Lech Walesa shocks Poland with anti-gay words

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FILE – In this Sept. 30, 2003 file photo Lech Walesa, Poland’s Solidarity leader and former president, gets a kiss from his wife Danuta, during a birthday party in Gdansk, Poland. Walesa, the democracy icon and Nobel peace prize winner, has sparked controversy and outrage in Poland by saying in a TV interview Friday, March 1, 2013, homosexuals have no right to a prominent role in politics and that as a minority they need to “adjust to smaller things” in society. AP

WARSAW, Poland — Lech Walesa, the Polish democracy icon and Nobel peace prize winner, has sparked outrage in Poland by saying that gays have no right to a prominent role in politics and that as a minority they need to “adjust to smaller things.”

Some commentators are now suggesting that Walesa, the leading figure in Poland’s successful democracy struggle against communism, has irreparably harmed his legacy.

Walesa said in a television interview on Friday that he believes gays have no right to sit on the front benches in Parliament and, if represented at all, should sit in the back, “and even behind a wall.”

“They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things. And not rise to the greatest heights, the greatest hours, the greatest provocations, spoiling things for the others and taking (what they want) from the majority,” he told the private broadcaster TVN during a discussion of gay rights. “I don’t agree to this and I will never agree to it.”

“A minority should not impose itself on the majority,” Walesa said.

The words have enraged many.

“From a human point of view his language was appalling. It was the statement of a troglodyte,” said Jerzy Wenderlich, a deputy speaker of Parliament with the Democratic Left Alliance.

In some ways the uproar says as much about Poland today as it does about Walesa.

Walesa, Poland’s first democratic-era president, is a deeply conservative Roman Catholic and a father of eight. But, the democracy he helped create in 1989 from the turmoil of strikes and other protests has had a profound social transformation in recent years.

Poland is a traditionally conservative and Catholic society that long suppressed discussions of gay rights. The topic was essentially taboo under communism, and in the early years of democracy. The Polish church, which has a strong role in political life, still holds that homosexuality is deviant, while gays and lesbians say they face discrimination and even violence.

However, much has changed. A watershed moment came in 2011 when a new progressive and anti-clerical party — Palikot’s Movement — entered Parliament for the first time. Taking seats for the party were Anna Grodzka, a transsexual, and Robert Biedron, who is openly gay. These were all historic firsts.

The two have been in the public eye while lawmakers have debated a civil partnership law. Though lawmakers have recently struck down proposals, the discussions continue. A new campaign was just launched to fight taboos.

Some predicted the consequences for Walesa could be serious.

A national committee devoted to fighting hate speech and other crimes filed a complaint with prosecutors on Sunday in Gdansk, Walesa’s home city, accusing him of promoting “propaganda of hate against a sexual minority.”

Walesa is no longer active in Polish political life, though he is often interviewed and asked his opinion on current affairs. Much of his time is spent giving lectures internationally on his role in fighting communism and on issues of peace and democracy.

“Now nobody in their right mind will invite Lech Walesa as a moral authority, knowing what he said,” Wenderlich said.

Monika Olejnik, a leading television journalist, said Walesa “disgraced the Nobel prize.”

Some, however, said they were not surprised by Walesa’s words.

“I am surprised that only now we are noticing that Walesa is not in control of what he says and that he has views that are far from being politically correct,” said Adam Bielan, a conservative Polish member of the European Parliament.

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  • oldmemory

    the gays quickly put up a hate legacy against those who want all to live normal lives

  • just_anotherperson

    People are usually misquoted by media.  I would not believe this until I read his explanation.  Still, each man is entitled to his own opinion.

  • opinyonlangpo

    This man became president out of courtesy for being a leader of a labor union that symbolically toppled the communist regime in Poland. He is what he is and no golden cloak can change that – a mechanic.

    • dknight_98

      And you wish to push a different opinion by mocking his background? Good luck with that. 

      • opinyonlangpo

        Who mocked his background? Might be you. The point is, he was not prepared to talk like a politician who can hold his tongue or lie upfront.

    • Yxon

      please dont under estimate the accomplishment of this man….he had made his act during the communist regime which in contrary to your comment does not make courtesy  for him being a union leader.  so much sacrifice, suffering, and death had been experienced by these people. he had mustered millions of workers to go against the regime at that time.

      • opinyonlangpo

        Right. He is so honest about his feelings and that made him a charismatic union leader. My point is, woould he be a lawyer or politician  by upbringing and profession, he could have lied upfront and kept his negative opinions to himself thus avoiding negative feedback.

      • Yxon

        that’s bad..lying. why not just tell the truth? if you keep on hiding it, the lies and untruths will eventually dominate and became the norm. there will always be negative feedbacks in everything you do, good or bad.

