Thursday, 4 August 2011

Quiet afternoon in the Bazaar

Fourteen years in Warsaw and I've yet to have checked out this legendary place. Bazar Różyckiego in Praga, just off ul. Targowa (which regular readers will remember is named after the Russian General Targov). The bazaar's heyday was in communist days, when it was one of the only places in Poland where one could obtain highly sought-after items such as blue jeans, t-shirts, fashionable footwear, and other items of clothing that would distinguish Warsaw's hipper citizens (bikiniarze) from the drab proletariat. The klimaty of the place are referred to in Leopold Tyrmand's Zły, Dziennik 1954 r., and Janusz Głowacki's Z głowy.

The bazaar had a very important place in the life of the capital in communist days. Not just for consumers, starved of anything fashionable, colourful or distinguishing. But for the sellers. Many were, like my family in Warsaw, people with connections in the West. My parents would regularly send parcels to their families in Poland; parcels containing (typically) clothes from Marks & Spencer (the well regarded St Michael's brand in those days). Well do I remember driving with my parents and my brother after Polish Saturday school in Chiswick to a small shop on the Fulham Palace Road from where my parents would send knitwear wrapped in brown paper to Warsaw and to Bystrzyca Kłodzka.

Today, the bazaar's competition - regular high street stores and shopping malls like Centrum Handlowe Warszawa Wileńska - has made it a shadow of its former self (much like the dear old Giełda fotograficzna camera fair that takes place at Stodoła each Sunday)

The young men and women that were once duckin' an' divin', bobbin' an' weavin' to turn an honest zloty in Gierek's days are now in their advanced middle age, selling dresses for weddings and first holy communions; little three-piece suits for four year-old boys and footwear for the middle aged - but at least its all stuff that's not mainstream, not brand-name regular shopping mall fashion.

But does Warsaw want it? Like the camera fair, the bazaars are in decline, being killed off very slowly by the relentless march of globalised retail. Footfall here is a tiny fraction of what I witnessed just minutes later at Wileńska.

So visit it while you can, a legendary place in Warsaw's history, it's been around for 180 years; it's witnessed uprisings and invasions, it's kept Varsovians supplied with contraband goods during the hard times, it was a free market that survived the planned economy.

And linguistic conundrum of the day: If 'How dare you ...!' in English is Jak śmiesz...!, what's 'I dare you to...' in Polish?

This time last year:
Distracted by the Cross of Smolensk (warning: Smolensk-related content)

30 comments:

Small Pole said...

Michael, you repeat the joke a second time - but somebody might take you seriously ... Anyway, joke about the Poles called their street with names of their oppressors is not very funny...

http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulica_Targowa_w_Warszawie#Pochodzenie_nazwy

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Small Pole:

yawn

toyah said...

@Michael Dembinski
Just look how interesting this has got. "This time last year: ... Warning: Smoleńsk-related content".
That was the time when you didn't know anything. No MAK's report yet, no Miller's investigation, no general in the cockpit, no nothing. Only gossips. On both sides. Palikot spoke of a drunk president, the folk spoke of some bomb planted on the plane.
And you would mock the thing as "dangerous content", and told us to shut up. When you knew nothing!
And now you are telling us to shut up? Because all's finally clear?
Come on, man!

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Toyah

One thing I did know, just hours after the disaster, was that NO British or American pilot would have even dreamt of landing at Smolensk in those conditions. Out of the question. Totally and utterly.

But no. "Polak potrafi". Something we see on our roads every day (I write this having cycled past a three-car smash on ul. Wilanowska).

You talk of 'nienawiść'. I talk of a lack of a safety culture.

toyah said...

@Mike
Of what was happening in the Polish minds of the Polish pilots over Russian Smolensk you knew, and you still know, shit. And shit do you know of whether they wanted to land or not. And knowing shit of the circumstances, you know shit of what an American or a British pilot what have done given the circumstances.
But one thing you definitely should know. No British or American citizen would ever mock at other British or American citizens crying over some other British or American citizens being killed in a disasaster like that.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Toyah - with respect - what absolute twaddle. I have a sound knowledge of military aviation having been interested in the subject since early childhood. And following the press and TV of aviation accidents, I can categorically state that an RAF Queen's Flight pilot or the pilot of Air Force One (one indeed ANY commercial pilot) would not EVEN attempt to go down into that fog. They'd have calmly, routinely, headed for an alternative airport - as standard operating procedures would set out.

In the UK, when there's a speed limit of 50mph, drivers do tend to hold to that speed.

