28 October 2017 The dark side of culture
The loss of the meaning of life, discrimination, exclusion – we like to think that these problems will never affect us. On the day under the leading theme ”humiliation”, the Festival guests learned how much they are wrong to think so.
”The trial, the judgment, passing through the prison gate and this is the end of the problem. This is how we are used to think about the convicts. Few people wonder what happens behind the walls of correction facilities, and even less what will happen when the prisoners are released” – yesterday said Wojciech Brzoska, a poet and a musician who has for years promoted culture in remand facilities, and ,among other things, organised the Jean Genet poetry contest. Together with other participants in the debate ”Reading behind the bars”, step by step abolished myths about prisoners and culture. Contrary to stereotypical opinions, many of them are clearly interested in arts (readership in this group reaches the level of 80 percent), and the prisons are by no means an artistic desert: murals, poetry, newspapers and books are created there.”It is a duty of art to influence the society, and the convicts are part of the society” – said Maria Dąbrowska - Majewska, the president of the Zmiana Foundation that , among other activities, sends books to prison libraries.
We often turn a blind eye not only to contemporary problems. “ Usually when we think about 20th-century totalitarianisms, we mention Nazism and communism , only rarely do we remember about European colonialism” – said the writer and journalist Adam Hochschild yesterday. In his Conrad Lecture he pointed out that, interestingly, Conrad was one of the few 19th-century writers who took up the issue of European imperialism. – It is like no German author had not written about the Holocaust in the 20th century – explained the lecturer. – I think had he lived in our times, he would appeal for admission of our brothers – refugees, said the lecturer.