There is more and more news appearing on increasing aggression in Poland and intolerant attitudes towards national and ethnic minorities, as well as the representatives of other countries. Unfortunately, we also have bad news today – another Polish and Lemko boards have been obliterated by, still unknown, persons. This time it happened in Gladyshiv, in Central Lemkovyna. The boards are located at the entrance to the village from Zdynia and the second one – from Smerekowiec/Smerekovets direction.
We have reported the affair to the village administrator – Miroslav Pelehach who told us (in a phone call) it must have been a recent event, maybe even last night (30.09 – 01.10), as no one noticed it before. The village administrator thanked us for the information and decided to deal with it immediately, reporting the event to the police and other proper authorities. We have already got some information from an inhabitant of Legnica who drove the road yesterday – he told us the boards were not obliterated back then.
We were informed about the boards, which are attached in the pictures, by a lem.fm listener from Slovakia who was driving from Konechna-Bekheriv, heading to Uście Gorlickie (Ustia Rus’ke). His surprise was even bigger, as he was passing through several villages with Rusyn signs on his way from Bardejov (Chmelova and Bekheriv in Prešov Rus’), as well as Konechna and Zdynia in Lemkovyna, and only the signs in Gladyshiv were obliterated, on both sides of the village.
This was not the first act of intolerance and xenophobia towards the Lemko ethnic minority in Poland, this time expressed through vandalism of the bilingual village welcome and goodbye signs. The first board of this kind was set in Bielanka in 2009. It has been vandalized several times since. In October 2015, a sign in Regetiv was wiped out. Also, we have wrote recently about Ripky where the board was vandalized at least twice.
So far, events of this kind were explained as vandalism by unknown authors and the boards were being restored to their former condition very quickly – they were either cleaned from the paint, or new ones were placed. It seems that the local authority would not like the information to spread – about the only Lemko district in Poland where acts of intolerance take place regularly. This fact isn’t cool, there is nothing to be proud of. However, something else is amazing – the unknown vandals smear only the Lemko part of the boards with paint. Is it only vandalism of the state’s property, for which it is us who pay, anyway? Or maybe someone could notice, at last, that these are recurring acts of intolerance and xenophobia! Not to mention that this is a very bad image of Poland from the point view of tourists from all over the world, who happen to pass through these places.
Update 2016-10-01, 4.50 p.m.: Also the boards from Gorlice direction in Magura Malastowska are devastated. Sadly, it seems the action had been planned…