Monday, July 03, 2006

President Kaczynski runs for cover...updated

...and calls off Weimar Triangle 15th anniversary celebrations after suffering mysterious illness.

‘The Weimar what?’, I hear you cry. It’s an informal alliance first formed between France, Germany and Poland back in 1991. It’s really a series of summits where leaders sit around and talk about stuff.

The celebrations for this ‘triangle’ were complete in the town of Weimar, where the first talking shop took place. And then, with French and German bags packed and ready to go, President Kaczynski, right at the last moment, says he can't come! ‘Due to an illness’ the presidential palace announced but without filling in the details.

And then it emerges that the president has an extreme case of Belwederska Belly, which he picked up at the weekend.

Still, cynics will be cynical: this is a president who is not really into foreign affairs. He doesn’t like traveling abroad. Not really interested.

And France and Germany can’t be his favourite countries. Some Poles still haven’t got over Jacques Chirac’s remark after Poland supported the US position before the Iraq war. He said, rather patronizingly:

"It is not well-brought-up behaviour. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet,"

So President Kaczynski might well prefer sitting on the can all day with Chirac’s Revenge than he would spending a day sitting around having to indulge in diplomacy small talk on a pleasantly sunny afternoon.

Update Tuesday morning:
The talk now surrounds an insulting article in a newspaper printed in Berlin at the weekend about the Kaczynski brothers, which many are speculating led to the presidents ‘diplomatic illness’.

The article does seem rather childish: it refers to the diminutive height of the two twins, calls them ‘a couple of potatoes’ and says something nasty about their mother.

Now here’s the weird bit: the article was put, in full, onto the Polish Foreign Minsitry web site! The person that did that was the director of the web site, Pawel Dobrawolski, someone who has long experience as foreign spokesman for the various right wing governments here – and someone I have spoken to many times and is a very nice, helpful guy.

Dobrawolski has now been given the sack.

But did the German ‘potatoes’ give President Kaczynski his ‘bad stomach’?

The plot thickens.


michael farris said...

Amateurish, really, really amateurish. I keep thinking I can't think less of this government and damned if they don't prove me wrong, every. single. time.

And I fully blame apathetic progressive voters who couldn't be bothered to get off their complacent asses and vote for the other guys.

Anonymous said...

Q: Do you know what they call the "Fourth of July" in Poland?

A: Wtorek.

beatroot said...

What happened as a result of the Stamp Act?

The Americans licked the British!

michael farris said...

And just to prove that they don't understand the concept 'freedom of the press' the little duck (who had hims wittle feewings hurt) wants the German government to denounce the article.

beatroot said...

..and the newspaper in question is a local one with 15,000 circulation!

And why should a German government denounce the words - silly but not really very serious - of a newspaper that hardly anyone reads?

Why business is it of a government to get involved in edtitorials at all?

Beats me.

Anonymous said...

Nobody within the media, no matter how insignificant the circulation of the publication they own/work for is, should utilize their professional reporting authority to damage, embarrass, criticize, satirize, insult, or slander any individual's personal physical appearance, ethnicity, and religion via written or oral medium which might prove to be offensive, let alone if the person in question is one of political importance.

Here is a statement by the "International Principles of Professional Ethics in Journalism (UNESCO)" issued by the fourth consultative meeting of international and regional journalists, Paris, 1983, under the auspices of UNESCO.:

Although it is dated, that by no means reduces the meaning conveyed.

"Respect for Privacy and Human Dignity"

"An integral part of the professional standards of the journalist is respect for the right of the individual to privacy and human dignity, in conformity with provisions of international and national law concerning protection of the rights and the reputation of others, prohibiting libel, calumny, slander and defamation."

The columnist of Die Tageszeitung should make an apology, if not, the editor in chief should apologize to Kaczynski.

It often seem in journalism, there are double standards for slander against certain ethnic minorities and religions versus a specific group which falls into the 'acceptable to slander' category, when it comes to ethics in reporting. For example, if the same publication in question wrote an article defaming Africans or Jews, there would have been no doubt that a massive public outcry and protest would have occurred, and the publication would have issued a prompt apology and retract it's offensive statement more quickly than you can wink your eye. Are there double standards in journalism? It seems that way.

beatroot said...

kaczynski is small; kaczynski is a potatoe...if politicians were that insecure that a small circulation (or large) newspaper makes such statements and demands an apology then they would do nothung else but complain. There wouldn;t be any time left to govern.

Imagine if Pres. Bush demanded an apology everytime someone was a bit nasty to him?

I have already said the comments were childish but would think politicians ha a bit thicker skin than this...

michael farris said...

"you would think politicians ha a bit thicker skin than this..."

