Tag Archives: Kaczynski

Election special: Adopt a president

It’s not easy to choose a president. You’re going to have to look at his mug on TV every day for the next five years and cringe every time he misbehaves in front of guests. It’s not completely dissimilar to choosing a new pet. With this startling insight in mind, I’ve created a unique voting aid by putting the words of the presidential candidates in the mouths of cute animals.

Free of their spin, haunting resemblances to dead presidents and monotonous speaking voices, which one would you take home?

Do you believe same-sex relationships between cats and dogs should be legal?

Czy uważa Pan/Pani, że związki pomiędzy psami i kotami tej samej płci powinny być legalne?

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Do you support the in-vitro conception of cats and dogs?

Czy popiera Pan/Pani pomysł zapłodnień in vitro dla kotów i psów?

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Do you plan to postpone the retirement age for cats and dogs?

Czy chciałby Pan/Pani wydłużyć wiek emerytalny dla kotów i psów?

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What about cats and dogs in the police or the armed forces?

Jak zapatruje się Pan/Pani na obecność kotów i psów w policji i siłach zbrojnych?

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What are your views on digging for natural gas in the back garden?

Jak zapatruje się Pan/Pani na kopanie w tylnym ogrodzie w celu odkrycia gazu naturalnego?

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Why should Poland bring you home?

Dlaczego Polska powinna sprowadzić Pana/Panią do domu?

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International TV coverage of the Krakow funerals

Decoy sensibly spent Sunday in front of the box.

With seemingly non-stop coverage of the crash on the Polish news channels for all of last week, and the mourning and initial investigations, I thought I would take a look at the international coverage of the funeral itself to get an ‘outside’ perspective.
For most of the last week, the crash had been in the top two or three news stories on many international news channels, and until Thursday had been the number one story. However, as the output of the Icelandic volcano loomed ever larger, it began to push Poland off the top spot. With the memorial service on Saturday in Plac Pilsudski in Warsaw and the funeral on Sunday, the news stations picked up Poland’s week of national mourning once again.

As could be expected with a story of such magnitude, news channels from all over Europe (and beyond) had regular reports. For example, BVN from the Netherlands had reporters in Kraków’s Rynek, giving a 3-4 minute report with mentions of Katyń, President Kaczyński’s part in Solidarność and the Wawel ‘row’. Channels such as France24, DW-TV (Germany) and Viesti (Russia) also had news reports on the funeral, in most cases mentioning which dignitaries from their country/region were (generally) not able to attend. Euronews showed an interview with Michał Karnowski, who was the biographer of both of the Kaczyński twins. He was questioned about the potential legacy of Lech Kaczyński and he also proclaimed his surprise about the unity in Poland’s mourning, he seemed to have expected more indifference, due to President Kaczyński’s low popularity ratings before his death.

However, what was interesting to note in the TV coverage from an international point of view, were the number of foreign stations that gave full coverage (and some analysis) of the funeral. Euronews allowed full coverage of the ceremony, but with no commentary at any stage, while CNN also gave Poland special attention with a banner saying ‘Poland mourns’ and comment on what was taking place with the full ceremony being shown live.

BBC World News had given extensive coverage to the crash since news of it broke last Saturday, and Poland featured in their reporting all week long. With the memorial in Warsaw yesterday, they covered every minute as the names of each of the dead was called, and applied comment from people such as Anne Applebaum, the American writer married to Radoslaw Sikorski. They also spoke to their Polish correspondent Jan Repa, who emphasised the Katyń memorial aspect once again. For the funeral today, they gave full coverage once more, and even broke to London for 10 minutes where a large screen was set up in Trafalgar Square for the Polish community there to watch. An interview was conducted as well with David Miliband, the British Foreign Minister. His mother was born in Poland, so naturally he expressed his sympathy, both on an individual and professional basis.

Finally, in the spirit of the improved relations between Russia and Poland, special mention should probably go to Russia Today, the English-language, Russia-focussed news channel. They also covered the full extent of the funeral also—probably unthinkable a few years ago. The Russian effort to be involved in the funeral was also noted by many channels including Poland’s TVN24, especially how President Medvedev was allowed the seat closest to the altar from all other foreign visitors.

The world recognised Poland’s pain and loss and sympathised as well.

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The Smolensk disaster

This morning’s shocking news of the death of President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other prominent Poles in a plane crash near Smolensk is a tragedy for this country. Everybody at Polandian offers their deepest sympathies to the people of Poland and especially to those directly effected by these deaths. The fact that the crash happened as the group were on their way to take part in ceremonies commemorating the Katyn Massacre adds immeasurably to the sadness. The name Katyn, already blackened in the collective consciousness of the Polish people, will forever be associated with another national catastrophe from this day.

