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Monday, April 27, 2009


U.S. out...of Poland?

Yes, Poland. Here's the news which, in the United States, only made the local paper (in this case, the Los Angeles Times):
Poland's Krystian Zimerman, widely regarded as one of the finest pianists in the world, created a furor Sunday night in his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall when he announced this would be his last performance in America because of the nation's military policies overseas.

“Get your hands off of my country,” he said. He also made reference to the U.S. military detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But what did he mean? Readers of the L.A. Times would have no idea. The U.S. isn't occupying Poland, is it? Readers of The Guardian, however, got the full explanation:
Zimerman appears to have been upset by Barack Obama's decision, announced this month, to maintain the Bush-era policy of installing a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Obama insisted the shield was part of a defensive posture against Iran, not Russia, and that he intended to remove it as soon as the threat from Iran subsided. But many Poles have accused the US of wanting to mount a military occupation of their country, and fear the shield could make them a target of Russian aggression.
I'm sure this issue registers about 1 on a scale of 100 to Americans, just like so many other things the American government does in our name. But to the people of the countries affected by U.S. policies, Poles in this case, it's no minor matter. And no minor matter that their own government is prepared to sell them out, the overwhelming opposition of the Polish people notwithstanding.

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