the view from stary pudłów

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Measured by percentage of population, Poland is less rural than at least a dozen other countries in Europe. Richer countries like Finland and Ireland have proportionately more people living out in the countryside, yet the cherubic image of Poland as a pastoral land of priests and peasants lives on, often in a powerful, magical and romantic way.

When Pawel asked if I would like to spend a weekend with his family at their home on a farm about 40 km from Łódź I jumped at the opportunity and quickly said yes to the invitation. It was for me a rare chance as a stranger from Asia to get close and personal to the real soul of an important and resurgent nation at the very heart of Europe.

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As a nation, Poland is an authentic European hybrid.

Despite being Western in culture, religion and politics, Poland is by geography and recent history an Eastern European country with a language that sounds like a rustling swishing variety of Russian but written in Latin alphabets like French and English.

Present day Poland may not be rich or even stylishly influential in world affairs but with its homogenous society rooted in a decisive role in history and Roman Catholic tradition, the country has pressing lessons for a Europe facing a crisis of divided societies fractured by the issue of mass mainly male muslim migration.

 

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The first lesson learnt is in the heart-melting kindness felt by travellers, including non-white people, to Poland. Such experiences are signs of a people largely at peace with their identity, faith and conscience. They also prove that Poland unlike Western Europe with its  history of colonisation and slavery see no need to give out residency or passports on a huge scale to nationalities of people of different skin colours in order to be nice, tolerant and respectful of them and their cultures. After all, to cherish ones own heritage and wanting to protect it from a deluge by migrants of a different religion after centuries of foreign domination and subjugation does not equal racism or exclusion.

Indeed if Europe is today honest about defending what it considers to be its inalienable and inherent secular liberal values from the twin threats of terrorism and rising intolerance, then those values must also necessarily and urgently be enlarged to include Poland’s right to remain Catholic and Polish without being branded superstitious or regressive.

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All images and words Copyright Kerk Boon Leng 2016

9 thoughts on “the view from stary pudłów

    • Belarus next door is inevitable, if it has not already taken place. In Minsk, your ‘aura of peace’ will plant a flag to show that Russia has not returned to its medieval borders but is reassembling the Warsaw Pact for the big show and that Minsk, not Kiev or Warsaw, is the flashpoint for WW3. Then you will grace the epicenter of the rumble, Tel Aviv, and bring us the land that gives us our daily bread (that tweaks our Ringgit and it other fiat serfs) and while you are there you will correct a misconception, in that, Tel Aviv does not run the war machine. It is the war machine. Washington and Moscow are its prized heavyweights ringing up its Military Industrial Complex. And when you meet Bibi, Rothschild’s front-man, your disarming smile and a firm handshake will ensure the Zionist that Malaysia is in the tank with him and will not play hard-to-get with the trade pact his ‘butler-in-chief’ (in Washington) forced down out throats or with our Malacca Straits, the chokepoint that controls China; and on those grounds (of servitude and obedience) you will mitigate that our beautiful nation be left out of the crossfire or at the least be placed at the bottom of his ‘regime change’ pecking order. Tel-Aviv, will be your magnum opus.

  1. Boon Leng you no more Asian………… All the Photos with not one of them with you in it!?
    The Photos makes one feel good, I grew up in small village.

    • That’s the point of his lens, Heinz. It strips off the emotional equity in self-serving imagery, sets aside ego (its silent twin) and transports the human spirit. Pointing outwards his lens deftly sets aside the messenger and highlights the message.

  2. Hi Heinz, ha ha ha, it was a heart (and stomach) warming experience staying in a village in that part of Europe where the ham, sausages and surprisingly smalec (lard spread) on bread are very good.

  3. These are beautiful pictures. Poland looks solemn yet its greenery is very appealing to the eyes and mind. Nice faces too! The tranquil qualities that these pictures project reminds me of landscapes and moments within the cinematography of Polish greats Kieslowski & Wajda. It’s heartening to know that time and patience, coupled with good observations can make one enlightened to people & culture so distance from our own, and therein, such deep sincere appreciation can be felt just by reading.

    Impressive, makes my day sir!

  4. Wow I can’t help to think about food amongst other things you’ve experienced there… from Farm to Plate in the literal sense. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Aina, I love Polish food especially on the autumn cold days when I was there. The apple pie or Szarlotka I was served in a charming restaurant in Warsaw was the best I have ever eaten. I posted a photo of it in Warsaw Surprising.

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