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Polish historical myths - to break or not to break them?


pawian 161 | 9,846
20 Jan 2010  #1
For a nice start, Haiti.

In short. In the early 18 century Napoleon sent a contingent of his army, including Poles, to then Santo Domingo, an island in the Caribbean, to pacify the rising of slaves and Indians. The invaders were decimated and had to leave, thus Haiti came into being, the first independent state in the region.

What does the legend say about Poles in Haiti? Today most Poles believe this version:

[i]Polish-Haitian Connection Part 1: For Your Freedom and Ours

I happened across the subject of Poles in Haiti in Riccardo Orizio's "Lost White Tribes: Journeys Among the Forgotten". The Polish Legions serving under Napoleon were sent to put down the Haitian Revolution there in 1802. For those that subscribe to the ideal of a multicultural and tolerant Polish nation, what happens next goes like this:

g
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
20 Jan 2010  #2
the truth is much more empowering in the long run but changing how we think can be uncomfortable for many. People tend to identify with ideas beyond themselves. Hence romanticizing the memory of their ancestors is a means of nobilizing oneself.
1jola 14 | 1,879
20 Jan 2010  #3
Resentful of Napoleon's decision to send them West to the Caribbean instead of East towards Poland, the legionaries defected to the side of the former slaves and fought alongside them to eventually establish the world's first Black republic.

According to you this is myth.

The Haitian Constitution of 1805 bars all "whitemen" from ownership of property in Haiti. An exception is given to the "naturalized Germans and Polanders", who are from thenceforth to be classified as Black:

Is this a myth also, Pawian? I don't know, but you seem to, but you are not stating why do you consider it a myth. Interesting though.

BTW, the island was named Hispaniola, not Santo Domingo.
Barney 14 | 1,469
20 Jan 2010  #4
the truth is much more empowering

I have been reading about this episode recently.

2007 marked the 205th anniversary of Napoleon's mission to restore slavery in Saint Domingue (Haiti). The first Polish Demi--Brigades arrived, for this mission, in 1802, and the second mission in 1803. Both the 2nd and 3rd Demi-Brigades were brought aboard French transports at gunpoint. None of them wanted this job.

From angelfire.com/mi4/polcrt/PolesinHaitiA.html

Most links refer to the sympathetic nature of Polish soldiers towards the Haitians especially as slavery was a foreign concept to Polish people. Most of the soldiers died of yellow fever and all but a handful of the survivors stayed in Haiti.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
21 Jan 2010  #5
Napoleon was a pr*ck but he did give us a country of our own, even if it was not out of the kindness of his heart he still did it and it helped preserve hope for future liberation.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
21 Jan 2010  #6
According to you this is myth.

Yes.

I still haven`t posted the reply to the myth. It is here
webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/bookreviews/pachonski.htm

It is long so I will attempt to choose only most important excerpts for you, but due to mods` policy, they might vanish, so don`t blame me. In order to get a full light, read the whole linked site.

Certainly the Poles had little desire to be in Saint Domingue, and also had a natural sympathy for people fighting for their own independence, which probably gave true cause for Dessaline's beliefs that the Poles were a cut different from the French. But the Poles did obey orders, came to Saint Domingue and did their duty as best they could.

Summing up:
1. It is a myth that Poles en masse deserted the French troops and went over to insurgents` side.
2. It is a myth that Poles substantially contributed to the creation of the insurgent government or army and to its victories, or that they greatly helped insurgents to gain independence.

Is this a myth also, Pawian? I don't know, but you seem to, but you are not stating why do you consider it a myth. Interesting though.

No, it is not a myth, it is a fact, which, paradoxically, is not a part of the Polish myth at all. It is widely unknown, I would say.

BTW, the island was named Hispaniola, not Santo Domingo.

The whole island was called Hispaniola. Its Western part, today`s Haiti, was called San/Santo Domingo.
Barney 14 | 1,469
21 Jan 2010  #7
Polish historical myths - to break or not to break them?
Myths help define a nation painting it in a good light, today it's called spin. It’s not the fact that the truth is widely known but how the majority of the people feel about a story. The Hati myths though not widely known are a fine example, what is good about them is the sympathetic light shone upon the Polish legions (refracted by known Polish history).

I would say leave the myths alone.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,767
21 Jan 2010  #8
I would say leave the myths alone.

It makes talking about history and even current events quite a struggle sometimes.
Especially with people fed on those myths who start to accuse you of "fabricating anti-polish propaganda" the moment you mention otherwise (outside of Poland that is) well known facts...

Also upholding myths which paints one side only totally rosy is not helpful for any reconciliation at all!
Harry
21 Jan 2010  #9
Especially with people fed on those myths who start to accuse you of "fabricating anti-polish propaganda" the moment you mention otherwise (outside of Poland that is) well known facts...

Trying to talk to Poles (and especially plastic Poles) about their invitation to the London Victory parade of 1946 is a particularly good example of that.
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010  #10
Thanks Pawian. For the Hatians to look favorably on Poles and Germans and even favor them in their constitution of the period, the myth is not busted. :)

I hope you don't tell me that Smok Wawelski, Syrenka, and Wars i Sawa are myths.

Do you dare to touch Jasna Góra?

Especially with people fed on those myths who start to accuse you of "fabricating anti-polish propaganda" the moment you mention otherwise (outsaid of Poland that is) well known facts...

