Re: Stories and Symbols
Your email about stories and how these stories can have an influence on us triggered a need in me to share a story with you. It's a story about what happened in the last days in Poland. I don't know if you've heard about it.
The last several years have been really tough on us, Poles.
Every day we've heard hateful words coming from our ruling party members. They've changed the national TV into their propaganda tool. So we hear how good they are and how bad the opposition are. They manipulate the facts and tell us their "truth". Some people have access only to the media controlled by this party. It's terrifying. Their hateful speech bore fruit last week. There was a 27th final of the Great Christmas Charity Orchestra (Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, see https://en.wosp.org.pl (https://en.wosp.org.pl/) ) - event, which gathers millions of people not only in Poland but also in many countries abroad.
Year after year we give what we can to help people in need - the WOŚP Foundation buys medical equipment for the hospitals which otherwise wouldn't be bought - the state of public hospitals in Poland is poor.
And so, 27th final, lots of people gathered in many cities. Always at 8 p.m., there's this thing called "light to the sky" - we have fireworks shows to thank all the people who gave something to the cause. And in one moment one man ruined everything.
Fed with this hateful speech, very often directed towards the Orchestra and its director Jurek Owsiak, one man came on the stage and stabbed the mayor of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, in front of thousands of people, including children. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46867286 Paweł Adamowicz was a victim of hateful speech - he was a target for many years and on 14 January this year he "got what he deserved" - according to some, unfortunately. And this one poor man, who took the knife, influenced by these hateful stories, brought darkness to us all.
We all thought it would be over - over with the Orchestra (Jurek Owsiak resigned the very day Paweł Adamowicz died), over with joy the finals used to bring to the people, over with all the good things left in the public space. And instead, the new story came to life, the story we'll tell our children. The story of how the society can rise up from the ashes like a phoenix.
Paweł Adamowicz was one of the volunteers - he always participated in the fundraising in person. He collected over 5000 PLN. And one girl in Gdańsk, who was so sad that she didn't manage to give money to the mayor's fundraising container, and she will never be able to this again, she set up her fundraiser on Facebook. She only wanted to collect a 1000 PLN, to add to what the mayor had collected on a final day. Do you know how much she collected? Almost 16 000 000 PLN. All 6 zeros are fine. See it here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/785858165083164/846949842322011/
Over 264 000 people donated. In a week we've donated so much! Much more than during the first 6 finals! We've told ourselves that we can be united, that we won't be stopped by the stories of bad people, that we, the people, are fed up with the hate.
This fundraiser will help a lot of people, a lot of equipment will be bought for the mayor's hometown and not only. And we can be proud of ourselves. We started the campaign against hate speech. We try to communicate in a civil way, even if we deal with internet trolls. And it's heartwarming. And this is the story to share.
As this story will lead a lot of people to the right direction for a very long time.
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