A my friend Jan, who will hopefully soon be leaving Poland, sends this terribly disturbing article about the state of affairs there. His hometown of Cracow is at the center of a “gay panic” that is helping neo-fascist Catholic politicians cement their hold on Polish civic and political life. It’s a reminder that however bad things might be here, others have it much worse.

Poland’s incestuous marriage of nationalism and religion, whose most virulent and succesful mainstream political embodyment is the rightist League of Polish Families, has dire consequences for queers and women. There is an obsessive insistence on reproduction. The right-wing repeats ad nauseam the argument of Poland’s falling birthrate. “The fatherland is in danger,” politicians and the media cry out. “Poles are dying, there are no new generations, lesbians, gays and pedophiles do not reproduce. On the contrary, they are out to ambush and deprive your children!” In the past 12 months, the outlines of what is, in fact, a nationalist mobilization against an imagined enemy, queers, have become clear.

While Bush is making stops in the “democracies” of Eastern Europe, he might remind people that even in democracies the abuse of minorities is a slippery slope. Oh, wait– he uses the same tactics at home! What’s worse, the Poles are importing American homophobes to make their gay-bashing arguments. What we don’t stop here can quickly spread abroad!

Anyway, read the article.

One thought on “Yikes!”

  1. Click your mouse on this story and drag it back in time a few hundred years. Then drag it south to Praque. Search on “queers and women” and replace it with “Jews.” Now copy the Rabbi from this story. Doing this doesn’t trivialize the story – I think it makes it all the more terrifying.

    The gay community of Poland needs a leader that knows how to raise the Golem.

    Start broad generalizations here: Europe is freaking out all around the Eastern edges. The new EU contries overthrew communism after their minorities had been all but eradicated. Now that they can buy cheap electronics made in Taiwan and watch American television shows on cable and work in multinational organziations, they’re finding that the cultural side of global culture expansion doesn’t suit them as well as they’d like.

    It’s true here in Austria where the supermarket adds a Turkish section so shoppers can buy somewhat exotic ingredients but those same shoppers will deride the Turkish woman in front of them in the checkout line for wearing a headscarf and not trying harder to “fit in” and for having too many kids.

    The breeding thing plays a big part – there’s this widespread concern that the good citizens of the EU are not breeding fast enough to replace the outgoing tax-paying citizens. The argument falls in to the social security bucket, but there’s a racist underpinning. Large white families? Good. Large brown families? Um, not next door to ME, thank you! Another common vernacular tale here: “You should see how those Chinese get around the immigration requirements to get their entire families in!” Um, but you said earlier there weren’t enough people… I’m confused.

    I’m rambling. This is my long way of saying that the “New Europe” is badly overdue a lesson in the benefits of multiculturalism. Gay, brown, non-Christian… whatever flavor you take it in. And if they can’t get their hardened little minds around THAT, they might just try a little “Love thy neighbor.” It’s a simple idea. I’m pretty sure it was a cornerstone teaching from their guy, what was his name, Jesus? End broad generalizing with diclaimer about how your mileage may vary.

    Those who ignore history, and all that…

    Aside: I return to Seattle next week and this very issue is what makes me so happy to return to my beautiful blue city on the Sound.

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