Eric Gravengaard

As I have already described briefly in an article two months ago, Political situation in Poland is getting worse every month. It is not even 6 months yet since Law and justice party (PiS) has gained the full power over Polish politics and they have managed to breach the constitution, ignore the Constitutional Tribunal verdict and ignore the EU recommendation and letter of concern. And the proposition of a new anti-abortion law, created on the strictly Catholic values exerted by bishops and presented last week, is a cherry on the top of their reign hitherto.

If the law passes, Poland would have one of 5 most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the world, more restrictive even than Iranian. It forces rape victims and mothers whose life is in danger to give birth. It forces women to give birth to children seriously genetically damaged and it forbids in-vitro fertilization. It also penalises miscarriages with up to 3 years in prison. This is no longer a discussion about the morality of conscious abortion. This is an attack on women’s human rights and it is a pure cruelty.

Again, as it has already happened a few times before during those six months, thousands went out into the streets to protest under the banner of ‘No to torturing women!’. Protesting were encouraged to bring coat hangers as a symbol of risky, inhuman alternative for legal abortion. And the slogans heard were, mildly saying, harsh and literal. Examples, obviously rhyming and sounding better in Polish, were: ‘My vagina, my problem. Prime Minister, watch yours!’; ‘My uterus in not a chapel.’; ‘You don’t want an abortion? Then don’t get one!’. Media are flooded with the strict articles condemning the idea, feminist societies are buzzing with frustration. And the only argument that seems to have a potential to prevent the law from gaining power is… lack of money for the implementation.

jennifer c.

Photo Source: Jennifer C.

In a conversation with a Dutch friend I mentioned that we are supposedly getting one more day off from work from Easter. He expressed his surprise claiming that he was sure that even in Poland Catholic church is getting less powerful. The problem is that it is not only about the church anymore. It is mostly about the country’s vision of 66 years old bachelor, who loves cats and watches Rodeo to get relaxed in the evenings. It is about the government getting more and more similar to a dictatorship by not even a party, but by that party’s leader.

I did really not want to make this article about the uteri’s’ freedom or Poland. I wanted to reach further. Because the main question that pops up in my mind today is much more complex and sophisticated. I wonder what has to happen, in a nowadays bureaucratic world, which sticks together thanks to million of laws and treaties, what has to happen for us to go into the streets? What has to happen to shake our ground and wake us up from the narcissistic numbness? And what is more, what has to happen to make a peaceful protest, counting even for a million, to change something?

If I agree with it or not, I can see a goal in ignoring the excesses of Turkey. In the end it is not the European Union and we do need them to help us with the refugee crisis. But hey, Poland is here, just slightly to the east. We are hosting the NATO summit this July. And frankly? There is nothing you really want from us right now, we are not holding THAT much power. So why would the EU just tolerate our disobedience? I am aware that Poland is not the most ‘Western’ of the countries, despite our ambition for last 30 years. But it is not Africa or the Middle East anymore. It is not as distant to tend to ignore and pretend it does not concern us. I am not a politician or a policy maker, but looking around and seeing Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, the refugee crisis and, frequent lately, terrorist attacks I think that the EU cannot afford those strange distortions in one of the biggest of its member countries. And because of that, maybe naively and idealistically due to my age, I wonder what has to happen to make anybody react with more decisive political and economical tools than just by sending another disapproving note? Would sending political opponents to jail be enough? Because as Polish euro-deputy Michał Boni says, this is coming next and quite soon enough.