Wishing for Europe

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it, goes the American saying. The American warning doesn’’t apply to me though, as for many years my greatest wish was for the European Union to stay together, a wish that is beginning to look less and less realistic. What seems to be coming true these days instead is my concern that the EU might fall apart. Mentally I have been preparing myself for a disintegration for a long time although until recently the actual picture had been quite hazy. But lately international press and academic networks have been teeming […]

Cursed by History

In his latest book, my friend the Ukrainian writer Taras Prochasko proposed a rather daring thesis. He suggested that, had Germany won the last war, Ukraine would have ended up in the European cultural sphere. My initial response to this statement was that of profound resentment. Of course, I understood that Poland and Ukraine fared very differently during World War II. In a way, Hitler had flirted with the Ukrainians, holding out the prospect of some rudimentary autonomy (or so, at least, it seemed to the Ukrainians), forming Ukrainian SS units and various auxiliary and police units. Poland had simply […]

The Death of a Hockey Player vs that of a Postwoman

What a brouhaha! It took a hockey team tragedy for [Russian] parliamentarians’’ big bellies to heave with emotion and to haul transport minister Levitin over the coals. I’’ve never seen MPs shed so many tears. Not even last April’’s crash near Smolensk, of the TU-154 aircraft carrying the entire Polish leadership including President Lech Kaczynski, brought tears to the eyes of so many grown men. By then I had already started wondering whether the scale of a disaster could be measured by the number of VIP casualties. The sight of a plane crashing with young, famous sportsmen on board is […]

More Truth, More Kaczyński?

The Poles Deserve More. Chairman Kaczyński’’s has come up with an intriguing election slogan. More of what, one might ask? More flats? Roads? Churches? Holidays? No, Chairman Kaczyński was quick to clarify it wasn’’t material goods he had in mind (he had promised plenty of those before) but rather values, i.e. something that can be promised endlessly. So what specific values does he have in mind? In the Chairman’’s view the Poles deserve more “‘honesty’ and truth”’. I understand that it is possible to wish there were more honest and truthful people in society. But what impact can the Law […]