Respected educator’s open letter to Minister of Education concerning his ideas to ban “homosexual propaganda”

17 03 2007

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Warsaw, March 13, 2007

From:
Anna Dzierzgowska, “Monitor Edukacji” magazine

To:
Roman Giertych, Deputy Prime-minister and Minister of Education
and: the general public

Dear Sir,

Having learned about your project of introducing a statutory ban for “homosexual propaganda” in schools, i would like to address you with few questions. The term “homosexual propaganda” is quite unclear, therefore as to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings in the future, I would like to know:
– will we be able to present Saphone’s poetry?
– will it be allowed to teach about Plato? I guess not. Can you give me an advice then, how to talk about the emergence of Christian philosophy, and how to talk about sources of St. Augustine’s thought?
– what about Shakespeare – and especially what is your advice on the treatment of sonnets?
– during pilgrimages to The Vatican, will be allowed to show students The Sistine Chapel? And do you think presenting the works of Michel Angelo and Leonardo Da Vinci appropriate?
– should we erase the portraits of Narcyza Żmichowska? (and what to do with schools that are named after her?)
– will it be allowed to play Tschaikovsky? (and is ballet at all appropriate for youth?)
– what with English literature? I understand Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf will have to vanish from the school libraries.
– Jan Lechoń, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, Jerzy Andrzejewski and Julian Stryjkowski too,is that right? I have some doubts when Gombrowicz is concerned, but I suppose his time has passes as well.
– I do not even ask about the ‘Death in Venice’, it is absolutely clear that this is story violates the dignity of young people.

I would like to enquire about one other matter: I understand that in educating history, we will keep the tradition of not mentioning the persecution of of people belonging to homosexual minorities? We will not teach about the prisoners of the German concentration camps – the so called prisoners with pink triangle, who were oppressed there and killed only because of their homosexuality? It will be not allowed, as I understand, to mention reports of organisations like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, talking about torture, rapes, murders and other forms of violence, that homosexual people experience around the world?

Sir, not so long ago, you declared that you will reply to all letters that are sent to you. You have also stressed, that you are open to suggestions and comments about your actions. That is why, before you form your reply, I suggest you read and think through, and treat as a comment, Plato’s ‘Symposium’.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Dzierzgowska

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