< SWITCH ME >

"This morning I called the President of Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, to commence immediately the process of revoking the Polish citizenship from those Polish citizens who represent countries other than Poland. (...) If the President doesn't act in the near future, I will announce political means to change the current legal order"

Miroslaw Orzechowski - from his private blog, 9thJune 2008
Illustration by Laura Hempel
Red card!

Here they meet again: Germans vs. Poles on the football pitch, at the European Football Championship 2008. Never before was the Polish nation so convinced that it is possible to finally defeat the „eternal enemy". And then it happened: Poland was defeated, again, 2:0. But this time the German victory was more devastating than ever: the scorer of both goals was Lukas Podolski, born 22 years ago in Poland, raised in Germany since he was 3 years old, citizen of both Germany and Poland.

The next day the entry in the blog of Mr. Orzechowski, a former minister for education in the government of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, shook the public in both countries. When it was brought to his attention that, according to Article 34 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, Poles cannot lose their citizenship without their consent, Orzechowski already had an answer: just change the Constitution.

The idea that has been fundamental in Europe for the last few decades is the one of sharing and exchange rather than barricading yourself within the borders of your own country. Mr. Orzechowski wags his finger at a foreign player and threatens him with legal consequences, just because the latter chose the country where he has better conditions to develop his career. Such conviction smells a bit like the world on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain before the year 1989: every good citizen is to stay in his country and shouldn't even dream about leaving it, as the only true and just socialistic system needs him.

Anyway, did anybody hear about Argentinians trying to revoke citizenship from Mauro Camoranesi for winning the World Cup with the Italians?

Unfortunately, it was not the first time that Miroslaw Orzechowski had been quoted on the front page of every Polish newspaper. The 51 year old politican had his 5 minutes when in 2006 he became a deputy minister of national education for a year. As a deputy minister, Orzechowski negated in public Darwin's theory of evolution, calling it a lie, as opposed to Creationism that, as he argued, was much older and therfore more reliable. Another time he insisted on establishing legislation banning any form of broadly defined promotion of homosexuality and other deviations in schools under threat of severe punishment - including imprisonment.

But his beliefs and the way he chose to announce them seem to fall on deaf ears in his country. After the collapse of Kaczynski's cabinet he ran for re-election for Parliament, but without much success.

Similarly he ran in the constituency by-election on June 22, 2008 but failed to gain enough votes. To be more correct: out of 80 000 he got 308.

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