Tygodnik Powszechny


Everything for 9.99

Photo: Michal Korta Sienkiewicz’’s Teutonic Knights spoke the Goral dialect. The writer apparently shared the perception of his contemporaries of the Gorals as the ethnically purest Poles, their dialect and culture having preserved a kind of intact ur-Polishness. Nobody really cared that they are partially descended from nomadic shepherds from the Balkans, from the Carpathian mountains of Romania. It is quite possible that this fact was not widely known at the time. Not least not among the Gorals. All their exotic sounding words are more likely to be derived from the Romanian, or perhaps even Italian, but nobody would admit […]

Denník, písaný neskôr / Esej

Alebo raz v lete v Zgorzelci. Ráno som vstal a vybral sa smerom k mostu. Mesto sa mierne skláňalo k rieke. Všade boli zmenárne a nápisy, že sú tu lacné cigarety. Chlapíci už postávali v dvojiciach, v trojiciach. Štvrť páchla po starej omietke a práchnivejúcich drevených schodoch. Ako stará Ząbkowska a Brzeska. Stáli, fajčili a dívali sa, ako sa začína deň. Vyčerpaní večným vyčkávaním. Ďalej sa začínal most. Nevedno prečo mu dali meno Jána Pavla. Možno, aby zaimponovali Nemcom, že tu nie sú len tie lacné cigarety? Prešiel som na druhú stranu do Görlitzu. Mali tam park, ranný chládok a ešte námestie, všetko […]

Surviving Memory

70 years ago, on 5 March 1940, Lavrentii Beria, the USSR People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs sent a memo to comrade Stalin regarding the more than 25,000 Poles held in Soviet prisoner of war camps and NKVD prisons, justifying the necessity of executing the Polish prisoners. The memo was signed by the Soviet Union’s leaders: Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov and Mikoyan; a note on the margin said that comrades Kalinin and Kaganovich also agreed with this solution. On the same day Beria received the decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union giving its approval to […]

On the Boundaries of Our World

Poor and rich are concepts Heidegger used in his 1929-1930 lectures, published posthumously as Die Grundbegriffe der Metaphysik. Welt-Endlichkeit-Einsamkeit”. (The Basic Concepts of Metaphysics. World – Finitude – Solitude). He used them in relation to a world that – because of its metaphysical essence – is one of his key concepts, in addition to the ones mentioned above (world, finitude and solitude). However, this is not the point I intend to discuss here even though it is very interesting. What really interests me now is what Heidegger said later. He said that the world of the animal is poor although […]

God must have parachuted him to Earth

These days Wałęsa is a non-person even if his face pops up on television from time to time. In today’s Poland the erstwhile Polish leader has been turned into an instrument in the war of politics. Wałęsa can be used to lash out at the Kaczyńskis or to compromise Tusk’’s team. Very few people care about who Wałęsa was or who he is today.  Only one hard question is heard in Poland today: Are you on Wałęsa’’s side, i.e. on ours, or are you against Wałęsa, i.e. against us? Or: Are you on Wałęsa’’s side, i.e. you are against us, […]

The Make-Believe State

  Lately the media have been ringing alarm that Iceland is going bankrupt and that is has become the first victim of the global economic crisis. I follow the news with great amusement. I am no economist or politician, I write books. Two of them were written in Iceland where I lived for over 10 years. I studied at the university there. I had a very honest professor teaching the course on the history of Iceland, who never tried to convince us that Iceland was the seventh richest country in the world, that its króna was a super currency and […]