It's a cultural approach to risk issue. I'm sorry to say, but Poles are more prone to take risks with their own and other people's lives than Brits are (compare road accident stats, construction site fatal accident stats). It's a culture thing and the State has a hand in either a) accepting that's how it is or b) taking steps to alter that culture.

I'm not mocking the tragic deaths of 96 human beings. I'm mocking the way their (needless) deaths are being exploited for political ends by a party that lacks any real policy solutions to deal with Poland's real problem - underdevelopment

jel said...

Good God, I haven't been here (Bazar Różyckiego) since 1985. Thanks for your documentary work. You're right; the bazaars are in decline, however I still like a lot a little bazaar in my district on Gotarda Street (Służewiec). I suppose that 'hala targowa' is much better solution for the individual traders.

Word 'dare' and all its idioms are v. interesting. I found: I dare you to say it to her. Polish: Spróbuj jej to powiedzieć. Go on, I dare you! Polish: No dalej, spróbuj!
(English-Polish Dictionary, PWN, Warszawa 2005)

As for Smoleńsk, please try to read this short article. Very interesting!

TeflSecretagent said...

There are three or four Bazar's in Wrocław which seem to be thriving. Ok, I'm not going to say they get the footfall of the nearby shopping centres but they always seem to be bristling with people.

I hope Wroclaw's bazars don't go the smae way as Warsaw's and slowly disappear. As has happened in the U.K. too - I walked around my local town market last Christmas, a traditionally busy time, and it was devoid of life altoghter :(

Now, I'm in L'viv and the story is completely different - The bazar's are literally rammed full of people and they are definitely the best place to shop! but than again L'viv only really has one 'shopping centre' by western standards - that probably has something to do with it!

toyah said...

@Mike
I would never dare to suggest that you don't have a sound knowledege of military aviation. What I am suggesting is that you know nothing of what actually happened over Smolensk on April 10, 2011.
All your knowledege is - and for over a year has been - based on what you have heard from those who - like yourself - may only guess.

toyah said...

@jel
What you have linked is not an article. It's an interview with a psychologist, who - like Michael - knows nothing, and can only guess. What is so interesting about it, then?

jel said...

@toyah
There are different interesting things in this interview. For example, about Protasiuk:

- Ale on lubił latać w automacie.

- Jeżeli to potwierdza jego dobry kolega, to coś w tym jest. Był przeciążony pracą, był przeciążony zadaniami, był zdenerwowany, był stunelowany i chciał sobie trochę ułatwić.

To go zawiodło, bo pojawił się ostatni element zaskoczenia. Samolot nie odchodzi w automacie, a według niego powinien. Według komisji zareagował na to bardzo szybko, w pięć sekund. Ale w tej sytuacji to prawdopodobnie o co najmniej trzy i pół sekundy za późno. Gdybamy, ale gdyby wziął wolant za rogi i od razu pociągnął, może by z tego wyszli...

---
Żeby była jasność, bardzo przeżyłam Smoleńsk, ceniłam dorobek polityczny Lecha Kaczyńskiego i podobała mi się decyzja Dziwisza o pochowaniu pary prezydenckiej na Wawelu, jednak teraz w spór polityczny o tę katastrofę nie angażuję się. Jeśli jednak czegoś mogę dowiedzieć się o tym tragicznym wypadku od różnych specjalistów, to, owszem, po różne teksty sięgam i je czytam.

Peace, toyah!

toyah said...

@jel
Podstawowy problem polega na tym, że nasza - mówię o Tobie i o sobie - wiedza na temat tego, co się działo w ostatnich chwilach tego lotu i w pierwszych minutach po, jest żadna. Wszystkie informacje jakie posiadamy, to przekonania i opinie ludzi, których nawet nie znamy.
Weź tego biednego Protasiuka, którego pamięć od kwietnia zeszłego roku została opluta na setki różnych sposobów. On zbliża się do tego Smoleńska, otrzymuje wiadomość, że tam są warunki tak trudne, że mu prawdopodobnie nie uda się wylądować, przed sobą widzi mleko. Jednocześnie, Rosjanie mówią mu, że ma próbować lądować. I ja mam teraz uwierzyć, że on jest w tak fantastycznym nastroju, że nie może się powstrzymać przed włączeniem tego swojego autopilota? Żeby wszystkim pokazać - tu zacytuję Michała - jak lądują debeściaki i że Polak potrafi. Mam w to uwierzyć, bo jakiś psycholog powiedział coś na ten temat w Wyborczej? Mowy nie ma! Ale oczywiście - peace! e nasza - mówię o Tobie i o sobie - wiedza na temat tego, co się działo w ostatnich chwilach tego lotu i w pierwszych minutach po, jest żadna. Wszystkie informacje jakie posiadamy, to przekonania i opinie ludzi, których nawet nie znamy.
Weź tego biednego Protasiuka, którego pamięć od kwietnia zeszłego roku została opluta na setki różnych sposobów. On zbliża się do tego Smoleńska, otrzymuje wiadomość, że tam są warunki tak trudne, że mu prawdopodobnie nie uda się wylądować, przed sobą widzi mleko. Jednocześnie, Rosjanie mówią mu, że ma próbować lądować. I ja mam teraz uwierzyć, że on jest w tak fantastycznym nastroju, że nie może się powstrzymać przed włączeniem tego swojego autopilota? Żeby wszystkim pokazać - tu zacytuję Michała - jak lądują debeściaki i że Polak potrafi. Mam w to uwierzyć, bo jakiś psycholog powiedział coś na ten temat w Wyborczej? Mowy nie ma! Ale oczywiście - peace!

