It was a typical first Monday in October for me. I was ambling down the street lost in a daydream about Kim Kardashian having been robbed at gunpoint in Paris by assailants disguised as police who made off with millions of pounds worth of jewelry.
That’s how I am. I find it really hard keeping up with the Kardashians. It takes a lot of concentration. They are always doing something surprising.
Anyway, as I say, I was walking along minding my own business when suddenly I almost ran into my friend, Malgorzata. She was obvious in a hurry. The furrow in her brow told me that something important was on her mind.
She was also dressed in black from head to toe. She looked like a female Johnny Cash, the original Man in Black.
“Why are you wearing black,” I asked, after recovering my equilibrium.
“I’m in mourning for my life,” she said.
“Good Lord, What’s is the problem, Gosia?”
“It’s a tragedy. Haven’t you heard?”
“Yes, Kim Kardashian tied up by masked men in Paris. And she didn’t even get a sex tap out of the affair.”
“No, you fool. The czarny protest!”
Gosia is very intelligent. It’s hard to keep up with her. I thought she might be talking about some philosophical concept with which I am not familiar. Philosophy often confuses me and makes me want to go lie down and take a nap.
Perhaps this whole black protest was a kind of existential angst, the kind that Kierkegaard hinted at in Fear and Trembling. Then again maybe not.
“What’s this czarny protest all about?” I said.
“The government is trying to take over women’s bodies.”
“You mean like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers?”
“Worse than that. The government wants to turn Poland into Paraguay or Nicaragua!” She shouted.
She took be briskly by the arm and we turned into Ulica Hoza. As we passed by the Okno Zycia, she crossed herself. And we sped along the street to Marszalkowska. What I saw there was impressive: an army of thousands upon thousands of women dressed all in black.
“Aha! They also are mourning for their lives! No self-respecting Pole wants Poland to end up like Nicaragua. Importing some of their weather would be nice though.”
Gosia stuck out her hand, grimaced and opened her umbrella. It had started to rain.
“You really are a dolt aren’t you,” she said. “This is a protest against the new abortion law. It’s all about a woman’s right to choose,” she said. “Miscarriage and stillbirth have made mourners of as many women as abortion has, you know. If there is a divine or natural design as the government is saying, then it is a rutheless and selective one. That’s for sure.”
“I see,” I said. “Sensing the seriousness of the matter. But think of all the geniuses we don’t have because of abortions. Like the next Beethoven for example.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. It cuts both ways. You could end up with Hitler, too.”
“That’s not good,” I said. “The more I hear about Hitler the less I like him.”
Gosia said: “Human beings are only acting rationally when they seek to achieve control over their reproduction.”
“Well, I said, suddenly inspired remembering something a friend had said to me: “The only moral losers in this argument are those who say that there is no conflict, and nothing to argue about. The irresoluble conflict of right with right was Hegel’s definition of tragedy, and tragedy is inseparable from human life, and no advance in science or medicine is ever going to enable us to evade that.”
Well, it’s a tough subject. Just thinking about it gives me a headache. I’d better go and take that nap.
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