Osobiscie wyslalam dwa listy do Chicago Tribune. Z rozmow ze sluchaczami i z ich e-maili wiem, ze wiele innych listow bylo rowniez wyslanych. do tej gazety. Chicago Tribune uwaza, ze sprawa obrazenia Polakow nie zasluguje nawet na miejsce w dziale Listy Czytelnikow. Niezaleznie od tego jak zachowa sie Fox, Chicago Tribune musi wytlumaczyc nam dlaczego ignoruje oburzenie polskiego Chicago. A takze dlaczego powinnismy w dalszym ciagu czytac te gazete i nie bojkotowac tych ktorzy sie w niej oglaszaja.
From: Alexander Danel
Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2007 5:52 PM
Cc: Frank Spula; Consul Pawel Pietrasienski; Lucja Sliwa; Anna Sobor; Mark Sokolowski
Subject: Huge blowout in Polish community, no Tribune coverage yet.
Dear Antonio Olivo,
I have some news for you, or whoever is doing coverage of ethnic issues for the Tribune. It is amazing that this story, which is so huge in the Polish media, never drew any attention from the Tribune or any other English speaking media. The story started one full month ago. In the next few days, I might be able to offer an event (or two) that would provide an opportunity for a current story and photos.
A reminder Antonio – you and I have met. You interviewed me once for a front page article entitled “Pulaski Defenders Decide it’s Time to Party.” The article was well written, and I’m very grateful that you mentioned that I am “the son of a Christian survivor of Auschwitz.”
I’ll just quote from a web petition that I wrote and will be launching soon:
Defamation has been aired by Fox Network’s show
“Back to You.” The undersigned, on behalf of our
aggrieved community, do hereby express our
indignation and proclaim our desire for redress.
On Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007, the Fox comedy show
“Back To You” aired some dialog that involved a
character of Polish heritage. In an attempt to
convince him to do something (go bowling,) it was
suggested that this activity was native to his
Polish heritage. Towards this end, the following
“C’mon Gary. Bowling is in your Polish blood,
like kielbasa, and collaborating with the Nazis.”
The reaction in our Polish community was like a kick in the head. Keep in mind that, in my case personally, everyone that I grew up with, and I mean everyone literally without exception, was born to parents who had fought and/or suffered greatly during the war. Various people and entities have worked to defame Polish history for the last 200 years, but this was over the top. Here is more from my petition:
The notion that Poles collaborated significantly with
the Nazis has traction in America, even among some
well educated people; but it is demonstrably false.
Any repetition of this falsehood is offensive and
Suggestions that “it’s just a joke” will find no
acceptance among the Polish-American community;
history and experience leaves us too raw. Precisely
this calumny, that “Poles collaborated with Nazis,”
was used by Stalin to help justify the annexation of
half of Poland’s territory.
I bet you didn’t know that, about Stalin. Anyway, Polonia (the Polish-American community,) which is usually too individualistic to work in unison, suddenly had common cause. Radio and newspapers rallied the people, and as a result phone calls, e-mails, and letter writing happened. In response, someone with some connection to the show (rumor says it was an intern) issued a tepid apology. Indignation roiled. Then came a more official apology, and then finally, on Dec 4, a V.P. from Fox network flew out to Chicago, met with a select collection of Polonia activists in concert with, and at the office of Frank Spula, president of PNA/PAC. I wasn’t personally at the meeting, but from what I hear, the V.P. from Fox was well intended but had limited understanding. (No one who isn’t Polish could understand that we have suffered 200 years of degradation, and that, when all else had been taken away, honor and bravery were sometimes all we had left.) There were a tough 2 hours of negotiation with the Fox V.P., with the result that wording for an apology was agreed on.
This is not over yet. Here is the balance of my petition:
An apology has been issued; this acknowledges the upset
felt by the Polish-American community. We appreciate,
and consider appropriate, the promise that the offending
line has been removed from the episode. However, a
disquieting question about the original show remains
unresolved: How did this happen? Humor inherently
draws upon common understandings; apparently the show’s
personnel believed there existed a common understanding
that “Poles collaborated with Nazis.” A very different
common understanding exists among Polish survivors of
The apology was issued by Fox Corporation; but we would like
a clear indication that the network’s statement also applies
to the production company and the company’s personnel.
This clear indication can be and should be more than just words.
To be a party to a “deep and sincere apology” requires empathy,
and empathy requires understanding. Therefore we ask for the
following concrete action; which will promote understanding:
(1) Open a dialog between the show’s personnel and
Polish historians so that opinions and knowledge
can be exchanged.
Those offering an apology should be open to reasonable
requests for remedy. The offending line has been expunged;
this action prevents future harm, but it does not repair the
damage done. Therefore, as a remedy, we ask for:
(2) A commitment that future episodes of “Back to You”
will use the Gary character actively and often to
educate the general public about the heroism of the
Polish people during World War Two.
In other words: the wrong people apologized. It wasn’t Fox that did this, it was the independent production company. Fox’s apology is like that of a father who apologizes for his delinquent son?
Anyway, this whole series of events is a story that the Tribune should cover. The angle I would like to work for you is “Raising their voices as one” – i.e., the contrast of this united action versus Polonia’s past dysfunctional ways. I’ve got a couple events that are coming up in the next few days that can work beautifully in this theme of a “unified voice.” One event is the inauguration of my web-petition, which I’m going to try to get Frank Spula, etc., involved in, and the other is an big, open invite Christmas caroling event which is literally “raising our voices as one.”
Please contact me, or forward this e-mail to someone who will.
Chairman, Americans of Polish Descent (AMOPOD)
Moderator of “StopJack” anti-defamation group.
Frank Spula, President, Polish National Alliance, Polish American Congress
Pawel Pietrasienski, past Consul General, Polish Consulate in Chicago
Lucja Sliwa, WPNA radio 1490 AM
Mark Sokolowski, anti-defamation activist
Anna Zolkowski-Sobor, Polonia activist