Gay pensioners not welcome in town (on posters)

19 12 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily (19 Dec 2007)
Authors: Emilia Iwanciw, Aleksandra Lewińska
Translation: MoPoPressReview
link to the original article

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Posters containg confessions like ‘I’m a pensioner, I’m gay’, ‘I’m a pharmacist, I’m lesbian’ will not be hung in the city of Bydgoszcz. The company managing the advertising pillars did not agree. Therefore Bydgoszcz will not be taking part in the nationwide campaign, aiming to raise the gay people’s self-esteem.

The action called ‘You are not alone’ is an initiative of the Toruń branch of the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) Association. 500 posters were placed in Toruń on Monday, previously similar posters appeared in Tricity. The characters featured in the posers admit to having different sexual orientations. Although it is not possible to recognise them, each is signed with a name, we’re told what they do for living, and in which city district they live. –‘Our message is aimed to reach both homosexual and heterosexual people’, says Agnieszka Szpak, KPH coordinator. – ‘The former we want to make aware of the fact they are not alone, and the latter that just next to them live people who although seem different, are very similar.’

We showed the posters to several people passing-by the Gdańska street in Bydgoszcz yesterday afternoon. They didn’t seem outrageous to most people we met. 23-ear-old Karol was surprised: – ‘I didn’t know there are so many gay people in Bydgoszcz.’

75-year-old Zofia was upset at first: – ‘A gay pensioner? When someone is a pensioner does he have to be gay?’ letnia pani Zofia początkowo się obruszyła: – When we explained her what is this action for, her attitude softened: – ‘These posters make no harm to anyone. People are born like that.’

The agency managing the advertising pillars thought the opposite. The action that will run nationwide, was supposed to begin in Bydgoszcz yesteday as well. I didn’t because the ReMedia company denied the advertising space. – At the agency at first I heard that our posters could offend the dignity of onlookers. Then in their official e-mail I read about a “possible disapproval of the passers-by” – says Szpak.

Remedia’s employee admits she didn’t agree to cooperate with the association – ‘The subject of the posters is cntroversial. Although it doesn’t offend my dignity, people are different’ – she says, asking for her name not to be published. – ‘I was worried that the City Council (which owns the pillars) might not like these posters. And if so, we could have been fined.’

‘An action like this doesn’t offend anyone’ – says Maciej Grześkowiak, deputy mayor of Bydgoszcz, responsible for the city’s image. – But since it inflicts controversies, I’ll order the content of the posters to be analysed. I would also like ReMedia t o have a meeting with the Public Roads Department and settle what to do in such instances in the future.’

Is there a chance to still have the Campaign Against Homophobia in Bydgoszcz? – I ask the ReMedia co-owner.
‘Since there is so much fuss about this, the association can come and hang their posters even today’ – answers Magdalena Florek.

KPH coordinator: – This year we won’t make t to print more posters, but we’ll decide on what we’ll do in the next days. If all of us agree, we might launch this action in Bydgoszcz in January.

COMMENT
Michał Cichoracki, a sociologist for Gazeta Wyborcza- The company which denied posters to be hung, has auto-censored themselves. Probably due to fear from the different. It’s because for many years this subject was being swept under the carpet. Luckily the younger generation homosexuality doesn’t inflict negative emotions. Young people are not affraid of the different. However as long as we’re still discussing this, it means the problem of homophobia still exists in our society.

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Council of Europe report confirms Poland’s illegal detentions

8 06 2007

Source: gazeta.pl portal, 8 June 2007
Author: ulast & Polish Press Agency
Translation: MoPoPressReview

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According to the new Council of Europe’s report CIA had secret prisons in Poland and Romania, in which in the years 2003-2005 people suspected of terrorism were being detained.
Council of Europe rapporteur, Switzerland’s senator Dick Marty released his findings on Friday, stating that the “highest state authorities” of these countries had known about CIA’s actions.

The report on secret CIA detentions in CoE member states, informs that among the people held in Poland were Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Abu Zubayda – both important Al-Kaida members.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the mastermind of the 9/11 2001 attacks on New York. Palestinian Abu Zabayda is one of Osama bin Laden’s closest collaborates.

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See also: Council of Europe nails Kwasniewski and WSI as CIA stooges? by the Beatroot

 


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It’s not a joke, it’s the Kremlin

16 05 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily of May 16th, 2007 (page 2)
Author: Tomasz Bielecki in Moscow
Translation: Społem

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Russian public prosecutor’s office seeks revenge on lawyer Karinna Moskalenko. She has courage to represent Kremlin’s political enemies in courts.

