Memorial Madness Poles Invoke Chuck Norris to Defy Kaczynski Remembrance
Some Poles are tired of never-ending gestures of remembrance for Lech Kaczynski, the president who died in a plane crash last year. Protesters suspect his brother Jaroslaw is exploiting the tragedy for political gain, and have started to mock his monthly wreath-laying by simultaneously celebrating the birthdays of US action movie stars.
Ever since Polish President Lech Kaczynski died in a plane crash on April 10 last year, his brother Jaroslaw, the current opposition leader, has commemorated the tragedy each month on the 10th by placing a wreath in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw.
Kaczynski's opponents have accused him of exploiting his brother's death for political purposes and have repeatedly mounted a peculiar stunt to draw attention to their criticism of the monthly ceremonies. On March 10, hundreds of people took to the streets of Warsaw to celebrate the birthday of schlocky US action film star Chuck Norris.
On April 10, they will celebrate the birthday of another hero of US action movies, Steven Seagal, said the organizer of the protests, Dominik Taras, who had already led demonstrations against a wooden cross that had been placed in front of the presidential palace to commemorate Kazynski.
Many Poles feel that the death has been instrumentalized. Kaczynski, his wife and 94 senior politicians, military officials and clerics had died in the crash near the Russian city of Smolensk. More than 100,000 people joined an Internet campaign calling for a "day without Smolensk" in the media. One survey showed 58 percent were opposed to erecting a monument to Lech Kaczynski in Warsaw.
Ski jumper Adam Malysz, a national hero, summed up the mood when he said "everyone's tired" of the issue.