February 11, 2009

Mr. Bronislaw Komorowski
Speaker of the Parliament, Republic of Poland

Dear Mr. Mr. Speaker:

As the representative of one of the oldest and largest Polonian organizations in the US, in the name of Chicago’s Polonia I wish to express a sharp protest to the recent statement by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Niesiolowski, in which he insults Chicago Polonia, calling it a "monkey house." The statement was broadcast by the channel TVN24 on February 10, 2009, and unfortunately to this day is available in the Polish media.

Local Polonia is a very dynamic and patriotic group. As any other group, it sometimes has divergent opinions, but this not change the fact that no one has a right to insult our dignity. It is especially troubling that such words were uttered by a representative of the Polish government.

The City of Chicago and its environs have for decades been settled by thousands of Poles, who for various reasons decided to seek a better life outside of their native Poland. Over the years, many have returned to their country, but thousands remain here still. It does not prevent them, and in the past never has prevented, from maintaining both an active interest in events in Poland and close contacts with the land of their forefathers.

It was American Polonia, including Chicago’s Polonia, which supported the Solidarity movement with hundreds of millions of dollars. It was American Polonia, including Chicago’s Polonia, which in 1998 and 1999, through their engagement and activities, led to the admission of Poland into NATO. It is American Polonia, including Chicago’s Polonia, which reacts with unprecedented generosity to all catastrophes befalling Poland, such as floods or collapsed exhibition halls. It is American Polonia, including Chicago’s Polonia, which to this day unceasingly promotes issues important to Poland which are under deliberation in the US Congress. And it does so solely because of an inherent need for close ties with Poland, and a sincere desire to extend assistance. For all of the above-named achievements on behalf of Poland, and many others which are too numerous to mention, American Polonia, including Chicago’s Polonia, deserves unending appreciation.

From the moment of Mr. Niesiolowski’s statement, our offices have been deluged with an avalanche of telephone calls, faxes and e-mails from outraged, embittered and deeply wounded members of local Polonia.

In one of his statements, Mr. Niesiolowski said, "slinging mud at great persons is the norm in Polish politics." As we see, unfortunately, Mr. Niesiolowski’s behavior fits very well within this norm.

I understand that in later statements, Mr. Niesiolowski attempted to mitigate the insulting tone of his remarks. I expect, however, that a mere "mitigation" of the original statement is not enough. We expect Mr. Niesiolowksi to issue an official, quick and comprehensive apology in the media in Poland and in Chicago.


Frank J. Spula

Translation: Ted Mirecki