Monday, March 5, 2007

3,2,1....the Bomb Is Dropped

And here they 10.30pm, Sunday night, these two posters were already put up around Warsaw!!!!
So the cat's out of the handbag I guess! In the meantime a LOT has been going on so I'll try to recap.
In a typical cause and effect manner, the more I feel like we're doing to raise awareness and reach equality, the more I see that in fact there are many things going drastically wrong. In an sign of the Polish government's fabulously ridiculous coalition partners, Roman Giertych, leader of the League of Polish Family (ultra-conservative party), made some fabulously ridiculous statements CLAIMING it was the stance of the government, which is not true. The timing couldn't be better for us. What better way to show the kind of situation we're in than having an idiot like this give us so much to work with. Here an article about what he said:
Education minister causes media storm in Germany 2007-03-02, 15:18 Roman Giertych has caused a howl of protest in the German media after a speech where he demanded a European wide ban on abortion and homosexuality. Deputy premier and education minister Roman Giertych has said that the stand he presented at the meeting in Heidelberg is the stand of the Polish government. During the informal meeting of European education ministers in Germany Minister Giertych appealed to introduce a ban on abortion and spreading homosexual propaganda in Europe. At a press conference in Warsaw today Roman Giertych explained that his stand was earlier consulted with the European committee of the Council of Ministers and it has not been criticised. Minister Giertych underlined that his expose, which erupted such a buzz in German media contained quotes of Pope John Paul II , among them describing abortion as a barbaric act or calling a nation which kills its own children a nation without a future. A journalist of the German “Die Tageszeitung” Gabrielle Lesser said that the descriptions used by Roman Giertych did not bring to mind the late Pope but rather speeches of Nazi German leaders. Minister Giertych protested he feels insulted by the reactions of German press. The Polish foreign ministry does not expect any communiqué referring to the speech of Roman Giertych or the reactions of the German press.
SATURDAY'S EVENTS - Global Village:
The poster campaign, as explained before, is part of a project funded by the Council of Europe, Week Against Homophobia. Here is the poster that they designed and printed for the event (the picture isn't terribly in focus).
Saturday's event was a Global Village. It was basically a NGO fair. A large tent was set up in the middle of Plac Konstytucji in the center of the city and organizations which work against discrimination could display their activities. (There were men on stilts out side the tent...anything for a cheap thrill!)
It was organized by Lambda, another LGBT org in Poland. In fact many people came. I was representing the office I work in, OSCE-ODIHR as well as KPH. We also were able to pass out our postcards.
And here we have our favorite neo-fascist Młodzież Wszechpolska (All-Poland Youth) demonstrating against us. As you can see, not exactly too impressive.


Today was the annual "manifa" which is typically a feminist march on or around March 8, International Women's Day. This year, considering the above mentioned issues of abortion and what not, it was made a slightly different march focusing on those issues. We were there in support, since among other things, we are aware that sexism is the basis for homophobia.

There were over 1,500 participants, and about 100 counter demonstrators (also from MW). This is my favorite pic from the march: We also were at work handing out our postcards:


Tomorrow is our press conference and exhibition opening, which is making me a tad nervous. I could well be picked apart for being American rather than a Pole who was born and grew up here. Other than that, the things we've seen in the media so far havn't been particularly balanced or well-thought out I would say. Take for example this report from TVN (again, the station which should be most professional and progressive of the mainstream ones) which came out last week a few days after the first poster came out. The reporter starts the clip by saying "And now, here we have evidence that even acting for a good cause, you can go overboard." Later they show how people are offended by the posters and how experts claim that it's not an effective campaign. Of course all of these conclusions are made WITHOUT seeing the second poster (a crucial element to the campaign I would say) and the reporters know that.

On a personal note...I've been getting about 5-6 hours sleep a night. And it didn't help that Saturday there was an amazing party after the GLobal Village event in Mandala Club which kept me up till 3.30am (though well worth it after this week!). And slowly I'm coming out personally to some more family since I do feel guilty that they'll have to find out through the news otherwise. I just called my aunt (the mother of my goddaughter, Natalia) who lives in a small city in southern PL tonight to inform her of a "little thing I'm doing up here in Warsaw oh and by the way I'm gay. Did my mom tell you?...No? she didn't?" :-) Apart from the fact that I woke her up, I don't think she was doing cartwheels over this tidbit of info. Hopefully she won't take away visitation rights to my precious Natalia!


Carla Luís said...

Greg, you're wonderful, really!!! :)
I've started spreading it here in Portugal as well, let's see how it comes out.
Baci baci,

Anonymous said...

your work is very impressive. i'm looking forward to more!

Maman Poulet said...

Makes it into the office to finally be allowed read the blog - wow Greg, great blog!!!! Adds to favourites! (And if I ever sort out my blog roll!)

Raisa said...

This is great info to know.

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