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February 2017

In 2014, the late Udo Ulfkotte exposed the systemic corruption and collusion of a German media controlled by the CIA. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that over a dozen German media outlets refused to accept the following interview: one that depicts political events in Poland from a different perspective to that promoted by Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's Jewish-left (CIA/Mossad-controlled?) daily newspaper.It was published on 8 April 2016 in the Polish monthly Wpis. Our title.

Censorship German-style

ADAM SOSNOWSKI

On March 4th the German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel published a Gregor Dotzauer interview with Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. The interview recited all the anti-Polish stereotypes from recent months. In the interview Zagajewski complained that “our country was stolen” and “the new government simply takes everything.” Furthermore, the poet arrogantly said that he spoke “on behalf of the majority of Polish intellectuals” and “no well-known artists or the majority of intelligentsia support PiS [the conservative Law and Justice Party elected in a landslide in October 2015].” Zagajewski also complained that the new government “makes great heroes of the so-called damned soldiers (soldiers fighting the communist government after WWII).” Predictably Zagajewski finished his arguments pointing to the alleged Polish anti-Semitism and xenophobia which “exposed Poland’s wide-spread nineteenth century backwardness”, and “Poles do not like strangers.”

During the interview, the German journalist backed Zagajewski as he spoke of a “toxic atmosphere, primarily the doing of [PiS chairman] Jaroslaw Kaczynski”, and comparing KOD (the so-called “defenders of democracy”) to trade union “Solidarity.” Portal wpolityce.pl published a piece on this obnoxious interview.

I must admit that I was outraged after reading this interview. I called the office of Tagesspiegel and spoke with journalist Dotzauer and asked how they determined that “our country had been stolen from us” since we Poles had just chosen our representatives in fair parliamentary and presidential elections? How does this relate to the German passion for the rule of law? His response was silence. I also asked why he printed Zagajewski’s assertion that no artist supported PiS, since in fact there were many. “I don’t know any such artists” — responded Dotzauer. I started counting out some names, among others Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz and Jan Pietrzak, whom he did he not know. Finally I named Adam Bujak … “Bujak?” — the German journalist asked disbelievingly, “the famous photographer?” I confirmed. “Yes, I know him, and it would be a significant opinion…”. “Perfect” — I responded to my German colleague, “I’ll do an interview with Adam Bujak, I will translate it into German. It will be on the same subject, but it will show a different perspective, certainly you would appreciate it, this would be a perfect example of true pluralism that Germans are so keen on teaching us, Poles.” He started mumbling that he could not promise anything, but asked to send him the interview.

A few hours later the interview, in German, was in his mail box. I added that I did not wish any royalties, and if they didn’t have room in the print edition, to publish it on the Internet.

Three days later I got a reply. Negative! The German journalist tried to convince me that “it was not because they did not want to show a different opinion.” Instead — he argued — “it would be strange to reply to an interview with another interview, especially since the original one came from a different office in Krakow.” What a ridiculous excuse: an article which responds to another article is a perfectly normal everyday occurrence regardless of where it came from. It is actually not only normal but the most desirable situation in editorial rooms.

This puzzled me, so not to be outdone; I sent my interview to fifteen other German media outlets (newspapers, magazines and news portals). Not a single one accepted my interview! This is how pluralism works in the media of our German neighbours, who never miss an opportunity to lecture us.

Below, we present the interview which so scared the German media. The entire interview appeared in the monthly magazine Wpis. Please see for yourself, what the Germans do not wish to hear, and seem to be afraid of. In the interview, Adam Bujak does not offend anyone. Unlike Zagajewski, he simply tells the truth as he knows it. So let the truth be known.

* * *

ADAM SOSNOWSKI: Adam, you are a world famous photographer, you published 130 books in 12 languages, and your photographs are exhibited in galleries from New York to Tokyo. In the days of communism you were involved in the civil rights movement, and through your photographs — some of them very dramatic — you recorded the demonstrations and protests that were violently pacified by the communist regime. Many years have passed since then, and now some people again take to the streets in Poland, to demonstrate every week in defence of democracy. Is democracy in Poland really endangered?

ADAM BUJAK: They should’ve tried to demonstrate during the communist regime. Unlike me, these people have not tasted police batons and prisons, and that’s why they rave about the lack of democracy. Comparing the current situation with the times of communism is absurd. The currently ruling party, PiS (Law and Justice), won last year’s spring and autumn [2015] elections in a completely legal and democratic way. So if someone says that there is no democracy in Poland, they cast doubt on the legitimacy of these elections. This type of attitude actually undermines democracy. Unfortunately, the foreign media feeds on these attitudes, and in addition they cite the comments presented by one Polish national newspaper – Gazeta Wyborcza. This paper presents a left-liberal profile and was heavily supported by the previous PO party liberal government. It is true that the current government withdrew millions of dollars from Gazeta Wyborcza’s advertising.

Nevertheless there is a group of people who apparently feel threatened and have a need to protest in Poland. We can see it on video reports and photos shown on television and
the Internet.

