Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

Obama and Poland

That was the day! Even football could not unite the Poles as much as Obama’s ‘Polish death camp’ gaffe. US President spoke and went to sleep, and we discovered his words and for 6 hours in Poland there was a festival of condemnation of American leader’s words.

It started innocently with the Foreign Minister’s twitter, then in the morning we could hear the voices of outraged politicians. The Prime Minister Tusk announced his performance as the main dish and he kept his word. In his piercing statement he referred to ignorance and ill will that lead to ‘distortion of history’. Jaroslaw Kaczynski also reacted rapidly and he added the important thought about the collapse of Polish foreign policy. Meanwhile, a bomb was hanging in the air… President Komorowski sent a letter of secret content to his counterpart. It was getting really hot! Fortunately, from the Belvedere garden flowed conciliatory words. In short – Barack, you are a nice guy, you got confused, let’s fix this mistake together.

I imagine President Obama’s morning entrance into the Oval Office when he saw his desk full of briefings, positions, apology demands, etc, etc. He reacted in a modern, adequate to the crisis way and after a few hours the White House spokesman Jay Carney during the daily press conference said that it was a simple mistake and there is nothing to talk about.

Perhaps for them there is nothing to talk about, but for us there is! We remain, as many times in history, with a feeling of injustice and wounded pride. So what to do? How to live? There are a few ideas.

1. You can give back Jan Karski’s medal to Obama. But no one can do it because prof. Rotfeld had the authority to receive the medal but not to give it back.
2. You may send notice to Polish prosecutor’s office. There will be absolutely no effect but at least for several years something will be happening.
3. You can impose sanctions on the United States and seek allies in the European Union to boycott the country (like the football championships)
4. Last but not least – Polish diaspora. If for the first time in history they mobilised and went to vote in the election, Obama would definitely lose.

And now seriously – both the Polish President and the Prime Minister made school mistakes. If you want to have your say in such a case, you must be certain of what will be the partner’s reaction.

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