On being “anti-Poland”

 

In the online world as well as in real life I’ve been personally attacked a few times for not just my views on Poland, but also for simply talking about more difficult areas of Polish history.  Even though I have said kind words about Poland and put difficult areas in their context, I’ve still been attacked, outside of this blog.

I’m not really bothered, like.  Just that I wish to clarify my position, as I feel like I’m walking on sensitive ice.

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  • I really like living in Poland, having Polish friends and a family from Poland.  There are many excellent things here, things that I have written about a lot on my old blog (check out my posts on nature, animation, music, art, food and religious traditions in Poland).  In fact, I try to give a positive impression of people in the context of people who may have stereotypes and prejudices about Poland.  In the context of being in the “we-group” (i.e. people in Poland), however, I am more likely to be open about my criticism.
  • That this blog is about supporting the civil society of Poland assumes that it needs to be supported.  In doing so, I also make the assumption that there are problems in Poland, things like, say, environmental degradation and racism.  As a result, there will be a focus on negative aspects of life in Poland.
  • However, that I am writing about people who are trying to improve those areas, it shows that I am putting a focus on many good things about civil society in Poland (and there are many good things).

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  • In the context of me not being born in Poland and not having Polish parents, my views are sometimes taken as an attack on Poland, or, more probably on an unconscious level, on themselves.  Here I have to say that many Polish people have similar views to my own, or even have stronger views.
  • I believe that it indicates a healthy psychological state when one can have ambivalent feelings about something.  Things can be both good and bad (in subjective terms) at the same time.  I get the impression that there are people in the US who have Polish parents or Grandparents who have made Poland out to be some paradise where everything is perfect, where the people are god-like and God himself walks among us.  This view says more about themselves and their psychological needs than anything else, a need for some “paradise” on earth, a place tied up with their own identity.  Of course, Poland can be fucking nice, but it’s not 100% nice.  That any disagreement turns into insults directed towards myself shows that I have touched a nerve, that there is something unconscious and unresolved in their minds.
  • I am not saying that everyone who likes Poland is psychologically sick.  It’s healthy to see the life of a country positively.  I also see life here to have many positive aspects.
  • I’m a critical bastard who has also been critical about things in other countries I’ve lived in, including the place I lived in as a child.  Don’t take it personally.  However, that is not to relativise matters.  There are some problems in Poland that I haven’t seen in other countries I’ve lived in.  Other countries (say, the Ukraine or Bulgaria) may have similar problems, but I live here, therefore I concentrate on here.  All with the aim of trying to improve the living standards in Poland.
  • I’m not against the existence of Poland (well, any more than I am against any other nation state).

So chill, would-be getting-your-knickers-in-a-twist people.

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