A growing culture of hate in Poland?

Polish nationalists set up a gallows in the city of Katowice in southern Poland on Saturday and hung up enlarged images of six members of the European Parliament from the liberal opposition party PO. The MEPs recently voted in favour of a resolution of the European Parliament against Poland. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro (PiS) defended the action saying that it was the opposition who first started using this language of hate. Some commentators take a very different view.

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

The country on the path to destruction

For the Gazeta Wyborcza the rhetoric of the ruling PiS and its leader Jarosław Kaczyński has played a key role in provoking such incidents:

“'Communists and thieves', 'bloody traitors', 'miscreants' - all of these expressions belong to the vocabulary of the PiS leader and his closest circles. Both from the speaker's podium in parliament and on the state radio we never stop hearing about how the opposition is guilty of treason. ... In view of our government's unceasing efforts to kindle evil instincts, civil society, the media and the Church must react harshly. We must not allow our country to become dominated by hatred.”

Polityka (PL) /

The next step is physical violence

Polityka argues that the nationalists are actually using the same kind of rhetoric as the ruling PiS:

“The radical nationalists associated this form of demonstration with the language used by prominent PiS politicians when they made their accusations against the six MEPs. The word 'traitor' was first used by members of the PiS. And as we see, a number of people perceived this as a call to set up the gallows. These symbolic gallows are already a violation of human dignity. They're just one step removed from the idea of imposing real 'punishment' - in the form of physical violence.”