We reported in last night’s news feed about the detention of Martin Sellner and Brittany Pettibone by the British authorities when they entered the country from Austria. They were arrested because they planned to interview Tommy Robinson, and because they might have intended to — gasp! — state their political opinions in public.
Something similar has happened to a Polish journalist named Rafał Ziemkiewicz. In Mr. Ziemkiewicz’s case, however, the state’s preferred method was to mau-mau the venues where the journalist was scheduled to speak, forcing him to cancel his appearances.
Many thanks to Ava Lon for translating this video report, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
The article below on the same topic (also translated by Ava Lon) appeared at the French site Observatoire du journalisme:
Inversion of the Situation 28 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall: A Polish Journalist Prohibited in Great Britain
March 3, 2018
Rafał Ziemkiewicz is a well-known journalist in Poland. He has his pages every week in the prestigious conservative weekly Do Rzeczy, and has worked for several other respected press titles over his twenty-year career. He is invited to speak on television. In the past he had a show on public television, and he has one today on private TV: TV Republika.
He is also a prize-winning writer in his country, an author of some bestsellers. Poland being a country where pluralism in the media is real, Rafał Ziemkiewicz may well display opinions to the right of the PiS, closer to Christian nationalist circles than the Christian Democrats, but he is clearly part of the Polish mainstream.
Call for censorship from The Guardian and a Labour MP
The Polish journalist Rafał Ziemkiewicz was invited by an organization of Polish emigrants to Britain to host author meetings planned for February in the cities of Cambridge, Bristol and London. This displeased Labour MP Rupa Huq, a former journalist for the leftist newspaper The Guardian. The MP, who was born into a Muslim family from Bangladesh, wrote to the Home Office asking for a ban on his stay for this Polish journalist, whom she considers to be “far right”. The Guardian orchestrated the campaign to support Rupa Huq’s request, which was also relayed by the “anti-racist” NGO Faith Matters. In the past the same MP had asked that US President Donald Trump — whom she describes as homophobic, Islamophobic and racist —not be allowed to set foot on British soil either.
The Polish organizers of these author meetings had no choice but to cancel. In “liberal” Albion, the owners of the premises had been pressured by Her Majesty’s police. Thus one of the pubs reserved for a discussion by the local Poles with Ziemkiewicz was warned that he could lose his license in case of trouble, and that troubles were to be expected. According to the Polish journalist, even the restaurant where a simple dinner was planned in his presence would have preferred to cancel the reservation!
From Polish communism to English liberalism, same fight
One suspects that Rupa Huq was warned by left-wing Poles who do not like the speech of a right-wing Ziemkiewicz. Left sectarianism also exists among Poles, except that in Poland they cannot prevent a journalist on the right from expressing his opinions (it is not for lack of trying, sometimes). In Britain, complained Ziemkiewicz in the columns of Do Rzeczy, “for a gathering to be banned, for it to be censored, it is enough to be ‘controversial’. What played a role, according to Ziemkiewicz, is also this alliance between Islam and the extreme left that is observed in the United Kingdom. For it is true that Ziemkiewicz is very critical of immigration and Islamization observed in Western Europe.
Welcoming the cancellation of the Polish journalist’s arrival, the former journalist for The Guardian, who became a Labour MP, said that her borough in Ealing had shown that it “would not tolerate the hatred and extremism of neo-Nazis from Poland”, for which Ziemkiewicz promises her legal proceedings in the British courts. “Extremists”, “fascists”, “neo-Nazis”: the rhetoric used today in Western Europe to silence dissenting voices closely resembles that of communist regimes in Eastern Europe before the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989.
|03:57||We invited them, because we organize this type of meeting from time to time|
|04:01||with Independent Poland [conservative paper], with Artur Bednarski, [conservative journalist] ,|
|04:05||with very popular writers, journalists on the right.|
|04:09||So now we found out that Rafał Ziemkiewicz [conservative journalist] is the worst.|
|04:13||That he is… —A fascist! … —fascist, a Nazi, you name it.|
|04:18||You name it.|
|04:22||Any epithet. And we found out that a Rupa Huq intervened|
|04:26||in all this, or what was her name. —An MP.|
|04:30||A British MP. — A MP, yes, from the constituency of Acton and Ealing,|
|04:34||who is of course a leftist, because from the Labour Party, or a some Neo Communist “yacheyka”|
|04:38||[USSR —smallest entity in the Party] as you say. —Yes. —So she is making our life impossible|
|04:43||beyond belief. And I think that for the time being|
|04:47||it will be the end of all those meetings, because it’s the third…|
|04:51||because at first it was supposed to be held in|
|04:55||the Polish Social and Cultural Center, which —I’m reminding|
|04:59||all those who don’t know — is supposed to be the venue for all Polish meetings|
|05:03||and social, cultural and fun events.|
|05:07||Then… well, we were told that this venue isn’t available. The director|
|05:12||turned out to be a simple coward,|
|05:16||because nothing would have happened, it would have been|
|05:20||fantastic discussion about what is going on in Poland. Then there was|
|05:24||the Belvedere pub in Acton, but its Polish manager,|
|05:28||who happily agreed to that meeting, was forbidden|
|05:32||to host it, because he was told that the cops would close his pub for 48 hours, OK?|
|05:37||This is a true totalitarianism, I would say.|
|05:41||You know this is coming straight from the government. So we were supposed to do it in Slough,|
|05:46||where there was a book fair,|
|05:53||hoping that this could be an good opportunity|
|05:57||Now before I entered the studio here, I found out there were even more problems|
|06:02||which weren’t resolved yet, and it doesn’t look good. So we’ll have to decide|
|06:06||whether we keep organizing all those meetings for the time being, or if we should cancel them,|
|06:10||because it makes no sense for Rafał Ziemkiewicz to take risks,|
|06:14||that what happened for example to Jacek Międlar [Polish conservative priest] may happen .|
|06:18||He was apprehended at the border and sent back to Poland.|
|06:22||I am really tempted to let it happen, because then perhaps|
|06:26||the Polish consulate and especially the Foreign Ministry would do something|
|06:30||Those commies won’t do anything! — Well, exactly, so it doesn’t make sense,|
|06:34||because really… And today I found out that my time in Great Britain|
|06:39||is coming to an end, because the leftists|
|06:43||published a number of articles,|
|06:47||which were full of inaccuracies,|
|06:51||a total mixture of facts and rubbish.|
|06:55||The person who wrote it has no idea what he is talking about. He pulled everything out of his butt;|
|06:59||he is using my image to call me a fascist. You are there as a fascist as well.|
|07:03||Thank you; thank you very much.|
|07:08||And Witold Gadowski [conservative writer] is a fascist, Wojciech Sumliński [conservative journo],|
|07:13||and of course Rafał Ziemkiewicz. — Good company! — A very good one. I have nothing against it.|
|07:16||but I have something against being called a fascist, because my maternal grandfather fought against|
|07:24||fascists and communists.