Episode 54

Poland Contributes to UN Fund for Palestinian Refugees & more – 31st Oct 2023

Rally in support of Israel, new airport in Warsaw, evacuation from Gaza Strip, racism in Poland, an award for Cyberpunk 2077, and much more!

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Vanh Gohg Exhibition


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Witam from Keswick Village! This is the Rorshok Poland Update from the 31st of October twenty twenty-three A quick summary of what's going down in Poland.

Let’s kick off the week with foreign affairs...

Zbigniew Rau, the foreign minister, met with diplomats from Arab countries in Poland’s capital, Warsaw. On Wednesday, the 25th, they discussed the Israel-Palestinian war and humanitarian aid for people in the Gaza Strip. Rau condemned the Hamas attack on Israel and said Poland will donate around 200,000 dollars to the United Nations fund to help Palestinian refugees.

Still, on Sunday, the 29th, Israel supporters organized a rally in the capital to show solidarity with Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip. Jarosław Sellin, the Deputy Culture Minister, participated in the demonstration, among other government officials, and said that the executive fully supports Israel in the conflict.

Paweł Jabłoński, the deputy head of the foreign affairs ministry, said twenty Polish citizens are in the Gaza Strip and waiting for evacuation. Jabłoński has been in talks with Israeli and Egyptian authorities but to no avail — the ministry can’t secure a safe evacuation. Moreover, the minister reported that residents from other European countries are also stuck in Gaza. The government plans to join forces with other nations to carry out an evacuation.

Moving on…

On Thursday, the 26th, President Andrzej Duda said the ruling party had chosen Mateusz Morawiecki, the current prime minister, as the candidate to form the next government. The opposition parties, Civic Platform, The Third Way, and the Left Party, selected Donald Tusk. The president will select one of the two candidates who will form a government. In the meantime, on Tuesday, the 31st, opposition party leaders said they were preparing to form a coalition, while the ruling party made a list of opposition members of parliament who may agree to create a coalition with them. The ruling party needs at least thirty-seven more members of parliament to secure the majority.

When the opposition prepares to form a coalition, they also want to reform the Central Anticorruption Bureau or CBA. Last week, Paweł Wojtunik, the former head of CBA, revealed that the bureau monitored the daily actions of politicians during the election process at the request of the ruling party. The CBA rejected all the accusations and said Wojtunik was lying. On Thursday, the 26th, journalists from Onet Online Journal stated that the opposition parties forming the government would shut down the bureau and transfer its powers to the police and the Internal Security Agency.

Speaking of reforms, the opposition parties that recently won the elections threatened to change the structure of the state television station TVP because the journalists supported the ruling party during elections when they were supposed to stay neutral. In response to the opposition parties' statement, on Wednesday, the 25th, the ruling party said they would create a private right-wing TV channel for TVP employees. Jarosław Kaczyński, the president of the ruling party, said that the new channel will speak the truth about what is happening in the country.

When politicians discuss future reforms, people follow the course of a recent criminal case...

On Sunday, the 29th, the authorities prohibited the entrance to forests in Gdańsk, Gdynia, and Chwaszczyno because they suspected that Grzegorz Borys was hiding there. Grzegorz Borys is a former army member who tortured and killed his six-year-old son. The authorities have been searching for the criminal for two weeks. Przemysław Wójtowicz, a military expert, said that former army personnel could survive in nature for a long time. Considering the time spent searching, the criminal could have already escaped to Germany through the forests.

On a happier note…

On Wednesday, the 25th, the state news agency announced that the country will build a new airport near Warsaw. The city already has two airports, Warsaw Chopin Airport and Warsaw-Modlin Mazovia Airport. The new one will start operating in twenty twenty-eight, with a capacity to host forty million passengers annually. The government plans to build additional terminals in the subsequent years and extend the capacity to sixty-five million people.

Similarly, the country finished the new Rocket and Satellite Propulsion Laboratory Center construction in Warsaw. The center will build new rockets and satellites and play a key role in countries' development of space technologies.

Next up…

On Thursday, the 26th, the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency published the results of their recent study on racism in Poland. According to the report, the country has the lowest level of racism towards African people in Europe. Twenty-one percent of Africans faced racism in the country. On the other hand, Austria topped the list with Seventy-six percent of Africans experiencing racism at least once in their lives. Unfortunately, the level of racism has not declined in Poland since twenty sixteen, when the same study was conducted.

On that note about recent studies, freelance work is flourishing in the country...

On Wednesday, the 25th, the Wroclaw-based online freelance platform Useme shared that the number of freelancers in Poland had surged to 330,000. Compared to last year, the amount has increased by eight percent.

Regarding work, the recent time shift gave people more daylight hours.

Some countries, including Poland, move clocks an hour back or forward twice yearly to catch daylight amid changing seasons. On Sunday, the 29th, Poland set the clocks one hour back and will move it forward in March. According to the Polish research center, eighty percent of citizens are against this practice because they often forget to change the clocks and get late to work.

Changing gears a little bit, there were two victories in the cultural sphere…

On Saturday, the 28th, the Polish novel Cyberpunk twenty seventy-seven: Big City Dreams by Bartosz Sztybor, won the best graphic story or comic in the Hugo American Literary Award. For the first time, Poland was nominated for one of the world's most famous prizes for sci-fi and fantasy fiction authors.

On Thursday, the 26th, King Charles III honored Piotr Cywiński, the director of the Auschwitz Museum, with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or OBE, for his contribution to the museum. Cywiński turned the Auschwitz concentration camp into a museum in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, where Nazi Germans murdered thousands of Jews and Poles during World War II. The British ambassador to Warsaw said that Cywiński spreads awareness of the Holocaust to prevent the atrocities of the Second World War from happening again.

Let’s get back to art for a minute…

On Wednesday, the 25th, Warsaw's Soho Art Center launched an art exhibition called Van Gogh & Friends: The Immersive Experience that contained masterpieces of important impressionist and post-impressionist historical painters. The artists used advanced technologies such as virtual reality and high-resolution projections paired with sound effects so that visitors could have the full historical experience. Visitors can also interact with Van Gogh's room and his works in a virtual environment. The exhibition will last until January twenty twenty-four. For more information, check the link in the show notes!

On a related note, the new historical series sixteen seventy will premiere on Netflix in December. Maciej Buchwald and Kordian Kądziela are the directors of the satirical comedy about a Polish nobleman who aspires to become famous and encounters family feuds along the way. The comedy will become the eleventh Polish-language series on Netflix.

And that's it for this week!

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