      • opinyonlangpo

        Well, tell that to the politicians. For them lying straight to the face is normal as breathing just to maintain their good public image. Normal people, however like Lech Walesa seems too difficult to do that. Just like I said earlier, he was not groomed to be a politician  and since saying being a mechanic is bad for some people, lets then say he was just a normal employee.

      • Yxon

        so being not fit to be a politician, is he not entitled to what he had said earlier? why be afraid of the trutth? sometimes it is just frustrating to see the untruths taking over as the norm.

      • opinyonlangpo

        Exactly. That’s the reason for all this fuss, he throws the truth right at the gays face. Some politicians just evade the topic to be safe.

      • Yxon

        he could say that one because he is already out of politics

      • opinyonlangpo

        He needs to look back to his humble roots. He became president because of sympathy for lowly laborers like him, and this is how he repays the very people that uplifted him up in the society. Not very grateful isn’t it?

      • Yxon

        yes, they had fought for it and he had served his people well. what he had opined is not related.  

      • opinyonlangpo

        So that means he deserve the public outrage and negative reactions he got. Too bad it tarnished his legacy.

      • Yxon

        tarnished if what he says is bad or a lie; reactions are normal but could not tarnish his legacy.

      • opinyonlangpo

        To say as tarnished is already putting it lightly, some Polska forums already liken him to Hitler and that is horrible because Poland was one of the first to be ravaged by the nazi. They have gays holding prominent positions in Poland, probably more gays too than Philippines.

  • Teresa Santos

    It is disgusting that Walesa is a homophobic. The fact that he was gang raped by 3 pedophiles when he was 15 is no excuse for being homophobic. Shame Walesa!

    • John Terrence Kelly

      Asking him to become tolerant after what happened to him when he was young might be too much to ask from Walesa. I’d be more surprised if he campaigned for them; the spectacle would be as galling as asking a Holocaust victim to campaign for the forgiveness of those who were responsible for the Final Solution during the Second World War. Walesa is a great man; he was one of those who helped bring about the end of the Cold War, but we must not forget that the giants of history are also mortals too; that they have their own beliefs and ideals that may run counter to some of the fine points of the principles they have fought for, like homosexuality in the larger context of freedom. In a democracy, everybody is entitled to their own opinions, and nobody can exercise a monopoly on another person’s speech just because such statements run contrary to what that person believes, if he were a member of the majority. Voltaire could not have been more precise when he said, “I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Walesa fought for that too.

  • http://twitter.com/neps365 Prince Neps

    I should not have admired him at all. It was a terrible mistake on my part. 

  • VeryDisgusted2

    Walesa is right. Anyway it is only the third sex group that is raising hell against him for being racist.

    • Teresa Santos

      Not racist homophobic. They are different, you know?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TNASVGXZ23VCJWV7KO7WPDIKKI George

      and you’re the best example why pinas is considered an ignorant third world country. oh did i say that you have a college degree yet barely literate.

      • nakawan

        George, wherever it is you’re from, you can and should empower gays to take prominent roles in society and government. You might even want to make the LGBT the most powerful political group like it is in the US. You can let them marry each other, marry children, marry dogs, whatever. That’s all perfectly fine. Just don’t preach your gospel to places that aren’t comfy with it. You’d be like George W. “liberating” Iraq.

  • NoWorryBHappy

    Walesa is the icon of Polish democracy is now the Father of Polish Hate and Bigotry.
    We should have known all along that the Hitler’s blood runs in his family line.
    He will now be elevated to the altar of white supremacists.

  • w33k3nd3r

    Nako tsk tsk tsk yari ka ngayon sa Federacion.

  • Barak_O

    gays again???

    they almost make so much noise

    whenever their butts hurt

    by just complimentary statements

  • nakawan

    I wholeheartedly agree that gays have a right to civil society and to serve in government and the military. But Walesa is right, the minority has no right to impose its will on the majority. They can try and try, but they shouldn’t resort to the bullying tactics we now see with the LGBT lobby in the US. The majority is what it is precisely because a larger group of people adhere to a proposed set of rules and mores. The smaller group will have their own ideas, and unless they are able to convince the larger group to drop their beliefs and adopt theirs, they cannot impose their will on anybody.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mccofqc Mccqc Phils

    This is so grabe!!

  • Yxon

    the minority/(abnormality) dont have the right to let the majority/)normality) to follow on their wishes. they should be the one to adjust.

    • opinyonlangpo

      I don’t understand what youy are insinuating but this issue is about Lech Walesa discriminating and despising gays. Walesa, a former president prtrays gays as lowly critters and not deserving any prominent position in society. Those are not the words to be expected from a dignified leader. He thinks so high of himself.

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