Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017
Europe has once again been touched by tragedy. The Berlin attack, a copycat of the one from Nice, has demonstrated the threats modern democracies are facing. In the name of a bloody war against the West, terrorists have been killing innocent people for years. The recent attack left a Polish citizen and several Germans brutally murdered. The lorry driver from Poland became the first victim of the terrorist attack in the German capital.
This tragic event requires that we look again at challenges democratic states of Europe are faced with. The war on terrorism, the uncontrolled wave of migration, the threat posed by the East, Russia’s aggressive policy in many places across the world, geopolitical challenges – today the states must tackle global challenges of the modern world. The Polish authorities identify threats and try to neutralize them in their country. Poland’s foreign policy with this respect is based on a thorough assessment of hard facts gathered around the world. On top of that, Poland is sharing its knowledge of the threats with its partners. Unfortunately, sometimes it turns out that Poland was right, but its warnings were not heard at a proper time. Given the above, what the opposition is currently doing and how international media outlets are depicting my country seems even more outrageous.
Polish government has been under a brutal political attack. A well-organized obstruction campaign led by the opposition is not met with a broad support from the society, yet it resounds with power due to the opposition leaders’ links. The media repeat mindlessly every nonsense about the alleged threat to democracy in Poland, an oppressive rule of the current government and its will to incite domestic upheaval. But this picture is fake – the truth is that Poland has become an arena of a battle between the old political establishment that lost power after years of governing and a new political environment that introduces changes upon a mandate it was granted through a democratic political process. And it does so not by taking the citizens by surprise, but by fulfilling bit by bit the word given during the electoral campaign, which eventually brought it to power.
Unfortunately, only few realize what really is happening in my country. Political elites that have been dominating for decades have eventually lost social support; during the last election their defeat was so decisive that the plan of reforms envisaged by the now-ruling Law and Justice party gained huge public confidence. For the first time in the history of the Third Polish Republic one political party holds a unilateral mandate to govern. Moreover, it is keeping its promises from the campaign – to reform. This makes the ousted politicians furious, because the new power has redirected the flow of public funds into areas neglected before. Poland has introduced an effective pro-family policy, it has declared a real war on corruption, it has started closing tax loopholes, reducing the drainage of the Polish economy by foreign capital, making social opportunities equal to everybody through an unprecedented social policy. Moreover, the state has launched a new history policy based, among others, on the abrogation of privileges enjoyed by the officers of the totalitarian and communist regime of the Polish People’s Republic.
All this stands on the way of interests of those who have so far taken governing Poland for granted. Economic figures, a deep social stratification reflected dramatically by the rate of poverty and hunger among children, the scale of exploitation of the Polish economy, demographic problems have unveiled how inefficient or even harmful the development policy pursued by former governments was. Changes that are being implemented aim at establishing distribution channels for public funds anew. These changes mean loses and will bring loses to political groups who have so far dominated in Poland. The more ordinary Polish citizens gain, the more those who once governed lose.
They make a lot of noise which is a sum of their well-established capabilities, extensive foreign contacts, applause from foreign political parties, politicians and the media. However, I am absolutely convinced that they are far from being right. The Poles are those who directly benefit from the governance by Law and Justice. Those now in power have done much more for their nation in the last year than the former coalition government tried to do for two consecutive terms of office.
Poland IS NOT torn apart by conflict between a totalitarian government and defenders of democracy. Poland IS a witness of a brutal assault of the ruling party’s opponents on the government who wants to reshape the country’s social, political and economic life. It holds a social and legal mandate to proceed. Although those who oppose the government become more and more ruthless, try to disrupt the country’s life, yell louder and louder, bring Poland into disrepute – Law and Justice has not lost public confidence. Depicting Poland as a non-democracy is completely unfounded and erroneous. The current government enjoys a safe majority in the Parliament and therefore is empowered to govern. Never has it lost the mandate granted by voters, even for a moment. Society decided not to grant the mandate to former governing coalition again. They cannot come to terms with being voted out of power.
While the world is fighting terrorism, when Europe is picking up the pieces after yet another tragedy, when everybody’s eyes are on Aleppo, when NATO is looking suspiciously at the threat posed by Russia, here in Poland politicians voted out of office are continuing their childish dance in hope of getting the power back. To achieve their goal they resort to brutal and non-democratic means. Unfortunately, their actions get the world’s attention although they do not deserve it.
In the wake of the Berlin tragedy, it must be stressed that destabilizing a democratic state in very dangerous times for Europe and for the world may have dramatic consequences for us all.
No matter what the opposition is saying or doing, Poland remains a solid ally and partner of the West, it is fighting terrorism, cooperating with other countries within NATO as well as meetings regarding the war on terror. Poland never evades the obligation to help its allies. Poland has always carried out a responsible policy, with safety of both its citizens and Europe at the forefront. It is not the ruling party who is undermining the stability of my country, but politicians of the opposition who are unable to respect the democratic choice made by the Poles.
Tomek A. Klichowski