A flower of Poland’s literary scene, Witold Szablowski, who was just nine when communist rule crumbled, can write about little else but communism, and how awful it was.
A writer of very few scruples, Szablowski soon discovered that easy money could be made peddling fabrications and lies in the service of imperialism. His latest invention is the book How to Feed a Dictator, published in Britain by Penguin books and translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
Witold goes in search of cash
In 2006, Szablowski landed a job straight from college with the premier anti-communist Polish newspaper, Gazeta Wyborca (Poland’s first anti-communist newspaper, which the revisionists in the Communist party there allowed to begin publication in 1989).
From there, Szablowski worked for CNN and then began to develop his speciality in the especially trivial. For over ten years, he has churned out numerous vacuous pieces of 21st-century anticommunist kitsch-journalism.
Around 2010-11, Witold bought a few rusty kitchen utensils and an old Fiat 126, chose to live amongst old wallpaper and furniture in a ‘communist-era apartment’ and wrote a book as dull as that wallpaper describing what it was like to travel back in time to the ‘communist era’. For Szablowski, wallpaper, cars, and cutlery are reminders of just how terrible the People’s Republic of Poland really was. (Our Little Polish People’s Republic: Six Months in a Three-Room Apartment with a Perm, a Moustache, and a Fiat)
For that piece of especially trivial nonsense, Szablowski earned numerous accolades. In 2012, he published his next indulgence, Let us in, you bastards, an article on the fall of Albanian socialism and the hordes of migrants flooding from Albania to the west, earning (naturally) further awards.
Szablowski was feted in Europe, and for his servility to imperialism he won accolades from Amnesty International recognising his ‘journalistic integrity’. That Amnesty award must have gained for Szablowski the envy of his contemporaries, and since envy is one of the special freedom-loving virtues of capitalism, our award-winning democrat and journalist could be forgiven for letting his especially trivial standards slip.
In a 2016 expose, Polish news reported that Witold Szablowski had passed off as bona fide interviews from the ‘survivors of communism’ the dialogue of an anticommunist propaganda movie about the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Our knight of integrity, no doubt having watched a thoroughly good anticommunist movie, may have begun to fantasise that the film was in fact reality and he was its hero. It’s easily done.
When challenged on this by the honest (though not award-winning) reporters of Polish News, he presented two legal opinions from his lawyers, who insisted that his misleading, fabricated fantasy interviews with the star witnesses for the prosecution of the case against the GDR were not, legally-speaking, plagiarism!
‘How to feed a dictator’
Glowing reviews in the Financial Times and Publishers Weekly now claim that in his latest piece of fiction Szablowski has tracked down numerous chefs who’ve cooked for the world’s worst dictators; chefs who have been in hiding from the secret services of the free world but were found out by our Polish newshound.
Who are these hungry tyrants you ask? George W Bush, Tony Blair and Barack Obama? No, it’s Enver Hoxha, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and co.
“For Witold Szablowski, the research for his latest book began with a simple, almost childlike question: ‘What did Saddam Hussein eat after giving the order for tens of thousands of Kurds to be gassed?’” breathes the FT reviewer, who clearly needs no introduction to the mode of childlike thought.
“Their memories, direct, human and intimate, reveal an eggshell atmosphere of paranoia and surveillance.” The reviewer explains that Szablowski has explored how this toxic kitchen atmosphere extended all the way out into the countryside, where it is revealed that “Enver Hoxha’s ingredients were sourced only from ‘friendly farms’.”
According to Witold and his gullible reviewers: “The chefs learnt to ingratiate themselves by preparing their masters’ favourite dishes.” Although as anybody with difficult relations knows, when cooking for a despot, always prepare revolting meals that ensure your guest returns as infrequently as possible.
“But their bosses’ preferences – Castro loved ice cream … are curiously banal,” says the reviewer of the banality. (Wendell Steavenson, 7 May 2020)
A more sober reviewer from the Minnesota Star Tribune notes that as more than half the words in the book are “set off by double-rule lines, it’s not clear if the first-person accounts are direct quotations or artfully edited summaries”. (Chris Hewitt, 28 April 2020)
The modern world of art and literature
Witold Szablowski is a pitiful creature. Devoid of originality, hiring his mediocrity out like a literary pathic in the service of imperialism, he attempts to paint himself big by pouring scorn upon those people and events that were truly great.
The ruling class of Europe is gripped by the crisis of capitalism and can offer no way out. Deprived of meaningful work, housing and social happiness, the very things which those who grew up under socialism knew so well, its youth degenerate and rot.
No matter how many fabrications Szablowski and such hirelings churn out, no path other than socialism is open to the proletariat, and especially to the youth.
Communists must expose the falsity of all these anticommunist stories, expose the scribblers and buskers, and bring to life the glorious achievements of socialism.