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Poland Hub



04/19/2007


Lech Walesa on Anti-Gay Remarks: 'I Will Not Apologize to Anyone'

Former Polish President and Nobel Peace Pize winner Lech Walesa stands by his remarks earlier this week that gays should be "behind a wall", CNN reports:

WalesaA devout Catholic and father of eight children, Walesa now says he has nothing to apologize for despite a mountain of criticism heaped upon a man who was once venerated as a champion of Polish liberty. He stressed he did not "feel homophobic."

"I will not apologize to anyone," the former president said in an interview Monday. "All I said (was) that minorities, which I respect, should not have the right to impose their views on the majority. I think most of Poland is behind me."

Since his comments went nationwide, Walesa has been on the receiving end of furious criticism.

"Why does Lech want me to sit in the back row?" asked Robert Biedron, a member of parliament from the opposition Palikot Movement and Poland's first openly gay politician. "If we accept the rules proposed by Lech Walesa then where would blacks sit? They are also a minority. And what about the disabled?"


Poland's Gay and Trans Lawmakers Moved to Front Bench in Parliament After Lech Walesa's Remarks That They Should Sit in Back

Biedron_grodzka

Poland's first gay lawmaker Robert Biedron and first transgender lawmaker Anna Grodzka have been moved to Parliament's front bench following a firestorm of outrage over Nobel Prize Winner Lech Walesa's remarks this week that gays have no right to sit there, and should even be kept "behind a wall".

The AP reports: Walesa

Janusz Palikot, the leader of progressive party Palikot's Movement, reacted by promoting the party's gay lawmaker, Robert Biedron, and transgender lawmaker, Anna Grodzka, to the front row for a three-day session starting Wednesday. In Poland's Parliament, the front row, which is closest to the Speaker and gets the most TV attention, is generally for party leaders and senior lawmakers. The Cabinet sits in a separate section.

Palikot said he will also seek a resolution asking Walesa to "change his manner of speaking."

Walesa has declined an invitation to meet with Biedron.

Walesa's son said he was shocked by his father's words, which "should not have been said."

Previously...
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Lech Walesa Wants Gays 'Behind A Wall' [tlrd]


Nobel Peace Prize Winner Lech Walesa Wants Gays 'Behind A Wall'

LechWalesaHas Lech Walesa completely tarnished his image as a peacemaker?

Walesa, the union organizer who became Poland's first democratic president in 1989, shocked fans and foes alike by saying last week that gay people should basically stop trying to be involved in the democratic process and go back to the proverbial kitchen, or, to be more precise, "behind a wall," especially in Parliament, because "a minority should not impose itself on the majority."

From ABC News:

Walesa said in a television interview on Friday that he believes gays have no right to sit on the front benches in Parliament and, if represented at all, should sit in the back, "and even behind a wall."

"They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things. And not rise to the greatest heights, the greatest hours, the greatest provocations, spoiling things for the others and taking (what they want) from the majority," he told the private broadcaster TVN during a discussion of gay rights.

"I don't agree to this and I will never agree to it."

"A minority should not impose itself on the majority," Walesa said.


Obviously many people are outraged over the Nobel Peace prize winner's remarks, but the most concise criticism may come from liberal Polish politician Jerzy Wenderlich, "It was the statement of a troglodyte."

"From a human point of view his language was appalling," Wenderlich said of the devote Catholic's comments. "Now nobody in their right mind will invite Lech Walesa as a moral authority, knowing what he said."

But most people also know that Walesa's labor past doesn't mean he's progressive. He did, after all, supported Mitt Romney during the last election, and was pretty chummy with Ronald Reagan, who was of course no friend of friends of Dorothy.

(Image via Christofer C. Dierdorff.)


Polish Parliament Rejects Civil Union, Gay Rights Legislation

Poland's parliament on Friday rejected legislation that would have legalized civil unions and given limited rights to gay couples, Reuters reports:

TuskThe lower house of parliament rejected three bills that would have legalized civil unions, including narrowly defeating one proposed by a member of the ruling Civic Platform that would have given limited rights to unmarried partners, including ability to inherit property.

