Statement of the EAPL-CFA faction: this is a scandalous hate speech directed at Poles in Lithuania
Today, the faction of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania- Christian Families Alliance (EAPL-CFA) issued a statement entitled ‘Scandalous hate speech directed at Poles in Lithuania’. It was presented by Česlav Olševski.
The parliamentary club of EAPL-CFA wrote in a statement that the hatred against Poles in Lithuania takes on terrifying dimensions.
‘Aggression towards Poles in Lithuania takes on dangerous dimensions, threatening public safety, and what is even worse, human lives and health. A few days ago, Arūnas Valinskas, former Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas, took part in the program ‘Talk with Daiva Žeimytė-Bilienė’ by Delfi TV, one of the largest Lithuanian media. During the talk, he called for a physical crackdown on Lithuanian Poles who support the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance. Speaking about Poles and their leader, Valdemar Tomaševski, he used scandalous and hateful words: such ones should be shot one each year, starting with him. Unfortunately, for a period of five days no one spoke about this matter, i.e. neither the media nor the head of the state, ‘ we read in the statement.
The recent events are not only a scandal but a criminal act according to the faction.
A show business representative calling for a crackdown on Poles in Lithuania and calling for murder – this is an act of national hatred, it is xenophobia, for which there can be no place in public space. It was the duty of the journalist, television management, political leaders, and the media to condemn these words immediately. The official reaction of the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement agencies, the leadership of the Seimas, and the President of the Republic of Lithuania should have occurred immediately too. At least this is how it should look like in a truly democratic country. Valinskas’ actions are more than just scandalous, it is a crime that must be condemned and prosecuted, and he himself should be brought to justice and suffer severe punishment for his actions, become a warning to others who would like to imitate him in the future. Unfortunately, the activity of Valinskas in recent times is not the only case of an attack on the Polish community in the Vilnius Region, it is rather a continuation of the anti-Polish rhetoric of people associated with the community of landsbergists. Back in 2007, before the local elections, Vytautas Landsbergis called for a historic victory over Poles in the Vilnius Region,’ wrote the authors of the statement.
The faction emphasizes that people who have recently blasphemed Poles have a lot in common.
‘A few weeks ago, the ultra-liberal journalist and celebrity Andrius Tapinas, who speaks the language of hate, like Valinskas and earlier Vytautas Landsbergis, called for an action against Poles in the Vilnius Region in connection with the parliamentary elections. Tapinas revealed that he intended to discourage people from voting for the Polish party in an organized manner so that it would not end up in the Seimas. To reach this aim, he conducted a campaign of slander, disinformation, and manipulation. This is a classic case of ethnic discrimination and hate speech. Tapinas’ actions are undoubtedly a shameful incitement to violence and hatred against Poles by disseminating false and unverified information and calling for specific anti-Polish actions. These are behaviors prosecuted in democratic states by prosecutor’s office. To add, Tapinas also committed a serious breach of the principles of the journalistic neutrality and objectivity. Tapinas and Valinskas, by the way, are not only active in private media, but also host programs together on state television, ‘ wrote the parliamentary club of EAPL-CFA and added that ‘the rhetoric based on aggression and hatred is also used by the team of J. Džiugelis, the conservatives’ candidate in the Nemenčinė district, as well as by himself.’
The faction recalled the bloodiest and most painful pages in European history.
‘Let us remember that in the 1930s in Germany a certain painter also called for a crackdown on one nation in restaurants and at rallies. We all know what happened later. People who sow hatred and contempt for others should be stopped at the beginning of their crazy path, just before they fire their first shot. Valinskas speaks the language of early Hitler, and this cannot be tolerated. Promoting discriminatory hatred, including incitement to aggression, hostility and violence, should be prosecuted in accordance with the Art. 19 (3) and Art. 20 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,’ says the statement.
The EAPL-CFA parliamentary club accepted with disapproval the fact that the hate speech spread in Lithuania was not condemned by all top officials in the state.
‘Nevertheless, in this context, not only the legal assessment of events is important. Spreading xenophobia, aggression, and hatred, as well as calling for a physical trial, should be condemned immediately. Meanwhile, the representation of society – the Seimas – remains silent! There is no reaction from the Speaker of the Seimas, the Board of the Seimas, or the Human Rights Committee and others. Where are all the defenders of parliamentary democracy and human rights? Is their determination limited only to defending the rights of other countries’ citizens?’ states the document.
The EAPL-CFA faction also made an appeal to the conservative and liberal parties and demanded that A. Tapinas and A. Valinskas would be cut off from the air of the Lithuanian public television broadcaster: ‘We call on the conservative and liberal parties, whose members are often sponsors of such unacceptable rhetoric practiced by Valinskas and Tapinas, to immediately stop inciting national feuds in Lithuania. We demand that A. Tapinas and A. Valinskas, who have compromised themselves, be cut off from universal access to ether on Lithuanian public television.’