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Monday, December 11, 2023

Column by Maciej Wierzyński – TVN24

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… this is not the name of a car rally, the first in history, in which only electric cars of Polish production can race. This is the trail my mind travels on as I watch the Tokyo Olympics.

I worked as a journalist at the Olympics in Munich in 1972. It was the first time I heard a bon mot that the French treat sport as war and Americans treat war as sport. The point was that for the French, sport is an instrument of building national pride, and for Americans it is fun. This saying is no longer relevant because today everyone treats sport as war.


I listen to comments and read reports of congratulations from President Duda and Prime Minister Morawiecki. On this occasion, I am reminded of Gomułka, who did not go to the Olympics, did not congratulate any medalists, and perhaps he had even more occasions for congratulations, because those were the times of Szewińska, Kłobukowska, Józef Szmidt and other sportsmen, and in Tokyo in 1964 the Poles won, as far as I remember, seventh place in the medal standings.

Gomułka treated sport as fun, he believed that he had more important matters on his mind than dealing with medals. And that lost him. Just before Christmas, in 1970, he signed an agreement with the German chancellor Brandt guaranteeing the durability of the border on the Oder and Neisse rivers, he decided that he had dealt with an issue more important than 10 gold medals and ordered a price increase. He probably thought that the people would forgive him the raise. But the people turned out to be ungrateful and sacked him. I hope that the nation will also turn out to be ungrateful in the face of the current government and that the congratulations for the medalists by Morawiecki and Duda will not help PiS.

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At this end of the Olympic digression. The Games are good for your well-being if there are medals. But even if there are few medals, there is nothing to worry about. Man does not live by medals alone. Alternatively, Andrzej Duda, who traveled specifically to photograph and congratulate himself, may be concerned about medals, but at first he had little work to do. Now it is better, but it seems to me that for our future and the fate of our children, relations with the European Union are more important than even the unexpected gold medal won by the women’s-men’s 4×400 meters relay race.

We will not eat medals, and to all who share my concern for our relations with the European Union, I recommend the thoughts of a true professional, as various illiterate proud of themselves say today – “on this subject” – Marek Prawda. Prawda was the ambassador of our country to the European Union, and then the ambassador of the Union in Warsaw. This last position was not easy, because how could a Pole feel as an ambassador of a hostile power? And this is what the most important people in the country presented to the Union. President Duda in particular distinguished himself as a fearless defender of Polishness, warning the Union not to speak to us in a foreign language. He also noted that the Union is an imaginary community. And this imaginary community unceremoniously interferes with our Polish affairs, which in turn cannot remain unanswered.

The EU topic has gained importance since PiS has been in power in our country. Politicians from this party announced that the end of humble listening to the dictates of the Brussels bureaucrats, but on the other hand they assured that when it comes to money, we will keep taking it, because we deserve it.

Such a dignified approach gained well-deserved popularity and at the same time sparked some curiosity: how to do it? How to keep virtue and not lose the ruble?

I recommend the interview with Marek Prawda in “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna” to all those who have a headache about it. According to Prawda, the Polish authorities believed in the “immobility of the Union”. “Until now, the Polish government could have been brash (…) with endless concessions. This created the belief that we can consume calmly and do what we want at the same time.”

In writing and thinking about the Union, there are two schools: moralistic – catastrophic and realistic. The first one sounds the alarm that PiS is consistently aiming to get Poland out of the EU, which willingly agrees to it, the second sees that PiS values ​​EU money, and Brussels also sees benefits from Polish, even troublesome membership. Which of these possibilities is – according to the Truth – more likely? “It is more realistic to move away from the center of integration. Such a weakened membership.” It seems that the President, in his legendary pragmatism, would also agree to a weakened membership, from which he could, waving something, explain himself to radicals.

Interview with Marek Prawda. It is a world free from media fooling, a world of politics, in which Europe has its interests and Poland has its own interests. These interests coincide but are not the same. In order to reconcile them, what is needed is – according to the definition of Truth – “legal gymnastics”, that is, searching for solutions and formulas that will take into account the views and interests of the interested parties.

Nowadays, when not only sport is treated as war, the present Polish authorities are proud that anyone who has a different opinion is ready to annihilate. Fortunately, she is too weak and too poor for that. He needs EU money and benefits from EU understanding towards publishers of various nonsense. “I do not share the opinion that preaching nonsense has no real effects” – says Marek Prawda. In other words, you have to pay for talking nonsense. It’s just that not those who preach nonsense pay the most.

Maciej Wierzyński – TV journalist, publicist. After the introduction of martial law, he was released from TVP. In 1984 he emigrated to the USA. He was a scholarship holder at Stanford University and Penn State University. He founded the first multi-hour Polish-language Polvision channel on the “Group W” cable television in the USA. In 1992-2000 he was the head of the Polish Voice of America Section in Washington. Since 2000, editor-in-chief of the New York “Nowy Dziennik”. He has been associated with TVN24 since 2005.

Main photo source: TVN24

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