#WaitnigForEd (don’t land here!)

Last two days I spend on arguing with people who condemned Edward Snowden because he took part in Putin’s conference with Russian citizens. I don’t know how it looks like in other countries but in Poland lot of people believe that Snowden is KGB spy – they are just not sure if he were from the beginning or become later. Generally I’m not Putin’s fan – as every other person who respect human rights – but I’m sick off people who cannot overcome their cold-war thinking.

Before ’89 we have every right to believe that world is easy to recognize in simple moral manner. We’ve been considering ourselves as victims (we do <3 it), USSR as oppressor and USA as potential savor. But I find it peculiar that 25 years later lot o Poles  just stuck in this simple division: good US, bad Russia.

First, we can agree that the world is much more complicated today. Increasing globalization  makes the net of interest more and more difficult to untangle and identify. Oversimplification doesn’t help to understand Russian policy, even in Ukraina’s issue.

Secondly, we now know much more about US activity in the region in ’70 and ’80 – in the same period when we consider it as a pure goodness. We know how US supported dictatorship and juntas in Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama etc. Don’t need to enumerate what it did and does in Asia. Maybe one cannot find a lot of information about it in school books but, you know, we have other books and Internet to search for not so popular knowledge. It is not fair and rational to assess past and present US policy solely on the basis of  backing our democratic opposition in ’80.

Thirdly, people commenting on Snowden usually miss the point that he revealed all his information to the general public, not to Putin’s secret services. He give us chance for self-emancipation by access to data and insight knowledge. Now we can secure ourselves and enhance political and consumer pressure on those who spy on us. This is not how spies do, as I recall.

But, going back to Snowden, I don’t think he had an option. In June his one-year asylum given by Russia will expire. As we know no other country offered him guarantee of safe travel and asylum. Last year Evo Morales forced landing in Vienna proves that that this first is as much important as the second. I guess he don’t really had an option not to follow Putin’s requests. The alternative is to join Chelsea Manning in US prison. I think he already sacrifice much more than other people would do in his shoes and don’t want to see him in a jail.I don’t know what was his first plan, how risky it was, but I know that democratic world failed and abandoned him. And I’m ashamed because of it.

Tomorrow I’ll be #WaitnigForEd but I do not wish him to end up in Poland.



#WaitingForEd /and how I explained to kids what is all about/

Today I was taking part in  an action #WaitingForEd initialized by Edward Snowden’s supporters. People all over the world went to airports with a printed sign with Edward’s name on it and waited for his arrival.


I decided to took my kids with me because of several reasons: it’s important for me and I like to share such issues with them, it’s important for their future to save Snowden and encourage hundreds of other young people to civil disobedience and I treat is a part of their civil education. Myself I was raised by people who believed that one should always stand up for one’s believes and against injustice. I want to teach my kids same attitude. It is not very practical* one but world need it :)

Few days ago I looked over some old family pictures with my daughters and made them deeply confused while explaining that on one of the pictures their great grandpa is in a prison. It was disturbing specially to the younger one because she thought that only bad guys go to prisons. Believe me it is not easy to explain to 5 yo kid why good guys go there but I did my best. My story goes like that…

… once upon a time, two hundred years ago, here in Poland most of the people lived in the villages, they were growing cereals and vegetables, harvesting, breeding cows and sheep, working all they long very hard. But nothing that they produced belonged to them, bad rich people took that all from them each day. So they were very poor, didn’t have food, good clothes, money, time to learn how to read. But they couldn’t go to seek another job because they were slaves and belonged to their masters…

/// because the easiest way to explain smthing new to the kid is to link it with smthing similar or analogical that it already knew I asked her if she knows what ‚slave’ is, remembering that she watched a film “Moses, prince of Egypt” and we discussed this subject before; she said that, yes, she knows that slave is a man with brown skin who don’t have money for clothes and other people beat him with a whip. Basically right answer, isn’t it? ///

All this people were very unhappy, trying change their situation but couldn’t succeed because bad people sent soldiers if they protest and hungry people without guns had to go back to work. But they try and try and finally was free, so a lot of them went to towns looking for a job and money and better life for their families. So did my great grandpa, he abandoned the village and went to biggest town in this area, and this is how our family came to Cracow. He wasn’t interesting guy so we focused on his son, my grandpa, the man from the prison’s picture. When he was a teenager he realized that a lot of people who was quite recently liberated live in a very bad condition. They work in factories…

/// and here was pause for explaining that it was completely different factory that Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory :D So the easiest way smtimes is not very helpful and one have to unlink previous meaning with a new one///

… people were working really hard but once again bad rich people were taking all what they produced away. Even small kids had to work, they didn’t have time to spend with mommies and daddies, they work all day and night, didn’t go to pre-schools. Very sad life they had.

So some people, like my grandparents {all forth of them were communists} was talking with working people to convince that they should go to the owners and demand shorter working day and more money. They helped them to protest, they were also printing books and posters. But rich people didn’t want workers to have easiest life so they convince policemen that they had to catch this people and sent to jail. That is why my grandpa spend few years in prison (grandma also was about but managed to dodge it)…

…and then were some family details, not very important from Snowden’s perspective ;)

When today I was explaining to my kids** what for we are going to airport it was quite easy to say that we are going to show to other people that there is a guy who’s name is Edward (same like my grandpa, fortuitously for the story) who also wanted to do smthing good for a people, and bad guys want to send him for that to the prison for a very long time. He discovered that those guys are doing bad things and decided to tell other people about it even if he knew that it is risky. He just didn’t want to stay quiet when other people need some help. And so do we. We care for a future of freedom so we are #WaitingForEd on Chopin Airport, Warsaw, Poland.

– – –

* I even found accidentally in some memories a story of my grandfather who was so dedicated to the idea of social justice that his co-prisoners from “strojbat” was a little bit angry for him that he share with other people goods that they obtained so hardly and didn’t appreciated his ‚integrity’ facing death from cold (it was in USSR before Stalin let Poles to establish their own army)

** Actually only younger one needed this explanation, the older one said: yeah, mom, I know who is Edward Snowden, you talk about him a lot

The author of that beautiful picture above is Jaroslaw Lipszyc who released it under free art license.

And here is the link to the fb event