It’s been a harrowing week in U.S. politics. My Facebook news feed is full of worried posts from my Muslim friends, angry posts from U.S. voters, and confused posts from my friends in Europe. And I know that by the time I write this, it’ll be out of date, a new Tweet or executive order or protest happening somewhere.
Food blogs usually aren’t political— we write about recipes and restaurants, not about farm subsidies, food stamps or breakfast programs in public schools. But I’m an immigrant here in Poland, and I’m all too aware of political issues, far-right politicians and racism. Heck, Poland’s current political party, Law and Justice, is conservative, nationalistic, and hostile to immigrants.
Of course, I don’t deal with the worst of racism in Poland. I can “pass.” I have vaguely European-ish features, and more to the point, I’m a short woman. My Indian friends have not been as lucky, and I’ve seen a number of drunks harassing Indian men. Also, I’ve had Syrian students, who talk, in hushed tones, about navigating in an often hostile society. And Poland has its own hate crimes— a molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of a pizza shop owned by an Egyptian recently. That pizza place is on the same block as my apartment.
Between Brexit and a number of other EU countries dealing with the rise of far-right parties— in France, in Austria, even in the Netherlands— I’m getting worried. With the far-right comes racism. Since I’ve worked in a few different countries, I can’t easily ignore how the United State’s policies affect the world. While I wasn’t a huge fan of either Obama or Clinton, I do consider myself liberal.
Which is part of the reason I organized a Women’s March in Krakow on January 21. As I couldn’t protest in Washington, this seemed like the next best thing.
The turnout was great— about 100 people, half Americans. And I was happy to give both Americans traveling and living in Poland a chance to make their voices heard.
While I still have mixed feelings on the impact of the march itself, it was really energizing to see so many people come together. It gave me hope to get through the next four years. Unfortunately, it’s hard to ignore the parallels to Trump’s policies on Muslim immigrants and Europe’s own history with anti-semitism.
Next week, I promise, I’ll just talk about food, sans politics!