DO NOT BE AFRAID!
Wiesława Lewandowska talks with Andrzej Dubiel about accepting refugees, scaring others with the rightist party and a necessity of returning to Christian roots
WIESŁAWA LEWANDOWSKA: - The wave of Islamic refugees coming to Poland raises a lot of concern; first of all fear against them and also the fact that they raise hatred and aggression from European societies. Leftist politicians are already scaring us with the vision of xenophobic Poland and the rightist party closed to the world. What is the Polish rightist party like?
ANDRZEJ DUBIEL: This is a very difficult question. In my opinion, the rightist party are these groups which remember about the heritage of Poland, about it that Christian civilization is the roots of our homeland and they want continuance of this thousand-year-old tradition. Broadly understood rightist groups in Poland are functioning for the sake of building and strengthening Christian opinion which needs a strong representation more and more, also in politics.
- And might it have it?
- In my opinion – it hasn’t got any. Surely, the Civic Platform is not the Polish rightist party – although it is included in it – which, for its political interests, supports leftist ideas (abortion, in vitro, gender ideology, etc.). I admit that I decided to get actively engaged politics, when the French parliament gave most votes for the right to contract partnership relations. Then I realized that this frontier of a fight between death civilization and life civilization, about which St. John Paul II spoke, is nearer our Homeland. As an alumnus of the Light-Life Movement, actively functioning in Church groups for a long time, I felt in my heart a need to get more engaged in the issues of the country.
- Through a particular rightist political party?
- I undertook a cooperation with the Rightist Party of the Polish Republic, because I think that it is just this group which is working for the sake of defence of Christian civilization, is courageous enough to ask difficult questions, is not afraid of defending what is included in the social teaching of the Church. We are probably the only party which, without any financial means, has existed for so long. For me it is a very serious confirmation that people engaged in the Rightist Party of Marek Jurek are not working for some particular interests, not for political posts, but for ideas. Life proves that even being in such a political niche one can quite effectively influence what is happening around us. For example, recently, thanks to our three councilors in the little Seym in Mazowsze, most votes were given for financing naprotechnology. And an interpellation of Marek Jurek in the European Commission resulted in a clear answer that the Polish government had lied, justifying introducing the ‘a day –after’ pill with provisions of the European Commission.
- Is it the Polish Rightist Party? Modern, and not closed or aggressive, as it is perceived so by the leftist party?
- Yes. Modern rightist party does not avoid using new trends in communication with the society. It is sensibly looking into the future and is also aware of tradition, from which it derives. Our activity is a continuation of good traditions. These are just who are not closed to the past, as the leftist party is doing so. I say that it is not the rightist but leftist party which is closed and engrossed in it ideology! And, surely, it is more aggressive and ostentatious.
- Because it scares others with the rightist party?
- When somebody does not have any arguments, he is shouting, blindly using all kinds of weapon. In Poland not only the leftist party but also the governing coalition scare others with the rightist party – it is only because of desperation, helplessness. This act of scaring is particularly getting stronger just now, towards the difficult international situation connected with the problem of refugees, when one can clearly see the lack of governmental determination in caring about the interests of Poland.
- There is an accusation that it is due to the rightist party that Poland will lose good position in the European Union.
- The Polish rightist party is aware of belonging to the EU community, but with the warning of John Paul II that we should remember that it is the community of nations, about which we must care. We want to care about the interests of our country and also about the interests of Europe. Because heritage of Europe is also the heritage of Poland. We also think that there should be as many common European institutions as there are common interests. It cannot be that, being in the Union, we are behaving only under the dictatorship of France or Germany, like it is now. We should rebuild a strong position of Poland in the Central-Eastern Europe, whereas we are losing it.
- Polish rightist party is not so destructive - as leftist-liberal elites say – that today even 73 per cent of Poles opt against accepting refugees. This is great shame, they emphasize. Are you ashamed?
- Not at all! Speaking about refugees today, one must be aware of the complexity of the problem in the scale of whole Europe. What is scandalous, is this typically leftist-liberal carelessness, and retardation resulting from it in taking up this difficult issue. While we might have avoided today’s fear of many European societies, not only the Polish one. It is years since the Italians have been trying to draw attention of Brussels to what was happening on the coast of Italia, pope Benedict XVI, and later Francis appealed for responsible help for immigrants. Whole Europe kept silent and is surprised now, and starts having justified fears because of the dynamics of the phenomenon. Now everything has been concluded into the issue: allow refugees enter our country or not?
- So, shall we allow them enter our country, or not?
