Observations

Due to the tragic Smolensk plane crash, Presidential elections are being held in Poland and across the world for Polonia. In this issue you will find information on the various candidates. Among ten qualifying candidates, recent polls indicate the serious race is between Bronislaw Komorowski, who is current Speaker of Parliament and acting President since President Lech Kaczynski’s untimely death in the air crash, and past Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who of course is brother of the deceased President. Local Detroit area Polonians who are registered with the Polish Consulate in Chicago will be able to vote absentee at the Polish American Congress offices in Hamtramck at 11333 Jos Campau on Saturday, June 19th. For more information, contact the PAC Michigan Division at (313) 365 9400.

Over the past several years since Poland became a member of the European Union, there has been much controversy over the migrations of Polish workers from Poland to other EU countries, perhaps most notably to the United Kingdom. Last year the flow of Poles into Great Britain dropped by half according to recent information. Poland’s relative health in the current economic world crisis should further stabilize the patterns of emigration.

Russia is now complaining about the deployment in Poland of Patriot Missiles along with a contingent of U. S. military manning the installation. The missile site near the Russian area of Kaliningrad was originally selected as a site for a more ambitious anti-ballistic missile system, and the switch to the Patriot missiles was seen partly as a concession to Russian concerns. The posturing continues, with Russia claiming the new facility is a violation of the NATO agreement.

Among the news from Poland you will find an item on the reduction in reading books in relation to rising internet use among Poles. Advances in technology have their pervasive effects, and a change in reading habits is not surprising. I am prompted to wonder if the survey on which the article is based included an inquiry whether computer users were switching to reading books on line. Many are now available that way, with more being added every day, and it wouldn’t be surprising to find that more people are reading from their computers. I also wonder about the general impact on literacy that may result from people more frequently communicating by E-mail and text messaging. This means more reading and writing, but in a much different form than the traditional book or letter.

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