Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Poland in the making

20 years ago the Berlin wall fell. Or actually the citizens of GDR heard in the radio that they can now cross the border and claimed their right. Was it a revolution? In the European sense it was the high point of a wave started in Poland and Hungary, under the wind of change blowing from the East.

So where are we 20 years later? I just read a short interview with the Polish new Commissioner - Lewandowski. And it is the first time I hear that the EU budget should not only redistribute but bring dynamism to Europe. I am not sure if the French agriculture got the message but a new revolution is on the doorway. EU as a source of dynamism, not the stabilisation of agriculture public anger.

And then I read a story about the girls from Polish public agriculture companies (PGR) who try their chance in Warsaw. Thanks to EU money they manage to leave the villages of malaise, alkoholism and marital violence (sorry to all those who live there without falling into any of these psychological traps). They stay in Caritas house managed by the church in Warsaw. And you see how the nouns try to educate the young girls: teaching how to keep clean, making sure they feel the inferiority due to their background. 'White stripes' in the Polish context. And when you read this, then you know that Europe cannot turn its back on those forgotten in the hinterland. True- direct payments do not solve this issue. But still most of the Polish peasants (agriculture guys) are below the lower quarter of the French or German bauers.

Poland is still very 'peasant' in its thinking. We cherish resentiments which explain our poverty. We do not like the Germans because they invaded us and are cold, obedient and distant. The communism taught us that the state is a place to claim from not contribute. But time is working to our benefit. Many Poles have left Poland during the XX century and their offspring made their lives anew. They climb the ranks of ex-colonial empires. Many Poles got rich during the last 20 years and as part of becoming to the new elite their learn English, travel the world and aspire to be part of the Europeans. And the arriere-Poland has its chance too. Working in Leroy Merlin, Tesco, body-building gyms and new beauty salons. I hope that the next Polish transformation (the cultural one) will be less violent than the one we undergone in 1989-90.