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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Like an atheist with a Catholic – TVN24

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I attended an interesting meeting at the Polin Museum. This meeting was announced as a discussion between an atheist and a Catholic. The conversation was between Karolina Wigura – an atheist and Tomasz Terlikowski – a Catholic, so I thought that the topic would be theology, I would find out what he believes in and why. There was a bit about that as well, but from time to time the debaters turned to politics and talked about the book that Wigura and Terlikowski had written for the company. The title “A Polish Atheist vs. a Catholic Pole” suggests a conversation about religion, but it is not entirely a religious thing, a rather social and political book.

Terlikowski has a conservative approach to the issues he deals with, while Wigura has a liberal one. They talk about abortion and Tusk, about euthanasia and Kaczyński, about atheism, about religious feelings, about same-sex marriages, about war and Polishness. There is a lot of politics in the book, but I missed the discussion about the electoral law, the argument about why we need the Senate, the discussion about single-member constituencies or how to deal with patdeweloperka, i.e. illegal construction, thanks to which construction companies make huge profits. Such an enumeration may sound frivolous to some, but in my opinion these are important issues, perhaps even more important than the burning issue of same-sex marriage.

I think the most valuable thing about Wigura and Terlikowski’s book is that they are really different, and yet they talk to each other. Their discussion is guided by a didactic goal, namely, they want to show that having different views does not necessarily mean hating each other, and after all, in Poland, no one really argues with anyone for a long time. When it comes to politics, Poles make fun of each other and insult each other, and what is called a debate is that the participants agree and only outdo each other in witty descriptions of how the other side lies terribly.

This has already happened to Terlikowski, who was described in the weekly “Sieci” as “the Catholic on duty in the opposition media” and a guy who “strengthens polarization in Poland” with his writing. Without intending to offend anyone, Norman Davies recently said on this subject: “Some whiten, some black.” They do it with such fervor and so effectively that in the end the confused nation is unable to understand what it really is like. However, in order to prevent the accusation of symmetry, I will say objectively that the power camp lies with greater dedication, puts more effort into the work, and in any case lies, regardless of the costs of the so-called. image.

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What has divided us will not stick together – wrote Rymkiewicz, an eminent poet close to the current government, and added: Poland cannot be handed over to its thieves. I disagree with Rymkiewicz. With this division and gluing it is not so easy, because how to divide it, how to draw the borders between two Polands? For example, I live in Żoliborz, close to the President, and I disagree with him to such an extent that I believe that he does not deserve to be called an intelligentsia from Żoliborz. Moreover, I even suppose that the President himself does not care about such a title. Nevertheless, I am not talking about displacing the President from the communist duplex he inherited from his parents. Let him live as long as he gives up arranging our lives. By the way, I would like to add that, in my opinion, the real inhabitants of Żoliborz are long gone. This district, when it was created, nearly a hundred years ago, was characterized by diversity and modesty rather than ostentation. Today, Żoliborz is a place of pretentious memories of Kalina Jędrusik and jealousy that we are not Konstancin.

Rymkiewicz threatens that thieves, those who stole Poland, want us resell to the world. It all depends on who buys us. Because if the Arab Emirates or Putin, I am against. If Switzerland or Sweden, please.

Coming back to Wigura and Terlikowski’s book, I really like its guiding idea: the call for us to talk to each other, not to make excuses for each other. Today, in our country, there are two rattlesnakes, and if you want to be listened to, you have to sign up for one of them. You’re not registered, it doesn’t count.

At the same time, one should not console oneself with the fact that the division into snitches and the disappearance of civilized debate is a worldwide phenomenon. Yes, this is a global phenomenon, but you can only defend yourself against it by refusing to accept the rules in force in the scujni.

The reaction to Wigura and Terlikowski’s book will show us whether we are able to defend ourselves. Unfortunately, I am not optimistic about this. The world from time to time falls into the belief that there is no way out, you have to piss. This phenomenon was described long ago by the Poet:

A new convention is already forming Don’t say: the long knife convention I don’t doubt it’s very bad, but I didn’t invent it.

It is reassuring to note that the lifespan of this convention was shorter than the average human lifespan known at the time.

Opinions expressed in columns for tvn24.pl are not the editorial position.


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

Main photo source: TVN24

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