DC said...

To claim that there is not enough information to know what went wrong only serves to continue the lack of safety "culture." Fog + lack of instrument landing system or GPS-based procedure tailored for the particular airport = no go. No pilot operating a commercial flight would have ever attempted it. The failure was in the decision to attempt landing, not in the details of the last seconds of flight. LOT pilots understand this. RIsk management professionals in many industries understand this.

No matter the country, national pride and defensiveness does nothing to avoid disasters like this in the future. It comes down to scientific decision making, training, and yes, a "culture" of safety. Michael's right.

adthelad said...

Hang on hang on, there are two factors here. One is the choice to go down to decision height, which if the circumstances/ training etc had been different is a decision that may not have been made and would not have created a situation in which a tragedy could happen, whilst the second is a full, meticulous, and transparent investigation of the highest standard befitting not only your everyday passenger like me but the top echelons of power in this country. You can argue over the first but there's no arguing over the second. You can start from the lack of post-mortems, work your way through the deliberate lack of political will, throw in the political play that created a situation where two commemorations were deliberately engineered, after which your really spoilt for choice - ranging from the deliberate destruction of or withholding of evidence through to the replacing of a more experienced crew by a lesser one, not publishing the full CVR stenograms, not publishing the photos the Americans provided, not providing all the technical recordings like the barometric altitude readings, etc etc. Is it too much to ask that a full and proper enquiry be presented to the world with the full facts in order to dispel any doubts and fears? Anyone with half a brain can see that from day one the intention over the last year and a half has been to produce exactly the opposite and to continue to NLProgramme a 'nienawiść' of the opposition, and all those intent on a proper investigation, for political gain.

adthelad said...

p.s. sorry to wade into an toyah's off the blog topic but couldn't be helped.

toyah said...

@DC
I'm not speaking of "the details of the last seconds of the flight". Not only. I am speaking of the last long moments of it. Also about whether there was really an attempt to land. And that you will not know. Like you know nothing about which pilot said what to whom. And what the general said what to whom. Like you know nothing about nothing! At least not after the information about "debeściaki" - as well as a bunch of other fantastic information leaked to our brains for months - proved straight crap.

student SGH said...

I'd butt in... But everything's been already said...

xxx said...

Actually there is a close equivalent of "I dare you" - "wyzywam cię (pana)".

Wyzywam pana na pojedynek.
Wyzywam cię żebyś to zrobil.
Wyzywam cię abyś przefarbowała włosy na blond.
Also:
Wyzywam cię od najgorszego złego.

Michael Dembinski said...

@ xxx:

Wzywam is close - it is the direct equivalent of 'to challenge someone to do something'.

Stanisławski gives 'I dare you to say that' as 'Ośmiel no się to powiedzieć!'

@ Bartek

It's all been said and yet they keep saying it!

adthelad said...

@Michał
"It's all been said and yet they keep saying it!"

Unfortunately it hasn't ALL been said, that's the problem. But what little has, from day one has kept coming up against the same reply of "Shut up, we don't want to know 'cos we've made up our minds already!'

Michael Dembinski said...

@ adthelad:

"Unfortunately it hasn't ALL been said..."

First MAK then Macieriewicz & co. Now the Polish government. Who else do you want to weigh in? The Salvation Army?

The conspiracy crowd have had 16 months to convince the world - and have failed. (Helium! That one made me laugh.) So if not conspiracy, then cock-up. On the part of the Poles and on the part of the Russians.

If the pilots of 36 SPLT had used Nato or civilian airline Standard Operating Procedures, they'd not even descended into the fog - just flown away from it.

