30 cze 2010

Presidential campaign

Because of the tragedy in Smoleńsk the presidential campaign is very short this year. Candidates must be fast and don't have many occasions to fight. After the death of so many people they deliberately didn't want to be aggresive or use any usual dirty methods.

I avoid watching candidates on tv because they mostly pay lip service. Of course I don't expect them to fulfil their promises especially because the president in Poland hasn't a very strong position. The power is divided between him and the prime minister but the government has a lot more to say.

Even though the election itself is boring and debates are sometimes embarrasing the results will be very important. The early ballot wasn't a big surprise, according to the expectations won Bronisław Komorowski from Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform) but Jarosław Kaczyński from Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice*) was right behind him. They are both right-wing and conservative so there isn't a big choice. We choose between a bit more Europe-oriented and open-minded and the populist more concentrated on Poland, Catholic Church and peculiar patriotism. This is a conflict between so called III and IV Republic of Poland. It's quite important to see the difference between these numbers:

1) I RP (Rzeczpospolita Polska) - XV century - 1795
2) II RP - 1918 - 1939
3) III RP - 1989 - now
4) IV RP - a slogan used mostly by Law and Justice in order to differentiate from the III RP governance.

The map of people's votes is extremely interesting. Western and more developed Poland chose Komorowski and Eastern regions preferred Kaczyński. This line represents a border of Russia and Prussia when they ruled Poland. Not so much has changed during last 100 years.

Unfortunately the turnout in Poland is always too low but this year better (55%) than 5 years ago (50%). Many people remain indifferent and many don't want to choose between these two candidates. But after the early ballot there is a huge mobilization in the nation so maybe we'll see a much higher turnout this Sunday. It's always better to take part in the election. I will support Bronisław Komorowski
although he doesn't convince me at all. Maybe next time there will be a candidate for me...

* no English website - meaningful

24 cze 2010

For all EU citizens living in Warsaw

This is the information I was sent by a market research company TNS OBOP which works for the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure. I haven't changed anything:

TNS OBOP are currently conducting a study amongst EU citizens looking at their attitudes and opinions to a number of issues relating to the EU and understanding citizen's experiences in exercising their rights to intra-EU mobility.
We are holding a number of group discussions where we will invite people to come and discuss these issues. There are no right or wrong views or perceptions during these discussions; we are simply interested in what you have to say on the topic.
We would like to invite you to attend a group discussion, with 5-6 other people. The group will be held at 30.06.2010 on TNS OBOP, Wspólna 56 street, Warsaw. Please help our interviewers to gain all information needed to invite you on focus group.

Would you be able to attend?
We are looking for volunteers in the 25-55 years old residing in Poland from 3 to 6 months and from 7 months to 5 years.
Estimated time of the meeting is about 2 hours.
We will pay for your participation gratification in the amount of 150 zł.

Contact Agnieszka Zalewska 504 129 506.

The interviews will be in English and Polish so feel free to speak.
The results will help to the Polish government diagnose what kind of difficulties foreigners face in Poland. Let's do this for the better EU integration:)

11 cze 2010

Adam Mickiewicz

For me there was no doubt - the first Pole that is worth knowing is Adam Mickiewicz - a poet, visionary, man of letters, activist. I studied Polish philology also because of him and spend a lot of time in his fascinating life. He was born in the 1798 on today's Belarusian territory which after the partitions of the Commonwealth was ruled by Russians. One of his quotations (known by every Pole) is "Lithuania, my homeland" so you can have doubts if he was really Polish. He was born in a region where nobles spoke Polish and had Jewish, Belarusian and Lithuanian neighbours. Mickiewicz's first language was Polish, then he wrote also in French. He is regarded as the national poet of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus and of course every nation searches his ancestors.

His life was too complex to write here his biography but I want to just give you some ideas.

Mickiewicz's family was poor but thanks to the scholarship he was able to finish studies on the Vilnius University. As a student he started to write poetry and it became obvious that his talent was outstanding. Too modern for classical old masters he was quickly popular among young people. After unclear investigation about his and his friends' involvement in the patriotic organization he was expelled from home forever. Forced to live in Russia he spent a few years in Petersburg and Moscow. Fortunately, supported by the Russian aristocracy he didn't have to earn a living. It was the time of his personal development, new works, romance. He was not only a sensitive genius but also very attractive man:) He managed to escape from Russia and wandered a few years in Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Italy). Depressed in his thirties he felt like an old man. As many Poles that time he settled in Paris. Too rashly decided to get married. His marriage with mentally ill Celina Szymanowska was very difficult. They had 6 children and were very poor. By the age of 35 he wrote his greatest works. Then he was involved in European politics, wrote articles, became a lecturer of Slavic languages and literatures at the Collège de France. With Andrzej Towiański - a self-made religious leader - he created a sect and lived the EXTRAORDINARY life. After their break-up Mickiewicz was involved in the revolutions of 1848. After his wife's death in the 1855 he went to Constantinople in order to form a Polish and Jewish legions to fight against Russians. His sudden death surprised everybody. He was buried in Paris and then moved to Wawel in Cracow.

Next time more about his works!

8 cze 2010

Poland on Expo 2010 and folk traditions

Today I would like to show you the Polish design on Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Three young architects (Wojciech Kakowski, Marcin Mostafa, Natalia Paszkowska) inspired by folk art did a great job. The pavilion resembles Polish paper cut-outs (wycinanka). Here you will find different examples of this tradition originally from central Poland. Simple women made these beautiful shapes. I remember doing it in my primary school but of course very simple ones.

If you don't know what souvenirs should you buy in Poland I recommend you for example these modern folk gadgets.

More photos from the inside of the pavilion here.

8 minutes 3D movie by Tomasz Bagiński „Animowana Historia Polski” - "The Animated History of Poland" was seen by many many visitors. It hasn't been showed yet in Poland. From the trailer it looks dramatically (only war and tribulation) but I read that's not everything. How do you like it?

6 cze 2010

Water still dangerous in Poland

... but some guys take advantage of the flood... Yes, it's stupid and risky but I love people with imagination... When Poles do something ridiculous but innovative or cheeky / perky (no idea what's the appropriate word in English) we call it "polska fantazja" - "Polish fantasy". We think that we're not good in everyday solid work but have a lot of energy and brilliant ideas from time to time (especially feeling unsafe).