POLAND DECLARES WAR ON THE RAINBOW PLAGUE
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There were drag queens and rainbow flags, dancing and chants of Love everyone. But the first-ever Pride March in the Polish city of Bialystok last month wound up being more of a massacre than a festival. The thousands of spectators who lined up along the parade route on July 20 was a hostile mob of ultra-nationalists and Catholic pro-family activists who had gathered to show the marchers they weren’t welcome in Bialystok.
Outnumbering the 1,000-odd queers four-to-one, the hostile crows assaulted and terrorized the prancers, called out death threats, and showered them with firecrackers, cobblestones, and bottles, some filled with urine.
“I’ve never been so scared in my life. I’ve never experienced homophobic hatred on such a scale before,” said Jakub Przybysz, a 26-year-old medical intern who was struck in the elbow by a cobblestone.
“People who look queer are being attacked on the street for this, almost every day,” said gay rights activist Kaczorek. The violence Przybysz and fellow marchers experienced was the result of an unprecedented wave of hostility towards sexual degeneracy.
Pro LGBT groups say the right-wing populist party that has governed Poland since 2015 made attacking their community part of its platform ahead of upcoming national parliamentary elections in October. The ruling party painted it as ‘an alien ideology that threatens the traditional, Catholic Polish family’. Homophobic violence is not a hate crime in Poland, meaning police have no data tracking anti-LGBTQ assaults.
The ruling party also had support from the Catholic Church. Earlier this month, Marek Jędraszewski, the Archbishop of Krakow, said in a homily that the country was under threat from a “rainbow plague.”
Right-leaning local government civil servants have willingly joined in Law and Justice’s culture war, with more than 30 right-leaning local governments declaring their districts “LGBTQ-free.”
The government has used state-controlled broadcasters to push its anti-gay agenda over the airwaves, making it an inescapable part of the national conversation.
In 2015, at the height of the European migration crisis, Law and Justice stormed its way into government on the back of a stridently anti-immigration platform, positioning itself as the staunchest defender of Poland from a wave of Muslim immigration that it blamed on liberal politicians in Western Europe.
The party’s warned that Middle Eastern refugees could bring “parasites” and diseases and encourage nationalism This affected the country’s Muslim population, estimated to number 40,000 in a country of 38 million people.
The campaign was a roaring success for Law and Justice, sending the party into government with an outright majority, the first time since the fall of Communism that a Polish party had done so. Same-sex marriage remains illegal and same-sex partnerships aren’t legally recognized.
What’s concerning, observers say, is that the strategy seems to be working. Law and Justice look set to return to power, with a mandate to further consolidate its project of remoulding Polish society in its nationalist, illiberal image. The assault on the LGBTQ caucus has emboldened Poland’s pro-family nationalist bigots.
Michael Walsh was awarded ‘Writer of the Year 2011’. With 60 books bearing his name, thousands of new stories and columns, Michael is arguably Britain and Europe’s most prolific author of multi-topic books none of which have been ghost-written.
MICHAEL WALSH is a journalist, broadcaster and the author of RISE OF THE SUN WEEL, EUROPE ARISE, TROTSKY’S WHITE NEGROES, MEGACAUST, THE ALLIED INVASION. DEATH OF A CITY, WITNESS TO HISTORY, THE BUSINESS BOOSTER and THE FIFTH COLUMN VOLUME I and II, and other book titles.
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