Polish Toledo

This blog is associated with www.polishtoledo.com

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Poles are Social

Poland is right behind America in its use of Internet social networking services according to a  new Pew Global Attitudes study. While wildly popular in the U.S. and Poland, services like Facebook are not so popular in places like Germany and Japan who are generally viewed as high tech countries.

While America is a place where more than 80% of homes have access to the Internet, what's crazy is that, in countries such as Poland, where a far larger portion of the population has no access to the Internet, an overwhelming majority of the people who do have Internet use it for social networking.

Germans and Japanese stand out among highly connected publics for their comparatively low levels of participation in social networking. While 31% of Germans use these types of sites, 49% go online at least occasionally but choose not to use them. In Japan, 24% are engaged in social networking, while 44% have Internet access but are not engaged.

Auschwitz Memorial Funding

Former Polish foreign minister Władysław Bartoszewski revealed the German government is paying $80 billion towards the upkeep of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz memorial in Poland.

America and other EU countries will offer an equal amount. The initiative was pushed by Bartoszewski.

More than 150 buildings need to be preserved as well as personal belongings of the murdered inmates. Between 1940 and 1945, more than a million Jews, Gypsies and Poles were exterminated in Auschwitz and the neighbouring camp at Birkenau by Nazi guards.

"With this contribution, Germany recognizes its historic responsibility to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and pass it on to future generations," said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wiki Leaks on Poland

The website WikiLeaks has released thousands of secret and private documents embarrassing to the U.S. and many other nations. One confidential file deals with the US Embassy in Warsaw and how Poland’s foreign minister believes that NATO is a “toothless club” and the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia justified Poland’s warning of Moscow’s “aggressive behavior”.

Foreign Minister Sikorski had complained that NATO has evolved into a political club with no teeth and warned that Poland would not be able to ignore a repetition of the Georgia scenario in Ukraine. He has also told U.S. officials that, in light of Russian excesses in Georgia, Poland's risky policy of arming the Georgians with shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles proved the right thing to do despite United States government objections. Poland remembers all too well England and France not honoring their mutual defense treaty in 1939 when Poland was invaded.

Following the 2008 Russian-Georgian war the secret document quotes Prime Minister Donald Tusk as saying: “"Now do you see why we want Patriot missiles and further security guarantees (as requested during the Missile Defense talks)?"

The Obama administration has pulled the plug on the European missile shield, which was to have rockets stationed in Poland. In its place is a solitary Patriot missile battery with unarmed rockets, used for training only and rotates duties inside and out of Poland.

It has also come to light that Poland has been seeking a larger American troop footprint stationed on Polish soil given the aggressive actions by Russia and the apathetic stance by NATO command.

The EU’s Eastern Partnership policy, led by Poland and Sweden to bring former Soviet states closer to the EU is essential for securing Poland’s security.

Russian domination would jeopardize democratic transformation and - more importantly, would crush hopes that Belarus could become a buffer state between Poland and Russia.

See select previous posts:








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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Columbus was Polish

In the past, I had advocated for changing the name of the capital of Ohio to Jan in honor of Jan z Kolno (John from Kolno, Poland). As legend has it, he sailed under the Danish flag to the eastern coasts of what are now Canada and the U.S. as far south as the mouth of Chesapeake Bay 16 years before Columbus got funding from Queen Isabella to set sail on the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

Now, I’m comfortable keeping our capital city named Columbus. Why? Simply because like Jan, Christopher Columbus was Polish !

Władysław III
Manuel Rosa, from Duke University, reveals the astonishing evidence about Columbus’ background in his new book COLON. La Historia Nunca Contada” (COLUMBUS. The Untold Story), just released in his native Spain. He says the explorer was not from a family of Italian craftsmen as previously thought, or even Portuguese as another group of historians believed - but the son of Władysław III, a self exiled King of Poland, which in itself is an amazing story.

“The sheer weight of the evidence presented makes the old tale of a Genoese wool weaver so obviously unbelievable that only a fool would continue to insist on it,” Rosa said.

The academic claims that the only way Columbus persuaded the Crown of Spain to fund his journey across the Atlantic Ocean was because he was royalty himself. For some reason he hid the true identity of his Polish biological father from most people during his lifetime, and history books have been none the wiser.

Nutty Conspiracies Are Real
“Another nutty conspiracy theory! That’s what I first supposed as I started to read... I now believe that Columbus is guilty of huge fraud carried out over two decades against his patrons,” said US historian James T. McDonough former professor at St. Joseph University.

Other historians first doubted Columbus’ Polish roots, but Rosa’s findings have been steadily gaining followers as the evidence comes to light.

“This book will forever change the way we view our history,” said Portuguese historian Prof. Jose Carlos Calazans. National Geographic is reportedly interested in making a documentary and the author is negotiating a deal.

Throughout the 1480s, when Columbus was in his 30s, he traded along the African coast and also sailed north to Ireland.

Sextant - the early GPS
Unlike what we were taught in school, modern historians believe it is a myth that ancient navigators thought the world was flat. Centuries before Columbus they had been using the stars at night as a primitive navigation system that assumed the earth was a sphere.

What sailors including Columbus didn’t know is how big the earth was, and how long it would take to sail round it.

When he convinced Spain to finance his voyage west in 1492, he underestimated the distance and thought that Asia would be where America is located. When he arrived in the Bahamas, Chris thought he was somewhere off the coast of China.

Haitian Polonians
 Columbus undertook three more return journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, each time hoping that he had found another part of Asia. He set up Spanish colonies and became governor of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, home to modern day Haiti [see earlier post] and the Dominican Republic.

After Columbus’ death in 1506, European explorers continued to set up colonies and eventually empires in North and South America. Poles were even part of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown and conducted the first labor strike in the "new" world.

Please see corrections to this post which I based on secondary sources. Corrections are submitted by Manuel Rosa himself. Click on comments to view.