Understanding Independence Day
I'm always keen to learn about Polish traditions, so I watched the Independence Day celebrations on TV with great interest. I don't get it. Surely all that rioting is expensive and gets in everyone's way. Aren't there some less dangerous activities Poles can engage in on their national day? How about dancing or cooking pierogi?
I don't understand what the nationalists want. Their only clear wish seems to be that there should be more red flares, chunks of concrete and rubber bullets flying through the air on November 11 each year. Perhaps more government support for the balaclava and tear gas industries? Fortunately, one British newspaper was able to interview a rioter and ask him what he was so upset about. Foreign influences, Jewish conspiracies and the erosion of Catholic values seemed to be his biggest worries.
I wonder what the 'pure Poland' of the nationalist dream would look like? Those devilish foreign corporations McDonalds and KFC would be the first to go of course, which would probably be good for everybody. Tesco, Lidl and Carrefour would be next – not just the stores, but the whole foreign concept of supermarkets (invented in the US in 1916). I'm sure we all remember how much better and easier it was when we had to buy meat, bread, vegetables etc. at separate shops.
When you start to look for them, foreign influences are everywhere. Surely one of the first steps along the road to a nationalist paradise would be to demolish Kraków – all that foreign, Renaissance architecture can't be good for Poland's soul. Gdańsk will have to be looked at very closely too – the Gothic style has had a foothold on Polish soil for too long. Those nefarious Asian inventions, writing and mathematics, must also come under suspicion for the appalling harm they are inflicting on Poland's children.
Hating the EU is now very fashionable across Europe, but let's assume Poland's nationalists thought of the idea for themselves and weren't influenced by any foreign thoughts. Clearly, the most pressing work in the nationalist paradise will be to get rid of that 196 billion zloty of EU money that has been forced into Poland's pockets. Since Poland seems to have accidentally spent all this money on roads, railways, power stations and other luxuries, I suggest knocking half the National Stadium down and sending one brick to every tax payer in Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Denmark, Finland, etc.
Once this has all been done, Poles will be able to look on the resulting, impoverished, culture-free nation with pride. They will have their proud history to sustain them. Just look at the impressive list of Poland's Nobel Prize winners – though this might have to be trimmed a bit since seven of them were Jewish. Still, that leaves Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Wisława Szymborska (oh dear, both atheists), Czesław Miłosz (the one who said 'I am Lithuanian'), Henryk Sienkiewicz (the descendent of Lithuanian Tatar and German families), and Lech Wałęsa.