Moscow investigators don’t bother themselves with keeping up appearances. They accuse the barrister of… not defending her client Michail Khodorkovski good enough. Khodorkowski was the owner of Yukos oil corporation, who in 2005 was sentenced to eight years in lager-prison for being a political competition to Vladimir Putin.

Prosecutors for almost a month have been demanding for her to be debarred, which means she would lose the right to represent people in Russian courts of justice. – ‘When I heard of this for the first time I thought I thought this was a silly joke’ – Moskalenko told Gazeta yesterday. Prosecutor General accuses her, that she had abandoned Khodorkovski during his February hearings in a syberian town of Chika (near the lager, where Khodorkovski serves his sentence), that she “didn’t fulfil her duties as a barrister”.

Moskalenko explaines, that the imprisoned oligarch was accopanied then by three other lawyers, and that her departure from Chika was agreed upon with Khodorkovski. – ‘Suddenly the prosecutors, who have persecuted him from several years, start to pretend to care for his welfare. This is a material for a grotesque play’ – says the Russian lawyer.

Karinna Moskalenko is the president of Russian Institute for International Legal Defence. The Institute helps Russians facing political repression in fighting justice before international courts.

She defends not only Khodorkovski. She also leads cases of opposition activists, who are being dragged through courts for illegal demonstrations. She represents the families of the victims of Nord-Ost Theatre terrorist attack on Dubrovka, who want a fair trial for police forces involved. Their incompetence and urge to liquidate terrorists fast caused – as say the relatives of the victims – the death of many hostages.

What do the prosecutors venge for? For Khodorkovski? For Dubrovka? – ‘I’m not sure. Since the nineties I’ve been dealing with difficult cases, and apparently I got into their bad books big time. However I don’t feel anything threatens me, even though maybe I should’ – says Moskalenko.

The law lecturer, who at least once a month appears in Strasbourg to fight for the rights of Russians before the International Tribunal of Justice, believes that even in Russia you don’t have to be at the mercy of Kremlin.

Two months ago, to the surprise of of Russian opposition, a group of lawyers including Karinna Moskalenko, have won a case in Moscow against the Prosecutor General. Also a court has decided that the trial against Khodorkovski cannot proceed in siberian Chika, but in Moscow. Which is important, because the trial against Putin’s political enemy can be observed by journalists, and Kremlin’s authoritarian practices will once again make headlines around the world.

Russian public prosecutor’s office has already twice tried to debar Khodorkovski’s lawyers. However the Moscow Bar had strongly rejected its motions. Moskalenko hopes it will be the same this time.

Wouldn’t it be easier to defend thieves, thugs and hooligans? – ‘Few days ago a court fined Garri Kasparov for his participation in an “illegal demonstration”. I found out about this in Strasbourg, from where one can see better how far we are from Europe. In my country the rule of law cannot look like this. Once again I had this thought in my head, that I will not gibe up my fight’.

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President awards human and civil rights activists from the 1970s

24 03 2007

Source: Rzeczpospolita online, March 24th 2007
Author: Rafał Guz

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Over 30 creators and activists of the Ruch Obrony Praw Człowieka i Obywatela (Movement for Defence of the Human and Civic Rights) were awarded in Friday by the President Lech Kaczyński, as a part of the celebrations of 30th anniversary of its establishment.

‘ROPCiO and other underground organisations were the sign of our nation’s resistance to the communist oppression’ – said the president during the ceremony. He added that Poland has to respect Her heroes.

ROPCiO was created by those opposition people, who thought their views do not match the operating since 1976 Workers’ Protection Committee (KOR). Some were in conflict with groups dominating KOR, called secular left, and concentrating around Adama Michnika and Jacka Kuronia. Bogdan Borusewicz, Speaker of the Senate, and local opposition leader in Gdańsk during the People’s Republic, thinks that the Movement enriched the spectrum of democratic opposition in those days. ‘ROPCiO grouped people of more right-wing views than KOR. It was another step in gathering freedom’ – he said.

ROPCiO was established on 25th March 1977. Its manifesto was signed by gen. Mieczysław Boruta-Spiechowicz, Andrzej Czuma, Leszek Moczulski, ks. Ludwik Wiśniewski and Wojciech Ziembiński. Activists of the Movement emphasize its connection to the Second Republic and Home Army tradition, and the Church. Among them were former political prisoners of the ’60s underground organisation “RUCH” (which was discovered by the secret services), veterans of both the Home Army and postwar anticommunist underground.

