Polanski in Poland: National Hero or Disgraced Icon?

Parliament amended the penal code and made it legal to subject convicted pedophiles to pharmaceutical treatment. Some consider this legislature highly controversial and dubbed it "chemical castration." However, legislators who passed the amendment argue that such treatment will stop pedophiles committing crimes against the under aged.

In the context of this recent legislature, Polish authorities now understand they need to be careful in their words and actions defending Polanski. Otherwise they will no doubt be accused of hypocrisy.

Only yesterday, there were some in the government who called on the foreign minister to get President Obama involved. Today, they have toned down their language considerably and the outrage is more controlled.

According to Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland's minister of culture, the reaction is "reserved, calm and up to the point." A spokesperson for the Polish Foreign Ministry told ABC News that "The Polish Ambassador met with Polanski for two hours and we are providing him with all the assistance he needs. We are taking all the steps we feel necessary to secure Mr. Polanski's fair treatment."

Polish, French Foreign Ministers Appeal to Hillary Clinton

One of these steps is an appeal letter to Hillary Clinton. Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner are sending it jointly (Polanski holds dual citizenship – Polish and French).

The main reason the authorities have now started to take a low-key approach is their electorate. An opinion poll published today shows that less than 25 percent of Poles would like to see Polanski escape another trial. "This is a very surprising result," says Jan Stolarz, a sociologist with a polling organization.

He told ABC News that "in light of the near-hero status Polanski enjoys here, this is very telling. People no longer believe that achievement can buy you immunity and that all are equal before the law...This is very encouraging," adds Stolarz.

Results of the opinion poll are reflected by many Web site comments. Most readers would like to see Polanski extradited to the U.S.

"I'm ashamed that my president and a few ministers are protecting a pedophile," reads one. "Law is law and money cannot buy you justice. Polanski, Obama or Mr. Jones -- in a lawful state all are equal."

To many Poles, Polanski had been an iconic figure. Events from 30 years ago, his past, were just an ambiguous blur, certainly nothing that could overcast his greatness.

Today, there seems to be a change. With Polish public reaction so vocal and negative, with the past once again revealed, Polanski's tarnished image may never recover in his homeland. Only a handful of politicians and fellow artists appear to be dedicated to saving the icon.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8701191.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...