The Problem with WOŚP

Szef WOŚP Jurek Owsiak, Olaf (syn Łukasza Ostaf
iena z Pcimia) oraz gen. brygadier Wiesław Leśniakiewicz(fot. PAP/Tomasz Gzell)

Polish soldiers in Afghanistan raise money for WOŚP

WOŚP, or Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, the massive children's charity in Poland, is probably going to raise $12 million in it's main event today. Similar to Comic Relief, it is apolitical, and in many TV pictures today one can see the Polish military (fully equipped, still part of the occupation in Afghanistan) participating in the activities. So what's the problem?

Well, this time last year the Polish ministry of Defence spent $26 million of Polish taxpayer's money to purchase 8 unmanned Israeli bomber/spy planes. The US military, in January 2010 alone, were estimated to have killed 123 innocent people in Pakistan using such murderous equipment.

So, is it possible, given that WOŚP is in it's 19th year and growing more successfully every year, that the Polish State now consciously undercuts the annual Health budget, freeing up taxpayer's money for other departments and projects - for example, to buy these killer drones? Are they factoring in the fact that WOŚP is not going to criticise them for not spending more on hospital equipment to save the lives of Poland's sickest and most vulnerable children?

The taxpayer pays twice. Innocent people continue to die in massive numbers due to imprecise bombing by coaltion forces in Afghanistan, a war with no public support amongst the Polish public.

It is mainly the right wing who detest WOŚP, especially it's founder and main driver, Jurek Owśiak, due to his promotion of an alleged hedonistic lifestyle through his infamous slogan: Róbta Co Chceta (Do what you want).

WOŚP is great in that it shows how ordinary citizens are very capable of self-organising and fundraising for causes dear to their hearts. 10s of thousands of volunteers give of their time to collect money all over the country and creatively generate much needed income for the Health Service.

However, it seems that WOŚP has become so corporately-sponsored, so reliant upon advocacy from the super rich, cynical politicians and celebrity culture, and so blatantly blind to the fact that the parents of the country's children have already paid, through their taxes, lots of money which should have been spent on health, education and other social purposes, that it risks becoming just another pointless philantrophic exercise for the elite to raise their profiles, for the State to exploit the innate good of ordinary people and to pre-emptively quell the righteous anger of workers.


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