Exposing Poland to Ridicule

Is Jarosław Kaczyński an agent of Russia’’s secret services? – a distinguished British commentator asked sarcastically. It took me quite a while to explain that he’’s not an agent, merely an obstinate man fixated on his fantasies. Nowadays people talk of the “‘Smolensk lie”’, claiming the truth about the perpetrators of the disaster, in which Polish President Lech Kaczyński lost his life, has been covered up. [Prime Minister] Donald Tusk put it very well in the Sejm the other day. As for me, what I can’t get out of my head is the “‘Katyn lie”’, the Soviet regime’s cover-up of […]

Real Rockers

The bearded electrician lives on the third floor. Even though he doesn’’t show it, he’s a real rocker, he owns a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and uses it to secretly listen to his rock tracks when he comes home from work. He’’s the only one on our block with a tape recorder, everyone else has just a record player, but you can’’t listen to rock music on a record player because there are no records with rock music. Rock music is banned in our city. My friend Mishi and I once went up to him and asked him to let us […]

After The Velvet Divorce

Tyres quietly swish on the motorway, gliding on the smooth surface almost untouched by cars right up to the Czech state border. This is one of the few motorways in Europe that has seen the number of cars using it go down. Once it was known for long tailbacks but that was a long time ago, before two nations turned their backs on one another. In 1992, in a touching display of cooperation, these two nations erected two concrete buildings for customs and border officials on the border they shared. It was as if a river had been artificially diverted […]