Two weeks ago I committed a terrible injustice and today I want to fix it. I wrote that I was reading two books at the same time: an anthology of excerpts from the work and a denunciation on Stefan Kiselevsky called “Recgonista” and another by Robert Krasovsky, “On Mechniko”.
I wrote about two-thirds of the column about Krasovsky’s book, and I only mentioned “Recgonist”. In the meantime, it should be the other way around. Krasovsky’s peers devoted a lot of attention to the book “About Mechnik”: I read about him in “Krytyka polityczna” and in “Sieci”, and also listened to a podcast on “Kultura Liberalna” and silences about Kisielewski. As a debtor to Stefan Kiselevsky, I felt compelled to correct this injustice.
Here I have to brag: I have been cited in this book, although that is not the only reason I recommend it. I am quoted as a municipal servant, and a writer of rebellion because he had scruples. It’s all right, that’s how it was. So I have no complaints about “pismak”, especially about “atrophy”, because I had it. Not only Kiselwski was concerned, but the whole journalistic activity of the Polish People’s Republic, and because of these inconveniences, born of admiration for Kisel’s uncompromising position, they fired me from my work on Polish television. Thanks to this, I left for America and spent 21 years there, which I am very proud of, and this is also what my religion to Kiselevsky is about. There will always be people eager to undermine a liar, then volunteer another colleague to do the dirty work.
Kisielewski has always impressed me with a wide range of interests, talent and courage. Not just physical courage. Perhaps most important of all, the courage to publicize views, not only critical of the government, but not very popular in his own environment. Kiselevsky is rebellious in nature.
In April 1982, in a letter to Jerzy Giedroyc quoted in “Reakcjonista,” he wrote, “I have such a characteristic that I write only what I think, not what others think.” This is an invaluable property. Under socialism, we had a few self-reflectors. This is also the case today. They say we live in bubbles or in sounder boxes. We read newspapers that advertise views close to ours, and the same on radio and television. In so-called social media, we look for opinions that confirm our expectations, even if they are seemingly foolish. Our crazy guy can count on indulgence, because even though he’s stupid, he at least wants to do something good. On the other hand, Kessel wanted to know how, what and why other people think.
In the letter quoted to Giedroyc, he wrote: “a) the most important thing is to explain to the Poles that they are really in the hands of Moscow and that the West will not help them in this; b) explain to the Muscovites that they will not. (…) It will be useful to convince them in Poland with more resistance than the present – meager (…) …), here is a whole utopia – as good as the others. ” This was written in 1982, a few months after martial law was imposed. You could say: complete madness. And most importantly, it turned out that his main thesis unexpectedly lost its validity, world communism collapsed and Poland fell out of the “hands of Moscow”.
True, Kessel was not always right, but he always made his thoughts move. Today there is no such. Self-thinking people are sorely lacking. There are more than legitimate propagandists in general on one side or the other. Freaks who think and make mistakes on their own are sorely lacking. Such a blessed madman Stefan Kiselevsky, who in 1989 wrote in his column “Collective Ideology, or the Grave of Personality”: “For me, ideology is everything that is guided by the pride of the human mind, heart, mood or ambition, wanting to change the world “forever” , (…), capturing all mysteries, in a word – ideology is an attempt to consider the cards of God. ”
Kiselevsky’s element was discussion, disagreement, and controversy, and he was unaware of complaining about disputes and divisions. He considered the conflicts in Poland before the war to be an advantage, the motto of “national unity” as he put it from the fossil of Sanacja and the “post-war” periods. “We need pluralism, not unity,” he wrote in 1989.
Any attempt to impose a monopoly of thought and establish unity would also fill Kessel with terror – I think. On the one hand, he was lucky that he did not live to this day, and on the other hand, it is a pity, because he would have something to write about, and we would have something to read without yawning from boredom.
Maciej Wierzyński – television journalist, publicist. After the application of martial law, he was released from TVP. In 1984 he immigrated to the United States. He received scholarships from Stanford University and Pennsylvania State University. He created the first Polish-language multi-hour television channel “Group W” on cable television in the United States. In 1992-2000 he was head of the Polish Voice of America department in Washington. Since 2000, editor-in-chief of New York “Novi Dzinik”. He has been associated with TVN24 since 2005.
Read other columns by Maciej WierzyŃSki
Main image source: TVN24