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The terms 'anti-Polonism' and 'polonophobia' must be introduced into public discourse, declares Prof. Zybertowicz in Berlin.

The terms "anti-Polonism" and "polonophobia" need to be introduced into public discourse in many countries - declared in the capital of Germany prof. Andrzej Zybertowicz

Published: October 1, 2019


The terms "anti-Polonism" and "polonophobia" need to be introduced into public discourse in many countries - declared in the capital of Germany prof. Andrzej Zybertowicz. The sociologist noted that cases of anti-Polonism "must be stigmatized and combated" as any other racist remarks and hate speech.

Anti-Polonism represents the dislike at the level of ideology or culture, which through hostility finds expression in some forms of aggression - Zybertowicz said during a lecture at the Discussion Club in Berlin.

Defining this term, he specified that this aggression may be "cultural” by using a specific language to denigrate the Poles and “Polishness," but it may be also in the form of "institutional solutions, explicit or implicit, whereby it becomes more difficult for the Poles to pursue their values, culture and interests, or finally it can be a comprehensive form of aggression against the overall achievements of our culture."

The sociologist added that it is important to emphasize that "anti-Polonism carries some notion of racism and is based on racist stereotypes."

Zybertowicz emphasized that it is important to distinguish polonophobia from anti-Polonism. As he explained, these are "manifestations of anti-Polonism that are not ideologically driven or are not institutionalized." Someone may not be even aware that he or she is a supporter of some anti-Polish ideology, that he o she has been infused with some anti-Polish theories, stereotypes, and visions, but in their instinctive reactions and thinking patterns there is a dislike for the Polish people, for Polishness, for our history, for our attitudes, our ambitions in the European Union, etc. - said the sociologist. According to him, the intentional anti-Polish actions have been effective because they are grounded in polonophobia.

As historical roots of anti-Polonism, Zybertowicz enumerated partitions of Poland, Germanization and Russification operations, deportations and mass exile, among others. He stressed that we should also view Polish jokes created and spread in the United States and Canada primarily by the diaspora of the partitioning powers of Poland in this historical perspective.

He pointed out that unfortunately there are "almost no scientific studies on anti-Polonism.” This state of affairs shows on one hand "intellectual and moral misery and the lack of courage on the part of a large part of representatives of social sciences.” On the other hand, the Polish state did not stimulate such research and until recently has not considered it important to study the phenomenon of anti-Polonism and polonophobia.

Zybertowicz added that in the matter of anti-Polonism it is significant that after World War II "the perception of the Western public opinion has been evolving towards a departure from the truth and a reversal of signs." He emphasized that the Germans successfuly implemented the “Nazi Whitewashing Program," in other words, the separation of Nazism from Germanism. He also pointed out that in the "model of responsibility for World War II,” the Soviets are routinely forgotten today.

More and more often people all over the world say that the Nazis were probably Poles. This sham does not even have to be explicitly spelled out - it is enough that it works at the subconscious level of polonophobia - noted Zybertowicz. He added that Poles "in various discussions (...) are portrayed as misogynists, racists, homophobes, etc."

Such anti-Polish behavior is accepted and tolerated. In particular, in the Western societies there is a great social acceptance of such callous behavior. “Our first task is to reduce this social acceptance of anti-Polonism” - said the sociologist.

He noted that had the Polish international communications in social media were more effective and better coordinated, "situations such as taking children away from the Polish families" would probably be less common in Western Europe. Less often harassment would have been allowed for using the Polish language in public places – he added.

Zybertowicz said that the people should know the facts and understand that Poland was the greatest victim of Second World War, the primary victim of two totalitarian regimes, which have been choking Polish aspirations for freedom and liberty in the nineteenth century.

The terms "anti-Polonism" and "polonophobia" must be introduced into public discourse in many countries. We have to stigmatize and fight anti-Polonism as any other racist and xenophobic behavior. He added that anti-Polonism must become the subject of social science studies not only in Poland, and cases of anti-Polonism must be prosecuted, properly punished, and well publicized.

Source: kpc / PAP, wpolityce.pl
Photo: wpolityce.pl