The Most Desperate of Pleas For Help

On Thursday evening a fiftysomething year old man set himself on fire in the centre of Warsaw in a desperate attempt to draw attention to the fact that #Poland is heading towards dictatorship.  Before he did it, he set aside a number of copies of a manifesto of sorts, explaining why.  I have no words, so I will leave you with his….

Transalation by Maggie Sienkiewicz
1. I am protesting against this government restricting civil freedom.
2: I am protesting against those who govern and break the rules of democracy. In particular against them destroying (in practice) the Constitutional Tribunal and the system of independent Courts.
3: I am protesting against the government that is breaking the law, in particular the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. I am protesting against those who are responsible (i.e. The President) and want to take any steps to change the current Constitution – without abiding by it in the first place.
4: I am protesting against a method of governing that means the people who hold the highest position in government only execute commands coming from an unidentified Centre belonging to the PIS party. Those people do not bear any consequences of their actions. I am protesting against the style of work in the Sejm (Polish Parliament) which means bills are rushed through, with no discussion, no consultation, very often in the middle of the night which then have to be redone, almost straight away.
5: I am protesting against the marginalization of Poland on the international arena and against making a mockery of our country.
6: I am protesting against those ruining nature, especially those who should be protecting it (i.e.: the cutting down of Białowieża Forrest and other valuable natural reserves, the
favoritism of the hunters lobby, promoting coal based energy).
7: I am protesting against the division of society, the reinforcing and deepening of those divisions. In particular I am protesting against the building of the ‘religion of the Smoleńsk tragedy’ and dividing people on its basis. I am protesting against the screenings of hate, which we see during the monthly Smoleńsk commemorations in Warsaw. I am protesting against the hate speech and xenophobia, which this government has pushed into public debate.
8: I am protesting against the filling of all positions with their (PiS) people who are largely un-qualified to do what they are chosen to do.
9: I am protesting agains the belittling, throwing mud at and destroying of such authorities as Lech Wałęsa or the former presidents of the Constitutional Tribunal.
10: I am protesting against the centralisation of power and changing laws which concern territorial self-governments and non-governmental organizations just so they fulfill the needs of those who rule the governing party.
11: I am protesting against the hostile attitude to immigrants, against the discrimination of minorities, women, homosexuals (and other LGBT), Muslims and others.
12: I am protesting against the absolute incapacitation of public television and almost all of the public radio, making them into propaganda tubes of those in power. And especially against the destruction of the public radio station Trójka (3) that I have listened to since I was young.
13: I am protesting against the use of the Special Forces, Police and Public Prosecutors Office for their own (political or personal) gain.
14: I am protesting against the thoughtless, un-consulted, unprepared reform of the education system.
15: I am protesting against the ignoring of the mass needs of the healthcare system.

I could have mentioned more points with which I am protesting against this government but I wanted to concentrate on those which are the most important ones, which are detrimental to the existence and functioning of the whole state and society.

I do not address any calls to the current authorities, because I think that it would not achieve anything. Many people wiser and better known than me, as well as many Polish and European institutions have already called this government to various actions, and invariably these calls were ignored and the caller was only pelted with mud. I will probably be pelted with mud too but at least I will be in good company.

On the other hand, I would like the President of PiS and the entire PiS nomenclature to acknowledge that my death directly condemns them and that they have my blood on their hands.

I appeal to all Poles who decide who governs in Poland to oppose what the current power is doing and this is why I protest. And do not be fooled by the fact that from time to time the activities of the authorities quieten down and that there is the appearance of normality (as recently). In a few days or weeks, they will again continue their offensive, they will break the law again. They will never step back and they will not give back what they once obtained.

It’s a pretty old-fashioned saying, but it’s very fitting here: Who if not us ? Who – if not the citizens, can clean up our country? If not now when? Every moment of delay causes the situation in the country to become more and more difficult and it will be increasingly difficult to fix everything.

First of all, I urge the PIS supporters to wake up – even if you like the PiS postulates, take into account that not every way of their implementation is acceptable. Implement your ideas within the democratic rule of law, not the way you do today.

