Friday, June 22, 2012

Poland - Back to the Middle Ages?

Not exactly, but it certainly feels like, when it comes to an issue of free speech.

Poland might be one of the few countries in Europe that has not been affected by the economic crisis and the country is growing rapidly. The UEFA Euro 2012 tournament brought millions of Euros into the local economy and the infrastructure improvements are huge. 

All this, however, does not stop stupidity and backward thinking from creeping into the daily lives of my compatriots. There has been a controversy very recently, which actually started a while back in 2009, when a pop singer Doda, in an interview said that (to translate loosely) she "believes in dinosaurs more than she believes in the Bible, since it is hard to believe in something written by someone drunk on wine and high on some weeds". At the beginning of this week, she was convicted and fined, based on the Polish anti-blasphemy law. Some info about the case in English can be found here.

Was Doda's remark provocative? Sure it was... that's how you keep yourself in the media and create fans. However, it was well within any conceivable limits of free speech. She was only criticizing an idea (religious, or not, it does not matter), did not entice violence against anyone, and expressed only her own opinions and beliefs. To prosecute Doda, or anyone else, for simply not agreeing with the majority, is a terrible idea that belongs in the middle ages, not in the 21st Century Europe. The same goes with so called blasphemy laws, which are still in effect in some countries around the world (you would usually think Afghanistan, or Iran, not Europe, right?). In today's world, we should be able to criticize any and all ideas and beliefs, as long as we respect people. We do not, however, have to hold the same respect for those ideas themselves, especially when they are not based on reality. My idea of "holy" could be yours of "stupid" and vice-versa.

Hopefully, Doda will take this case to the The European Court of Human Rights and the stupidity of Polish law will be stricken down.