The motion to prevent the Civic Platform bill from going to committees for further work was backed by 228 deputies, with 211 against.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk (pictured) spoke out in favor of the reform, but 46 members of his own party, including Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin, sided with the conservative opposition and voted against all three bills on their first reading.

"You can't question the existence of such people (living in homosexual partnerships) and you can't argue against the people who decide to live in such way," Tusk told the parliament before the votes.


Should Maurizio Cattelan's Hitler Pray In Warsaw Ghetto?

HimItalian artist Maurizio Cattelan's 'HIM,' a 2001 sculpture of Adolf Hitler praying on his knees, has shown all over the world, including New York City's Guggenheim and Venice's Palazzo Grassi, eliciting emotions everywhere it appears. And that's precisely the point.

Cattelan, also infamous for creating a sculpture of Pope John Paul II getting hit by a meteor, deceives the viewer into believing the small body, typically approached from the back, is a school boy.

When they approach and see the big reveal, they're jolted.

"When people see this piece, they react with gasps, tears, disbelief. The impact is stunning," collector and Holocaust survivor Stefan Edlis told The Economist in 2009. "Politics aside, that is how you judge art.”

But should the likeness of the most vile anti-Semite be placed at the site of Poland's Warsaw Ghetto, home to so many Jewish people killed by Hitler's Nazi armies?

Vanessa Gera offers details:

The Warsaw ghetto was an area of the city which the Nazis sealed off after they invaded Poland. They forced Jews to live in cramped, inhuman conditions there as they awaited deportation to death camps. Many died from hunger or disease or were shot by the Germans before they could be transported to the camps.

The Hitler representation is visible from a hole in a wooden gate across town on Prozna Street. Viewers only see the back of the small figure praying in a courtyard. Because of its small size, it appears to be a harmless schoolboy.

"Every criminal was once a tender, innocent and defenseless child," the center said in a commentary on the work.

HIM was installed there by Warsaw's Center for Contemporary Art last month, but growing outrage is gaining traction this week.

"As far as the Jews were concerned, Hitler's only 'prayer' was that they be wiped off the face of the earth," said Efraim Zuroff, director of US-based Jewish rights group The Simon Weisenthal Center's Israeli outpost. Zuroff described the installation as "a senseless provocation which insults the memory of the Nazis' Jewish victims."

CCA's director, Fabio Cavallucci, insists HIM isn't mean to insult the memory of the dead. Rather, it's a reminder of "hidden evil" everywhere.

"There is no intention from the side of the artist or the center to insult Jewish memory," he said. "It's an artwork that tries to speak about the situation of hidden evil everywhere."

Michael Shudrich, Poland's chief rabbi, supports HIM, and even wrote an introduction to the exhibition's catalogue. Art "force[s] us to face the evil of the world," he wrote, according to the AP. He also said, "I felt there could be educational value to it."

Do you agree?

HitlerWarSaw


Reporters Told 'Kiss My Ass' and 'Shove It' for Asking Mitt Romney Questions in Warsaw: VIDEO

Poland_romney

Mitt Romney's traveling Press Secretary Rick Gorka cursed at frustrated reporters today after they questioned Mitt Romney in a public plaza near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, CNN reports:

As Romney made his way to his vehicle, reporters attempted to shout questions to the candidate. The former Massachusetts governor, who has answered only three questions from his traveling press corps during a week-long overseas trip, ignored the queries.

CNN's transcript:

NN: "Governor Romney are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip?

NYT: "Governor Romney do you have a statement for the Palestinians?

Washington Post: "What about your gaffes?

NYT: "Governor Romney do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?"

CNN: "Governor Romney just a few questions sir, you haven't taken but three questions on this trip from the press!

Gorka: "Show some respect"

NYT: "We haven't had another chance to ask a question..."

Gorka: "Kiss my ass. This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."

Shortly thereafter, Gorka told Politico reporter Jonathan Martin to "shove it."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Reporters Told 'Kiss My Ass' and 'Shove It' for Asking Mitt Romney Questions in Warsaw: VIDEO" »


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