We protest against Andrzej Duda, the President who repeatedly violated the Constitution

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Hon. Rahm Emanuel
Mayor, City of Chicago
April 30th, 2018 

Dear Mayor Emanuel:

We, Chicagoans and members of Polish Community, who are concerned about the state of democracy in Poland, write to you in connection with the scheduled May 19th speech by Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland in Millennium Park.  We ask you to deny Mr. Duda the use of this forum because he is not worthy of speaking in the heart of Chicago, which has always been an open city for immigrants, friendly to representatives of different cultures, a city condemning racism, anti-Semitism, nationalism, and fascism. President Duda can use other venues owned by organizations or people who share his views or support him.

We make this request with regret, because many of us, have Polish roots, were born in Poland, and have looked on with horror as President Duda, along with the Law and Justice Party has worked to destroy the achievements of the generation that fought communism, created "Solidarity," and helped bring about a united Europe free from the divisions and “spheres of influence” of the Cold War.         

President Duda has repeatedly violated the Polish Constitution he swore to uphold, and he is complicit in the liquidation of Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal as an independent judicial body. He has signed laws to liquidate the separation of powers, subordinating the courts to political control. Political prisoners have appeared again in Poland, including the vice-chairman of the opposition Civic Platform party, Stanisław Gawłowski. President Andrzej Duda has also signed into law restrictions on the freedom of scientific research, including the history of World War II and the Holocaust. 

President Andrzej Duda, together with the Law and Justice-controlled government, did nothing to prevent a march of thousands of fascists and xenophobes on November 11th last year in Warsaw. It was a grim and frightening fact that they marched 200 meters from the old walls of the Warsaw Ghetto. Unfortunately, we are anxiously watching the flirtation of the present Polish government with elements of the extreme right, which explicitly promotes fascist and anti-Semitic views. This policy, promoted by President Duda, has contributed to the rise in xenophobic and anti-Semitic sentiments in Poland.

For all of these reasons, President Duda should not be granted the privilege of speaking at Millennium Park. This is not a place for xenophobes, for people destroying democracy, and those breaking the highest law of their country.

Peter Jan Wlodarczyk, President of The Committee for the Defense of Democracy – KOD Polonia USA
Andrzej Jarmakowski, Journalist and Historian

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