A case study from Poland.
I’ve lived in Poland long enough to be acutely aware of the Polish intelligentsia’s lack of a survival instinct. The level of self-colonization and the conglomeration of complexes, when combined with complete ignorance of the world, particularly international politics and history, results in grotesque situations every now and then. One such occurrence transpired the day before yesterday, on Monday, April 18.
A priest in a Warsaw church decided to show his unwavering support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. That would hardly be noteworthy in and of itself, given that the Poles are still completely enamored with the most recent wave of anti-Russian propaganda. (By the way, the odds favor a severe hangover.) The problem with this particular instance of this priest’s Russophobic hysteria is that he became seriously carried away.
Earlier today, I made this point in my Telegram channel, briefly discussing a case of an openly xenophobic and dehumanizing interview conducted by an otherwise decent Polish journalist Krystyna Romanowska, in which her interlocutor, a prof from the University of Gdańsk, said about Russians that they are “immoral orphans” or that they “have no ability to form proper social bonds” and other such morally unacceptable nonsense if applied to any nation. He clearly got carried away and gave up on any rational thinking (let alone critical thinking) and published something she will be horribly ashamed of when she comes to her senses and looks back.
Unfortunately, this is the strength and intensity of the propaganda we’re dealing with. Of course, this is no excuse for Romanowska. An adult is expected to question information that is given to them and to use critical thinking as their primary defense mechanism. When they don’t, they end up in some very dark places as a result of their own decisions and actions. Similarly, the priest in question may not have been aware of the stupidity of his performances, but in the world of normal people, you’re kind of required to check things out before demonstrating them publicly.
So, the priest in question is Wojciech Drozdowicz, and he is well-known for his unusual practices during Catholic ceremonies. For example, he once chopped up a TV set during a sermon because, he argued, people don’t have enough time for each other because of TV. (Of course, it’s not because they work too hard and for too long and come home exhausted; it’s just the TV.)
This time, he hoped to elicit even more support for Ukrainians by playing Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow (popular as Red Kalina) a Ukrainian song, at a recent Easter ceremony attended by hundreds of parishioners. It stirred outrage at first, but the Polish media syndicate has done its best to soften and water down the incident, which now passes as “somewhat controversial” after 48 hours. I’d say pretty damn somewhat!
The scandal erupted because Red Kalina is the unofficial hymn of the Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, a deeply criminal military organization that existed in the first half of the twentieth century (LUSR, sometimes referred to as Sich Shooters). During World War I, the LUSR was a Ukrainian unit of the Austro-Hungarian Army. It was central to the brutal ethnic cleansing of the Russian population of Galicia and Lvov in 1915. They tortured, raped, hanged, and executed large numbers of people, as well as established concentration camps.
The LUSR brigades led by Yevhen Mykhailovych Konovalets and Symon Vasylyovych Petliura enthusiastically committed a massacre in Kiev in 1918. More than 1,500 people were hanged, shot and killed, and chopped with bayonets. They were ‘assisting’ in the suppression of an uprising led by an organization known as the Red Proletariat.
Later, a number of LUSR officers, including Konovalets, formed the notoriously fascistic Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which is known to have committed numerous pogroms, sowing death and destruction wherever they went. The OUN, which later morphed into the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, carried on the traditions of its predecessor and carried out the infamous Volhynia massacre of Poles, Jews, and Russians in 1943. The number of victims is estimated to be between 80,000 and 130,000.
Leading members of the OUN included people like Stephan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich, who were absolutely criminal murderers, Nazi admirers, and collaborators who became heroes of Ukraine after the 2014 coup. Red Kalina is one of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army’s most important songs, and is referred to as its unofficial anthem.
Again, the ignorant priest may not have realized this, but as we all know, ignorance does not absolve one of responsibility for their actions. But, morals and culture aside, this priest was singing to his parishioners the song that those torturing and slaughtering their parents and grandparents were singing 80 years ago while enthusiastically committing all those atrocities. This is simply so bizarre, stupid, and cringeworthy that it is difficult to express one’s shock!
The utter ignorance and blind submissiveness of the Polish intelligentsia has the unique ability to surprise even those who are accustomed to witnessing it on a daily basis.
Otherwise, there is no fascism or Nazism in Ukraine, none at all. You know, it’s all Russian disinformation. And what this Polish priest has done proves nothing; clearly, the Poles are not normalizing Ukrainian right-wing extremism, of which they have been massively victims; no, it’s just Russian disinformation, you know.
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Bulgarian and Polish activist, journalist, editor, publisher and translator. In the late `90 active in the Polish left and later in the labor movement, particularly the biggest Polish labor confederation — The All-Poland Trade Union Alliance. Until 2012 editor-in-chief of its weekly magazine. Contributor at Baricada.org and Strajk.eu, Polish correspondent for the Bulgarian National Radio.
Currently working as an editor and journalist for the Polish labor portal Strike and as a correspondent to the Bulgarian National Radio in Poland.