Friday, April 8, 2011

Jan Sobieski = Hero -- No, Wait, Sobieski = The Brute Polak

How this:
Jan Sobieski by Jan Matejko
Becomes this:
Result of a Google image search of the word "Yokel." Source.

Imagine this internet conversation:

An author, Bill Levinson, is writing on a widely-read blog. He praises Jan Sobieski, a Polish king of world historical importance. Sobieski commanded the victorious troops at the Battle of Vienna. His troops defeated the Turks, thus halting jihad's millennium-long advance. As prominent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis puts it, "The Ottoman jihad against Christendom finally foundered under the walls of Vienna in 1683, and since then, despite some occasional attempts, no Muslim state has posed a comparable challenge to Christendom" (Lewis, "The Middle East, a Brief History of the Past 2000 Years.")

Rephrasing Cesar's famous quote, "Vini, vidi, vici," "I came, I saw, I conquered," Sobieski said, "Vini, vidi, deus vicit." "I came, I saw, God conquered."

Levinson cannot say enough good things about the Polish warriors in this decisive battle, the winged hussars:

"The unusual wings had two possible purposes. The first was to make a hissing or rattling noise that terrified horses that were not accustomed to it, and the second was to defeat the lariats that were sometimes used by the Tartars. The leopard or tiger fur also was probably quite menacing to horses that were unaccustomed to their appearance or odor. The highly innovative Poles doubtlessly realized that, once they frightened the horse, the man on its back became irrelevant to any subsequent proceedings."

Levinson cites another famous Pole:

"Henryk Sienkiewicz won a Nobel Prize in literature, and his Trilogy are among the best epics that have ever been written."

Levinson reminds his reader: Sobieski's 1683 victory is very much alive. Islam has been planning its revenge for centuries, and jihad is again advancing. The Battle of Vienna took place on September 11 and 12. These dates are not insignificant to the modern person.

In short, this widely-read blog has

Brought an historical Polish hero to its readers' attention

Praised this hero

Related this hero to the average citizen's concerns today: terror attacks.

Now imagine this development in the conversation: the blog's reader responds:

"Q. what is the shortest book ever written?

A. The book of polish War Heroes !

Question: How do you stop a Polish army on horseback?

Answer: Turn off the carousel."

How does this blog reader justify his grotesque Polak jokes?

It's okay to tell disgusting, racist jokes about Poles, because: "I had Polish relatives killed by poles in one of their thousands of pogroms against Jews. Why do you think most of the concentration camps were built in Poland? My ex in laws, viewed the Poles far worse than the Nazis. They came from Poland The worlds largest Jewish graveyard … you are a real mongrel. How about Poland returning the billions of dollars of Jewish communal property back to the Jewish community or compensation?"

"What about all of the private Jewish property stolen from the Jews by the Poles, Government and the Church? Jewish unclaimed art, Bank accounts, unclaimed insurance policies etc. Restitution , admitting their part in history of murdering Jews, would be a good start in normalizing relations."

"after a thousand years of taking crap from poles why should I shed a tear or a kind thought for what they might have suffered under the commies. Yesh din veh yesh dayan!! there is judgment and there is a judge!!! "

Anyone who challenges this racist smear of any and all Poles as essential haters is a monster who disrespects Holocaust victims, and a liar who has a personal "agenda.": "I have no idea why you choose to be an apologist for the poles then and now? I think you have an agenda here somewhere maybe even a polish personal interest."

The poster of the above racist jokes, exaggerated historical rewrites, and hijacking of a blog post about Jan Sobieski to smear all Poles cites scholarship to support his hatred of Poles.

He quotes a review of Jan Tomasz Gross' work. "Gross describes how Warsaw's onlookers watched young Jewish fighters throw themselves from burning windows during the pathetic yet glorious ghetto uprising in 1943, then applauded when German soldiers set upon them below … Gross's reader is suddenly thrust into the Middle Ages. In Krakow and in Kielce, those thirsting for Jewish blood didn't hesitate to maim or murder. "

You don't have to imagine this conversation. It happens everyday.

Someone mentions Poland, maybe even a Polish hero like Jan Sobieski. Or it could just be the word "Poland." That's enough.

Someone else tells a Polak joke.

The Polak joke is defended because Poles are essential haters and any rejection of racist hatred of Poles is the result of a "personal agenda" and a monstrous disrespect toward Holocaust victims.

