Generational conflict amongst Polish expats

In preparation for the meeting of all Polish Polonias (Polish expatriate communities in different countries, in short, Polish expats), the media has found some time to mention a rising conflict amongst various generations of Poles abroad. Why the surprise?
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The original expats found their way to various nations mostly in the time around WWII, thrown here and there by hurricanes of war. Many were connected to the military, carrying with them strong feelings of loyalty to nation, state, flag, anthem, formal structures (military and political). At that time, most were devout catholics and believed in a strict, formal and patriarchal family. They stayed abroad, had jobs, bought houses and bred kids. Two-three generations later, modern Poland has a large pool of pseudo-Poles living in countless nations, many of which do not speak the language, have little interest in their native homeland and pursue successful local lives. Others seek out information about Poland, learn the language, visit the state. Their parents and grandparents, still living run the multitude of organisations, charities, support “Polish” churches, attend mass and generally have a right-wing, pro-national stance and outlook on life, things and other people.
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The new wave of expats have no military nor combat past, they come from varied backgrounds and possess different levels of education. They do, however, share one common trait – they all left the country of their own volition, in pursuit of a better life, better incomes. To them, their country has betrayed their hopes and dreams, forcing them to emigrate, as good and well-paying jobs are few and far between. Hard working, they seek different things, often suffering modern slavery for a limited period (they hope), so that the (of so typical) Polish envelope filled with cash can be taken proudly home. They have little interest in things held sacred by the older&different generations that preceded them abroad.
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The conflict is one of time: absolutely-Catholic, right-wing, strong-government Poland, cherishing its history is a thing of the past and today’s nation is one torn by crises, weakened by bad rulers, robbed by criminals, politicians and “businesspeople” alike, with millions not benefitting from the promise of a new economic system. It chases people away.
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Many will stay away forever, collecting their families once they establish a decent life, everyone deciding that life away from “Polska” is better, safer, easier, wealthier, free from crap bureaucrats and the bullshit of our “politicians”, where money can be made and not lost to a useless tax system. What’s most important, life abroad can be planned, hopes created, overdrafts and mortgages taken out without having to sell-off own livers.
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The future of Polish expats belongs to the economic exiles, who have little or no attachment to and belief in, this weird country. As such, any attempts made by any governments (funny campaigns of “bring back the expats”) will fail, not because of bad marketing, but because it is those very politicians that drive people away. And nothing will come from the moaning so popular in Polish media and political circles, moaning about lost intellectual capital, lost taxes, lost national insurance, reduction of GDP and the reduction in skilled labourers (with the most popular questions: why do they pay taxes to other governments? who will suppoort us when we get old if everyone emigrates?).
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Why? Simple – the expats are running away from YOU, you political idiots.
Want to bring them back? Retire, quit, go pick strawberries in Denmark, but STOP “being a Polish politician”. Please?

Fresh wave of Polish emigration

The Polish news reported that a new wave of émigrés is preparing for departure – tens of thousands will leave for wealthier countries, looking for a better life. The number predicted is much smaller than the actual number leaving in the next 18-24 months as the economic crisis hits Poland. Many will never return. Polish emigration is a new and unstoppable trend.
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Until now Poland has been supported by EU funding from the recent Brussels funding cycle, that formally ends in 2013, but in many priorities, the funds have already began drying up. Add to that the boom that came before Euro2012 and we had a nice period of growth, business, employment.
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But now, the EU coffers are dry with Brussels obsessing about wasting money on PIGS, the Polish economy is witnessing the first waves of bankruptcies in the building trade, while businesses and institutions are freezing employment, wages, expenses. Simultaneously, many businesses are moving further – starting to downsize in expectation of a dire economic period, while consumers, aware of the impending doom, are doing the same – withholding expenses, uncertain as to their future.
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Did I mention that the Polish government is also tightening its policies? Higher existing taxes, introduction of new ones, increased monitoring and control of economic activity and businesses are an added burden in an economy already inefficient thanks to massive administrative idiocies, incompetent bureaucrats, extended procedures requiring massive amounts of paperwork and a general negative attitude to anyone trying to do anything.
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Simultaneously, we all see the same greedy government spending out stolen taxes in lavish ways on countless stupid and useless projects, while allowing the media to continuously inform us, the citizens, about scandals, thefts, criminals robbing the nation via loopholes, etc.
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Very bad government, idiotic system, moronic politicians, collapsing economy, falling employment tied to rising costs of living and skyrocketing taxation – can anyone be surprised that Poles want to emigrate? UK, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Austria are the primary centres of economic Polish émigrés, desperate to earn a decent wage and to develop their lives, families, futures regardless of the idiocies happening in their home country. They work hard, save, sometimes invest, many are still deluding themselves that one day they will come back. Come back to what? The crap we have happening right now ain’t going to change without a revolution.
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And here we come to the crux – many that emigrated and many that will emigrate soon, will never come back. Why save in Ireland or UK and buy a house in Poland, next to the people you knew and wanted to impress many eyars ago (when leaving Poland), only to discover now, that you have nothing to return to? Your skills don’t matter in Poland, your knowledge, languages, intercultural awareness, etc., are all useless or you will get paid a national average, like everyone else, so… you don’t feel so special.
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With the permanent émigrés vanish our chances for development, for growth, for acceleration, innovation and for generation of new money. But, they are making the right choice.
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Bon voyage – you are doing the right thing. Just promise to tell your kids about this country filled with idiot bureaucrats and politicians less moral and less competent than meth-addicted whores.

