I can't completely remember the last months of grade 2 and what would be my last year in the Polish education system. I do, however, vividly recall being curled up in the back seat of my parents tiny Polish Fiat. My mom was driving in pouring rain with my aunt sitting in the passenger seat. From my vague recollection I believe my uncle and my dad were driving another vehicle, we were en route to Austria. The details are sketchy because it was 1988 and I was 8. That drive would be my last out of Poland until years later to visit my family. That, however, was not the first time my parents tried to leave what was then a Russian controlled communist country. But let me tell you what I personally remember, I could quote you excerpts out of books till the cows came home about the ideology of communism and government control. Instead let me tell you about what I remember from my childhood.
Lineups, everywhere, all the time. You would stand in line and look at empty shelves and hooks of meat. My mother is a great cook but she had to be creative. Soups are the most inexpensive dinners to make but also the most nutritious. Because meat was expensive and not readily available Poles cooked soup. Soup was my childhood, not because the entire country loves soup that much but because it was sometimes the only thing you could make with what you were able to purchase. Many other Eastern European dishes are made from meat scraps due to food shortages.
I remember having better health care because my grandfather was in the military and had access to military healthcare which trumped public care. I remember playing with my friends at my grandparents cottage, going into the woods and accidentaly stumbling on a Russian base. I remember the warning signs said something along the lines of 'will shoot without warning." Interestingly I once took a trip with my parents to visit their friends in Germany. We drove to the Berlin Wall when it was still standing and dividing. I don't re-call my exact age but I would say I must have been around 7 and the reason why I remember this day so distinctly is because that's the first time I ever remember having a banana as they were not available in Poland at that time. I love bananas lol. Anyway, I remember walking up some steps and looking inside the perimeter of the wall. There were spotlights, dogs, automatic machine guns, soldiers driving around the permitter, and posters which warned that any step over the line and there would be no warnings, you'd be shot dead on the spot. This was decades after the war which divided Berlin into East and West and yet the communist government had firm control of its citizens. I also remember that a communist atmosphere consist of fear, at that time it was fear of war with the West.
I remember my parents having to come up with some excellent reasons to be able to retrieve their passports from the government's iron clad grip. I remember that they were not just freely able to leave the country, it was more escape and less travel. I remember that when they first tried to leave Poland and attempted to go through Germany they were seeking asylum as refugees. Germany, however, was taking very few and those they did offer asylum to had German ancestral background.
At their second attempt we left for good. My parents immigrated through Austria. We drove to an immigration camp. Which resembled a large government institution. Upon arrival we had to be quarantined which meant having to be accommodated with other families in one room for approximately three weeks while Austria processed us as immigrants. While there I remember getting violently ill from food poisoning. The memories I have of that particular building and time aren't great and I'm pretty sure I blocked much of it out for pure survival.
We left quarantine and were transferred to hotel like accommodations in a little Austrian town where I went to school for what I recall was one year. I didn't speak German, so imagine how intimidating it would be as a child to go to a new school in a foreign country as an immigrant kid. Ya it was tough and kids aren't kind, to say it was character building is really an understatement. But by the time we left Germany two years later I spoke fluent German. A year later my parents would move to apartment like accommodations to yet another town and I changed schools and environments again. At the end of that year Canada had accepted and processed our immigration papers.
My first flight out of Europe occurred in May 1990, I was 10. I don't remember much of landing at Pearson, I do remember looking at Hwy 401 thinking it was a massive lol. Once in Canada I had to switch gears and now learn English, make new friends, learn a new culture, start school once again in a new country. I would change schools almost yearly until I hit high school. In the short span of elementary school years I attended 8 different schools. What I'm telling you here isn't abnormal for immigrant children. When you're starting a new life in a foreign country you move where the jobs are to provide for your family.
I went through all of that anxiety producing trauma as a child for a better life, to get away from the controlling tenticles of a government which was capable of invoking emergency control measures on a dime. So when I hear grown North American adults talk to me about how I'm too priviled to wear a mask. Nah, when you've gone through what I have you're not privileged, you're wiser, you ran from that type of control. So to those Canadians who throw that word around listen up; You're the ones who are privileged, you have no idea what expanding government control actually looks like. World War 2 wasn't that long ago, in fact I talked to a holocaust survivor just last year about the horror that was her life for a few long years. Ask any Jews that survived Hitler what blindly trusting a government can look like, then ask any Pole or Russian for that matter who tried to speak up against communist government control what happened to people like that. Jail. Not much different than what occurs in China on the daily. You're currently a few provincial citations, fines, penalties, charges away from that step.
I'm not writing this to debate masks, you want to wear one - do so, but you are walking a slippery slope when you begin conforming to every single measure whether scientifically 100% proven or not and not even standardized. Read about Bill 195. I personally will not stand quietly by and watch unfold what we ran from in the name of a virus with a 90% recovery rate as we live with many other viruses and diseases daily.
The attacks on simple memes and opinions different from those who choose to obey every single recommendation blindly are worthy of psychiatric study. Trying at all cost to convince someone to do something they are not comfortable with for the "greater good" is borderline sociopathic and very much in line with communist ideology. I honestly had no idea Canada had that many closeted commies. My experience on how to approach and deal with bully's stems from a long history of childhood interactions with these sad souls. Yesterday I had someone tell me that if "you don't like it, go back to Poland." I can't say that it hasn't affected me, and so as a result I will be taking a break from the type of news coverage I use to do and will be re-branding. Mainstream media delivers the propaganda in healthy doses and they will continue to do so, I will not be participating. I morally, ethically, and viscerally can't stomach to do so.