I’m watching the Polish news right now on the itvn channel we receive via our satellite dish and couldn’t be more proud of my fellow Poles. The itvn is interviewing many citizens and nearly all of them are very opposed to the presence of President Bush in Poland and also are adamantly against the installation of a missile defense system on Polish land. Only 25% of Poles polled [ha] are in favor of such a system, and most of these people only support an American missile defense system on Polish ground in the hopes it would bring American tourists, and their money, to the country.
As the PolishPress reports:
Antiglobalists announced they will protest during the president’s visit near the residence. They plan to bring signs saying “Welcome to hell” in English. [Adam’s note: This protest is in the Polish town Hel, hence the play on words] – ‘Over a hundred, maybe even 500 antiwar activists will manifest outside the residence’ – declared Filip Ilkowski from Inicjatywa Stop Wojnie (No Wars Initiative). – ‘We want to demonstrate peacefully against the situating of antimissile defense system, however if there will be any difficulties, then all sorts of things can happen’.
Another Polish protester states:
We came to protest again George Bush’s visit in Poland, against the policy he represents. Moreover against the construction of American installations perversely called “shield”, and also against Polish government’s participation in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both disgraceful, cruel and bloody. Bush himself is a politician, who is the head of the biggest military organization in the world, and has more blood on his hands than any other politician. So when he comes to a country, there always are protests against him. Poland is no different.
All Polish people I’ve spoken to and seen interviewed on the Polish news are very opposed to the missile defense system because they (validly) believe it will attract terrorists to Poland to attack the system. Even worse, as Joseph Cirincione, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, tells Katrina Heuvel of The Nation:
President Bush is rushing to deploy a technology that does not work against a threat that does not exist,” Cirincione says. “Iran is at least 5 to 10 years away from the capability to build a nuclear weapon and at least that far from having a missile that could hit Europe let alone the US. And anti-missile systems are still nowhere near working despite $150 billion spent since the 1983 Star Wars program started and years of phony tests staged to demonstrate ‘progress’ and ‘success.’
President Bush, you’ve already screwed up my country and residence, please leave my ancestor’s home alone.
14 responses to “Poles Welcome Bush to Hell”
I think this opposition isn’t that strong. I think people in Poland oppose it, not because the don’t agree with the missile shield, but because they think Poland will not get enough in return.
Like Poland didn’t get anything in return for her presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in addition USA is not fulfilling its obligations connected with off-set contract, when Poland decided to buy American F16 (instead of European aircrafts which caused us to get bad press in Europe).
America should offer something really attractive in return. I mean MONEY MONEY MONEY! End of visas, additional assurances on security, etc.
I watched TVN24 the other day btw, and I was shocked with what a Russian Kremlin-friend journalist said there. With a straight face he said that Poland should really think this through, as Russia WILL direct their missiles on Polish cities, and that it happens sometimes that some things that appear on radar are misinterpreted as missiles and so if Russia misinterpreted such indication of missile heading to Russia, Russia would launch their missile to hit Poland.
He really doesn’t understand Polish mentality, as I am sure everyone who watched that, instantly felt we should agree for that shield to have better relations with USA, which would be in only country to protect us and stand for us, if such a case occurred. And if Russia continues her threats against Poland, she can be sure Poles will support the shield.
oh and one more thing,
Poland, unlike all other European countries, is not anti-American at all. Poles trust America.
Even tho my best friend went to Hel to protest against Bush, I have to say she’s in a very small minority. In poland less than 300 people protested. In Italy or Germany there were thousands.
btw:) since you watch tvn’s international service you must speak Polish.. so I wondered why don’t you use Polish ogoneks?:) PieniÄ…Å¼ek just looks much better than Pieniazek;)
I can speak Polish near fluently and can read Polish very well, but am not very proficient at writing it. I wish I could write in Polish well and maybe someday I will take a few classes in Polish; I would like to live in Poland for a few years at some point down the line so I better! PieniÄ…Å¼ek does look better 😉
I’d have to disagree with you that Poles are not anti-American at all. While we are more supportive and definitely more trusting of America than the rest of Europe, I wouldn’t say that we’re completely pro-American. I think a lot of positive Polish sentiment towards America still goes back to World War II and the fact that America, obviously, helped out Poland a lot then. Polish people are a very proud people and I think the majority of positive Polish sentiment comes from Poles feeling like we owe America one.
Also, I personally don’t think Poland should trust America as much as they do. America has lost a lot of its credibility during the past few years, and as you point out has already neglected to fulfill promises made to Poland with the F16 and troop support.