As this previous entries in this blog have demonstrated, this conversation occurs everyday in university classrooms, university press books, films shown at museums, bestselling novels, when considering applicants to graduate schools, popular films, and in the mainstream press.

The above-described redaction of the conversation is from the Israpundit blog. Link below.

In response, Poles and those concerned by stereotyping and historical revisionism have used this strategy.

1.) Say that Poles are heroic and noble.

2.) Say that Poles have suffered.

3.) Say that Poles are heroic and that Poles have suffered.

That strategy has not worked. That's because it is the wrong strategy.

Yes, many Poles are heroic and noble and have suffered, and all the books and films linked above are good books and films.

They are not, though, the answer to the Brute Polak stereotype. It's as if someone had asked, "What time is it?" and someone else answered, "Toyota Prius." Good car. But not the answer to the question at hand.

Poles and others who reject the Brute Polak stereotype do not have the microphone.

People who disseminate the Brute Polak stereotype have the microphone, and they are winning. Even Jan Sobieski becomes a character in the Brute Polak scenario.

Those who reject the Brute Polak stereotype need to change their strategy. They need to do what Saul Alinsky recommended in "Rules for Radicals." They need to "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

"Bieganski" does exactly that. People interested in defeating the brute Polak stereotype will benefit from this book.

Israpundt redaction of the endless Bieganski-Brute-Polak conversation.


7 comments:

  1. I believe the poster's name is Felix Quigley(Yamit82). So, Ive read many of his posts in media outlets around the world. He's on a mission to show how the world, not just the Poles, hate Jews. It is true however, that there's as much "antisemitism" in any country as there is/was in Poland. When I read Quigly's remarks on the site Israpundit, my first reaction was disgust and something along the lines of "he must be stopped". Then after getting to know him a bit, you begin to see a disturbed human-being. Im not sure what tact I'll take in response to him? I suppose even severely disturbed human-beings must be stopped first before they are hauled off for forced therapy?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, Anonymous. Thank you for your input.

    Two points:

    1.) You say, "It is true however, that there's as much "antisemitism" in any country as there is/was in Poland."

    I've never denied antisemitism in Poland, nor have responsible Polish historians, leaders, etc. Please read my book, "Bieganski."

    The problem at hand here is not that there is or is not antisemitism in Poland. the problem at hand here is a stereotype that Poles, Polonians, and others concerned with truth must unite to defeat.

    2.) It may be true, as you say, that the poster in question is "a disturbed human-being." that's besides my point. My point is the brute Polak stereotype, and how it is used to rewrite history, not just by possibly mentally disturbed internet posters, but, as this blog shows, by very powerful people.

    Again, thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Peter RechniewskiApril 9, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Could someone please introduce Felix Quigley (Yamit82) to "Tom" the somewhat hysterical and disturbed reviewer of books about Polish history and Polish Jewish relations on Amazon? They might fall in love and calm down although in Felix Q's case this would be expecting a lot since he appears a totally unhinged, ultra-left Trotskyist.

    I don't think we need to be worried about the sort of thing Quigley Yamit82 posts about {Poles and Poland except that many people already believe it, people such as Jan Gross and his wife Irena as well as David Engel and those sort of polemical scholars. What they say is to be expected.

    The Blogosphere can't be controlled but the mainstream media needs to be reminded, on each and every occasion they resort to using Polish stereotypes, that they are doing so.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "The Blogosphere can't be controlled"

    I've never, not once, recommended "control of the blogosphere" or any other venue for free speech.

    There is nothing in my book "Bieganski," or in this blog, that comes anywhere near calling for censorship of speech.

    I am, and have always been, in favor of free speech.

    Also, this is a losing strategy: "the mainstream media needs to be reminded, on each and every occasion they resort to using Polish stereotypes."

    What I've always called for, and always will call for, is for Poles and Polonia to wake up, show some interest in our own story, which has not happened yet. Most Americans of Polish and other Bohunk descent exhibit no culturally significant interest in their own ancestry. They are invisible and silent in the places where identity is hammered out: in universities, in journalism, in politics, in mass media.

    There is a minority who are active in actual or virtual ethnic ghettos. Their output has little to no impact on the wider culture.

    I'll just repeat what I've said above, which has zero to do with censorship:

    In response, Poles and those concerned by stereotyping and historical revisionism have used this strategy.

    1.) Say that Poles are heroic and noble.

    2.) Say that Poles have suffered.

    3.) Say that Poles are heroic and that Poles have suffered.

