Brexit – A Polish Perspective: Russia’s Gift

Brexit – A Polish Perspective: Russia’s Gift
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1940 — Bomber, fighter squadrons in the RAF, crazily courageous young Polish pilots in leather jackets. My grandmother said that even 30 years after the war English women spoke fondly of them and English men were jealous.

2005 – More Poles arrive in Britain. They fight on the labour market. The English are afraid of the “swan eaters”, we are, supposedly, stealing their jobs.

2016 – The Palace of Culture in Warsaw, (a “gift” from the Soviet Union, an occupying power, which forced communism onto Poland after the Second World War) is alight with the colours of the British flag. “Stay, we need you”. We don’t want this “gift” to be painted over by the colours of Putin’s flag. We don’t want a split into two tribes in Poland – something that is happening already. Populists in Poland also won by a whisker and in a few months managed to destroy the Constitutional Tribunal and curb women’s rights. Poles don’t want such troublemakers, they take to the streets, a quarter of a million people have demonstrated in Warsaw recently.

The European identity is complex, rich and free. It allows us to be creative, to work, to travel. Our children do not live in fear of a sentence that haunted me in my childhood: “May you never know war”.

How are we going to fight terrorism separately?

On the day of the referendum there was a double rainbow over Brussels.

Let’s think about our kids. Let’s think what we — career-driven egoists, happy-go-lucky people – are going to leave behind for them.

Grażyna Plebanek

About Grażyna Plebanek

Grażyna Plebanek was born in Warsaw, Poland. She is the author of highly acclaimed and bestselling novels. Her novel Illegal Liaisons (Nielegalne związki, 2010) was sold in 52,000 copies in Poland and wa translated into English. Illegal Liaisons was published in the U.S. in 2013 by New Europe Books, distributed by Random House. She is a columnist of the prestigious weekly “Polityka”, as well as the monthly supplement of Poland’s biggest daily Gazeta Wyborcza, and the “Trends” magazine. In 2011 Plebanek was awarded the Literary Prize Zlote Sowy for her contribution to promoting Poland abroad. Plebanek is among a group of international artists whose portraits will be exhibited in Brussels Gare del’Ouest for the next 10 years. She lives in Brussels, Belgium. Recently, Ann Morgan listed "Illegal Liaisons" as the Polish novel worth reading in her collection of the world's literary works (TED Talk: My year reading a book from every country in the world) Plebanek’s new novel “Madame Fury” will be published this summer. It tells the story of how the main character is forced to navigate the complexities of identity for people living in two or more cultures. It is about manipulation and racism.

Grażyna Plebanek was born in Warsaw, Poland. She is the author of highly acclaimed and bestselling novels. Her novel Illegal Liaisons (Nielegalne związki, 2010) was sold in 52,000 copies in Poland and wa translated into English. Illegal Liaisons was published in the U.S. in 2013 by New Europe Books, distributed by Random House. She is a columnist of the prestigious weekly “Polityka”, as well as the monthly supplement of Poland’s biggest daily Gazeta Wyborcza, and the “Trends” magazine. In 2011 Plebanek was awarded the Literary Prize Zlote Sowy for her contribution to promoting Poland abroad. Plebanek is among a group of international artists whose portraits will be exhibited in Brussels Gare del’Ouest for the next 10 years. She lives in Brussels, Belgium. Recently, Ann Morgan listed "Illegal Liaisons" as the Polish novel worth reading in her collection of the world's literary works (TED Talk: My year reading a book from every country in the world) Plebanek’s new novel “Madame Fury” will be published this summer. It tells the story of how the main character is forced to navigate the complexities of identity for people living in two or more cultures. It is about manipulation and racism.

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