|Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault in the 1942 film, Casablanca.|
Renault is "shocked, shocked" to discover gambling in Rick's Cafe. In fact, he's known this all along.
|To "reinvent the wheel" is an English expression.|
On July 25th, 2012, the online Jewish Journal published an article by a self-identified Polish Jew, Klaudia Klimek. Klimek is shocked, shocked to discover negative stereotypes of Poles.
The article states many points with which I partially or wholly agree.
I should rejoice for the article then, no?
It's just more reinvention of the wheel.
It's just more "shocked, shocked."
"To reinvent the wheel" is an English expression. Wikipedia defines it thus, "To reinvent the wheel is to duplicate a basic method that has already previously been created or optimized by others."
"Shocked, shocked" is a phrase from the 1942 Hollywood film "Casablanca." We use the expression to describe moments when someone "discovers" something that has been very obvious for some time.
Poland is stereotyped as the world's worst anti-Semitic nation. Blame for the Holocaust, which properly belongs to Nazism, is placed on Poles and Poland.
This has all been said already. Thousands of times.
It's been said in a prize-winning, scholarly book, "Bieganski."
On this blog, we've argued for action in the face of this stereotype, most specifically in this three-part blog post on the Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision.
Poles, Polonians, and others who are concerned about the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype need to get past the "shocked, shocked" phase. We need to get past the reinvention of the wheel phase.
We need to move on to significant action.
We need to unite, support each other, organize, and act strategically.
More on that, here.
Excerpts from Klaudia Klimek's "shocked, shocked" article:
Among Jews, Poland is stereotyped as "the most anti-Semitic country in Europe − the Jewish cemetery, the place of bad memories. That was, unfortunately, the attitude of many conference participants from all over the world. Their negative feelings towards Poland are born out of bad memories of their grandparents or parents. All that, additionally seasoned with a visit to Auschwitz, colored almost every conversation and discussion."
Klimek is incorrect, here. The Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype predates the Holocaust, and those who deploy it often have no parents or grandparents with bad memories.
"As a Jew from Poland or a Polish woman of Jewish origin (anyway they classify me) I do not have such an attitude towards Poland and the Poles."
"The Poles are, were and will be evil. What is more, characterised by innate stupidity, they would never invent Holocaust. Nevertheless, they are extremely grateful to the Germans that they liberated them from the Jews. And they, of course, helped them willingly! The Pole had to wait over seven hundred years for a charismatic leader in the person of Hitler who would help them murder almost one third of their own citizens."
"Bieganski" makes clear that the dumb Polak stereotype is an inextricable part of the anti-Semitic Polak stereotype. This stereotype is used to rewrite history and to distort the twentieth century's most profound ethical questions. Everyone should care about this stereotype, not just Poles.
Klimek continues, "Heroes like Irena Sendlerowa should be remembered and praised, and the youth should be educated to never forget about them."
Poles and Polonians have not been the first, nor the most effective, in communicating Irena Sendler's value to the world. Others have.
Sendler was more or less forgotten by the world until a group of Kansas students brought her story to wider attention in 1999. Yad Vashem honored Sendler in 1965, long before organized Polish groups honored her.
Only when Poles and Polonians begin to organize will we be able to have any impact on whether or not people remember Irena Sendler. Meanwhile, it's not justifiable for us to complain about others not effectively honoring our heroes and heroines when we don't do it ourselves, and others do it for us, but not to the degree that we demand.
Klimek writes, "I am angry with Poland that She does so little to publicise the good deeds of the Poles, their participation in combat missions, the help during the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto or in Auschwitz. Instead, She stands open to the Jewish trips like a forgotten cemetery. She does not add to their education anything from herself, not changing, thus, the discourse and accepting the current status quo."
Well, yeah. That's what this blog has been saying since day one. Hmm. Hmm. Maybe we should … I don't know … unite? Support each other? Organize? Act strategically?
"The Jew won’t spend the Jewish money in Poland. Full stop. The Pole did not deserve, what is more they still earn much on other tourist visiting the death camps. Camps such as Auschwitz seem to be bonanzas for Poland."
"The problem, however, disappears when the Jew goes to Berlin, Hamburg or Munich. One can relax there well, enjoy civilisation and top level art… How did it happen that the Jew does not burn with hatred towards the Germans?"
Yup. "Bieganski," a book Klimek has never heard of and will probably never read – addresses this matter of Germans being cleared of guilt by the Bieganski stereotype.
The full text of Klimek's article can be found here.