Respect and defence of human rights was one of the main ROPCiO aimes. The movement also organised help for the oppressed as well as political actions, for example 11th November Independence Day celebrations. Many of its members were imprisoned.

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Gays and lesbians subject to violence

24 03 2007

Source: Metro of March 23rd 2007
Author: Łukasz Antkiewicz

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Lesbians and gays more often come out at school and at work, however aggression towards them is increasing as well – says a report published by LGBT organisations.

According to the estimates, there are 2.5 million homosexual people in Poland. First detailed survey on how they live was being conducted by Lambda and Campaign Against Homophobia associations. We have seen the first results.

Vocal about themselves

Gays are more eager to come out in their environments. 20 percent came out at work, and over 30 percent at school. 80 percent of gays and lesbians come out to their mothers. One in seven would not be afraid to kiss their partner on the street. – ‘Some part of the society has finally realised, that we too have the right to lead normal life, to work and to love. They accept us, and that is why there is more courage to come out’ – says Yga Kostrzewa of Lambda.

And you do need courage to do that. As the authors of the report explain, the agression towards gays and lesbians increases. One in five said that they are affected by physical and verbal/mental violence. Over 70 percent were pushed, hit, kicked, or nudged. A couple from Rzeszów, 27-year-old Łukasz and 24-year-old Marek have felt the violence on their own skin. They were mugged and beaten twice. – ‘We were just leaving a gay bar, and some chavs were waiting for us behind the corner. They kicked us, took our wallet and a mobile phone’ – says Łukasz. Although the aggression, not many victims report to the police. Only 15 percent does that. Why? There were reports that the police officers, who are supposed to provide help, were humiliating gay victims. – We don’t discriminate against anyone. For a policeperson the sexual orientation, faith, or skin colour is not important – says surprised Krzysztof Hajdas of The Police Headquarters.

League of Polish Families: We only stigmatise

For the increase of violence, homosexuals blame the extreme right politicians, like the deputy Minister of Education Mirosław Orzechowski, who threatened to fire gay teachers. – ‘Politicians cause that aggression, by offending and stigmatizing homosexual people’ – says Marta Abramowicz of Campaign Against Homophobia. Marek Szopski, academic from Warsaw University agrees: ‘In current climate, it’s hard to be surprised with the increase of violence targeted at homosexual people. Since the central authorities publicly condemn homosexuals, some groups see it as a consent for fighting with gays’.

Krzysztof Bosak, League of Polish Families MP replies: ‘These accusations are absurd. We are not responsible for violence against gays and lesbians. We only stigmatise their behaviour’.

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Prime-minister: ‘you cannot fire someone because they are homosexual’

17 03 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza of March 15, 2007

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The prime-minster, currently on an official visit to Holland, said that a person cannot be fired on the ground of their homosexual orientation. It came as a reply to the statement deputy Minister of Education Miroslaw Orzechowski’s statement. On Thursday, in an interview for TOK FM radio, he said that gay teachers, who come out, will be fired from work. Teachers’ Union ZNP demands the deputy minister to be fired instead.

Mirosław Orzechowski yesterday declared a fight with promotion of homosexual behaviour – and like he said – “other deviations of this kind” in schools and educational facilities. He added that disobedience in that matter will be punished severely. A teacher who will invite agitators, will lose his job, or even face jail. The same would apply to persons promoting homosexualism.

The Ombudsman is “deeply concerned

The Ombudsman expressed his ‘deep concern” (…). “Particularly inappropriate I find the remarks of Mr Miroslaw Orzechowski, who uses terms like “deviants” when talking about gay people’ – The Ombudsman Janusz Kochanowski wrote in his statement.

Ministry of Education’s spokeswoman Aneta Woźniak assured, that the deputy minister did not use the term “deviant” referring to persons. – ‘Deputy Minister Orzechowski was not talking about people, but actions. When you talk about “deviations” you mean the abnormal behaviour’ – she explained.

ZNP Teachers’ Union: Orzechowski should be dismissed

According to ZNP, Orzechowski should be dismissed for the remarks he made on Thursday. “The deputy minister announced that gay teachers will be fired” – says their statement. Therefore, according to the union, Orzechowski has broken the Constitution, which assures everyone is treated equally by the public authorities.

Aneta Woźniak replies that the deputy prime minister did not announce that gay teachers will be fired. – ‘No one will ask about your sexual preferences. Only those, who promote homosexualism will suffer the consequences’ – said the spokeswoman.

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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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