Those who do not support PiS, because the policy is indifferent to them or have other preferences I call for action – it is not enough to wait to see what time will bring, not enough to express dissatisfaction in your circle of friends, you need to act. There are a lot of forms and possibilities to do so.

Remember, however, that the PiS electorate are our mothers, brothers, neighbours, friends and colleagues. It is not about fighting a war with them (that is what PiS wants) or “converting them” (because it is naive) but to make their views comply with the laws and principles of democracy. It maybe enough if you change the leadership of the party.

Me, an ordinary man like you, I call you all – do not wait any longer! We need to change this power as soon as possible before it can completely destroys our country, before it completely deprives us of freedom. And I love freedom above all.
That’s why I decided to do this self-inflammation and I hope my death will shake the conscience of many people, that society will wake up and that you will not wait until the politicians do something – because they will not!

Wake up! It’s not too late yet!

If Europe doesn’t act, Poland will sleepwalk its way to dictatorship.  Please share this post, email it to your local MP’s, to your Euro MP’s, to your governments, to the European Parliament, to the EU, to your ambassadors, to the UN, and to anybody you can think of that can possibly help.  If we do not act not #Poland will once again disappear from the map and its people will be enslaved once again.

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Black Tuesday

A year ago today the women of Poland took to the streets armed with black umbrellas, and a sense of outrage, to protest the government’s plans to ban abortion and criminalise miscarriage.  Due to the sheer number of protestors the government backed down and ultimately threw out a bill which would have essentially granted women the status of cattle.

365 days later the debate has resurfaced as yet again a bunch of bigoted bastards, supported by the Catholic Church, and the de facto leader of the government Jaroslaw Kaczynski, have been circulating petitions in yet another effort to take away a woman’s right to decide what happens to their own body.  It is incredibly saddening to see a government and a religious institution show such a blatant disregard for women in the 21st century.

Today all across Poland and beyond, women will again take to the streets armed with black umbrellas to remind the government that they have minds of their own and that they are not afraid to use them.  This fight is not even a conversation we should be having in 2017.

When a government is able to force their will on its people, it ceases to be a democratic institution and becomes a dictatorship.  The very fact that this issue has resurfaced in 12 months only demonstrates the government’s nefarious intentions.  This is not an issue that the PiS led government of Poland is going to drop, it is not going to go away.  If by any chance the Ratujemy Kobieta(Save the women) driven protests manage to succeed in their efforts today this issue will keep coming back as long as this party remains in power.  There can be no victory, and no rest, until these Neanderthal, bigoted, fundamentalist arseholes are driven out of public office once and for all.

For Polish Speakers – you can sign the Ratujemy Kobieta Petition here

A year ago I published a novelette dedicated to the protestors in Poland entitled PiSlamistan.  You can get it in English here

You can get PiSlamistan po polsku tutaj

 

An SOS For Poland

Have you ever watched a country be transformed into a dictatorship?  It is an obscure notion, something that we see mentioned on the news, in terrible action films or on late night documentaries.  It is not something that happens to us.  It was not something that happened to me.  Until now.

Poland needs our help.  It is a country in great distress.  Since coming to power the Polish Government has manufactured a pseudo-soviet state.  They have turned the national television station into a propaganda channel worthy of Borat.  They have neutered the Constitutional Court.  Now they are about to pass into law an act that will fire all of the Supreme Court judges and subjugate them to political will.  It is an action that will open the door to emergency laws, show trials, and the legal system becoming a tool in a war against modernity.  It is clearer than ever that the plan of the man behind the party in power is to build the first Catholic Fundamentalist State in the heart of Europe.

If this law is signed in Poland, there will be no institution left that will be able to challenge the legality of the government’s actions.  The government would have a free hand to do whatever they wanted, outside of the rule of law.  Poland would become a democratically elected dictatorship in which the government would be free to change electoral law to ensure Poland becomes a one party state.  Free to imprison journalists and members of the opposition on any charges.  Free to prevent social manifestations and demonstrations.  Freedom would be replaced by the politics of fear and hate and democracy will be lost, possibly for our lifetimes.

