‘I’ve already stocked up on popcorn’ – Polish MEP Grzegorz Braun might shake up the comfortable, highly paid enclosure of the mandarins in Brussels

Controversial politician of the right-wing Confederation party, Grzegorz Braun, is sure to be a colorful presence in the European Parliament, and it may prove to be an intriguing experiment, writes political cartoonist and columnist Cezary Krysztopa

Right-wing lawmaker Grzegorz Braun speaks to parliament in Warsaw, Poland, on Dec. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
4 Min Read

Grzegorz Braun is not a politician from my preferred circle. While I respect his creative endeavors and appreciate his eloquence, his method of staging public “happenings” is completely off-putting to me. Braun, a well-known director of provocative documentaries, is undeniably a scholar with the rare ability today to speak beautifully crafted Polish. One might think he is the perfect candidate for a leading right-wing politician.

The method he has chosen to mark his presence in the public sphere, which involves producing spectacles, serves well to increase his recognition both domestically and internationally, but does it serve Poland and its people?

I do not claim to be the most important or effective soldier in this “war,” but for some time I have been engaged in “polemics” with Jewish communities that used propaganda to spread lies about Poland and Poles worldwide.

As a cartoonist, blogger, and columnist, I’ve addressed this issue through numerous drawings, texts, and online debates. One particularly damaging figure in this respect, in my opinion, is Prof. Jan Grabowski, who seems to have made a career of brutally attacking Polish memory and history. However, Braun’s physical assault on Grabowski during a lecture at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw last year was exceptionally harmful. It reinforces the worst stereotypes about Poles, bordering on juvenile, and if it serves anything, it’s likely only Braun’s own notoriety.

Similarly, there was the incident when he extinguished Hanukkah candles in the Sejm with a fire extinguisher. While the hypocrisy of left-liberal elites, who constantly denigrate crosses in the Sejm yet enthusiastically celebrate Jewish holidays on parliamentary grounds, is certainly up for discussion and condemnation, the markedly different treatment of Jewish and Catholic symbols is an unfortunate daily reality.

Just as I would not want anyone to insult my religious symbols, I cannot agree to the degradation of others. If we demand respect for our symbols, we should show respect for others. Extinguishing Hanukkah candles certainly does not fit into this principle. It does not change the misleading image of Poles around the world, but only serves Grzegorz Braun himself. So it is no wonder that when Braun is considered in combination with photographs (from years ago) where he is seen with Leonid Sviridov, a Russian journalist recognized in Poland as a propaganda agent, serious questions are being posed about him.

Nevertheless, I think Grzegorz Braun’s presence in the European Parliament might be an interesting experiment. The mandarins in Brussels love to bask in the mutual conviction of their correctness and lack of alternatives. I believe Braun might shake up their comfortable, highly paid enclosure. And I do not exclude that his repeated “God bless” greeting over the coming years in the European Parliament might ignite the walls impregnated with the communist spirit of the Ventotene Manifesto.

In any case, I’ve already stocked up on popcorn.

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