Exclusive: ‘There is something sick in the British system,’ says Polish journalist banned from entering UK

By Olivier Bault
25 Min Read

On Oct. 2, you were detained by British border police at Heathrow Airport while on a private trip with your wife and daughter to Oxford, UK. After many hours of detention, you were expelled back to Poland for your views, according to a document that was handed to you on departure. For what views were you detained and refused entry to the UK? Did you finally find out?

I still haven’t found out, and I think they are having a very hard time justifying what views are at stake. They kind of shot themselves in the foot because my detention clearly violated international conventions. In the official document, they did write it was because of my views. This is a cause incompatible with, for example, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966.

On top of that, they also broke their own procedures. In UK law, the border police are expected to respond in a manner appropriate to the threat and in a reasonable manner. In this case, they certainly did not behave in a manner consistent with those principles.

For I could not pose any threat, even if I had the wrong political views, because I had flown to the UK for two days for absolutely private purposes and was not planning any public activity, and they knew it. 

I interpret it this way: since in the UK they are very afraid of any extremism, they decided to take the opportunity that a man showed up whom they have on some blacklist and make a kind of show out of it. The idea is to wag their finger menacingly, to frighten away all possible Polish “far-right extremists” so that they do not come to Britain.

My case was in a sense a first. Many Polish conservative journalists and commentators, who had been the target of denunciations by far-left organizations, have had unpleasant experiences while entering the United Kingdom. It happened to Stanisław Michalkiewicz, it happened to Korwin-Mikke, even though he was an MEP at the time, and it happened to Wojciech Sumliński, the author of a recent film about Jedwabne. The far-left sends denunciations of all such people, but this was usually done in such a way that it ended with an educational chat and admonishment by the Border Force that it is forbidden to preach hatred on racial, ethnic, and other grounds in the UK.

In my case, it was the first time that someone was detained at the border and then deported. That was what the procedure looked like in my case. There is a separate issue concerning how I had been blacklisted, although officially the UK vehemently denies having such a blacklist.

But it is clear to me that there is such a list: when the border guard saw my name on his computer, the expression on his face changed immediately. He put my passport in his pocket, told me to wait, and went somewhere. Clearly, my name was under some kind of restriction. The question is: who is compiling such lists, which allegedly do not exist, in the UK? How did I find myself on such a list and, above all, how did it happen that nobody tried to verify some denunciation that someone from Poland had probably sent against me? There lies the real scandal.

Well, you already had an unpleasant situation linked to the UK in 2018, although it was not a private trip then. You were to give some lectures at the invitation of the British Polish community. At the time, a Labour MP, Rupa Huq, intervened in response to denunciations from left-wing Polish activists. It then led to you not being able to give those lectures because all the owners of the premises that had been booked and even of a restaurant where a joint dinner was to be held canceled the booking under pressure from the police. Is that how it was?

Yes, it is exactly what happened. And they made no secret of the fact that they had been intimidated by the police, with Mrs. Rupa Huq, who looked very proud of herself, later telling The Guardian that it was she who had instructed the police to prevent these meetings from taking place. This shows that the attitude in Britain is far from democratic. But in 2018, as this tour was thwarted and there was no point in showing up, I just gave up on going to the UK.

The present case may very well be a continuation of that one, especially as Mrs. Rupa Huq has become active again, suggesting in public speeches that it is thanks to her that a Polish “hate preacher” was detained on the border. True to say, after a few days, when the case received some publicity thanks to the intervention of Polish diplomatic services, Mrs. Huq started to quite rapidly back away from her declarations.

It quickly became very clear that she had only then, after four years, taken the trouble to find out who I was and what it was all about because she has clearly changed her tone. Her most recent statements no longer include heavy insults. She has begun to soften her message and explain that I am a controversial person, and no longer says I am a fascist or racist. At the same time, she started a campaign in her own defense, complaining and making a fuss of herself, saying that she was the victim of online abuse by Poles.

This situation shows that there is something sick in the British and global system. For Mrs. Rupa Huq is herself accused, and these are serious accusations, of anti-Semitism. Among others, such allegations are made against her by her former employees. There was also some anti-Semitic content disseminated by her colleague whom she defended on the Internet, and as far as I know, there have been more such cases linked to her. She has clearly been encouraging anti-Semitic behavior.

She is running from a predominantly Muslim district and is herself a Muslim, though I don’t know if practicing, but certainly by background. Muslim immigrants are known to be more often anti-Semitic than the native population. Rupa Huq, however, is afraid of being accused of violating political correctness because it carries consequences, as the fate of Jeremy Corbyn has shown. So, she figured she would take the suspicion of anti-Semitism off the table if she posed as a great warrior in the fight against anti-Semites.

