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Friday, June 10, 2011

2012 Games

I have been talking with some of my students regarding the 2012 games coming to Warsaw. I started the discussion with enthusiasm but was surprised as the students did not share my enthusiasm. Many feel that Poland cannot handle this event and even remarked that they will probably leave Warsaw to escape the chaos during the games.

I am definitely looking forward to the games. Although I will probably not attend any of the games, it is the atmosphere of the city I am looking forward to. I have this vision of Warsaw becoming culturally enriched during this time as there will be people from all over Europe coming into the city. I know there will be problems ... but, I think this kind of spotlight on Poland can only be helpful in getting rid of all the stereotypes that are associated with this beautiful country.

What can we expect? Diversity! That alone is worth it to me!


  1. Actually, what you observed was the famous Polish complaining mode. It's difficult to explain, but Poles are masters at a kind of self-deprecating.

    Since they're not sure the 2012 Games will go smoothly, they prefer to assume it'll be disaster. They think you're from a country where everything is great, so when Poland fails you'll be harsh on us. This way they prepare the ground for future failures. If it goes well they'll always have time to switch into an appreciative mode, but Poles are careful with appreciating anything. For the most part, when foreigners say that they like something about Poland, Poles think they're poking fun at them.

    So when they say they don't care they shelter themselves against your laughter.

    It's not a conscious attitude. I used to be the same without knowing about it until I began to read blogs written by foreigners living in Poland. Moreover, Poles living abroad tend to change the way they speak about Poland, because they notice that they're the only people to deprecate their own country, and in effect those are the Poles who contribute to the bad stereotypes of Poland. After all, they keep telling everyone that the country sucks, and people who don't know any better have no reason to not believe them.

  2. If some of the hooligan fighting I have seen recently on DW Germany is any indication, it might not be a complete disaster but I wouldn't be surprise of those racist hooligans give the event some sort of black eye.

    Poles have no reason to be ashamed of their country.