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Piotr Szczęsny. Who was the author of the manifesto of an ordinary ordinary man?

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During the exposé, Donald Tusk read “Manifesto of an ordinary, ordinary man” by Piotr Szczęsny. A 54-year-old chemist from Krakow set himself on fire in October 2017 in front of the capital’s Palace of Culture and Science as an act of protest against the actions of the authorities. In his manifesto he explained why he decided to take this desperate step. Who was?

Discussion after Donald Tusk’s exposé. Watch on TVN24 and TVN24 GO

Broadcast from the Sejm

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– Now let me read something that could, in some sense, replace my exposé today. I would not change much in this text, which may have already escaped our attention and memory. I really want us to remember this man and the words he wrote before he passed away – he said during Tuesday’s speech in the Sejm Donald Tusk. Then he read Szczęsny’s entire manifesto.

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Self-immolation of Piotr Szczęsny

54-year-old Piotr Szczęsny set himself on fire in front of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw on October 19, 2017. Firefighters were the first to arrive at the scene. The man was unconscious and had burns on 60 percent of his body. He was taken to hospital in critical condition, where he died 10 days later – on October 29.

Before setting himself on fire, he handed out leaflets to passers-by on which he wrote down 15 points from his manifesto. The leaflets also contained a call “to all Polish women and men, those who decide who rules in Poland, to oppose what the current government is doing and what it is protesting against.”

The 54-year-old was buried on November 14 at the Salwatorski Cemetery in Kraków. Several thousand people attended the funeral.

Portrait of Piotr SzczęsnySzymon Pulcyn/PAP

Who was Piotr Szczęsny?

Born in 1963, Szczęsny came from Krakow. He graduated in chemistry from the Jagiellonian University. In the 1980s, he was a member of the Independent Students’ Association and became involved in the activities of Solidarity. After graduation, he worked as an assistant at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Jagiellonian University. He left the university in 1989. In the 1990s he was employed by, among others, as an IT specialist. In the years 2000-2016, he was the president of the LEM Projekt company operating in the education industry. In the meantime, he also worked as a business advisor and consultant, conducted training on this topic and created management publications. Szczęsny was married and had two adult children at the time of his death. The family lived in Niepołomnice near Krakow.

The man belonged to the Mensa association of people with exceptionally high IQs. – Striking intelligence and associated erudition. A mind of this class is rare and should be expected to be able to do a lot – so in interview conducted less than a month after the tragedy from TVN24 Szczęsny was characterized by Professor Piotr Petelenz, his friend from the Faculty of Theoretical Chemistry of the Jagiellonian University.

Szczęsny made the decision about what he would do in October 2017 much earlier. He wrote his manifesto for over six months. – You can’t say that something suddenly killed him – his brother emphasized in an interview with TVN24. – He just acted like he did before. Well, maybe he started taking fewer and fewer work orders, but I would also associate that with the fact that he was very responsible. That he knew that if he didn’t do something, he wouldn’t do it. And he knew that he would not do some things because he had planned to leave in advance, says Artur Szczęsny.

On the sixth anniversary of Szczęsny’s self-immolation, A plaque commemorating the chemist was unveiled at Niepołomickie Błonia near Krakow. The ceremony was attended by, among others, the deceased’s wife, Ewa Negrusz-Szczęsna, and former professor Adam Bodnar Ombudsmanand in Donald Tusk’s government, the likely Minister of Justice.

SEE ALSO: “Poland will be a loyal, stable ally of the United States. Poland will regain its position as the leader of the European Union”

“Manifesto of an ordinary, gray man” by Piotr Szczęsny

In his text, Piotr Szczęsny explained in 15 points why he protests against the policy of the Polish government. In the manifesto, Szczęsny mentioned, among other things, that he was against “dividing society, strengthening and deepening these divisions, (…) in particular, protest against building the ‘Smolensk religion’.” These are the 15 points of his manifesto:

I protest against the government’s restriction of civil liberties.
I protest against the government’s violation of the principles of democracy, in particular against the practical destruction of the Constitutional Tribunal and the destruction of the system of independent courts.
I protest against the government’s violation of the law, in particular the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. I protest against those responsible for this taking any action to change this Constitution. First, let them follow the one that is currently in force.
I protest against the exercise of power in which people in the highest positions in the state carry out orders given by an unspecified decision-making center, without being responsible for their decisions. I protest against such work in the Sejm, when laws are created in a hurry, without discussion and proper consultations, often at night. Then they have to be corrected almost immediately.
I protest against the marginalization of Poland’s role in the international arena and the ridicule of our country.
I protest against the destruction of nature, especially by those who are supposed to protect it and other naturally valuable areas. I protest against dividing society, strengthening and deepening these divisions, in particular I protest against building the Smolensk religion and dividing people against this background. I protest against hate speeches, against the language of hatred and xenophobia introduced by the authorities into public debate.
I protest against filling all possible positions with my own people, most of whom do not have the appropriate qualifications.
I protest against belittling the achievements, throwing mud and destroying the authorities of people such as Lech Walesa whether there were presidents of the Constitutional Tribunal.
I protest against excessive centralization of the state and changes to the law regarding local governments and non-governmental organizations in accordance with the immediate political needs of the ruling party.
I protest against the hostile attitude of the authorities towards immigrants and against discrimination against various minority groups, women, homosexual people, Muslims and others.
He protests against the complete incapacitation of public television and almost the entire radio and turning them into propaganda mouthpieces for the government.
I protest against the use of secret services, the police and the prosecutor’s office to achieve their own, party or private goals.
I protest against the ill-considered, unconsulted and unprepared education reform.
I protest against ignoring the enormous needs of health care.

Similarly, Ryszard Siwiec described himself as a “gray man”, who set himself on fire in 1968 as a protest against the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops.

SEE ALSO: A minute of silence before Donald Tusk’s exposé. Antoni Macierewicz at the podium

Main photo source: Szymon Pulcyn/PAP

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