Monday, January 24, 2011

Conspiracy anyone?

Poland's top tennis player Agnieszka Radwanska, the twelfth seed at the ongoing Australian Open, just overcame her rival Peng Shuai from China to make the quarterfinals after a thrilling match. Radwanska has reached the quarters at a Grand Slam thrice before but can now top that by making the semi-finals. An all-court player, the Polish tenisistka uses her wits more than her brawn to outclass opponents.

Radwanska is thus well-placed, er, to give her view on the April 10 plane crash in Smolensk, Russia that killed President Lech Kaczynski and a raft of other leading political and military figures. In a recent "news" post on her website, she and her family "condemn the baseless insinuations in the recent MAK report [Russian Interstate Aviation Committee] regarding the plane's crew and Gen. Andrzej Blasik."

The MAK report alleged the Polish crew was solely to blame and said an autopsy showed the general had alcohol in his blood. Poland's government has since objected to the report as well, noting it did not take into account possible mis-instructions from the tower in Smolensk.

Family Radwanska, for good measure, brands the report's "insinuations" as "violating the standards of western civilisation." PM Donald Tusk's government does not get off lightly either. Radwanska and family "condemn the too slow and inadequate reaction of the Polish government" to the MAK report.

The Radwanskas don't stop there. She and her family invite everyone to view a film, "Fog," about Smolensk that was backed by the most radical, nationalistic side of the Polish media and which goes into full-court insinuation mode to basically blame the Smolensk crash on Russia and on the Civic Platform-led government. The far-right daily Gazeta Polska, one of the main backers, has reported all sorts of bunk on the crash, even clearly falsified reports that Russian special services finished off alleged survivors of the crash.

Agnieszka Radwanska and her family have every right to believe whatever they want. The freedom to do so should be cherished, especially in a Poland that has long suffered from the lack of such. But I do not believe a little public spotlight gives you the right to espouse an opinion on everything. Or, if you do give your opinion, you should damn well ensure it is informed and not just propagating ill-thought out conspiracy theories designed to support one political option at the cost of everything or anyone else.

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