Friday, July 21, 2006
Poland Launches Investigation into Potato Jibe
Here's something from the "I can't believe they're wasting time and money on this" file: Polish Justice Ministry has launched an official probe into whether the potato satire of Poland's President Lech Kaczynski libelled him. Let's look at the many mind-boggling ramifications.
First, the ministry that certainly has many, many more important functions is wasting its time on a vendetta-like assignment from the presidential palace. Two, Poland is risking further foreign humiliation over an article in some smallish German newspaper that should have been disregarded right from the start. It's already being laughed at over the fact that Kaczynski probably cancelled a meeting with his German and French counterparts over the article.
Three, the government is willing to consider a criminal prosecution of a foreign citizen outside of Poland over a meritless charge. Here in the U.S. satire is usually not considered a libel. Four, the twins are showing once again that freedom of expression in a country of nearly 40 million citizens, guaranteed in the constitution in Article 54, can be trampled upon by the government at any time.
It's no wonder The International Herald Tribune is telling the world not to judge Poland by the actions of the Kaczynski twins. I wish it were that easy. Looks like the twins who once stole the moon are now stealing the country's good reputation, not to mention rights supposedly guaranteed under the constitution.
And do check out this interesting opinion piece by Dorota Maslowska in The Guardian about the disenchanted young Poles and why they're heading west.