Transregional Center for Democratic Studies

An urgent message from Poland

Poland’s democracy is being destroyed. The ultra-nationalist ruling party has taken control of all three powers of state: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. Today, December 18, 2019, we are protesting on behalf of the hitherto independent judges who are being disciplined and punished (in the sense of the Foucauldian surveiller et punir).

Alongside the judges, academics are increasingly subject to discipline and punishment and I am one of them. I am accused of ‘striking at the constitutional organ of the state’ because I drew attention to the prejudices of the Lublin Regional Governor: sexism, homophobia, Ukrainophobia, and anti-semitism. The Governor received a medal of honour from my University to which I objected. He also demanded the removal of an art installation from a festival that I curated that drew attention to pogroms in this region perpetrated by Poles against Jews. The governor denied historical fact, and called the installation ‘anti-Polish and abominable,’ and is trying to make me a scapegoat for these many regressive prejudices.

Today I feel great solidarity with endangered scholars who are sheltered by the University in Exile and the New School. I salute the role of the University in Exile and the New School when they offered hospitality to Jewish scholars during the Holocaust, the biggest crime in the history of the humankind.

Hospitality is the highest value in my ethics. All we need is hospitality again: now!

Tomasz Kitlinski

Associate Professor at Curie University, Lublin, accused under paragraph 175 of the Penal Code; my alleged crime carries with it a penalty of two-year imprisonment.

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