Oceania Is at War with Eurasia: The Stalemate of the Polish Government and the Catholic Church in Poland Over the Polish-Belarusian Border Zone
This text discusses the growing tension in relations between the Polish government and the Catholic church in Poland over the plight of refugees on the Polish-Belarusian border that reached a critical state in August 2021. Although the Conference of Polish Episcopate (KEP) emphatically encouraged prioritizing the value of Christian mercy, the government insisted on a dehumanizing narrative (people as tools of war) to conclusively replace the Gospels with a new object of worship: the border. With the state of emergency imposed on November 9, 2021, altruistic activities were defamed, organized humanitarian support removed, and the right of residents to privacy suspended. A new verbiage, such as “weaponization of migrants” and “tightness of the border”, justified stop-and-search procedures within “the zone”, performed by various uniformed forces operating concurrently and acting with unconditional authority. Over the course of the fall and winter of 2021/2022, a parallel universe emerged, enforced by local authorities in small towns and villages located along the border with Belarus. What consequently unraveled was an impromptu narrative of a dystopian crisis rooted in the premise that migrants are the enemy in a war that is not hybrid but holy. Moreover, this text traces similarities between the evolving alternative reality experiment on the Polish-Belarusian border and the constricted world of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, as a vision of a society harnessed to the task of perpetuating political fiction, while the state apparatus produces an incessant flow of propaganda, effectuating the state of unrest and danger at the border.