Poles gathered for the second time this year in front of BBC headquarters in London and New York on November 16 to protest the alleged defamation of Poland and the Polish people by journalists of the British media outlet.
In New York close to two dozen people, including members of the New York Chapter of Solidarni 2010, came to Sixth Avenue to rally in front of the BBC office. The protesters were equipped with fliers, banners and boards that said, “Anti Polish bigotry is un-British. Boot the BBC leadership!”, “BBC – Bigoted Broadcasting Corporation”, “Our mothers and fathers were British allies,” “Germans murdered 3,000 Polish citizens every day!”
“The last banner we received from the Poland branch of Solidarni 2010 shows pictures of the atrocities committed against Poles by Germans during World War II,” said Witold Rosowski, chairman of the New York branch of Solidarni 2010, a group that formed after the Smolensk plane crash on April 10, 2010 in which over 90 Polish officials died, including President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria. The group’s mission is to fight for the truth, protect the good image of Poland and prevent the falsification of history.
The New York rally and the London one in front of BBC headquarters a couple of hours earlier, organized by Patriae Fidelis Youth Association and the Polish Media Issues group, was in reaction to BBC’s plans to distribute the German TV series “Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter” (“Our Mothers, Our Fathers”), directed by Philipp Kadelbach. The film distorts the image of the Polish nation. One of the episodes of the series erroneously presents the soldiers of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa, or AK), the Polish resistance movement in World War II, as villains and staunch anti-Semites.
“The film is criminal in its message. It is a ‘war lie,’ which should be punishable by law just like Holocaust denial. One cannot freely distort and change historical facts. Just like in the case of Holocaust denial, so should the usage of ‘Polish concentration camps’ and other lies about war history be punished by law. The manipulation of words distorts history,” said Rosowski.
The participants of last Saturday’s rallies also protested the “deceptive approach of the BBC to Poland’s history and the Polish nation.”
The participants distributed fliers to passers-by and exclaimed in English that they wanted the truth and an end to the deceitful and erroneous image of Poland’s history.
“The BBC has a tendency to distort the wording of the notorious Nazi death camps,” said Stefan Komar, one of the participants of the New York rally, after the first protest of this kind which was organized in early September. Komar listed a number of instances in which BBC journalists, such as Giles Coren, presented Poland’s history and nation through an erroneous lens, which – in his opinion – proves the anti-Polish attitudes at the British TV station.
“BBC has done it for years. The station’s authorities have been turning a blind eye to the behavior of people like Coren, who don’t have journalistic integrity,” Komar added.
The organizers of the rally say they will continue the protests for as long as it is necessary.
“We will be returning here as we are convinced that it is our responsibility to exert pressure. In order to be effective, the pressure has to be exerted in a methodical and continuous way. It can’t be a single act. We will be returning here each month or as often as necessary so that the BBC ceases telling lies about Poles and our participation in World War II. We want to prove that Poles care and are not indifferent to such treatment,” said Rosowski.