This is how the Guardian newspaper (12.11.2017) has chosen to portray the celebrations of Poland’s Independence Day:
White Europe’: 60,000 nationalists march on Poland’s independence day. Xenophobic phrases, far-right symbols and religious slogans mark event also attended by families and branded ‘a beautiful sight’ by the interior minister
The march organised by far-right groups was one of many events marking Poland’s rebirth as a nation in 1918, overshadowing official state observances and other patriotic events.
Police estimated 60,000 people took part. Many were young men, some with their faces covered or with beer bottles in hand, but families and older Poles also participated.
Those marching chanted “God, honour, country” and “Glory to our heroes”, while a few people also shouted xenophobic phrases like “pure Poland, white Poland” and “refugees get out”.
Some participants marched under the slogan “We Want God”, words from an old Polish religious song that the US president, Donald Trump, quoted during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year. Speakers spoke of standing against liberals and defending Christian values.
Many carried the national white-and-red flag as others set off flares and firecrackers, filling the air with red smoke. Some also carried banners depicting a falanga, a far-right symbol dating to the 1930s.
Now, in reality the bulk of the march was made up of Poles simply wanting to celebrate their country’s independence. As one observer stated: “I’d say some people here do have extreme views, maybe even 30 per cent of those marching, but 70 per cent are simply walking peacefully, without shouting any fascist slogans”.
The mainstream media have deliberately chosen to focus on the attention-grabbing alt-right element of the march rather than to describe its main aim of honouring the memory of those who fought for Poland’s freedom.
The western media in particular have difficulty in understanding the level of patriotism that exists in eastern European countries that makes their citizens proud to honour their countries’ history and values. This media likes to portray ‘nationalism’ as a dirty word that has to be automatically liked with racism and xenophobia, when basically it is linked to citizens wanting to preserve their nation’s cultural and social identity. What is so wrong with that?