“Does this bread style the similar as it will style as though a Pole had baked it?” asks Salam Salti. He’s dressed in a white apron and a baker’s cap together with his identify on it.
Salti is taking part in a brand new Polish marketing campaign referred to as Nasz Chleb Powszedni, or “Our Day by day Bread,” which goals to encourage tolerance and working out in Poland by means of having folks from 5 marginalized teams — gays, Jews, Muslims, refugees and black folks — bake and promote bread to shoppers on the Putka Bakery in Warsaw. The revel in is encapsulated in a three-minute video launched on YouTube. The following a part of the marketing campaign contains promoting bread baked by means of minorities in quite a lot of towns across the nation.
The marketing campaign is headed by means of two ladies, Anna Bińczyk and Magdalena Korzyńska. “We had been on the lookout for one thing that will attach folks as a substitute of dividing them,” says Bińczyk.
The video jumps between pictures of the members making ready, kneading and dusting bread amongst snippets from occasions in Poland containing nationalist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-Muslim messages. Even supposing Polish Protection Minister Mariusz Błaszczak claims that xenophobia is a unprecedented incidence, the numbers inform a special tale.
The Stefan Batory Basis, a non-governmental group that helps democracy in Poland, issued a document that analyzed the use and penalties of hate speech amongst Polish adults and younger folks (16-18 years outdated) first in 2014, and once more in 2016, occasions surrounding the parliamentary elections of 2015. It discovered that incidents of hate speech aimed toward minority teams (refugees, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBT+ group, Jews, Roma, and folks of colour) larger all through that length, and that extra Polish folks had been uncovered to hate speech in public areas, the media and on-line. The document mentioned that repeated publicity to hate speech was once related to the next tolerance for it.
The Nationwide Public Prosecutor’s Workplace experiences that the choice of circumstances towards racist, xenophobic or homophobic crimes has been emerging frequently since 2012, when there have been 473 circumstances reported. Within the first a part of 2017 by myself, that quantity was once 947.
“Hate speech and violence motivated by means of prejudice aren’t uncommon in Poland. They’re poisoning the general public sphere. The quantity of hate in response to any individual’s ethnic origins, race, nationality or sexual orientation is massive in Poland,” says Damian Wutke, secretary of the Affiliation Towards Racism and Xenophobia, some of the two organizations fascinated about making the video. The opposite is Chlebem i Solą (With Bread and Salt), which is dedicated to serving to refugees.
Salti has been residing in Warsaw since 1991, and he says he feels each Syrian and Polish. He’s now a well-respected gynecologist, however claims that he nonetheless now and again hears racial slurs, akin to “grimy Arab.” He says he replies to them with humor: “Thanks for letting me know. I am now going house to take a bath.”
To counteract those developments, Bińczyk and Korzyńska determined to dig deep into the symbolic significance of meals, and maximum in particular, bread. “In Poland, bread has a spot on each desk, without reference to our critiques and prejudices,” Bińczyk explains.
“Shared foods are moments that are supposed to deliver folks in combination — and bread is an emblem this is nearly sacred. We proportion it. We pray for it. No person will have to lack for bread and also you will have to by no means throw it away,” says Wutke.
Historically, if a work of bread falls at the flooring, it’s picked up, blessed with the signal of the move and every now and then even kissed.
Polish poet Cyprian Kamil Norwid wrote,
For that land the place a scrap of bread is picked up
From the bottom out of reverence
For Heaven’s presents …
I’m homesick, Lord!
Like many Polish intellectuals, writers and artists of the overdue 19th century, Norwid himself spent numerous time residing out of the country, together with New York, Berlin, London and in spite of everything Paris the place he died. This was once motivated each by means of his want to review portray in Germany and Italy, and the truth that at the moment, Poland was once divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria, and did not exist as an impartial nation. Many intellectuals had been compelled into exile.
All the way through historical past, Poles additionally moved out of the country on the lookout for higher alternatives, particularly after Poland joined the Ecu Union in 2004 and getting a role in Western Europe turned into more uncomplicated. This kind of emigration is named za chlebem, or “after the bread.”
However can meals — and particularly bread — assist foster tolerance and working out? Salti believes so.
“Meals is not only meals. It is one among lifestyles’s elementary pleasures. No longer everybody likes ingesting alcohol or smoking marijuana, however a not unusual meal can deliver folks in combination. You’ll devour my meals. I will devour your meals. And the distance between us has lowered,” he says.
Even supposing the makers of Nasz Chleb Powszedni had issues convincing bakeries to take part (many house owners had been nervous about how trade can be suffering from one of these marketing campaign), the video was once massively standard in Poland, and won the eye of a number of primary media shops, together with Gazeta Wyborcza, the rustic’s maximum outstanding newspaper. The video attracted a couple of million perspectives at the first day.
“It was once so standard as it left the viewer with a sense of reassurance, it is very certain. And that’s the reason what we are lacking in Poland probably the most,” says Bińczyk. And in spite of some relatively scary occasions in Poland — a 14-year outdated Turkish lady was once violently crushed in Warsaw in January — there’s some hope that “hate won’t ever turn into our day by day bread. I consider that Poland is usually a nation the place everybody feels protected,” says Wutke.
When Salti asks his shoppers whether or not they might discover a distinction within the style of the bread now that they knew who made it, one lady says, “No.” Every other guy provides, “It is standard.”
And a 3rd particular person says: “There is not any distinction. A human being is a human being, at all times.”
Olga Mecking is a creator, journalist, and translator based totally within the Netherlands.