What more's to say?

adthelad said...

The conspiracy crowd are a miniscule proportion of all those who wanted a proper investigation - you know the sort which usually includes access to all the evidence, and then it's presentation. No more and no less.(see my earlier note). The MAK and Polish commission 'reports', given the political circumstances and consequences of this particular tragedy, can in no way be considered as meeting these requirements. Simple.

Michael Dembinski said...

And Macieriewicz's report did meet these requirements?

It was tendentious in the extreme. "Polish military intelligence ignored threats of a zamach against an aircraft in Europe on that day [10 April 2010]" It was a rumour of a putative Al Qaeda plot against a civilian airliner in western Europe, but hey, what's two details like that going to get in the way of the media impact of such a statement. Guy's a total joke.

toyah said...

@Mike
"Polish military intelligence ignored threats of a zamach against an aircraft in Europe on that day [10 April 2010]"
Have you got any other quotes from the 300-page report that you have spotted, or would this be perhaps this ALL that has been said, and that has helped you make up your mind about the thing?

adthelad said...

@Michał

Of course Macierewicz's report did not fulfil any expectations one might have had from a full public inquiry or a fully fledged investigation commission. It did however present certain facts. Just as Tusk has very cleverly made political capital from the tragedy it is the oppositions raison d'etre to do the same. Whether one likes or dislikes A.M. he is methodical and he can hardly be accused of petty accusations with regard to terrorist threats if for example, among other organisational shenanigans, HEAD instructions are ignored a single plane is allowed to be packed full of top people. How the blame is proportioned is a matter of investigation of the evidence, procedures and responsibilities. Like Czuma's recent commission into 'Afera gruntowa' for example ;) The opposition must be seen to be trying to hold the government to account, and as you know, all is fair in love and politics.

adthelad said...

p.s. yes I do know the phrase is 'love and war' but given the political blitzkrieg meted out to PiS by the post-PRL status quo (some like to call it 'the system') it amounts to the same thing.

Michael Dembinski said...

Macieriewicz report - the forum on Lotnictwo.net.pl, a respected site of long standing - has a lengthy thread about Smoleńsk.2,300 replies to the thread, 2,8m pages views - serious, professional debate. The Macieriewicz report was not even deemed worthy of discussion.

adthelad said...

Yes, I've read the whole debate on lotnictwo.pl - they didn't have access to all the evidence either. Recently Macierewicz presented the information - not included in his 'White Book' - that he'd found correspondence in which the flight's designation as military is accepted by the Poles and Russians, before the flight took place.

The technical data from the flight in some minds is credible, in others undermined by lack of mutual corroboration. Should the pilot have been below decision height - NO - if he had been 'na kursie i na ścieżce' would he have been too low in the place he was - NO also. Did he use the Uchod buttons - we don't know either - and if he did why didn't they work? Blah, blah, blah,.... No surprise some are still chomping at the bit eh?

Michael Dembinski said...

@toyah, @adthelad

SEPTEMBER 2016. PiS in power since last autumn.

What have we learnt about Smoleńsk that we didn't already know.

WHERE'S THE WRECK, GUYS?

WHERE'S THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION, GUYS?

student SGH said...

Today's Rzepa.

My dysponujemy teraz prawdziwymi dowodami, w tym tymi, które ukrywała komisja Millera. Mamy wstrząsające wyznania członków tej komisji. A także nowe nagrania załogi tupolewa, które do tej pory nie były znane. Ale nie pochodzą one z pokładu polskiego samolotu. Każdy będzie mógł ich wysłuchać.

Skąd pochodzą?

Do czasu ujawnienia dowodów, co nastąpi zapewne w przyszłym miesiącu, nie mogę odpowiedzieć na to pytanie. To nie będzie jeszcze ostateczny materiał, ale rzuci on bardzo istotne światło na przebieg i przyczyny katastrofy smoleńskiej. Oczywiście mam świadomość, że są tacy ludzie, którzy nigdy nie przyjmą prawdy o tym, co się wówczas stało. Powód jest prosty: ten materiał ich właśnie obciąża odpowiedzialnością za tę tragedię.


Mr Macierewicz spoke a lot, told nothing, yet his utterance stood for the essence of PiS lunacy - wiem, ale nie powiem, mam haki na kogoś, ale ich nie ujawnię. I have a modest proposal - if it is a ground-breaking bombshell, just publicize the freightening evidence, recording, etc.; reveal who is guilty and why, don't tease, don't make us wait.

Of course I won't be surprise if the disclosed materials turn out to prove nothing...