A short introduction to what is Goralskie Veto and what is happening in Poland in January 2021 and a translation of a presentation of highlander Sebastian Piton.
Goralskie Veto: We are on the side of law, it is the government that rebels
Author: Patryk Vlod.
Polish restaurants, pubs, small hotels, inns, ski slopes and other businesses all over Poland are reopening, regardless of COVID restrictions imposed by the Polish Government.
They were supposed to stay closed until at least 31 January 2021. But people have enough, especially Higlanders from the Podhale region, which is a region south of Poland, near the Slovakian border. Highlander and architect Sebastian Piton from Koscielisko, a tourist town near a very popular town of Zakopane, is leading a movement called “Goralskie Veto”.
Goralskie refers to highlanders and veto comes from a centuries old Polish tradition called “liberum veto” (free, I don’t allow), where just one deputy could block the passing of a law which he felt was bad for the people (but perhaps good for a small minority). In this way there was hope that there would be at least one deputy who wouldn’t get bribed to pass a bad law. That was a great advantage of liberum veto, but it also blocked many perhaps good laws from being passed. “We have no other option than to say ‘enough-veto’.
We don’t see a light in the tunnel. The government suggests that they will loosen the restrictions, when the number of sick people goes down,” said Mr Piton at the press conference held on Thursday, 14th of January in Podhale. We have seen in the past weeks and months that even with less recorded daily COVID infections, the Polish government prolonged the restrictions, instead of loosening them. The excuse was, as always: “we want to protect the public”.
Sebastian Piton compared the actions of the government to boiling of a frog. “The government is operating the flame underneath a pan with a frog, so the frog does not jump out. (…)It is the last moment to jump out from this pan full of frogs, still alive and without getting burnt too much. If we do it in a month’s time, the frog will have no feet. It will still be a frog, but what kind of frog is it that does not have feet? So, we have to do it now, when we are in one piece. There is no other way. We hope that it will happen all over Poland, not just in the Podhale region. It is already happening.(…)
People, regardless of great stress, open their businesses, because they have no other option and I think that it will be an avalanche effect and all of Poland will be open, the latest in February.”
The official date for reopening Podhale is 18th of January 2021. About half of the entrepreneurs (several hundred) from the region declared to open on that date, but many restaurants, small hotels and inns, ski slopes and other places in the Podhale region are already open. Many of them cooperate with Highlanders from Goralskie Veto who offer their support and most of all – legal support.
Goralskie Veto supports enterpreneurs from regions other than Podhale too. Several days ago, they were at reopening of a restaurant “U trzech braci” (“At three brothers”) in Cieszyn, in southern Poland near the Czech border. Several police vans, even from neighbouring cities came there for an inspection, but they did not close the place.
Highlanders also visited Pizzeria Greta in a town of Skoczow (close to Cieszyn) which also allowed the customers to eat inside. Actually, restaurants in Poland are allowed to stay open, but you can only order to eat outside, which is not fun in harsh winter conditions, especially in the mountains. Also, not everyone wants to eat outside and as a result restaurants struggle to survive, because they don’t have enough clients.
In the interview on Radio ZET, which is one of the most popular commercial radios in Poland, on 12 January, Sebastian Piton said that “the restrictions are unconstitutional and therefore illegal. We are on the side of law, it is the government that rebels. We are not joining the rebellion of the government.”
Sebastian Piton has a youtube channel “Piton TV” and Goralskie Veto has a profile on facebook “Goralskie Veto” and “Otwieramy Sie Polska” (We are opening Poland) (all in Polish) You can watch a short video clip released several weeks ago promoting Goralskie Veto translated to English on youtube on “Zdrowa Polska” youtube channel.