International Politics

Obama angers Poles

In the United States, we are used to the idea of cultural sensitivity and cultural tolerance.  One slip of the tongue and a person could receive a verbal backhand that would make anybody cry.  This is what the President is dealing with. According to Fox News,

“The White House said the President misspoke Tuesday in bestowing the Medal of Freedom posthumously on Jan Kozielewski, alias Karski, a Polish emissary who in 1943 alerted Allied leaders to the mass killing of Jews. In order to gather first-hand evidence he risked his life and was secretly smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto and a death camp.”

So what was so offensive that the Polish Prime Minster spoke up? The President said “Polish Death Camps.” Apparently, in Poland, it is a culturally -sensitive topic.  Because there were so many Poles killed during this time period, the correct term is “Nazi Death Camp in occupied Poland.” It’s not unusual to hear “German Death Camp” and to know that not all Germans were a part of the killing.  I know this is a culturally sensitive subject, but the President was correctly referring to the location of the death camp while giving out an award for bravery.  I am sure his speechwriter has been yelled at for not knowing this cultural misstep. Because we all know that Presidents don’t write their own speeches, why can’t we give the President a break?

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