One country’s response to a right-wing takeover
The Committee in Defense of Democracy (Komitet Obrony Demokracji, or KOD) appeared to start suddenly out of thin air. It is now the biggest mass mobilization of Polish citizens since the days of Solidarity 25 years ago. On the one hand, this is clearly a response to the electoral victory in October 2015 of the right-wing Law and Justice party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, or PiS), but on the other, it is also the result of a spontaneous idea by a certain Internet surfer.
The idea for KOD first appeared on a website called Studio Opinion, a somewhat old-fashioned site edited by respected journalists …
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the first democratic prime minister of Poland, elected after decades of Communist rule, died on October 28.
In a widely popular weekly satirical puppet TV show, The Polish Zoo, which aired in Poland at the beginning of the 1990s, Mazowiecki was a turtle: sluggish and wise. (Among other central political figures were Lech Wałęsa, the president of Poland, as the lion, and a key post-Communist figure, Leszek Miller, as the spider.) Easily recognizable for his slow manner of speaking, Mazowiecki quickly became the symbol of peaceful, and rapid, democratic change.