Quo vadis Polonia? Islam and the Self-Destruction of the West

Date of event: 10.5. 2016

The keynote speaker was a Polish journalist and essayist Paweł Lisicki followed by Daniel Kaiser, columnist, and commentator for Echo24 magazine. The discussion was opened and moderated by the PCTR Director Alexandr Vondra. The event was concluded by the signing of Paweł Lisicki’s book “Islam and the Self-Destruction of the West”.

Alexandr Vondra opened the discussion with questions about the current situation in Poland, where the new conservative government is criticized by the European politicians as an alleged threat to democracy. Paweł Lisicki described the background of the criticized actions of the new government against the Polish Constitutional Court. According to him, the key question is whether it presents a real threat to the democratic system or whether it is just a dispute common in many democratic countries exaggerated by the radical rhetoric facade. He also added that the Polish Constitutional Court has gradually changed from a neutral authority of justice to a political body that was threatening the power of democratically elected politicians. Similar disputes about who is the sovereign power take place in many countries and do not jeopardize the democratic system. Moreover, the opposition still has unrestricted right to demonstrate and publicly criticize the government.

The next question was about the different reactions of European politicians to the situation in Poland and in Hungary. Paweł Lisicki said this is caused by several factors. Crucial is especially the exceptional position of Polish conservative tradition that was the opponent of Nazi Germany and thus cannot be associated with support for Nazism. However, political elites in the West misunderstand this. There is also a significant difference in the opposition in both countries. While in Hungary Fidesz has an easy constitutional majority, in Poland the opposition is stronger and has, therefore, enough power to export the disputes abroad. The leading party in Poland also lacks the support of a powerful fraction in the European Parliament and good relations with Western politicians. The scale is also different because Hungary can be seen as a mere exception but the Polish shift to conservatism can already significantly undermine the leading position of the European left.

Daniel Kaiser followed by opening the topic of German view on Poland. Paweł Lisicki recalled that the German officials are very cautious in their statements about Poland and that critique comes mostly from the EU representatives. He also added that there is a perception in Germany that the whole of Europe thinks the same way Germans so they are therefore surprised when other countries express different opinions. Lisicki also said that the sentiment towards Poland is changing nowadays in Germany. While so far Poland was perceived as a victim of World War 2 and therefore it was an inappropriate target to ridicule, currently the critique of Polish Catholicism based on 19th-century stereotypes emerges. Paweł Lisicki also confirmed that there are fundamental religious differences between Germany and Poland.

The audience asked questions aimed, for example, at the economic steps of the new Polish government or at the current wave of migration from predominantly Muslim countries. According to Lisicki, it is not the religion of immigrants that is crucial but the important issue is how well they will be integrated because inadequate assimilation can lead to frustrations and subsequently to criminal activities. It is even more dangerous when fueled by radical Islamist ideology.

The event was held with the kind support of the Polish Institute in Prague. Thanks are also due to media partners of the event: Česko-izraelská smíšená obchodní komoraObčanský institut, Echo24.cz, Pravý břeh, Demokratický střed, Centrum pro studium demokracie a kultury Mladí konzervativci.

You can find media coverage from the event at the following link:

Konzervativní listy: http://www.konzervativnilisty.cz/index.php/texty/domaci-politika/1439-pravy-katolicky-konzervatismus-ano-ano-ne-ne