Can We Save the Catholic Church? - lecture by S.Obirek

The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA) is pleased to invite to a lecture titled: Can We Save the Catholic Church? by Stanislaw Obirek, a culture anthropologist, is a professor at Warsaw University.

He will discuss his most recent book titled: Gomora about the power, money and fear in the Polish Catholic Church. He discuss idea of hope and change which comes from Pope Francis and new forms of spirituality in the Catholic Church.

Tuesday: 26 October, 18.00 AEST

By zoom: (please contact us on info@aipa.net.au for details)

The audiobook of Gomora is available on youtube here.

Stanislaw Obirek, a culture anthropologist, is a professor at Warsaw University. He teaches in the American Studies Center. He was a visiting professor in Holly Cross College in Worcester MA (2000), and a fellow in St. Louis University (2004). His books include Catholicism as a Cultural Phenomenon in the time of Globalization: A Polish Perspective (2009); Winged Mind. Walter Ong’s Anthropology of Word (2010); Liberated Mind. In Serach of a Mature Catholicism, 2011);  with Zygmunt Bauman two books: Of God and Man (2015) and On the World and Ourselves (2015); Pole Catholic? (2015); together with Artur Nowak Narrow Path. Why did I leave the Church (2020) and Gomorrah (2021). He is interested in the place of religion in modern cultures, interreligious dialogue, and strategies for overcoming conflicts between different civilizations and cultures.

AIPA interview with SBS Radio regarding the publication by the Department of Immigration

Prof. Gosia Klatt, the AIPA President, has been interviewed by the SBS Radio (Polish section) on the controversial publication of the History of the Department of Immigration on Sunday 17 October 2021.

The interview can be accessed here in Polish language.

The interview follows the letter of complaint forwarded to the Hon Alex Hawke, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs House of Representatives (copied below) sent by AIPA in September 2021.

Publication of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection:

A History of the Department of Immigration

I am writing to you on behalf of the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA) with regard to a book published in 2015 by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection titled:  A History of the Department of Immigration. The book was subsequently revised in 2017. While the AIPA is supportive of publications that commemorate and celebrate Australian history, migration and multiculturalism, in the opinion of AIPA members, the current content of this book undermines its value as an authoritative source of information on the history of immigration to Australia. 

According to the Introduction to the book, it ”…has been written to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Immigration…It is intended to be brief history that captures the key events, and has relied on extensive research to ensure that the information included is as accurate as possible.”

Regrettably, in its current form the book does not fulfil its stated goals. Its main shortcoming is the omission of almost any reference to the arrival and settlement of Polish refugees, by far the largest refugee group that has settled in Australia between 1945 and the early 1980s.

I quote from the report prepared by the Parliament of Australia on Australian refugee programs:  “(In 1984 – GK) DIEA  (Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs – GK) publishes figures on numbers of refugees arriving in Australia from January 1945 to June 1984: a total of 418 870. The three principal groups are: Polish (74 973), Vietnamese (70 492) and Hungarian (26 185)”.*

These figures are confirmed by the magisterial The Australian People, An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins (1988)** edited by an eminent social researcher prof. James Jupp.

We note that A History makes explicit references to much smaller refugee-intake programs following, for example, the Hungarian Revolution (1956) or Prague Spring (1968). There are also references to comparatively smaller intakes from the Baltic countries (beautiful Balts). On page 62, the publication provides a snapshot of major humanitarian groups that have arrived in Australia.  Astoundingly, among several European groups there is no reference to Polish refugees.

It needs to be stressed that exclusion of any references to Polish refugees from the above stated DIBP publication, not only applies to the post-war years (1945-61) but extends further to the 1980s. It was during the latter period that a substantial number of Solidarity activists, escaping the trauma and oppression of martial law in Poland, arrived in Australia. The earlier mentioned The Australian People, An Encyclopedia of the Nation, estimates that between 1980 -1984 close to 16,000 Polish-born refugees arrived in Australia. By way of comparison, the number of Chileans who are frequently mentioned in the DIBP book and who arrived between 1974-81 after the Pinochet coup, numbered some 6,000***.

Finally, I would like to convey the sentiments shared by many AIPA members and urge your Department to take appropriate steps to update A History of the Department of Immigration and replenish the missing information. Without this revision, A History will remain a seriously disappointing and incomplete book.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. Gosia Klatt

President

The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

______________

References:

*The report prepared by the Parliament of Australia on Australian refugee programs

**The Australian People, An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins, General Editor. James Jupp,  Angus and Robertson Publishers, 1988

***The Australian People, An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins (1988)

AIPA Open Letter published in Gazeta Wyborcza

On 13 October 2021, the most influential Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, published our open letter on the ruling of the current Constitutional Tribunal in Poland.

The link to the publication is here.

AIPA JOINS THE PROTESTS ON THE RULING OF THE CURRENT CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL IN POLAND

The Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA) joins the nationwide protests held in Poland following the ruling of the current Constitutional Tribunal's decision of 7/10/2021 which could result in dire consequences for Poland’s membership in the European Union (EU).

We protest against the ruling of the Tribunal which, under the leadership of PiS party loyalist, Ms. Julia Przylebska, responded to a request from the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and rejected the supremacy of the European Court of Justice. We know what this ruling means: in effect, it represents a termination of the EU accession treaty. The consequences for Poland, and for Polish citizens at home and abroad, can be predicted. We will be facing ostracism in the EU, the withholding of aid and development funds, and finally the collapse of cooperation not only at the supranational level, but also at the level of regions, as well as universities and business enterprises. Eventually, it could end with Poland's removal from the EU community. Certainly, trust in Poland as a partner in international relations, once damaged, will be difficult to rebuild.

We express our solidarity with all those who took to the streets in the cities of Poland to show support for Poland's membership of the EU, and for journalists, lawyers and everyone strongly committed to defending democratic values, human rights and the independence of law and courts in Poland.

Prof. Gosia Klatt,

President of the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs

Melbourne, 12 October 2021

Challenging nationalist extremism in Poland - recording now available

Prof. Rafal Pankowski presentation on 9 September 2021

Organised by the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (AIPA) and the European Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand (ESAANZ), we cordially invite you to a presentation by Prof. Rafal Pankowski, a co-founder of Poland’s leading anti-racist organization ‘NEVER AGAIN’.

The mission of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is to promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society in Poland and in the broader region of Central and Eastern Europe. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ is particularly concerned with the problem of education against racial and ethnic prejudices among the young. Since the mid-1990s, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association as the first organization in Poland has offered non-material support to individuals who are getting out of the trap of far-right ideologies. Former members of neo-fascist and extreme-right groups have contacted 'NEVER AGAIN' for help and advice, while trying to leave their former group which formerly gave them a sense of strength and ideological identity. ‘NEVER AGAIN’ has offered them support and ethical guidelines in their path of deradicalization as well as assisted in challenging their former, hatred-filled convictions. Please join us to discuss nationalist extremism in Poland.

Recording now available on the ESAANZ YouTube channel here.

In collaboration with ESAANZ.