You see, my good man, it all depends what is foreign to whom.
I love your jargon, even though this neo-bolshevik newspeak is very difficult to translate. “Z racji przekroczenia granicy obcego państwa”? “Usiłujecie się kreować na jakąś nieokreśloną nację”? My goodness, this sounds quite like the late Andrei Yanuarievich Vishinski, the late Joseph Stalin’s favorite prosecutor in show trials of the 1930s. Grow up, buddy…
Let’s try to translate this drivel: “Owing to your crossing of the border into the territory of a foreign state”? “You are struggling to define yourself as an ill-defined nation?”
Let me explain it to you, in easy terms, what Mr Ziemkiewicz, an eminent Polish journalist, may have had in mind when writing his recent book on “Polackness”
The Polish diaspora is not transformed into anything upon crossing international borders. Owing to their lawfully acquired Western citizenships, the diaspora does not reside in a foreign territory. Members of the Polish diaspora in the West reside in their own countries, pay their taxes, vote in their elections, travel with their passports. Simply put, in the West, the Polish diaspora is at home, on our own ground.
There is no reason for any transformation to remove us from this situation. Transformation is your burden, my good man, not ours. It is not us who would wish to impose an inane system on the US, and for good measure put a Communist Youth veteran into the White House. It is you who aspire to the transformation of the Wild East into modern West, a methamorphosis of a lame duckling into a magnificent swan. Well, so far, you suffer from a distinct plumage shortage.
In their own countries, the Polish diaspora enjoys the fullness of their rights just like you enjoy them in Poland, my good man. Except that your fullness seems not quite so full in comparison with ours.
As to the foreign lands, foreign powers, foreign countries, these are “foreign” only to you, my good man. Let me help you: foreign places are defined as ones where you are an alien, my good man. An alien, a burden, a pest prevented from shitting in a public park or sleeping in railway stations. The only place in the known Universe that is not foreign to you is Poland. Anything other is as foreign, alien, threatening and mysterious to you, as the far side of the Moon.
A normal state treats its nationals like it should: with respect, according to the law that is the same to everyone, without excess and petty chicanery of corrupt officials. This standard had existed in Poland before WW2. Today, few people in Poland retain a personal memory of it. Post-war Poland has elevated hostility and malice of the state towards its own citizens to the position of national raison d’etre. Obedience of the state to its own law is not mandatory in Poland; it occurs sporadically, at the personal discretion of officials. After 15 years of purported transformation from Communism, the vast majority of Poles have never tasted the comfort of normality.
Well, we in the Polish diaspora enjoy that very comfort every day of our lives, in our own countries. We do this while you jump up and down, scream and froth at the mouth in discontent of not being able to spoil it for us.
You see, my good man, your noble equality ideal is to make life equally miserable for all. You are unable to do this to us. Hence the bitterness of your deepest disappointment.
In the New World – Australia, Canada, the United States – the Poles of the diaspora are treated in society exactly like everyone else, which is exactly the way it should be. To you, my good man in the lower bowel of a post – communist dinosaurus, this is heresy. This must not gain ground. So you feed your own people horrid stories of ‘rat Poles’; you encourage whinging by bitter diaspora losers who could not make it in the West, because they cannot make it anywhere; you seek to denigrate your betters at every turn. In your demented visions enemies and plots abound, the world turns on the axis strung between pro- and anti-Polish views, and everything from the weather to the phase of the Moon is scrutinised for the slightest trace of sympathy or hostility to Poland.
Your Mr Ziemkiewicz has written an excellent book for the Polish domestic readership. It is selling very well indeed in Poland. To us, on the outside, it provides a very good guide to the zoo. It provides insight into the world inside the cages that we only occasionally hear about, with horror, under normal circumstances. We neither can, nor want or should influence the jungle that takes over your cages after dark. But it makes good and entertaining reading; being able to read Polish means that we do not have to wait for translations.
Regarding your twisted vision of the Polish diaspora “struggling to define itself” – no struggle, buddy, and no problem. We are quite satisfactorily defined by our Western passports, always promptly issued to us with a minimum of fuss and ceremony. Your opinion on our choice and personal taste in the colour of cover of a little booklet with personal data and a photograph in it has no relevance to our reality. Practically every country in the world, except Poland, considers us Americans, Australians, Canadians. Your chance of convincing them that we are in fact escaped Polish subjects, property of our rightful master, the Polish state, is – in round figures – nil.
You see, my good man, the main luxury and the main pleasure of being a member of the Polish diaspora of the West is that people like you, and their narrow minds, do not matter.
This view is far from exclusive. The smartest of your own people, still in Poland, embrace it wholeheartedly. Hence the sustained effort by young Poles to learn foreign languages, and their eagerness to seek out as much information as they can about starting a new life somewhere else.
Many of those young Poles will leave Poland and make themselves members of the diaspora. This is known as “voting with their feet”, my good man. You will be left behind, in the darkest forest of the Realm of Polackness that Mr Ziemkiewicz so aptly describes.