The mood was somber in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, faces that moment every national leader dreads. She has to rise to tell the nation of evil acts, innocent people killed, an attack on the heart of democracy, against the British Parliament where Winston Churchill united the British people against Hitler.
She has to find words of sorrow at the murder of a policeman, a husband and father. Mrs. May has to explain that this act of terrorism is atrocious.
The ideology behind it must be confronted. But it stops at the individual criminal and the ideology.
The British prime minister sits alongside her ministers who are men and women, white and black, catholic and Muslim. She knows her country and how any act of dividing Britain on the basis of race or religion has always been futile.
Already the Muslim Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made an important statement condemning the evil act. Up and down, Britain the mosques of the British Muslim community condemn the attack on Westminster and the deaths and injuries.
Poland’s government message of division
And then comes the message from another woman prime minister, Beata Szydlo of Poland. Her statement is not one of solidarity, of sorrow or support. No. The message from Warsaw is that this evil act was the fault of the European Union’s immigration policy.
Mrs. Szydlo is wrong on all counts, but living in the post-factual world that she inhabits that does not seem to inhibit her much.
Of note, the terrorist criminal who carried out the attack was born in Britain, raised in Britain and is as British as Prime Minister May or David Beckham. Khalid Masood was not an immigrant.
Moreover, he has nothing to do with “Europe.” His mother was British, he was born and grew up in south England and has nothing to do with recent immigration movements in Europe.
Szydlo appears to live so much inside her ideologically tainted head that she is apparently completely unaware that the word “immigrant” in Britain, when it is used by the nationalist populist demagogues in politics or the press, more often than not has the adjective “Polish” in front of it.
Inadvertently offering up her own nation?
Moreover, most analysts of the Brexit referendum in June 2016 accept that the main driver for the Brexit vote was the mass arrival of Polish citizens in the years since Poland joined the European Union in 2016.
So when Mrs. Sydlo now condemns EU immigration policy, many if not most people in Britain will think she is talking about the right of a million Poles to come to Britain.
She is thus condemning her own people. Most poignantly, the top demand of the nationalist Eurosceptic forces in Britain is to slow down, stop and even reverse the number of Poles and other European “immigrants” coming to Britain.
Beyond Szydlo’s folly
In contrast to the Polish Prime Minister going way low, the British Prime Minister insisted to the House of Commons that Britain would not bring in new measures, or seek to single out the British Muslim community.
And most British people are ashamed of the xenophobic attacks on Europeans, including Poles, after the triumph for populist nationalist xenophobia in the Brexit campaign.
They dislike Islamist ideology with its emphasis on the supremacy of just one religion, its belief that women should stay at home to have children and obey their husbands, and its contempt for western democratic ideals like a free press and an independent judicial system.
The House of Commons has many MPs who are hardline supporters of Brexit and who look forward to shutting Britain borders to stop Poles and other European Union citizens coming freely to live, work, love and settle as free Europeans in a free Britain.
But not one of them in the Commons sought to link the terrorist act of an indoctrinated and wicked British killer with the issue of European immigration.
That Beata Szydlo has done so should always be remembered in the annals of European political dialogue as a true moment of infamy.
That Mrs. Szydlo lowered herself to the level of linking the Westminister terror atrocity with the EU’s immigration policy is a matter of true disgrace.
Szydlo has not only shown her ideologically tainted colors by reacting in a hasty, ill-judged manner, apparently aiming at satisfying a domestic political need.
Worse, her attitude is also eerily akin to that of vicious Communist operators of the past. They could never resist the temptation, callously and without a human heart, to use any and all circumstances to make real-world events fit their distorted world view.
That the sub-leader of a nation that has known so much Communist and Fascist terror begs disbelief. Today’s terror threat from Islamist ideology financed by the Gulf states is the negation of everything Europe and Poland stands for.