One of the reasons protest numbers were smaller is because Poles care about Poland first and foremost. As long as Poland remains safe and in good standing, I don’t think Poles care much one way or the other about what America does. And that’s a good thing, you should care about your own country first and foremost, something America has failed at over the past few years.
Poland may be supportive of America as a whole but from my personal experience (of course I’m not in Poland so I can’t speak 100% accurately), Poles are becoming more and more skeptical of the U.S. and especially of the current administration. Also, America is a country which tries to get as much benefit as possible for the absolute lowest cost possible (good ol’ capitalism), so I do not think the U.S. will install a missile shield in Poland unless it is better for the U.S. than Poland. Certainly with the current immigration debate/debacle in the U.S., I do not see America agreeing to eliminate visas for Polish citizens as there would be an outrage among U.S. citizens.
Although there’s been huge conflicts between Russia and Poland before, I feel the “bigger fight” is between Russia and the U.S. and I really do not want to see Poland “stuck in the middle”. It is a tough scenario because I do not think the rest of Europe would support Poland as much as the U.S. if a conflict broke out between Russia and Poland. However, by siding with the U.S. I feel there will be many negative feelings towards Poland and as you state with Russia, and with terrorist cells, Poland will become a target for attacks. Having said all of that, it is a very complex issue with benefits and disadvantages on both sides of the argument.
One more note, it may seem I am very anti-American from my tone and stance, but that is not true. I am proud to be an American and love this country but feel it is getting worse and worse every day. It is still a great place to live and is a much better place to live than many other countries (Iraq, Mexico, China, almost all of Africa etc.). It is my love of this country that makes me want to see it improve not get worse.
I read your post with much interest. You are very right when you say that Poles care first and foremost about Poland, not very much about what is going on in USA.
You also are right when you say the Poles are becoming more and more sceptical towards the US under current administration. USA in fact are becoming less and less attractive as a whole to the Poles. My father for example, who has spent part of his life in Toronto, Canada, still has, like many Poles in his age, a very “positive sentiment”. USA used to be an “ideal model” of development, democracy and freedom. But with the end of communism we just started to notice we are not like them. We prefer Swedish or British models, we prefer caring states, we prefer solving problems with international community, we prefer Europe. Europe is something that we aspire to, in every possible respect. Carbon emissions, human rights standards, sustainable development, foreign aid, secular public life, European ways of life, free healthcare for the poorer, et caetera
You remember Whitney Houston’s “wardrobe malfunction”? Everyone in Europe wondered why was everyone so outraged on the other side of the pond. It’s just body, its beautiful, and the surprise was fun:) Or that Clinton indulged himself to oral sex with his assistant? Big deal. Guns availability and death penalty, televangelism, millions living in poverty in the richest country in the world, mad competition, bad education https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJuNgBkloFE , all this makes USA seem awkward and alien in the eyes of Europeans.
This trend of abandoning USA manifests itself in unexpected places:) for instance in universities’ departments of English. Twenty years ago 3/4 students were choosing American phonetics and American spelling etc. Now vast majority prefer British.
But I have to strongly disagree with what you said that “a lot of positive Polish sentiment towards America still goes back to World War II and the fact that America, obviously, helped out Poland a lot then”. Which is actually totally the other way around:) USA, obviously, never did anything that directly helped Poland during this war, and they didn’t engage for many months from its beginning. When they did, they helped UK with supplies, and fought on Western Front.
But what did they do after the war? They gave us as a nice gift to Stalin in Yalta/Potsdam. For 60 years. Thank you very much for such help:) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_betrayal
Its not WW2 that Poles respect USA for. Its for their opposition to USSR during cold war, and for some support people like Reagan were giving it.
As to visas, this is not such a simple matter. As you know Poland is now part of the European Union. One of the basic principles of the EU is equal treatment of its member states (for instance all EU member states nationals hold the EU citizenship and EU passport): now most EU countries’ nationals don’t need visa to enter USA. European Commission cannot tolerate foreign country to treat some members states better than others, and it is pressurising the US to change its visa policy. European Commission threatened to impose visas on all US citizens coming to EU (like Brasil).
The sole fact that you criticise USA, I would never interpret as anti-Americanism — you don’t have to worry, i’m not Fox News;))
And I think I criticise Poland a lot more than you criticise your country, yet I still I still think this is my place on Earth and I love the fact that there is still a lot to do. What we do now, will shape how this country will look in the future, something you cannot do in America, UK or France.
As to the missile shield, it pretty much looks that American govt has its mind made up – since it’s on tour trying to persuade others to join.
