Lech Walesa, former president of Poland
and 1983 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has been accused of hate speech.
According to The
Guardian, a national committee devoted to fighting hate
speech in Poland has filed a complaint against Walesa. The committee
has accused Walesa of promoting a “propaganda of hate against a
sexual minority” during a televised interview broadcast on Friday.
Walesa said in the interview that he believes gay people
should be barred from politics. Gay people, he said, had no right
to sit on the front benches in parliament. If present, they should
sit in the back, “or even behind a wall.”
“[T]hey have to know that they are a
minority and adjust to smaller things, and not rise to the greatest
heights. A minority should not impose itself on the majority.”
He added that he does not agree with
gay rights and would not want his children or grandchildren to be
exposed to gay people in public.
The 69-year-old Walesa, an electrician
by trade, became an iconic figure in the trade-union movement,
co-founding Solidarity, the Soviet bloc's first independent trade
union, in 1980.
“From a human point of view his
language was appalling,” Jerzy Wenderlich, a deputy speaker of
parliament with the Democratic Left Alliance, is quoted as saying.
“It was the statement of a troglodyte. Now nobody in their right
mind will invite Lech Walesa as a moral authority, knowing what he