Tag Archives: Gazeta Wyborcza

Raiders of the Lost Archives: Political

While on a regular wander through strange and random sites on the World Wide Web, I happened upon a PDF document which has captured a quite amazing snapshot in time from early 1990. It is a report created by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service for the United States Department of Commerce. This particular report was put together using information from ‘Eastern Europe’ gathering newspaper clippings and interviews to be sent back to the governmental department in Springfield, Virginia. The document covered political and economic dispatches for Albania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia around the period of the end of 1989 and beginning of 1990.

The date upon which the report was published was quite striking – February 28th 1990 – meaning that most of the information within had been gathered in the previous 2 months. Considering the fact that the Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa (PRL) ceased to exist from January 30th 1990, it managed to capture a snapshot almost exactly at the moment as Communism was winding down. This post will cover some of the key clippings from the political section of the report, while a following post will glimpse at some of the economic references provided.

For those that wish to view the report, please go to http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA336458&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf – but please be warned that it takes some time to load the page as a PDF document.

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Some of the more interesting pieces from the Political section are highlighted below. Watch out for some famous names making appearances.

Anarchists or Freedom Fighters?

The Chilean miners were lucky, it seems…

Japan provided some support…

…in order to feed regular Poles, it seemedThe jobs front seemed to be utterly depressing…

…while there was some ‘good’ news in another areaAn interesting interview, considering how President Komorowski followed a fairly similar route to his position of power

While on a lighter note, the Górnik Zabrze football club instigated a mini-revolution of their own, rejecting the corporate world of Dead Souls FC

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I love reading about and learning about history, and this is a particularly interesting publication especially as it covers the crossover period from early 1990 as Poland stumbled from communism into democracy. The report makes for interesting reading, and not just about Poland. I would make a recommendation for anyone who has an interest in the recent history of Central and Eastern Europe.

Coming soon, the follow-up with snippets from the Economic section of the same report.

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Dirty Sexy Britain?

The well-known Polish journalist Konrad Niklewicz (of Gazeta Wyborcza) claims that Britain is ruled by SEX. One must admit, that such a statement goes against the popular perception of Great Britain.

“Sex, sex, more sex, a bit of sex at break time, and then more bang-bang” – this is the style of life of the younger British generation according to Mr Niklewicz. And where is the perversion proper? In Lambeth.

Could this be true? Could we have lived all this time without noticing this perverse and sex-obsessed nation as it is?

Mr Niklewicz’s conclusions are based on two observations:
1) the statistics for the number of teenage pregnancies. In Britain the figure is as high as 42 per 1000. And 75 for infamous Lambeth. (No mention of how it compares to other countries though).
2) “stories of unthinkable depravity”: a 14-year-old discovered as a prostitute, or a 15-year-old-girl pregnant with a child whose father is 13.

This example shows what concerns me about Polish journalism. Here the reporter draws his own sensationalist conclusions that may or may not be true. The data says only what it says: there are a larger number of teenage pregnancies than before. And that there are some extreme cases (like anywhere).
There are no opinion polls cited, or any other source, that would research the values and lifestyles of British youth, and their attitudes to sex. So why such conclusions?

Unfortunately such journalistic standards are not rare these days, even in the broadsheets.

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