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CB radio community

Poland is filled with antennas on cars. Even in cities, thousands of people drive around with rod-thin sources of information. Channel 19 of the Citizens Band is filled with discussions, questions, cries for help, insults, guidance and jokes. The sale of CB units is skyrocketing as Poles learn their benefits – those, that were driven into too-narrow alleys or under too-low bridges by their dumb GPS units are the first to get excited over “real help” from fellow motorists.
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CB radio is all about the benefits of fellow-to-fellow assistance. Those that are lost receive useful guidance. Those in large trucks receive size-specific guidance from fellow drivers (not all roads, tunnels, bridges can support the 40-tonners). Everyone shares information about traffic jams, accidents, pedestrians in stupid places. Everyone also shares information about the locations of police cars with their Freudian “little things” aimed at the passing cars (mobile radar units are a big annoyance), and everyone slows down a few hundred metres before the cops, only to accelerate away after passing the bored officers.
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Politics, sex and swearing are kept to a minimum, often squashed by fellow drivers. Politics, because everyone is annoyed with the crap happening in Poland. Sex, usually as a joke or to comment on hookers by the road. Otherwise, not present. Swearing as well, since the CB is a car-wide unit and children, grannies, priests can hear what is being said (well, same for the sex chats…).
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The truckers have their own reality, lingo, attitudes. Their life is tough, demanding, unforgiving. They hate the little drivers (cars), make fun of the delivery van drivers, conspire to avoid any controls so they can drive for 18 hours straight, or so their trucks do not get caught out with less-than-perfect brakes of no insurance.
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CB radio is all about building “civil society”, the dream of all transformation-era politicians and academics, breaking out of communist-era self-imposed isolation of people and small groups. It is about the exchange of information, sharing, supporting, offering more than what is received. Asking for information requires an automatic response: when asking for the situation 5 kilometres ahead of me and upon receiving the info, it is expected (and I abide, without being prodded) with information about MY past 5 kilometres, which create a good picture 10kms long. Not only for me and my respondent, but for anyone within range, going in both directions. It is customary to send out a “blank call” to any “mobile” and have the response come back if anyone, anyone is within range. People share and interact and communicate like never before. In 99% of cases we never see each other, never meet. We are, however, part of the travelling community (no, not gypsies).
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CB radio is also a challenge to the state institutions, following (or maybe reinforcing in a Bourdenian sense) the communist-era division of “us” (citizens) and “them” (government, power institutions). Drivers have four main enemies, against which everyone bands together.
– Cops, are the biggest baddies. Those in non-descript mobile chase units are not anonymous, as local drivers know their vehicles, their plates even the coppers themselves, and warn out-of-town travellers about the location of a given chase unit. Those hanging by the side with their puny radar guns cannot hide and surprise anyone, as those coming from the opposite side warns us, a few kilometres away.
– Fixed radars in predetermined spots annoy drivers, and are often accused of causing accidents instead of reducing them. In Poland they even cheat on those, having more radar masts with empty boxes, while the radar/camera unit is moved around every few weeks.
– “Crocodiles” or the transport police, tasked with checking the trucks, busses and other contraptions for safety and technical violations. They pose a threat to the big guys, but we from the small cars warn them anyway. Civil society and all that…
– “City guards” (or any other weird name that you wanna give to the not-cops-not-anything-else, renta-guards hired by every city). These pseudo-sharks operate within their cities with small radars and the same ticket-awarding powers.
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When will civil society win with the anti-establishment tendencies? When the number of information passed on cop locations will be lower than other, helpful advice. But then, we go into the zone of topics like: do roadside radar checks increase or reduce safety? Should roadside cops be hiding? Are roadside speed controls all about penalising abuse or deterring abuse?
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Why this post? I bought a CB radio unit 5 years ago (after a 15 point and 1000zloty mis-adventure). For the last 60 months I benefitted from its endless wisdom. Until last bloody Friday, when I switched it off (as some idiot was singing on channel 19). The ONLY two hours without a CB and God punishes me with 10 bloody points plus a few hundred zlotys!!!!!!
Being a good “civil societist”, I didn’t complain. No point, as I knew I was in the wrong: accustomed to perfect visions/knowledge of the road, thanks to my CB… I did one of those more embarrassing road manoeuvres.
They KNEW where to wait for such CB-less idiots like me. I was on TV again, as they showed me my “manoeuvre” on their internal “cop TV”. Nice guys, BTW, polite, professional, smiling.

Smolensk aircrash – Realpolitik

The MAK conference was a masterstroke of international Realpolitics, a pre-emptive attack straight from the Cold War military textbooks

Smolensk aircrash – financial angle?

Money and tragedy mix often, but in Poland everything is extreme – the payouts demanded by families of Smolensk airsrash victims are outrageous. Are they deserved? who pays them?