Come on, give us a try, you godless teutonic psubracie. :)

One myth at time though. Maybe how the Teutonic Knights were spreading Christianity in Poland?
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,767
21 Jan 2010  #11
One myth at time though. Maybe how the Teutonic Knights were spreading Christianity in Poland?

Good example!

I don't know of any German painting the Teutonic Knights as benign civilization bringer holding the torch of freedom (anymore that is)!
Nor would we call it "anti-german propaganda" if you complain about them! ;)
I think we see them quite realistically...

What's a "psubracie"?
Barney 14 | 1,469
21 Jan 2010  #12
Bratwurst Boy
Talking about almost anything with an idiot is difficult. A normal person knows what is mythic and what is not.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,767
21 Jan 2010  #13
A normal person knows what is mythic and what is not.

Where from?
How should they know if they get teached only the satinized, rosy variant?
Barney 14 | 1,469
21 Jan 2010  #14
only the satinized, rosy variant

People who are easily imprinted like baby ducks dont make good discussion partners. I dont know anyone who always believes the first thing they are told.

Indoctrination rarely occurs, religion is a good example of failed indoctrination, most people who say they are Catholic dont take communion on a daily basis when they could, in effect, rejecting Christ.

People are smart.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,767
21 Jan 2010  #15
People are smart.

Do you want me to gather all the threads here on PF attacked as anti-polish propaganda because a German or a Brit or a Jew or whatever does not show Poland/Poles only as it's best???

That has nothing to do with smartness but everything with knowledge!
Barney 14 | 1,469
21 Jan 2010  #16
That has nothing to do with smartness but everything with knowledge!

Do you think most people are brainwashed?
National myths are important its how one approaches/defends them that may cause offence.
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010  #18
A normal person knows what is mythic and what is not.

Do you think most Americans know the Thanksgiving story is a bad joke? If so, why do they celebrate it?

It has a lot to do with how things are said. Plus, I can criticize my wife, but I will get very upset if you do.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,767
21 Jan 2010  #19
Plus, I can criticize my wife, but I will get very upset if you do.

But...but...but....you called me "Polak in denial"! Hence I can criticize too without you getting upset!!!

;)

...and I still don't know what "psubracie" means....
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010  #20
I forgot, yes you can. You are not a moron so we might learn something too.

...and I still don't know what "psubracie" means....

It is an affectionate term our knights called your knights. (brother of a dog).
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,767
21 Jan 2010  #21
It is an affectionate term our knights called your knights. (brother of a dog).

Manly love! ;)
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010  #22
We are not oily Greeks, we are Germanic and Slavic barberians, let's act accordingly.
Barney 14 | 1,469
21 Jan 2010  #24
What for?

They reinforce identity

Do you think most Americans know the Thanksgiving story is a bad joke? If so, why do they celebrate it?

I guess a lot of Americans do know and this is the point, they celebrate it as a national festival with collective amnesia.

I can criticize my wife, but I will get very upset if you do.

Exactly.
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010  #25
They reinforce identity

Yes, and I also think they are necessary. Just to take Americans as an example, for no particular reason, would it be beneficial for children to learn their country was built by hard work...and genocide. To hit them hard with the facts right away, might not produce the desired effect. All nations, races,religions, families have myths or we can call them lies built in to make them proud of who they are. It would be sad if I went around thinking, damn, I'm white, Euro-trash, Polak loser.

But some historical myths are fun to talk about using our new PF sensitivity. :) We might even praise the mods soon, or at least thank them for putting up with some of us.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,767
21 Jan 2010  #26
With being white and European there alone is bunches to be proud of...without resorting to myths, that's my point!

Especially if you not all the time has to go to war to defend some myths everybody else and their grandmom knows to be only myths...

And I as a German know alot of all the bad stuff my people has done, doesn't stop me from being proud of all the good stuff! It's all one package...no cherry picking allowed! :)
scrappleton - | 831
21 Jan 2010  #27
I guess a lot of Americans do know and this is the point, they celebrate it as a national festival with collective amnesia.

The "genocide" that you constantly chirp about was initiated by the British and Spanish.. not the American. Perhaps you suffer from said amnesia yourself. It was the British that literally brought slavery to North America as well. Made the southern planter use them to grow tobacco and cotton. All done for your glorious crown.. just like all the other atrocities that your people commited over the centuries. You may to want to grab a mirror before you wag your limey finger at others.
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010  #28
And I as a German know alot of all the bad stuff my people has done, doesn't stop me from being proud of all the good stuff!

What, you're a comedian now?

youtu.be/ExWfh6sGyso
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
21 Jan 2010  #29
I hope you don't tell me that Smok Wawelski, Syrenka, and Wars i Sawa are myths.

No. They were real stories.

The myth is about Queen Wanda who didn`t want to marry a German prince and threw herself into the Wisła River. She didn`t have a swimming license and she drowned.

See how mournful people carry her dead body and shed tears. It is a legend.

The legend says she was so beautiful.
See her beauty. Legendary.

The truth is rather banal. It was the German prince who didn`t want to marry Wanda because she was a mean, greedy, money and power-oriented old witch.

See her real "beauty." That was a fact!

Seeing no prospects for herself after being rejected, she decided to die.

Simple.
1jola 14 | 1,879
21 Jan 2010  #30
Thank you for the nice bedtime story. Now I'm gonna wet my bed and have nightmares.

You are not allowed to babysit me anymore.


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