THE POLITICS OF MEMORY: POLAND AND BEYOND

Misiu, mój prawnik, który wygrał moja sprawę o papiery ojca w Polsce, i teraz jest w Princeton Univ, opublikował dzis    w Jerusalem Post
To jest bomba! Juz bombarduja go wielkie gazety z prosba o wywiady i tez artykuly na ten temat.  Napewno zainteresuje twoich czytelników.
Pozdrawiam,
Ina


BY TOMASZ TADEUSZ KONCEWICZ

Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz – polski prawnik, adwokat, doktor habilitowany nauk prawnych, profesor nadzwyczajny Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego, specjalista w zakresie prawa międzynarodowego publicznego i prawa Unii Europejskiej.

 

In loving memory of my late grandmother Czesława Strag, The Righteous Among the Nations of the World who tirelessly taught me that to really move forward we must never forget our historical baggage.

 

With the judiciary and public media in Poland captured, the time has now come to implement a “politics of memory,” with one sanctioned vision of history, and capture the hearts and minds of the Poles. The most recent and dangerous installment of this politics of memory is the attempt to criminalize the public and erroneous assignation of blame to the Polish nation for crimes committed by the Third Reich.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, the most dangerous man in a government full of dangerous men, presented his rationale for this legislation as follows: “[…] the Polish government took an important step in the direction of creating stronger legal instruments allowing us to defend our rights, defend the historical truth, and defend Poland’s good name everywhere in the world.”

He alluded to the notorious “Polish death camps” designation occasionally appearing in the foreign media, and potentially suggesting co-responsibility on the part of the Poles for the crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

He vowed to prosecute all those who defame Poland or the Polish nation. Already in its draft stage the legislation has sparked a furor regarding its scope and the severity of its sanctions (up to three years of imprisonment), and has been criticized as a “blunt instrument” (US president Barack Obama’s unfortunate remarks in 2012 would be covered by this law!), as another example of the nationalist revival in Poland and the return of revisionist history.

Critics have also pointed out the possible dangers of limiting free speech and research and of building the martyrological narrative that the world does not understand how much Poland and Poles have suffered.

While this all true and cause for concern, there are important general lessons to be learned from this foray into the past. Polish leaders are currently in the business of no-holds-barred war on memory. The objective is to craft a one-dimensional explanation of where “we, the people” come from and what makes up our national identity, with anything else being a “mis-memory.”

Calosc TUTAJ 

 

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