    That strategy has not worked. That's because it is the wrong strategy.

    Yes, many Poles are heroic and noble and have suffered, and all the books and films linked above are good books and films.

    They are not, though, the answer to the Brute Polak stereotype. It's as if someone had asked, "What time is it?" and someone else answered, "Toyota Prius." Good car. But not the answer to the question at hand.

    Poles and others who reject the Brute Polak stereotype do not have the microphone.

    People who disseminate the Brute Polak stereotype have the microphone, and they are winning. Even Jan Sobieski becomes a character in the Brute Polak scenario.

    Those who reject the Brute Polak stereotype need to change their strategy. They need to do what Saul Alinsky recommended in "Rules for Radicals." They need to "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

    "Bieganski" does exactly that. People interested in defeating the brute Polak stereotype will benefit from this book.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Peter RechniewskiApril 9, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Danusha,
    I agree with most of your response but let me apologise for sloppy word choice. I shouldn't have used the word "control" when what I meant was "directly influence" the blogosphere. In other words, while posts/posters of the Quigley/Yamit82 sort are irritating but there is little one can do about them and only a limited number of people read what they say. What interested me is that in the exchange Levinson defended his view of Polish history while Yamit82 had almost no supporters and many opponents.

    What we also see is the damage Gross's hyperbole continues to do. I must state clearly that while I don't deny the culpability of Poles for Jedwabne and Kielce I have little time for Gross's sermonising, his essentially weak and predatory "scholarship" nor his position of point man for a certain type of Holocaust historiography. I think he is a very confused and guilt ridden man who cannot or perhaps doesn't care to see that he also perpetuates stereotypes, chief amongst them that Poles were co-responsible for the Holocaust. I think he might believe it.

    Strategy - that's an entire debate on its own.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Peter RechniewskiApril 10, 2011 at 5:14 AM

    My apologies for more sloppiness in my last postthe penultimate sentence should have read ". . . chief amongst them that Poles are anti-semites who were co-respoonsible for the Holocaust".

    Readers may be interested in the following:shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/goniadz/website/galper/index.html

    Galper is a humane, thoughtful individual who wants to know and understand without judging.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think use of the term Bohunkophobia correctly captures the common experience of the Bohunk peoples in America and Europe at the turn of the century.
    I also think it would be a mistake to use that term so much in the current era, because Rumanians and Hungarians are generally left out of the overt assassination the American media and educational system inflict on Slavs and Slavic Americans.
    This is all part of the propaganda that served the needs of the Cold War, so in case we would get into a Hot War, the American population would be psychically primed to inflict destruction on the Warsaw Pact Bohunks.
    But of course the Russians were the main bad guys (remember Boris and Natasha, Moose and Squirrel?), and Poles, perhaps the most visible Slavic Americans, a handier target.
    Rumanian Americans and Hungarian Americans, by their relative invisibility to the media, were thus spared the constant denigration in public life (and loss of cultural capital) that was inflicted on the Slavs by the media, government, and academics.
    Any Jewish Slavophobia would just be a useful adjunct to that effort. Slavs with their own variant of Slavophobia, say for example Russophobia in Poles, might then actually be allowed to ascend to high positions in American government circles, making their own variant Slavophobia useful to America, and also seem even more normal. The most OK Slavs were Slavophobe Slavs. Does this sound familiar?
    Remember, the best propaganda is the propaganda which doesn’t seem like propaganda. That is one reason multigenerational Slavophobia in America looks so normal to the perps, and gets common credibility. Anti German or antiJapanese war propaganda was obvious as such. Note the rapid turnaround in the image of these peoples soon after world war 2.
    Slavophobia has a long and ancient history, from the German Christian exterminations of the Prus, and other slave raids, from centuries of various European nations supporting the Turks against the Slavs, to the American reaction to Czolgosz assassination of McKinley, to European empires’ rulers reaction to various SlavoAnarcho bomb thrower assassins, and some would say freedom fighters, to the reaction to the Russian Revolution and Comintern, Hitler’s Lebensraum policy, and then the Cold War. This thing Slavophobia has been cultivated, with consistency, a long time by various powers in Europe, mostly in the context of them trying to grab more power/land/people, or recoup what various forms of revolt previously yanked out of their hands.
    The main focus of Slavophobia in America these days is on Poles, Russians, and Serbs. As you noted in your Alinsky quote, a sharp focus is important.
    Nemo.

    ReplyDelete

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