I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Good Old Queens

Good Old Queens

Robert Looby
Lubiewo, by Michał Witkowski, korporacja ha!art, 310 pp, 29 zlotys, ISBN: 83-89911043 (A translation of Lubiewo, by William Martin, will be published as Lovetown by Portobello Books in 2010.) The Kaczyński twins did a lot of harm to Poland’s public image. Lech was president from 2005 to the present and Jarosław was the power behind prime minister Marcinkiewicz from 2005 to 2006 before becoming prime minister himself and ruling from 2006 to 2007. It was especially unfortunate that the brothers were in power at a time when, after their accession to the European Union in 2004, Poles were emigrating in huge numbers to Western Europe, bringing their country back into the public eye of the West. Attention turned eastward at just the time Poland turned weird. Kaczyński’s party, Law and Justice (PiS), ruled in coalition with Samoobrona (“Self Defence”), an agrarian party, and the League of Polish Families (LPR), an extremely conservative right-wing party associated with the All-Polish Youth organisation, which has organised “Normality Parades” in answer to “Equality Parades”. The most conservative elements had gained the upper hand. Thus, Europeans curious about their Polish neighbours were treated to stories and pictures of pro-gay equality parades being illegally banned by Lech Kaczyński, then still mayor of Warsaw. The 2005 parade went ahead anyway, while activists from the All-Polish Youth organisation looked on, throwing eggs and chanting – well, you can guess what they chanted. Interior minister Ludwik Dorn (sometimes known as “the third twin” though now in the political wilderness) highly praised the eight hundred police on duty for their actions. They arrested one hundred demonstrators. On the lighter side, we had the spectacle of the children’s ombudsman calling for an investigation of the Teletubbies on the suspicion that one of them was gay and thus promoting homosexuality to children. PiS has since lost power, LPR and Samoobrona barely exist and elections will determine the fate of President Kaczyński in 2010, but Poland remains a socially conservative country where the Catholic Church has great influence. Bishop Pieronek, perceived as being on the liberal wing of the Church, has described homosexuality as an aberration (quoted in Nie (No) magazine, October 29th, 2009). Gay marriage will not be on the agenda any time soon. True, no Lithuanian-style law forbidding all public promotion of homosexuality has been passed but Nie magazine rang around politicians of all strands and found support for such a law running high (these are the same politicians…

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