No Offence, Poland

Alicja Biala (c) Agencja Gazeta

Alicja Biała (c) Agencja Gazeta

The “No Offence, Poland” exhibition will tour Poland in celebration of the country regaining independence 100 years ago. Alicja Biała, the young Polish artist responsible for the exhibition decided to play on the Polish President’s words. In his ‘independence’ speech, President Andrzej Duda said that he hoped this anniversary would be a celebration for the entire Polish community. He also said that, “each of us is invited not only to participate in the celebrations and anniversary events, but also to create them.” Alicja Biała’s work was initially created as the illustrations for a book of poems by Marcin Świetlicki (a well-known Polish poet, journalist, and frontman of Świetliki) entitled “Poland (Some Polish Patriotic Songs).” The idea behind the exhibition is to renew people’s aesthetic and moral interest and encourage reading. “It was really important for me that we could take this around Poland and provoke Polish people to talk about their country. This is really important for Polish people because we are extremely sensitive when it comes to our Polishness,” said Alicja Biała. “I would be most happy if my works could reach different places across Poland, to places frequented by both Catholics and Protestants, to important places for vegetarians, to schools, to offices and the suchlike. Let them bring a smile or perhaps some reflection,” she added. Indeed, the works of Alicja Biała evoke both smiles and reflection. She comments on life in Poland. In one of her pieces we see the leader of right-wing PiS (Law and Justice) wearing a raincoat with the Polish national emblem in the company of naked women swimming with shark fins on their backs. There is also one of Polish President Andrzej Duda with his wife, on a background showing the Virgin Mary with the logo of Catholic TV station TRWAM.
wysokieobcasy.pl

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Top Holiday Places for Poles

Poles Away

Poles Away

Greece has for a number of years now been the number 1 holiday destination for Poles. What stands out are the small islands, the cuisine and sunny weather. Other key factors include Greek culture, architecture and hospitality as well as frequent flights from most Polish cities, the short distance and reasonable prices. The most popular Greek destinations are Crete, Rhodes and Zakynthos. One week in Greece costs from PLN 664 with an all-inclusive holiday costing approximately PLN 1,134. The second most popular destination is Turkey. It may not be the best destination at the moment for security reasons, but the large hotels, beautiful beaches and great weather continue to attract Polish tourists. The high standard of Turkish hotels, the variety of food and great, professional service see Poles returning to Turkey time and again. The majority of tourists (77%) choose the Turkish Riviera. One week in Turkey costs from PLN 1,080. Third place goes to Bulgaria, one of the cheapest summer destinations in Europe. Bulgaria has 400km of coastline (one third of this area has sandy beaches). A one-week stay in Bulgaria costs from PLN 655 with an all-inclusive holiday costing PLN 1,119. Another popular destination is Spain with most Poles (27%) travelling to the Costa Brava, 23% relaxing in Mallorca and 11% holidaying in the Canaries or resting in Tenerife. Polish people pay approximately PLN 979 for one week in Spain and from PLN 1,393 for an all-inclusive package. Next on the Top Five list is Egypt with most Poles (63%) travelling to Hurghada. The price of a one-week stay starts from PLN 1,138. Other popular destinations for Poles include Albania, Tunisia, Italy, Croatia and Cyprus. It is worth noting that Tunisia, like Turkey, is coming back in a big way. Ten times more tourists chose this destination than they did last year.
wp.pl

Katyń Monument Controversy

Jersey City (c) Eleanor Lang

Jersey City (c) Eleanor Lang

Polonia (Polish expat community) activists received information from the mayor of Jersey City Steven Fulop that he wants to begin discussion on the Katyń Monument. Last week, Mayor Fulop, announced that a project has been tabled to create a park in the area where the Katyń Monument is currently located. The monument would be transferred and temporarily stored in the Department of Public Rights. This decision has been met with concern and an outcry from the American Polonia and Polish politicians. Mayor Fulop declared that regardless of the final decision, the monument will be located in a prestigious place. Fulop explained his earlier declarations about removing the monument due to the need for its renovation. In order to reassure the Polish community, Fulop has declared that he would like to organise a meeting to discuss the future location of the monument after its renovation. It seems the confusion surrounding the momument is down to a misunderstanding, at least that is what Mayor Fulop is saying.
rp.pl

Disco Polo Divides Poland

Polish Pop?

