“We all want peace and freedom”

Interview: Antonia Anna Laska.

, by Leon Schwalbe

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English]

“We all want peace and freedom”
Antonina Anna Laska in Ropczyce, Polen. Foto: Leon Schwalbe / Katharina Egle

Antonina Anna Laska, 17 years old, has lived in Ropczyce since she was a young child. She will graduate from high school next year and wants to become a dentist after that. She does lots of activities at and after school: She is member of a traditional Polish song and dance ensemble and likes to do sports. Most people call her Tosia.

Leon Schwalbe: Tosia, what is it like for you to live in a city like Ropczyce?

Tosia: It’s cool. In Rzeszów or other bigger cities, more is going on, but I like Ropczyce. It’s a safe and small town.

Do you want to stay in Ropczyce after school?

Gdansk, or maybe in the States. But after that I want to come back to Ropczyce, probably. I love Poland. And everyone wants to have a wonderful smile, so I think I could be very useful here as a dentist. (laughing)

Why do you love Poland?

I like the Polish passion and our history. There are so many traditions that are still alive – on holidays, for example. There are even lots of young people that want to keep these traditions. And I think we have respect to our country and our history. That’s a good thing. Everyone should know about ones country’s history. Not every detail but the most import- ant facts should be in everyone’s mind.

Are you interested in Polish politics?

I haven’t been interested in it all the time. It started with the begin of the pandemic, because it’s good to know what’s going on. And now I’m almost eighteen, almost an adult, and so I have to consider more important stuff than before. So, I started to be more interested.

That was a very good idea. What do you think about the politics here?

I really don’t like the way our government rules. I’m hoping for a change at the next election. There are so many young people that will take part in the elections the first time, so they could really change something.

Is there a big gap between the thoughts of older and younger people in Poland?

Especially people at the age of 60+ like PiS the most. Maybe because they have another point of view on the world. It is more strict and old. Younger people think different. The best example for that is climate change. If you ask older people: “Hey, do you want to do somehting to stop it? ”, they say “yes, yes”, but don’t do anything. And that’s frustrating for young people.

That is a good example – because of this, lots of people say, our generation is more political active than the last generation before us. Do you think that is true?

Yes, I think we are much more ready to stand up for those things we are convinced that they are necessary. We are not afraid to show our point of view.

What could be reasons for this, in your opinion?

Lots of young people are angry about the situation with PiS. They want to dictate everything – what you have to think about gender, religion, and that personal stuff that’s not of a government’s business. One friend dyed her hair red and so many people have to say something about that. I’m always like: “Calm down. It’s just red hair!” Every person should accept the way others look.

But when we first talked, you said, all of these conflicts are not that important right now, because of the war in Ukraine. What exactly is different now?

We are all standing together to help the Ukrainian people – with food and other supplies they need, money, or a place to live for a couple of days. That feels very good. Because it is out of political campaigns. Maybe we do disagree on a lot of things but when it comes to helping others we know how to unite.

That sounds quite hopeful. If you think about the future, is there mostly hope or maybe a little bit of fear?

I hope that the war in Ukraine will end very soon – in a good way. We all want to have peace, freedom and justice. They deserve that too.

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