- Rightist groups are not against accepting refugees – we are more afraid of the way in which this all is taking place. When we are losing the ground under our feet, we lack time for discussions about consequences, about what will be in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time. There are not even any attempts to foresee particular social, cultural or political results. In Poland it is also necessary to ask the important question: who shall we allow enter our country? First of all, we should open the border for Poles from Mariupol engrossed in the war, who are begging for help in vain. This May, at a meeting of the Seym Commission for Foreign Matters, Marek Jurek appealed to the Polish government to start a cooperation with charity organizations of eastern Churches in relation to accepting the Christians from Syria and Iraq in Poland.
- We should be open to all those in need – say leftist politicians, referring to pope Francis.
- As pope Francis said – what was really promoted by Polish leading media – every parish should accept one family….Certainly, the Christians are called to help. If an Islamic refugee comes to me, I will give him food, drink and I will try to help him as far as it is possible, but it does not negate my fears or justified fright. Such a fright will be growing in all European societies, not only in the ‘Polish old-fashioned country’.
- So, will we have the ‘European unfashionable country’?
- In my opinion we have had it for a long time. Europe must return to its roots.
- And this return may be hindered just by the influx of a big number of Islamic refugees….Maybe Europe has not got a chance to return to its Christian roots anymore?
- Today it is really to foresee it. I would really like my children and their families to be able to live in Christian Poland, in Christian Europe. Recently pope Francis has noted that Europe made a mistake, when in narration about its identity, stopped speaking about Christianity. So, it is worth listening to what the Pope says in a more detailed and less selective way….It is impossible to conceal that such powerful immigration of muslim communities is a danger for Christian civilization. Countries of western Europe – France, Germany, Great Britain – have already had a culturally foreign multi-million muslim immigration since the 60s of the XX century, by their own choice. Looking at their experiences, we, here in Poland, should not fund ourselves this kind of multi-culture.
- Because our still strong Christian roots could also be cut?
- I am not afraid of it so much. The fact is that for now we can still defend ourselves but it will be more difficult after some time. We were warned against it by John Paul II during one of his pilgrimages, when he was asking for return to principles of the Decalogue. I am sure that today we would not have such big problems with refugees, and the European civilization would not be trembling from fear.
- The very Christianity would be sufficient guarantee of peace?
- Strong Christian fundaments could be the basis for establishing suitable defensive mechanisms. Even today we should not fall into great fear: it is only necessary that Europe should simply recall about its roots.
- How could it return to them?
- It is not impossible. It only needs fasting, prayer, alms and hard work.
- And this is what Christian Europe can learn from Islam today – enthusiasts of multiculti are trying to prove. Even some Christians say that this consumptive Europe may finally wake up!
- It is high time it woke up…The Europeans should only be brave to set up families and have children. Particular countries should support families with all possible methods, so that they would be as big as possible, and would guarantee the future of national communities.
- Otherwise, they will be doomed to demographic support of immigrants? Many politicians say today, that it is quite a good solution.
- Muslim immigration is not and will not be a solution of the demographic crisis, with which Poland and whole Europe are struggling. We can still overcome this crisis, despite its some visible and irreversible results, we must only identify complex actions for the sake of supporting the family. ‘Strong, good family is a fundament of every nation’ – the Primate of the Millennium, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, used to say.
- It seems to be in vain…
- I still hope that it doesn’t… I will only remind that John Paul II started his pontificate with the calling: ‘Do not be afraid!’ And the very Gospel is a happy message – we must be looking inspiration in it and not be afraid. I am sure that such a hard work from the basis, evangelization – with staying calm, without expecting any quick or spectacular effects – has a great and the only sense today.
- However, doesn’t time work for disadvantage of Christian calmness?
- Yes, indeed, there is a big danger but for 2 thousand years Christianity had been facing many dangers. Now, we, Christians, should – certainly with suitably more determination – force politicians to introduce a radical change of the attitude. We cannot stay indifferent, on contrary – we must be braver in protests, when politicians are making mistakes. It is necessary that groups connected with the Catholic Church should be more engaged in political life of the whole national community.
- So, is it enough not to be afraid of Islamic refugees?
- I think that today in Poland we do not have to be afraid of them just because so many good things are taking place in our country – media do not show them – for example, in the area of Christian culture. I organize retreats myself – ‘Sphere of Glory Festival’ - meetings for people of new culture, to which over 500 people come every year…And in whole Poland there are really many similar initiatives, creative priests, parishes, communities. And in a year we are going to have the World Youth Days in Cracow. We really have a new spring of the Church. I am full of hope.