of the Kaczynskis’ right-wing governing coalition. […]"

Is the Polish government considering the possibility of reactivating all the many concentration camps the Nazis established in the country?
Because, if tolerance may not be taught – "it ruins our civilization" – and freedom is available only for some – "the limits of freedom [must be shown to] young people", large thousands, even millions, of Poles will definitely have to be re-educated…

Do you know when exactly George Orwell published "Animal Farm" and "1984"?

Is this the Europe we all want to build and be an integral part of?
What is going on – or not going at all – in Brussels, Strasburg, Luxemburg?
Why haven't we, European citizens, heard a single word yet from the Council of Europe about this serious matter?
How is it possible that people like these are responsible for cultural and educational policies in a country as Poland? Or is this somehow admissible in Poland and other member states but not in, say, France, UK, Germany and others?
Once again, George Orwell: "Some are more equal than others."
With this Europe I have nothing whatsoever to do.

16 comentários:

kevin disse...

It is such a shame that a European Union member is acting so maliciously towards its own citizens. It looks like it is using American rhetoric instead of more liberal and progressive ways.

I hope that other EU states and citizens let the Polish government know that their behaviour is a denial of basic human rights and will not be tolerated.

Kevin in New Zealand.

RIC disse...

Hello Kevin! Is it not indeed?! I believe that government feels somehow protected at a very high, very important level: Rome...
Can you believe the words of those «ministers»?! Are we back in the heart of the Middle Ages?
I do hope too the EU power instances take action. This situation reminds me of Turkey: why is this country the only one to be considered not fully democratic? Is Poland fully democratic?
How can people be catholic and against basic human rights? This is too much for me to understand...
Thanks a lot!

Gray disse...

Pardon me, Ric, but I am beginning to become highly irritated at comments such as Kevin's!! So much so that I am finally going to "vent" about it! Forgive me if this is not the place to do it - feel free to delete this comment if you feel the need!

How (and, WHY) do people of the world continue to "body-slam" Americans as a whole? Kevin's statement (with which I take issue): "It looks like it [Poland] is using American rhetoric instead of more liberal and progressive ways."

How DARE he lump all Americans into one category??? For his and for your information, most polls taken in this country (the USA) show that the majority of Americans are IN FAVOR of gay rights (by a MINIMUM margine of 54%).

Now, if Kevin (or anyone else) wants to bash George W. Bush or other right wing, Christian conservative idiots: fine. But STOP slamming all Americans!! Stop thinking that it is "American rhetoric!"

Use the brain that God has given you, Kevin!! MOST of the the WORLD's population, does not believe in gay rights (NOT just Americans!)!

When polls show a majority of Americans favor gay rights, how do you dare say that such diatribe is "American" rhetoric??

I truly am offended that you see it that way! Even if our "elected" leaders are a bunch of asses, you are out of line by lumping all Americans into one boat!

Do I dare say you are prejudiced? Do I dare say that you have preconceived beliefs about Americans as a whole? Do I dare say that you are among the many American-bashers that do not know what they are talking about?

You are damned right that I dare!

If you want to put the blame on any group of people, Kevin, then blame all of the fanatically religious peoples of the world! Not JUST Americans! If you are some kind of simpleton who needs a "boogyman" to blame for the ills of the Polish government then let the "boogyman" be the fanatical religious people!

DO NOT just blame "American" rhetoric!

DAMN IT! Kevin's illiterate statement just pisses me off!

RIC disse...

Well, Gray, I can understand your outburst, to start with. I agree that all kinds of generalizations are false or, at least, seldom right.
On the other hand, I believe Kevin used «American» as an adjective, implying with it the «mainstream» way of thinking.
If you ask me, and if we face all issues and matters (not only gay issues in Poland or elsewhere), I suppose you'll agree with me when we,non Americans, say America (meaning the USA) doesn't give a damn for the rest of the world. If you read any important USA newspaper (or watch a news channel) you'll easily reach the conclusion that the rest of the world means very little, unless... American interests are at stake.
A country or a people is perceived by others through common places, or clichés, if you like. You just cannot avoid that. Nor prevent it. The USA is nowadays perceived through its actions worldwide. And those actions are decided by the American government, which Americans have elected. A second time. How can you find it so strange that Merica and Americans get identified with that government? There's no way you can do it otherwise, I think. That's just the power of majorities, right or wrong. I don't like - and don't approve of - flags being burned on the ground. But I can understand the feeling behind it.
All you can do is to fight those prejudices. But you won't go far in that fight if you start by exactly doing what that mainstream way of thinking does: rejecting and nothing else.
So, Gray, if I do understand you as one American person, I also understand others who in relation to certain issues see the USA as a whole. As myself.
And no comments are deleted on this blog unless bad language is used or the author decides to do so.
I wish you a fine Sunday! :-)

Mariano disse...