And because some lunatic from Poland came to her with a request to intervene, because here comes a right-wing columnist from Poland who, as they convinced her at the time, calls for anti-immigrant riots and could cause unrest with his author meetings, Mrs. Huq picked up on this without even trying to ask the simplest question. If she had spent five minutes on the internet trying to learn something about me, she might have concluded that this person from a far-left organization who came to her wasn’t telling her the truth after all.

She also accused you of Holocaust denial, right?

She repeats the kind of crap that leftist circles produce about me. And it is not just about me. Unfortunately, people in the West do not know that the Polish opposition and the Polish leftist-liberal media are one big slander-producing factory working against the Polish authorities and against that part of the Polish people which is not with them.

For example, they took one sentence from my book that reads, “Israeli politicians have placed the myth of the Holocaust at the center of their country’s historical narrative.” What’s wrong with that sentence? After all, it is just the truth. But there is a website, jewish.pl, which is run by a certain Katarzyna Markusz and regularly produces fake news stories, e.g. about the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Poland, which did not happen at all. However, such a fake news story later spreads in all newspapers. And jewish.pl falsely said that I wrote in my book that the Holocaust is just a myth. They smeared me, saying: Ziemkiewicz is a man who claims that the Holocaust is just a myth. And that was the basis for Mrs. Rupha Huq to call me a Holocaust denier.

The method used by the left in Poland can be described with another example. A bill had been drafted that included a provision to punish anyone who presents sexually-oriented content to minors. This is a standard provision that is in force in all civilized countries. The left presented it as if it were a rule that could be applied if a teacher presented, for example, some diagrams or charts concerning sex life during a class. As a result, they called it the anti-sex education bill. Since these people are very influential in the Western media, they could spread this nonsense.

In addition, the Polish opposition MEPs immediately asked for a European Parliament resolution against this law, and the European Parliament eagerly passed such a resolution, among dozens of other resolutions against Poland, this time condemning Poland for trying to ban sex education in schools, even though nothing of the sort was taking place. Just as, of course, there were no LGBT-free zones, although the European Commission and the European Parliament keep talking about them. They’re all going at it based on fake news invented by the Polish opposition.

Unfortunately, we have full cooperation between Polish-language slanderers and reputable Western media outlets which take them up absolutely uncritically, without any attempt at verification. And they even open their pages to authors from Poland who write smears against their own country. The most anti-Polish articles in the Western press are in fact written by journalists from the Polish leftist-liberal media and sent, for example, to the New York Times.

I’ll give one more example. I once said on television that if someone calls the German extermination camps Polish because they were located in Poland, then it is just as senseless as calling those camps Jewish, for example, because Jews were locked up in them and it was Jewish forced laborers who built these camps under German guns pointed at them and under German whips. In an indignant piece published in Western newspapers after being sent, of course, from Poland, this sentence was presented as follows: on Polish state television, Ziemkiewicz called Auschwitz a Jewish death camp and said that it was Jews who had built it.

It is on the basis of such rubbish produced non-stop and without interruption that the opinion not only of Mrs. Rupa Huq about me but about Poland in general is built. I speak very little English, although I have no problem reading even academic papers. But the reason I speak English poorly is that since I came back from my internship in America, I’ve had virtually no opportunity to speak English with anyone.

In all these years, despite the fact that I am one of the most influential journalists in Poland, or even the most influential if you look at all the internet coverage and book circulations, I have never been approached by a foreign journalist who would want to get a different, more conservative, point of view. All those foreigners who write about Poland are leftists or leftist liberals and, in Poland, they want to hear a specific story, a story about Polish anti-Semitism, about homophobia, about a wild country, about a national-Catholic regime. It is for this kind of stories that they call their counterparts in the leftist-liberal Polish media and they make absolutely no attempt to verify what they hear.

It is absolutely amazing how low the Western media has fallen, how there is no curiosity about the truth whatsoever, only pure propaganda and repeating the only version they think is right.

Speaking of the Polish leftist-liberal media, there is a well-known newspaper, which is influential in the West as it is often quoted and sends its texts to cooperating Western media outlets. I am referring to Gazeta Wyborcza. On your detention at Heathrow Airport, one of Gazeta Wyborcza’s columnists said that the British had done very well and that people with views like yours should be kept in jail, and not allowed into the media. This is the opposition that is presented in the West as the opposition that defends democracy in Poland. How would you comment on that?

I, above all, emphasize that no one in the West realizes that they are talking to people who live in terrifying frustration. They are on the verge of mental illness because they have a sense of terrible rejection in Polish society. Gazeta Wyborcza is much more influential in the West than in Poland, where its circulation has been nose-diving.

But that goes for the entire left. The left has 7 to 8 percent of support in the polls. If we look at typical leftist slogans like “abortion on demand,” the popularity of these slogans is 10 to 20 percent. Very rarely does higher support show up, and that’s probably when the polls are manipulated.

