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
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