The battle of the Magdalena Adamowicz

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He was a target of political propaganda, then of gdańsk liberal mayor Pawel Adamowicz was stabbed to death on the open stage. His widow, hate-messages to said after the fight. Now she moves to the European Parliament.

It was a murder before the eyes of the Nation. In January 2019 gdańsk liberal mayor Pawel Adamowicz on the stage of a charity event than an embittered Ex-convict, assault with a knife and stabbed. In the network of rights groups and opposition politicians had threatened for some time. In the year 2017, a nationalist youth organization had issued a “political Death certificate” for politicians, even for Pawel Adamowicz. In the same year, the nationalists, photos of Polish politicians hung on a gallows. Also elected officials fueled the hatred. In April 2019, a Senator of the ruling party “law and justice” (PiS) said the country should be of all those “cleaned”, which are not worth to belong to the national community. Now, however, had become out of words, bloody reality – and Poland is shaken.

In mourning Pawel Adamowicz’ widow and her two daughters in Poland and traveled left abroad, about the murder and its causes to think about. Condolences came, among other things, by Pope Francis.

Magdalena Adamowicz returned with an idea for a campaign. The start made with an open letter to the Central political, religious and civil society personalities of Poland, to which they appealed, to raise their voice against the hate.

“I can sit at home in my four walls and scream or cry, but no one is listening,” says Adamowicz in an interview with DW. “So I thought about it, what can I do to avoid this violence in the future. To suffer to protect other people from, like we do.”

Shortly before the fatal attack : Pawel Adamowicz, in January of 2019 in Gdansk

The 46-Year-old, wearing to the Interview, a campaign T-Shirt with a printed red heart and a matching red belt, is aiming for a “coalition against hate”. This spring they met with members of the U.S. Congress, as well as with executives from Facebook and Google. There, they urged measures against hate speech and fake messages in the network.

Magdalena Adamowicz, a lawyer and lecturer at the University of gdańsk, never saw himself as a politician. Friends convinced her to run this year for the European Parliament. With nearly 200,000 votes from their homeland of Pomerania, she won the seat.

“Hate Speech is like air pollution”

In Brussels, the new Polish members of the European Parliament found a political platform in order to pursue one of its main targets: an EU-wide law against hate speech, the individual hate-Posts under penalty, as well as Social media offer them a platform. Adamowicz does not believe that it is not enough to combat the phenomenon at the national level: “It does not respect borders, it is like air pollution.”

The fight against hate speech and disinformation campaigns are also the main themes of her election campaign were. Adamowicz is convinced that their concerns are of vital importance for the company. “We need have no more fear of tanks, or from attack by aircraft bombs. But what can destroy us, that is,” she says. It refers to the United Kingdom and the United States, where Bots have perverted the Brexit Referendum and the US presidential elections in 2016.

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Poland mourns the death of gdańsk mayor Adamowicz

But also in Poland, polarized debates and poisoned discussions had divided the country. Two bearings would be in intimate hostility, says Ania Skrzypek by the Brussels Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS): city-dwellers versus the rural population, a liberal, West-versus-conservative East.

The crack “is manifested in so many ways. It starts with the TV channel that is watched,” said Skrzypek. “On the Land you can see the first channel of public broadcasting. The, shown here, Poland is a very different than in the more liberal media.”

The decline of political language and culture

The message of TVP1, the main public broadcaster, which supports the current conservative government, is “openly anti-liberal and against civil liberties,” said Skrzypek. But even the liberal media contribute, even if subtle, to a division. “They particularly aim PiS voters as ‘abhorrent’ to portray,” said Skrzypek.

The decline of the political language and culture is not only limited to the broadcasting. The PiS Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski described the anti-government protesters recently as a “national traitor” and called the LGBTQ movement a “threat to the Polish Nation”. In front of a Pride Parade in Warsaw, a Journalist of the public television not tweeted that “you must shoot on LGBT people” and added: “of Course, in the literal sense”.

Gay Parade opponents of trying to disrupt a Gay rights Demo in Gdansk

Also obvious anti-Semitism is a Problem in Polish Internet forums. Ania Skrzypek expected that in the autumn of upcoming election campaign in Poland “is very, very divisive”. Nevertheless, she says: “We should not give up the poles.” She pointed out that many people still participate in elections and in progressive citizen movements to engage: “There are in society, still enough energy for a spirit of Resistance, if things go too far.”

Message without bitterness

Although Magdalena Adamowicz is a visible figure of this resistance, she gets hardly any hate comments. On the contrary, During your campaign, you won on the road in front of all this praise. A huge heart-shaped sign used at events, has become a backdrop for group photos with supporters. “My husband loved the Beatles, and my older daughter now,” says Adamowicz. “So we took our Motto from John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ and made it ‘Imagine There’s No Hate’: imagine there’s no hatred.” Even if Adamowicz’s still in mourning for her murdered husband, there is no bitterness in your message. You want to protect all the victims of hateful rhetoric and misinformation. In their eyes, the murderer is a victim. People who have been indoctrinated with misinformation, it should be helped, she says, before you apply violence.