In order to break through such a glass ceiling, one has to pretend to be Catholic, just like Donald Tusk did recently at the PO convention, telling those grotesque fairy tales about how his mother used to bless every new loaf of bread with the sign of the cross, and saying that after all, we are all Catholics here.

You have to imagine the fury of people who have lived for 30 years in the belief that they are the only enlightened ones in this country, that everyone else is part of some “dark masses” who should listen to them. These people have blown away the millions from Soros, from foreign foundations, and from various European funds, they are supported by all leading media, they are strongly supported by the foreign media because the mechanism of creating these anti-Polish fake news stories is such that someone from the editorial office of Gazeta Wyborcza writes badly about Poland in the New York Times and the national edition of Gazeta Wyborcza, discreetly omitting the fact that the author of the article is its own journalist, then tries to impress its Polish readers saying: “Look, what a shame before the whole world, the New York Times itself, the most important American newspaper, has criticized Poland again.”

These people are really so deeply frustrated that, out of helpless hatred, they are inclined to behave in the most awful ways. This applies, of course, to the pathetic words of this Skarżyński in Gazeta Wyborcza, whom you quoted in your question, but also to the editor-in-chief of the Polish edition of Newsweek, who, in his editorial, openly demanded that conservative views such as mine be punished by imprisonment.

Poland has a government that is considered conservative by European standards. Can you imagine a situation in Poland like the one that happened to you in the UK? I have in mind a reversed situation, when a popular British journalist, known for his pro-LGBT and pro-immigration views, who strongly criticizes Christianity and Western civilization, would come to Poland and would be detained for some hours before being sent back to his country for his views, as in your case. Would that be possible in Poland?

I can’t imagine such a situation and, frankly speaking, I wouldn’t like it to ever happen in Poland. But here, there is no doubt that if there were these kinds of accusations against someone, they would immediately be checked by some people. Besides, let’s remember that in contrast to the West, there is a pluralism of opinions in Poland. Conservative magazines like Do Rzeczy, where I work, publish things that would probably be completely censored and removed from public discourse in the West.

There is a dispute in Poland, there is a possibility to present different positions. So certainly, it would be impossible for someone to be refused entry to Poland because of his views, although there was one exception, a few years ago, when David Irving was refused entry to Poland. It was a slightly different situation, but I still think it was a mistake.

In answering this question I will say one more thing. Imagine, for example, that someone would not be allowed to enter Poland not for his views but for specific actions against Poland, e.g. one of those slanderers who persistently attribute responsibility for the Holocaust to Poles, or let’s say far-left activists going to the “Equality Parade” [the name for Polish Gay Pride parades, ed.] and not concealing that they intend to break Polish laws – that is, to insult Polish national and religious symbols as it is a permanent practice at the so-called Equality Parades – and to question the constitutional provision that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. I believe that the heaviest cannons would then be brought to bear against Poland, and not only European Parliament resolutions, for which no basis is actually needed, as any pretext invented by Mr. Biedroń is good enough. Poland would then be probably condemned by the UN, the G7, and all, absolutely all, world bodies that are capable of making themselves heard.

So Poland can’t, but the UK can, right?

Unfortunately, there is no equality of treatment here because I can’t imagine any other country allowing its citizens to be treated with impunity the way I have been treated. But this is also partly due to our nasty post-colonial situation.

I was told the example of a Dutch MP who was not allowed into the UK some time ago, at least at first. Despite the fact that he was an MP from a fringe party, hardly supported by anyone and fought against by most Dutch politicians, they all protested with one voice against that decision and put pressure on Britain to treat that Dutch MP as an MP.

However, anyone who wants to strike a blow at a Pole knows that there will always be another Pole who will cheer this fervently, will help or even encourage it. Sadly enough, we are paying the price for the fact that Poland is divided just like Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is unfortunate, but every country that has been subjected to long-term occupation is deeply divided between those who want to keep their identity and those who want to renounce it, who hate it because they think it makes them inferior people, that it prevents them from being more modern and becoming like those who occupied them.

The difference is that we, unlike the Bosnians and Serbs, do not shoot at each other, but the temperature of this hatred is similar. In Poland, the left is, on the one hand, isolated in society and has a sense of frustration of a rejected elite, but, on the other hand, it is very influential, because during communism it was the children of the communist nomenklatura who had more opportunities to receive education and they were the only ones who could go to the West and get educated there. So, among the upper layers of society, among lawyers, academics, artists, managers of companies, the behavior characteristic of the 10 to 15 percent-strong leftist-liberal part of society prevails.

As a result, they try to compensate for their defeats and their feeling of rejection in Poland precisely in the West, where they see their true homeland. 

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