The sudden and violent death of a head of state is a severe trial for any nation. That such a large group of other leading figures in Polish society should be killed at the same time will make this a doubly testing time for Poland. Questions are already being asked about responsibility. The aging Tupelov 154 in which the party were flying is bound to come under suspicion, although there is no evidence that it has a worse safety record than other, comparable aircraft.

It has to be said that Kaczynski was not a popular figure among our readers, but nobody would have wished such a sudden and appalling end to his political career.

[later edit by scatts] – I would obviously echo Jamie’s words above. The President was the most senior figure on the aircraft but the list of lost Poles is staggering and not just politicians but the military, religious leaders, historians and many others. Impossible to pick anyone out but my wife is particularly upset by the loss of so many strong & popular female figures as there were so few of them to begin with. Twelve hours on from the tragedy I find a few key points keep repeating themselves in my mind:

1/ Nobody would choose this way out but it does mean Mr. Kaczynski will be remembered very differently to the way he might have been had this not happened.

2/ Excellent opportunity for Mr. Komorowski to secure (or not) his position as the next President of the Republic of Poland.

3/ Why oh why were so many important people on the one plane? The risk profile for this flight was just ridiculous – not the best of planes, crappy airport, poor weather conditions, very early morning and yet crammed full of Poland’s finest. I heard a story that there was another plane doing the same route but that one was full of media people, is that true? If so, why not as a minimum have each plane carry half and half dignitaries and media folk? Not that media lives are less valuable but at least they are not running the country. (I suppose that last point is debatable)

4/ Given the passenger list I find the decision to ignore instructions to land elsewhere quite amazing, especially as they had already had to abort earlier attempts to land at Smolensk. I suppose we will never know, unless the black box recordings have some clues, as to why this decision was made. I have to say it is hard to believe that the pilots made the decision themselves. As has already been commented, was the feeling on the plane that the Russians were just being awkward buggers and therefore instructions were given to land and teach them a lesson? Are we expecting to hear a recording of the pilot saying “I have been instructed to land at your airport….”? The search for an answer to this one may run and run.

5/ What kind of horrid job lies ahead for those charged with identifying and then bringing the bodies back home.

6/ Massive funeral coming up.

Unprompted by us, Zosia drew this and placed it by the television.

President

And one picture from the Palace earlier today

President 2

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When is Poland going to grow up!?

This ongoing farce regarding attendance of the upcoming EU summit meeting does nothing except make Poland look like a fool of a country in everyone else’s eyes. Whatever the disputes may be between Tusk and Kaczynski they should be settled here in Poland and not allowed to interfere with official business outside the country. It is embarrassing for Poland, for every Pole and for everyone attending the summit who will no doubt be avoiding the Polish delegation (unmissable as it will be 5 times the size of any other!) like the plague. The Poles will be about as welcome at the summit as Britney Spears having a bad hair day.

It undermines the international status of the prime minister, president and country. How is anyone supposed to take this country seriously when it behaves like this? Nobody outside Poland and most people in POland, don’t give a toss what the constitution says about who should be dealing with what. SEND THE SAME PEOPLE TO THE SUMMIT AS ALL THE OTHER COUNTRIES. END OF STATEMENT. The articles linked to cover most of the detail but I was watching TVN24 this evening and now there’s even a row about whether there will be a plane available to take Kaczynski to Brussels or not!

If you want my opinion, this is all about a feud between Kaczynski and Sarkozy. I’d be willing to bet that Sarkozy gave Kaczynski a healthy dose of snotty French abuse (no doubt including something like “And my wife’s way better looking than yours, little fat man!”) when Kaczynski refused to sign that, whatever it was paper, a few months back. Kaczynski is just itching to get back in the ring and a summit that might even possibly touch on the Georgia issue is a great place to start. Can anyone tell me the root of Kaczynski’s hard-on about the Georgian situation? Is this just him trying to pee-off the Russians?

So to sum up my fifteen minute expert review of international politics – Kaczynski is looking for a fight with the French, the Russians and his own prime minister and has decided to go to Brussels just so everyone can see what a nasty little man he really is and how much Poland likes messing its own underpants and then dragging them around for everyone to have good sniff. Or did I miss something?

To make matters even worse for Poland. Was I the only one watching the footage of Tusk arriving in Brussels and thinking “This guy just doesn’t look the part!”. I don’t need all the excuses about how poor Poland is and how it’s only been five minutes since the commies left and all that blah blah but with the possible exception of Kwasniewski, not a single Polish politician has ever looked “comfortable” when mixing it with the ‘big dicks’ in the rest of the world. They just look clumsy, nervous, embarrassed…….like they have stumbled into a party of important people. Surely there’s enough money in the kitty to pay for a few lessons in “How to look like you’re important and in charge of a big EU country”?

At least Poland can sit at the table and boast about how many banks it DOESN’T own! Thank God for small mercies.

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