Have you ever seen a potato with a thick skin?

Though I have to say, when I say (write) that the Kaczynskis are very small men I'm not referring to their physical size at all.

Anonymous said...

"kaczynski is small; kaczynski is a potatoe"

The statement 'small' itself doesn't necessarily imply anything offensive and shouldn't. I believe Kaczynski wasn't really offended by that term alone. Nobody should be. You can be tall and ugly, small and handsome, and vice versa. However, when you start comparing an individual with a vegetable and getting personal about their family, then it's starts to cross the line of ethical journalism.

Since this is only an insignificant blog like many others in the blogosphere with fairly low traffic, anything you say doesn't matter, because it's not a licensed publication.

Beatroot, I guess you decided to overlook what Anne gave us here. She made a good post.

beatroot said...

This blog gets between 4 and 5,000 readers a week. In terms of MSM that is indeed insignificant …though for a blog with a ‘specialist subject’ like Poland it’s not that bad…

Anne said: nobody within the media, no matter how insignificant the circulation of the publication they own/work for is, should utilize their professional reporting authority to damage, embarrass, criticize, satirize, insult, or slander any individual's personal physical appearance,

Aparrt from the fact that the charge of ‘slandering’ someone’s personal appearance by calling them a ‘potato’ would be laughed out of any court I can think of (really, grow up!) you seem to be saying that no journalist or writer should be allowed to be offensive!

It is not a crime to be offensive.


And the only politicians who get upset about offensive writing are the very insecure ones.

And Judith: what do you mean by a ‘licenced publication’?….have you not noticed that Poland is now a democracy? Needing a licence to publish went out in 1989!!!!

But I really don't think you believe in freedom of speech do you? Some people are finding it difficult to adapt to democracy....

Anonymous said...

Beatroot wrote:
"This blog gets between 4 and 5,000 readers a week."

I was referring to 'posting' traffic, not readership. The readership figure is impressive.

Personally, I enjoy the blog, although as others have mentioned, you should diversify your subject matter a little more objectively. It often reminds me of an English version of "Nie".

A licensed publication meaning a registered company (corporation, self proprietorship, limited partnership, partnership, etc.) such as Agora. I mixed up my intended wording in the prior post.

If you wish to start up a physical (paper print) publication with the aim to produce a profit, it must be registered as one of the entities listed above.

Beatroot wrote: "It is not a crime to be offensive."

It is, if the offensive wording or intent to offend goes to far. Just look at the recent closing of the slanderous Polish chapter website of "Blood and Honor". They simply went too far and crossed that fine line. I'm glad to see that Poland shut down the Polish chaper. Why haven't other countries taken any steps to shut down similar hate sites?

I think almost everyone would feel offended if they were attacked publicly in the media. Beatroot, would you be offended if some newpaper or even blog posted your photo, mentioned your name, and described your physcial appearance in a defamatory way? Even on your blog, when someone does get personal with you in a negative way, you do get defensive sometimes. Admit it. It's only a normal reaction.

I'm a true advocate of the freedom of speech, when it is used in a productive and unharmful manner.

beatroot said...

It often reminds me of an English version of "Nie".

That's outrageous! ;-)

Of course getting offended is not pleasant and it is a nromal human emotion.

My point is that more and more these days people expect to get through life without being offended. Some want laws put in place to to rotect them from being offended. (I am thinking of those sill dannish cartoons etc etc.

And that is realistic. And we are not that weak and vulnerable thyatb we need this protection.

And you, me, and Mr President are adults. WE get offended. We get over it.

and Judith - I know we have been a little agressive with each other in the past but I don;t want you to think I do not appreciate you cming with way for a bit of an argument.


It often reminds me of an English version of "Nie".


beatroot said...

Just a little bit more about the ratio of comments on blogs to their readership.

The UK, for instance, is way behind the US in terms of blogging. But one of the most popular blogs in the UK is bloggerheads. They get maybe 10,000 readers a day - not a month, a day. But look how many comments they get.

Where as Harry's Place gets less readers but many more comments....

The ratio of comments to readers is very low....less than 1 in a don't judge blogs just by the amount of comments they get.

Most people do not want to comment, they want to read.

But thank goodness for cemmentators like you, are part of the entertainment!

beatroot said...

Even more on reader/comment ratios...

If you read this article by the guardian,16559,1644361,00.html

about the top British blogs you will see Chicken Yoghurt mentioned.

Good blog. But compare the amount of comments it gets to the beatroots and who is the winner?

WE ARE! By a long way...

beatroot said...

the same goes for Slugger Otoole...

in fact, given that this blog is written by a British person, I am claiming that this is the fourth most popular blog in the UK!

So there!