Excellent article, Ric. The european council HAS to make it clear to the polish government that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. I do believe this will happen, but it has to be soon. Sad to say, there are many other groups in many other of our member countries that would do the same if they could. Some of them are quite strong, too.

As for the point you raise, gray, i think you're absolutely right in saying we should all be careful to distinguish at least between administrarions and people, not only when we talk about the US, but of all countries. Given the way in which most of so-called democracies work today, one can't even blame the inhabitants of a country for the rulers they have "chosen". I certainly don't like it when people judge me by looking at the catastrophic history of Argentina (yet it continues to happen to me, all the time!).

I think that for things to really change in a worldwide scale progressive thinkers from all over the world must be able to work together, and the slip of tongue you point out does signal a kind of generalization that gets in the way.

As a latin american and a citizen of a country that experienced both european colonialism and american imperialism (and there's those adjectives again!) i can tell you that there's a lot misguided generalizations. People refer to the "US" and "Spain" sometimes with hatred, as if they were one body and one mind. Still, it's difficult to blame them for the generalization, in the same way it's difficult to blame the American people for being stuck with their present government (even if the majority that had elected had been clear). People are manipulated, and unless you engage them in conversation and argue all this stuff out with them, change does not happen.

So, thanks for the chance.

RIC disse...

Hello Mariano! Good arguments well argued, in my opinion. It's never easy to go beyond what is typical this or typical that, because some times generalization and prejudice eventually coincide...
Thank you so very much for your contribution!

Minge disse...

The EU is a model of liberalism and enlightenment. I hope it's only a matter of time. I hope.

RIC disse...

I do agree with you, Minge. It isn't! But do we have a better model? Mrs. Thatcher's era, perhaps?...
If we don't want democracy to turn into a worse joke than it is already, we citizens must be aware and ready to act!
Thank you, Minge!

Joel disse...

It's the third time I read this in two days. I just don't know what to say.

I can't believe in our day and age...

I'll have to come back.

RIC disse...

Hello Joel! I do understand your reaction! At first one really doesn't know what to think or what to say... How is it possible in the beginning of the century?!
Hugs, dear friend!

André disse...

É realmente triste que a extrema direita esteja a ganhar tanta relevância em tantos países da UE. Os extremos são sítios muito perigosos, é preciso ter muito cuidado. Acho que nenhum partido moderado, digno de tal designação, deveria aceitar fazer uma coligação governativa com um partido dessa índole. É uma vergonha.

RIC disse...

Olá André, boa noite! De todos os adjectivos que utilizaste o que me parece que não devemos perder nunca de vista é: perigoso.
E o problema é que a sede de poder engasga qualquer um que hoje se diz moderado... Amanhã acorda fanático se preciso for, para saciar a abjecta sede.
É bem mais do que uma vergonha. É um funesto perigo!
Um abraço, meu caro!

Joel disse...

I guess every country has a Saddam!?

Gray disse...

Well written, Mariano. You bring a lot of good conversational points to the table. I thank you for that.

Ric, thank you for the email. I will do what you suggested.

Also, I read what your comment: "I suppose you'll agree with me when we,non Americans, say America (meaning the USA) doesn't give a damn for the rest of the world." I do understand how many governments and many people in the world can think that. But only *if* they are referring to the American government! I know for a fact that, according to the United Nations, America's citizens give almost 2 1/2 times more to international causes then does the American government.

Are all Portuguese homophobic because of the Portuguese government's harsh statements about homosexuality? Of course not! It would be wrong to damn the Portuguese because of the actions of their government unless the actions were absolutely horrendous and the people remained silent about them.

More on this will be coming up in a post on my blog as soon as I scrape together (in a condensed and coherent form) pertinent data.

Believe me, my dear friend, I detest some of the things that my government has done, internationally. But, when one looks at the bad he must also look at the good and then, placing them on the scales of justice, form an enlightened opinion.

Perhaps Joel is correct. Maybe every country *does* have its own Saddam! I'm just praying that none of us ever see another Adolph!

Enjoy the week!

RIC disse...

Hello Joel! As far as we around here are concerned, we have already had our Saddam, almost 50 years long, with a more civilized, European face. But we've had him. And then nobody was willing to help us get rid of him... So is History: a shameless display of hypocrisies...
Wish you a fine day! :-)

RIC disse...

Hello Gray! I'll be thrilled to read that post of yours really soon! That is an excellent idea indeed, which is all the more welcome as changes in American dominant powers are anxiously awaited.
As to homophobia, I believe you meant the Polish government, not the Portuguese! The general mentality around here may still be homophobic, I know it is, but no government of ours - especially not nowadays! - would dare say what the Polish did. In spite of everything (this country is traditionally catholic as well), I believe they'd be jobless the very next day...
As to the positive role the USA has been playing worldwide since WW1, I couldn't agree more. One has to know History in order to understand the present. Otherwise it would be just an exchange of opinions and points of view, many of them clichés as well.
Thank you so very much for your contributions! :-)