So what can we do?  Make noise.  Add your voice.  There are protests taking place all across Europe to show solidarity with the nation that invented solidarity.  Join them.  It is essentially going for a walk and a swear with people that need to swear quite a lot.  Write to your MP’s.  To Ambassadors.  Governments.  The EU.  Anybody that could possibly help.  And most of all if you work with a Pole, or live with a Pole, are friends with a Pole, and especially if you are in love with a Pole, listen to them, hug them, and march side by side with them and make as much fucking noise as you can!!!

For a list of protests happening across Europe today click here 

To learn about one of the main coordinators of the protests click here

For a collection of articles in English from publications all over the world click here

 

The Politics of Hate

As my country stumbles towards a new general election which offers the opportunity to choose between a turd sandwich, a turd roll, a turd wrap or a turd baguette I find myself somewhat befuddled by the archaic manner in which many people see the world.  The days of the political spectrum are long gone, thus it is amazing to witness the death of the idealists.

The people of the United Kingdom are being asked to choose between the party that wishes to murder foxes with dogs, a party that hates jews, a party that hates gay people, a party that hates foreigners and a party that nobody knows anything about other than the fact that they want to save the planet.  It largely is an election fought between contemptible arseholes obsessed with hatred and a bunch of hippy vegans.  For the first time in my life, it is not the vegans that concern me.

The politics of division are in no way a new idea.  It is an idea as old as building straight roads, watching men fight to the death and orgies.  And yet it is a pattern that is visible and repeating itself across the globe as political parties have realised that it is easier to unite people in hatred than to plan a manifesto of substance and that in itself will prove to be the beginning of the problems of tomorrow.

After last year’s Brexit referendum I wrote a short allegorical story.  By the time I had finished it no longer felt quite relevant.  Yet, here we are again.  Eleven months later the politics of fear and scaremongering have returned.  And suddenly the same reasons which compelled me to write the story are relevant again, meaning that I only have one option:

To celebrate the forthcoming election I will publish ‘The Non-Stop Dancer’ on June 8th.  Check back here on the day to find out how to get your copy.

 

 

 

 

2016 – What a Year it’s been

As 2016 draws to a close thousands of talented celebrities from around the world will be crossing their fingers in desperate hope that they can hang on for a tiny bit longer.  It is irrefutable. 2016 has been a bastard to the famous.  Thankfully I am only a Y list celebrity and thus so far have been spared.

I am the one that looks considerably less cool….

I refuse to see the entire year as something all bad.  On a personal level it was a year of firsts.  I finally visited New York which was just awesome.  I threw myself out of an aeroplane without any sensible reason.  I appeared on stage for the first time, rather than my customary position in the shadows, and bizarrely people laughed.  Not at me either.  But with me.  I think.  Somehow during all of this I learned something important about myself.  The greatest of pleasures stem from escaping my own comfort zone.

This year I largely took a well earned break from writing.  I tried to write a few half-arsed ideas which all proved to be little more than brainfarts.  Eventually reality stepped in and put a boot in my bottom.  And that’s how the novelette PiSlamistan was born.  It lead me to getting a wide variety of threats and abuse, including accusations of Judaism, communism and photographs of dead babies.  It also led to the first Polish translation of my work.  So I would like to say a hearty thank you to each and every person that took the time to send me hatred.  Without you, none of this would be possible.

2016 saw the release of ‘We Are Sorry’, one of the longest running music projects I have worked on.  There were music videos to ‘God Doesn’t Love You’ and ‘Walec’.  It was both amazing and at the same time a massive relief to finally see it come to fruition as the origins of the project go back a number of years. I believe we made a huge mistake by not calling our first album ‘Greatest Hits’ as it would have saved us from ever having to record another album.

All that is left for me to say to my readers, groupies, and troll army is Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

P.S. In the spirit of the festive season the good people at Amazon have decided to give Mourning Morning away for free on the Amazon Kindle Store on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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