I believe the so-called Committee for Defence of Democracy (KOD) established a few months ago in Poland is a farce. The supporters of KOD get together and march every week in the streets of Polish cities. All media — including the public media — cover them. The Police protect the participants, the authorities duly issue all necessary permits, and everything is done according to law. Please try to organise such protests in Putin’s Russia. It really amazes me a great deal as to how in the world the German chairman of the European Parliament [Martin Schulz] dares to call our country, “A Putin Style Democracy”. I regard this opinion as extremely unjust, simply shameful. KOD operates in Poland without problems and this is the best proof that democracy in Poland is not threatened. Could you tell me how exactly it might be in any kind of jeopardy?

Critics allege that the Constitutional Court was incapacitated and the public media was completely subjected to government control.

I cannot understand these arguments at all. The whole theatre around the Constitutional Court is simply a media spectacle. The previous government shortened the term of five judges enabling them to appoint their successors before an expected election loss. This in itself was unconstitutional and a legal dispute became the only logical consequence of this abuse of power. Besides, the remaining ten judges took an oath of office under the previous government, so the Constitutional Court continues to be controlled by opponents of the current government. [For more on this controversy see CO, April 2016. - Ed.]

That’s true, the legal experts are divided and there is definitely no clarity regarding the situation surrounding the Constitutional Court. The best solution to an existing stalemate would be to pursue a multi-party compromise. But the second big objection to PiS is that they exercise control over the public media.

It is true that this is often raised, but two issues need to be explained. First, the previous government exercised total control over the public media. They were formally managed by an independent five-person body, but the members of this body were appointed by the President, the government and the Senate. The previous ruling party — PO (Civic Platform) — had a majority everywhere. They had the public media under strict control without any trouble.

Politics exhorts the greatest, decisive influence on the public media in other countries, too. The Governing Board of the Austrian public television (ORF) has 35 members, most of them appointed by the Austrian government, and some also by the Chancellor. Yet no one claims that democracy is at risk in Austria. In addition, their public media is called the state media. So who is supposed to represent the state, its enemies?

The reason for our conversation was an interview that Adam Zagajewski gave the German newspaper, Tagesspiegel. Zagajewski claims the Poles had their country stolen. Do you agree with him?

Not at all, on the contrary! I had the impression that our country was stolen from us during the previous eight years when the liberal PO party was in power. During that time I was not invited to public television and my books and albums ceased to be presented. They hushed up about them as if they were in a grave. But because PO won elections (and one should respect the democratic choice) I did not sign up for any KOD, I simply waited for the next elections to have a chance to win. Now the PO badly lost the last elections and had to become the opposition. The change of government in a democracy is not only normal, it is also healthy. When someone calls it theft, they use the wrong words and must ask themselves whether they even understand the meaning of democracy. Democracy it is not only when you win, but also when you lose.

In the aforementioned interview, Zagajewski also stated that no well-known artist “is on the side of PiS.” ... Does that mean that you are not a well-known artist?

That’s not the point. I know Adam Zagajewski, we address each other in the familiar form, and in 1981 when martial law was declared in Poland, we both distributed aid packages to people in need. I respect his creative work, but his opinion is not the voice of all Polish artists and intellectuals. It is true that of all [the parties], the PiS is ideologically the closest to me. There are many artists who think like me. ... renowned Polish contemporary writers ...; actors ... ; film directors ...  Therefore Adam Zagajewski’s opinion must be seen as arrogant. At the same time I think that no German artist would have gone to the Polish media to criticise Germany. This is simply wrong.

Zagajewski was also asked why Poland insists on not accepting refugees from the Middle East. The reasons given for this are thinly veiled accusations of Polish anti-Semitism and Polish provincialism. According to Zagajewski, the Polish countryside has changed little, if at all, since the 19th century.

Apparently he has not been to the Polish countryside for a very long time. I have a vacation home in a small village in southern Poland, and all utilities are there: running water, electricity, telephone and the internet! The people there can read anything, they are well aware of what is happening in the world, they have automobiles. Apparently this must be the most modern and affluent nineteenth century village in the world… Do you know why most of the German concentration camps were built in occupied Poland? It was because the majority of European Jews lived here. It was not an accident, but a result of centuries-old Polish policy that caused the Jewish people to settle here. When in other countries they had pogroms, Jews in Poland were making careers in administration and at universities. Anti-Semitism was not born in Poland

Yet it is a fact: most Poles do not want to accept any refugees.

Yes, and rightly so, I believe. The first and most important responsibility of a State is to its own citizens. The fact is, however, that we don't know who's coming to Europe and our external borders are no longer protected. At the moment, no one wants to accept more refugees in Europe and those countries that have already accepted them now want to send them back. But where? Home? No, to Poland. But these refugees don't want to come to Poland because our social services are much lower. ... I believe that the refugees need to be helped in their countries, not in Germany or Poland. Otherwise, only the old, defenceless children and women will remain in the countries of the Middle East. Thus, these countries will cease to exist. All forces should be used to stop the war immediately and rebuild these States.

In addition, the events of New Year's eve in Cologne and the last few weeks in Saxony, show how tense the situation is, and how great the cultural differences are. We speak so often about European values, but these are basically Christian values. And these are often difficult to reconcile with the Muslim worldview.

 

 

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