The murder of Gdansk mayor Paweł Adamowicz reflects Poland’s increasingly toxic political climate (New Statesman)

Paweł Adamowicz. Photograph: European Union / Laurie Dieffembacq via Flickr

Already at the time of writing, just one day after Adamowicz’s death, there are distressing signs that this question is once again dividing Poland against itself. The government and its supporters stand accused of feeding and normalising hate speech, the result of which is an atmosphere of tension and hatred that makes such attacks as that on Adamowicz more likely, whether they are politically motivated or not. Government supporters, on the other hand, accuse opponents of politicising a crime committed by someone who was self-evidently a criminal with severe mental health problems. 

Even amongst those who appear to agree that Poland has a problem with hate, regardless of its connection to the murder, the country’s warring factions appear more concerned with blaming each other for the problem than turning down the temperature. As Britons found out in the wake of the murder of Jo Cox, the kinds of people who are capable of learning the lessons from such a terrible tragedy tend not to be the people who were responsible for the problem in the first place.

My analysis from Gdańsk for the New Statesman can be found here.

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