I guess what is the bottom line is that my life is shit now because of what these bastards did to me. I have no money, the actual options for me are now almost exclusively horrible. Personally, I don’t sleep at all anymore and my health has fallen exponentially in relation to what it was. And this is to say nothing of the literally thousands of hours of work I have been forced to do in defense of myself- all without compensation and all because the justice system of Poland simply has no regard for justice. I am not a politician. All of this work that I have done, that I have had to do, I have done for the sake of my life and the lives of the people connected to me. I think that Poland saw this situation as a game, but I perceived it as a two-year assault on my life.
I knew there was no winning from the beginning of the situation. I am not a fool. I could see from the time that I was sitting in the cell watching Zaremba walk home whole I was being processed that both the deck was stacked against me, and that the people holding the cards were only interested in exercising their power. Everybody in Poland told me that I could never win against the cops. Wiesniakowski, the prosecutor drove this point home with some rather theatrical flair when he exclaims to me in his office “And now it is explained to the accused that the man in the car was a policeman!” But what was I supposed to do? I mean, I asked if Zaremba was on Police business. Wiesniakowski of course laughed when he replied no…
But against the odds or not, the position I found myself in was a no win no matter what I did. When Zaremba hit me with his car, I was in middle of trying to open a small bike shop in Belarus. I was doing this to both support the relationship I had with a woman there, and also give myself something to do. I had partners waiting for me and I had just borrowed a little money from my family and was on my way back when the joker tried to run me down with his car. I was not rich by anybody’s standards. And what is more, I think I came by my money (riding bike messenger in New York) about as hard as anybody comes by their money. If I acquiesced to Zaremba and Wiesniakowski, out of fear or whichever emotion they had wanted me to capitulate from, then that business does not happen because there wont be enough money left. If that happens other situations are created in which I don’t get to stay with her, really hard and expensive decisions (the kind I am having to make now) regarding our lives need to be made and I lose face with the people I had made partners with. All of that is simply too expensive a thing.
But it wasn’t just the money. They were asking me to agree also that I am a bad biker, that I am nuts, that I cannot control myself, and that I committed a crime of sufficient magnitude so as to potentially restrict future travel. Why in the hell should I agree to all of that? Would they just assume that my life or my decisions about it were of no value or consequence? I mean, where did they learn to think like that? I spent a few too many thousand hours riding bikes in traffic and propagating bikes and bicycling to allow these people to steal these things from me as well. And that I had spent a few thousand more hours writing about ideas and social justice before any of this happened also would be so much more work wasted if I just let them steal from me. I often wonder why they didn’t take any of this into consideration. I mean, when I was sitting there in the prosecutor’s office, could see that they wanted to play games and protect the cop. I told them just to quit and I would let it end. Why did they think that wrecking my life would be something I would take lightly?
I have two theories about that. My first is that the prosecutor, being used to OTHER PEOPLE’S FOLLY BEING HIS NORMAL OBJECT OF ATTENTION, decided that this was to be an interesting game for him. Why not? It would give him something to talk about when he was drinking with his friends: Let me tell you how I beat an American the other day. The second though is much more sinister because it relates to a number of conspiracy theories: The cop was into drugs and was therefor into more money than a normal cop, perhaps the Americans were into this to prevent me from working in Belarus for some reason, perhaps the Polaks wanted me to spend my American money in Poland rather than Belarus because of some lasting residue of resentment over the soviet era there…
But for whatever real reason they decided to do what they did, I figured that not only would fighting this to the end (defending, my name) be worth the trouble. In doing so I would also be doing my bit for the greater social good by defending the truth against a corrupt system and in the end, I would at least show that I was willing to go to the wall for things that I believed in. Why not? Especially when there was absolutely nothing to be gained from being a coward. I say the truth is always worth defending. No society can exist of long without it. And in the age of communication (you are reading this now aren’t you?), if we do indeed know better, perhaps it is time for all of us to come from the shadows and stand up for what is real and right. because without it, we have no hope of living any life worth living
So what is justice?
In the justification of her decision, Zurovska claims that deprivation of freedom would be a sufficient enough preventative measure to insure that I wouldn’t commit my “crimes” again. But interestingly enough, by ignoring the evidence the court actually did allow for Zaremba to go out and do exactly the same things that I smacked him for doing again: He crashed his car for a third time, and he again lied about the damages in the hope of collecting some money, either form insurance company or from myself.
And who gains from Zaremba not being punished? Are we really supporting our police by allowing them to attack tourists on the street? Are they reacting to the drinking or drug problem that was causing Zaremba’s vehicular hysteria? Why would A judge choose to be so grandiose in her prose concerning the positive effects of systemic punishment, while failing completely to curb Zaremba’s desire to drive his car into shit and extort money from people? And for that matter, Let’s look at Zurovska here self: She’ll do it again too! And so will Wiesniakowski! And phony lawyers! They are all going to do it again unless we stand up for what is right and say, no. That’s what a real preventative measure is; saying no. If they did it once, they are going to do it again. Maybe next time to you, right? Think about it.
And as far as letting a bad thing happen again, I sat there, within two blocks of the walls of where once stood the Jewish ghettos on Warsaw and watched as document after document was passed, trimming time and quality from my life. My money and credit disappearing; and all without any regard for my life at all. Tell me where this is not a similar situation. Ever been to the camps? I have. Think about that too a little bit.
I say, for a justice system to forgo justice at their whim is to demean the society they represent. Zaremba and Wiesniakowski dragged down every person who had to agree to stand with them. That is if there was any difference in altitude. I wasn’t interested in their protection games, I was busy in another place with other people simply trying to live my life as best as I could. One would think that that is all anybody really wants to do.
Anyway, go and have a look at the book, or scroll down for yesterday’s musings or the overview below. Thanks for listening.