As to Russia, I’m not really sure there is “bigger fight” between US and Russia. As you said USA is always seeking for better profit, and that’s what tones down US criticism of Russia, China in respect of human rights violations, and undemocratic, unlawful rule. that’s what makes US-companies censor internet in China or cooperate with Russia on doubtful projects. Poland has always been very well informed on Kremlins’s actions, but also people here never hesitate to point to her wrongdoings, and never hesitate to support democratic opposition not caring about the consequences.
Poland is very dependant on Russian gas – and the best way for Russia too fight with us it to turn the faucet down. Which currently they cannot do – because the gas they sell to Germany and Western Europe goes through Poland. But when German and Russian companies complete the pipe under the Baltic going around Poland, they will be able to do what they want.
Now it’s pretty much Tom and Jerry with Russia anyway. For example for more than a year Russia has embargo on Polish meat exports claiming that it doesn’t fulfil the sanitary standards. Which is a laugh, if you have ever been to Russia and seen how meet is being sold there. Whereas Poland is obliged to follow strict EU sanitary regulations, so any accusations Russia makes are of course very false. It is just a means to punish Poland for being “naughty” towards Putin. In response Poland is successfully blocking the new EU-Russia commercial treaty and plans to block Russia’s entry to WTO. Thanks to this meat-gate we now at least have the EU on our side, as they can clearly see what Russia is doing.
As to Polish:) Writing Polish is much more simple than writing English:) dough/doe/dow/dou dew/due LOL:)
Polish is one of those languages with phonetic transcription: there is only one way a sound can be written (with the exception of rz/Å¼ ch/h u/Ã³, but there are clear grammar rules that let distinguish). I’m sure that you’d be able to write absolutely perfect Polish after a short course.
I can recommend this one: http://www.fil.umk.pl/skijpdo/ at Nicolaus Copernicus University, which I know is very good, and you get the additional bonus of spending your holiday in this magnificent city:)
Pozdrowienia z Torunia:)
I too read your posts with great interest, I think polite and intelligent debate is one of the best ways to learn, not just about other people but also about yourself. I was very happy to see your response 🙂
It’s not just the Poles who are becoming more skeptical, Americans (I should stop using that term, since there is a North and South America, not just the USA, habits are tough to break though) are very wary of their government now, which is why Ron Paul is a very popular candidate on the internet right now (a Google search for Ron Paul shows more results than any other presidential candidate), because he opposes big government and wants to make American government small and focused on the USA, which is a very scary line of thought for the ruling elite in the USA.
My mom is very similar to your dad, she came over here about 25 years ago because A…the USA was a land of opportunity and had many benefits over Poland. Now, she criticizes the current situation here and is very pleasantly amazed that Poland is a better place to live, politically and not yet economically but getting better every day. I think the USA could be a much better place, with similar ideals to the Europeans, if we were a true and free democracy, but we are not. The government here is now run by big corporations and cherished American liberties, such as freedom of speech and habeas corpus come under attack every day by these corporations and the government which supports them.
One of the ironies about the USA right now is it is very difficult to find true Americans! The YouTube link you provided shows the typical American who is not aware of the greater world they live in. This was not always true, and if go to the right places you will be able to find many people like myself who understand that the USA is only a small part of a very big world. The sad truth is Americans are increasingly “brainwashed” to such an extent that Whitney Houston / Paris Hilton / oral sex dominate our news and debates more than important matters like government corruption and excess. History has shown us that when the citizens are either unable or unwilling to criticize their government and hold it to a high standard, bad things happen.
My grandmother and grandfather on my mom’s side were saved from concentration camps (we are not Jewish, something popular history seems not to focus on is the Germans attacked and tortured and killed all Polish citizens, not just Polish-Jewish citizens) by American troops, so personally I am very biased on how the USA helped Europe at this time. Looking back on it, yes the USA could have done A LOT more and A LOT sooner, but the personal bias of history weighs heavily here. If it wasn’t for those American troops showing up when they did, I very well may not be here…
The wikipedia article you linked to however focuses on how France and the U.K. did not fulfill their promises to Poland. I did not see much mention of the USA in regards to promises made but not fulfilled. At the time, the USA was a very non-interventionist country and I feel they were waiting to see if Europe could handle the German attack on their own. Once it became apparent they could not (e.g. when much of Western Europe had already fallen) and once the war made it to American soil, the USA did finally step in and once they did were an immense force to reckon with. What the USA did once they entered the war is what I reference when I state that positive sentiment goes back to WWII. It is true that the USA did not directly rush to the aid of Poland, but as a result of their actions Poland was indirectly helped. Of course, after the war Poland was almost a second though to these other countries. I find it slightly ironic that now Poland is (finally) receiving such a focus on the global stage.
