Monday, 11 June 2012

OPINION: Piotr Żuk-- A Country For The Rich, A Democracy For The Few

Due to Euro 2012 the academic year here in Wrocław was shortened, finishing at the end of May. In Poland as a whole, we might soon reach the point where lack of funds for education and research lead not only to shorter academic years but even the closure of colleges and universities. The so-called Kudrycki reforms, long prepared and finally passed last October, were supposed to cure Poland's educational ills. In reality, they have resulted in chaos and extra administrative burdens on educators. As we speak work is underway on reforms of the reforms-- business as usual in other words. The current situation in higher education, however, is the most serious since 1989. The main source of income for further and higher education instiutions, part-time students who attend at weekends, is slowly drying up. All that is left is minimal funding, minimal pay and the self-satisifed PO government.

The desperate need to attract students is leading to a decline in standards-- entry is open to anyone who can pay for the privilege of an increasingly worthless degree.

When the state spends more on weapons, surveillance and security than education then it ceases to be a true democracy and starts to evolve into a police state.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

EURO 2012: Lviv Prepares (J. Kit)

Panorama of Lviv's historic centre.

Background: Lviv (Polish: Lwów) is the principal city of western Ukraine, with a population of around 760,000. Now a Ukrainian city with an almost exclusively Ukrainian population, before the war it was a Polish city with a mixed but predominantly Polish population. Anywhere between 7,000 and 30,000 people who identify themselves as Poles still live in the city. Lviv will host 3 matches during the 2012 European football championships.

  When UEFA president Michel Platini announced that Ukraine and Poland would co-host Euro 2012, the inhabitants of Lviv knew at once that thier hometown would be one of the host cities. Lviv's football tradition stretches back to the 1930s. Polish football was born in Lviv and the Pogoń club was one of the giants of pre-war Polish football. Today, the club has been resurrected thanks to the efforts of the city's Polish community. In the 1970s another Lviv club, FK Karpaty, won the Soviet championship. FK Karpaty currently play in the Ukrainian premier division while the city's second club, FK Lviv, play in the second tier. The Ukrainian national team particulary like playing in Lviv as it is the only stadium where the whole crowd sing the national anthem before international games.

After the initial pride of being amongst the host cities had worn off, however, the inhabitants of Lviv have begun to wonder if their city can really afford it, and whether they are really capable of competing with Western European cities.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

POLAND / HISTORY: Operation Vistula-- Through The Eyes Of A Deportee (B. Czeluśniak)

Deportees during Operation Vistula, 1947.

After reading the articles concerned with Operation Vistula in 'Przegłąd' issue (20/2012) I cannot help but feel that these texts were written on the orders of politicans. I write these words in the knowledge that they will provoke a hostile reaction from many of my compatriots. Nonetheless, I would like to try to explain my controversial point of view.

My father, Grzegorz, was born into a Polish-Ukrainian family but he considered himself to be a Pole. In those days the goverment officials responsible for matters of nationality maintained a policy in which boys of mixed marriages would inherit their father's nationality whilst girls would inherit the mother's. My father lived near Przemyśl. He was fluent in both Polish and Ukrainian and he was not ashamed to to speak in the latter, even though his neighbours often made fun of him for doing so. In the Przemyśl region there were many mixed marriages. Both nationalities lived together peacefully and nobody gave much attention to the issue of nationality. As well as Poles and Ukrainians, there were Jews, Lemkos and Tatars. After the war everything changed. Ukrainians began to be seen as second-class people, worthy of disdain. The fate of my father was decided by various factors. Firstly, he had a friendly attitude towards other nationalities (something which he had inherited from his father) and secondly he married a Ukrainian woman, something which in the post-war years was beginning to be seen as treacherous behaviour. I also add that when war broke out my father was mobilised and served in the Polish Army, fighting in the Silesian Beskids.