Unpaid work under socialism

Courtesy of the Polish National Digital Archives

Unpaid work under socialism was called ‘czyn społeczny’, also known as the Russian ‘subbotnik’. This type of work was a volunteer community service that involved work in various public projects, for example, cleaning the streets, collecting recyclable material, and other community services.


Parrots in a courtroom


karma-dla-papugiLast week I paid a flying visit to Warsaw. After a lovely catch-up session, a good friend of mine, who is a lawyer, took me to a nearby district court. After four and a half years of working as a Polish court interpreter in the UK, it was hilarious to see myself being so ridiculously excited about visiting a court. Without a hitch, I quickly jumped into the researcher’s role and opened myself to the unknown in a much known culture.

I didn’t have to wait long for something to prompt some critical thinking. At the entrance it struck me that there was a separate door for lawyers and another one for other visitors. Well, ever since I listened to John Moore’s presentation[1] on the inherited and intrinsic unequal nature of the criminal justice system I have lowered my expectations of the criminal justice systems, but here inequality literally met me at the door Continue reading “Parrots in a courtroom”

Parrots in a courtroom

Necrobusiness and the crime of ‘skin-hunting’ in Poland

‘Skin-hunting’ is a term coined by Polish journalists to name a specific system of corruption that came to light in 2002 in the third largest city in Poland – Łódź. The activity involved an ambulance crew which would tip off a certain funeral parlour about ‘new skins’ (recently deceased bodies), and help to arrange funeral plans with the corrupted undertaker. The involved paramedics also admitted to kill a number of elderly patients using a muscle relaxant, Pavulon, in order to increase their necrobusiness profit. Although discovered in 2002, it is believed that the practice could have started in the early 1990s.

Here is a documentary, produced in 2008 and available in English, that interestingly illustrates the context of the crime.