Something I found interesting from wikipedia,”In November 1933, there were rumours in Paris that a “preventive war” option against Germany was being considered by the French, Belgian and Polish governments. The British historian Lewis Bernstein Namier claimed later that the Poles had proposed a preventive war to the French at this time, but the French declined the offer.”
Imagine if that happened though, history may be a lot different. If Poland and the west were the first to attack, Germany may have had more sympathizers because France, Belgium and Poland were attacking Germany first, even though realistically it was only in response to menacing actions by the Germans.
Another interesting point from wikipedia an something I simply did not know, “In May 2005 US President George W. Bush admitted that the Soviet domination of central and eastern Europe after World War II was “one of the greatest wrongs of history” and acknowledged that the United States played a significant role in the division of the continent and that the Yalta conference “followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. (…) Once again, when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable.”
Of course, it’s easy to look back on the past and admit mistakes but it is still admirable that Bush did publicly admit “one of the greatest wrongs of history”. It does not make up for his poor leadership and anti-American policies, but it goes to show he did do something right. It also doesn’t make up for the 60 years of Communist rule in Poland. In either case, thank you for pointing me to the wikipedia article as it was enlightening in some ways. I remember learning about the Western Betrayal in one of my Chapel Hill history courses but not in that much detail.
While I will agree with you that there is a lot that can be changed about Poland, I must disagree that I cannot do the same here in the US. Poland is in a way lucky to be a young democracy, and hopefully has less corruption than some of the more established ones like the UK and US, but change can happen anywhere at anytime. I hope Poland can avoid some of the stupidity that America has experienced that has led to some simply bizarre laws, there is a very good list at:
What I meant by the “bigger fight” between the USA and Russia is in essence a reference back to the cold war, and that if anything did escalate between the two we could experience a nuclear war before we knew it. It’s a very unlikely scenario today, I hope, but that was my reference. If we look at if from a historical perspective, then the bigger fight would be between Poland and Russia (they did actually fight after all).
Hmmm, those classes are very intriguing…it seems that a room AND food is included in the price, which makes it VERY cheap! That is actually quite an unbelievable deal…plus the city is quite nice.
Hey hey:) Me again:) I’ve read your post and would love to reply, but will have to do it a bit later. Also excerpts from your classes seem interesting to me, and I was thinking about sharing with you the interpretations I’ve encountered here in Poland. Which are partly similar, but I saw some interesting differences.
But I’ll have to get back to that later, as I’m studying for an exam at the moment, and you probably know how much a difficult exam can obsess someone;)
Today I’ve come to ask for a favour:) (or favor in American) 😉
Can you take a look at this post http://polishpress.wordpress.com/2007/06/11/yossi-avni-interview/ and tell me if the title sounds natural, and maybe suggest a change, if such is required:)
I gave up with grammar analysis on this one;)
I should have had that blog in French! French is such a simple language:) eheheh
Hi bÅ‚aÅ¼ej…good to see you back. I’m sure there’s quite a few different interpretations of some of the content I posted just between individuals, yet alone countries. One of the great aspects of philosophical material is that it’s so open to interpretation, and in fact almost requires each individual to analyze the idea personally.
I’d love to see some of your thoughts on my comment but no hurry, I can very much empathize with exam times! My classes now are more focused on writing than tests, which personally I think is a better way to learn and develop (and less stressful in some ways). Good luck with your test, although I’m sure you’ll do/did well. Let me know how it turned out…
I’ve taken five years of Latin (a requirement of the Boston Latin School) and would have to agree that picking up French would be “easy”.
Grammatically your post title is fine (although would say mom rather than mum, but either one is correct depending on if it’s British or American English). I wouldn’t worry too much about grammar if I was you as many Americans (myself included) don’t use correct grammar. I’m quite known amongst my friends for making up words and phrases that simply don’t exist!
This is interesting. People of every part of globe have the right to protest, and Bush is treated equally everywhere. People got fed up with the big stick diplomacy employed by US.
I think we can consider these protests as the growing distrust towards Bush, not towards US But we poles support America greatly.
Whatever be the reasons these protests doesn’t make any sense, since though they are targeting Bush, it appears to be reflected against US.
Fitting reply to the war mongers! I guess these protest are not against the nation US but against Bush. Poles are a lovable community.
Why Bush is treated so awkwardly everywhere? I think he is remembered to be the most tarnished president of US
How Poles? All the Prezs after their tenure (Jimmy, Bill) are engaged in some social and international affairs. I am afraid what our Bush’s destiny after his presidential ship ends.