Polish Pop?

Cursed by some, praised by others, but what is Disco polo? What can us tell today about Polish people? What does the 500+ benefit system have to do with Disco polo? Or other topics like abortion, feminism, (ultra-Catholic) Radio Maryja, TVN, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, PiS head Jarosław Kaczyński, Lech Wałęsa, or Małgorzata Szumowska films? All these seemingly unrelated topics, people and phenomena are connected by the fact that as symbols they have become socially divisive topics. Likewise Disco polo is also another pretext for Polish people to quarrel with each other. Critics of this musical genre are happy to point out that lovers of Disco polo are embarrassing Poland with their music. On the other hand, proponents of Disco polo believe the liberal elites are simply ashamed of who Polish people really are.
rp.pl

Isolated Middle Class

In Need of Saving

In Need of Saving

During the fall of communism, Polish society was characterised by diverse social classes mixing together. University professors lived alongside bus drivers, nurses alongside doctors. Similarly in primary schools, where regionalisation was in force, children from very different backgrounds attended the same class. The growing middle class recognised social diversity in housing estates and schools as something dangerous. Managers, lawyers, doctors, business owners, indeed anyone who had reached a higher level of income, immediately tried to isolate themselves from other groups. Warsaw’s Wilanów district (a place of dreams!) resembles a well-trimmed lawn, where nothing else grows. Similarly dressed people of a similar age walk along the pavements alongside similar cars or sit in similarly trendy pubs tailored to the tastes of the middle class. However, social blending is particularly important in today’s unstable world. Social moods change as in a kaleidoscope. School should be a place where children learn and get to know society. The Polish middle class thinks about its children as a future elite. However, an elite cannot exist without knowledge of society. Separation from others harms those who are doing the separating.
Gazeta.pl

Young Poles in EU

Optimistic

Optimistic

Amongst young Europeans, Poles are known for valuing their history and tradition. Even though recognition of the advantages of being part of the EU is rising, they still feel that focusing on their own country and its heritage is most important. This is one of the conclusions from a survey undertaken by TUI of young people living in Europe, including Germany and Poland, aged 16-26. According to the survey, 46% of young Poles stated that they consider themselves to be Polish citizens, while 43% of them stated that they consider themselves to be primarily Polish and secondarily EU citizens. These results are quite different from those amongst other young Europeans, who do not identify nearly as strongly with their countries. What is interesting is that only 2% of surveyed young Polish people place an importance on being European above being Polish. Young Poles also show an optimistic approach towards their future. Almost 50% feel a better future awaits them. In other countries like Germany, Spain or France this is less positive.
wiadomosci.wp.pl

Fight Continues

Adam Bodnar

Adam Bodnar

It is now over three weeks since the controversial sit-in protest in the Polish Parliament began. Parents and their disabled children are still fighting for increased government benefits for their disabled children. The Polish Ombudsman (Commissioner for Human Rights) Adam Bodnar has taken the floor on this matter and is firmly standing by the side of the protesters. He agrees with the protesters who maintain that the Parliament sit-in is not only about money and respecting disabled persons rights, but making sure the public understands the difficulties that they face every day of their lives. According to Commissioner Bodnar, the Polish government is trying to solve the issue to put itself in as positive a light as is possible without admitting to its own mistakes. Up until now, support from the Law and Justice (PiS) government has simply not been enough, with money being the biggest obstacle. Bodnar also drew attention to the fact that the Polish Parliament is paying increasingly less attention to citizens’ needs.
tvn24.pl