In an outrageous instance of political extremism in Poland, Pawel Adamowicz, mayor of Gdansk, was brutally stabbed and murdered at a charity event on 14 January 2019. The knife-wielding suspect tackled him on stage and punctured his chest with consecutive blows until he collapsed on his own pool of blood. The suspect—in a show of unsettling satisfaction—gesticulated like a victorious athlete and announced, “Adamowicz is dead!”, to a stunned crowd. The mayor was rushed to a hospital and succumbed to his injuries the next morning.
Reportedly, the motive for the attack was to exact revenge on the victim’s former party, Civic Platform (PO), for an imprisonment term the assailant served during the party’s rule last term. According to the 27-year-old felon, identified as Stefan, he was wrongly accused and tortured in prison by the PO government. However, Stefan’s long history of crimes doesn’t help his claims, and thus the murder appears more likely to be a well-devised conspiracy to suppress the liberal voices in the country.
Adamowicz was a popular figure in Gdansk and had been mayor for the past 20 years. He was known for his liberal views and his tenacity of the same in the face of constant opposition. Throughout his career, he took many so-called ‘controversial stands’ including supporting feminism, rallying for LGBT rights, and support for refugees. These stands drew the ire of the opposition and, sometimes, even his own party colleagues. In a show of animosity once, a nationalist youth politics body published a fake death certificate of the former PO politician and, threateningly, mentioned the cause of death as liberalism. Such incidents clearly show the divisions that exist in Polish politics and the growing bigotry among parties.
Unless there is a curb on politics fuelled by hatred, restoration of political peace seems like a long shot for Poland. I mean the murder of a key politician like Pawel Adamowicz shows the degree of barbarianism and malice ingrained in the minds of nationalists and these two things must be eliminated completely for a peaceful future. Honestly, I had never in my wildest dreams thought that a crime so grave could take place in a ‘developed’ European country. I am utterly shocked at this and, apparently, so is the rest of the world.