Wednesday, October 21, 2009


One major observation I've had, and continually point out, is the national/ethnic pride to the point of absurdness. (Note: This is by no means a Polish trait; far from it, in fact. I'd say that 90% of world is this way.) There are various examples (with Poland) about which I've written, made comments, and had conversations (in forums, other blogs, to students, friends and acquaintances.) A small selection includes things like: cities such as Szczecin and Gdansk being German; it being pointless to be angry at Germany after all this time; the role of the Szlachta in the dismemberment of Poland-Lithuania; roles of Polish peasantry and Polish freedom; Polish beer; Pan Taduesz isn't that great. I've had many a rousing debate about Polish history, but mostly it devolves into something where 'he/she/they' simply start making comments on how I'm an American and therefor: blindly patriotic, stupid, young, and don't have a clear perspective; and I belittle them for acting like children (which they usually are.) Spats like these are nothing really new, people are inclined to 'defend' their homeland/history/pride by others deemed not to know anything of the like. Anyway, whilst reading Norman Davies' The Isles, I came upon an interesting example of something similar:
"…prehistory and archeology have inevitably developed in an intensely political context. Nationalism has never been far beneath the surface. Immense efforts have been made to discover a past to which modern people could relate, and, where necessary, to exclude those elements of the past that were politically inconvenient. Prussian archeologists would prove beyond question that the prehistoric monuments of Prussia's eastern borderlands were indisputably Germanic. A few decades later Polish archeologists working with identical material established that the selfsame monuments were indisputably, and ab origine, Slavonic. Neither side paused to ask whether those monuments were not, at least part, Celtic." –Norman Davies, The Isles: A History, p. 40, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
The quote deals more with politics (as in, being able to hold claim to the land and being able to claim to be native to the land (see more about the Israel-Palestine conflict for a prime example)) but it helps illustrate how some people can just be ridiculous and choose to ignore important viewpoints or facts. Sometimes outside eyes are needed to see clearly.

No comments: