Maria Szyszkowska (Poland)


“It is imperative there should be kindness towards truths other than ours.”

Maria Szyszkowska, is a senator, professor, philosopher, lecturer, and writer. She lives according to Kant’s philosophy that law should guarantee freedom for everyone. She has proposed the first bill in Poland on registered partnerships for homosexual couples and a bill on euthanasia. In her busy life she has written 25 books on philosophy, politics, and law. She has edited over 30. Tolerance and empathy are the most important values she tries to implement in society. She is always in hurry, always swimming against the current.

January 2004: a senate debate in Poland on a proposed bill on registered partnerships for homosexual couples. The author of the bill, Maria Szyszkowska, persuades other senators: “This is an act of justice to the most numerous minority in Poland. Law is the only way to change social consciousness.” You easily could feel the tension in the air. There were more media representatives, radio microphones, and TV cameras than usual. “It is an attack on the family! AIDS will spread after the bill will be accepted,” shouted one of the right-wing senators. The bill is the result of a more than one-year long cooperation with Polish Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual (LGBT) organizations. According to the bill, homosexual couples shall have the civil and economic rights of married couples. That day, the senate agreed to further work on the bill. Improving law is one of the ways Maria Szyszkowska has chosen to promote tolerance. Apart from that, she writes books and lectures throughout Poland. Usually, she wakes up at 6 a.m. in the morning. As on Friday, 26 March 2004. She sorts out her notes and at 8 a.m. she gives instructions to her assistant for the next week. At 10:30 she takes part in the Senate Commission on Culture and Mass Media. Then she goes to her office and meets a leftist politician. She calls a taxi to bring her a vegetarian dish. Then she visits a prison, talks to a prisoner. “I have some ideas about changing the situation of prisoners but I have to learn more,” she says. At 6 p.m., she attends a meeting of the Société Européene de la Culture. From there, she comes back home to meet a journalist. She has an hour for him and hurries to the Polish news channel TVN 24 to take part in a discussion on euthanasia. She goes to bed at 1 a.m. The next day she takes part in a five-hour demonstration against the war in Iraq. She is the only parliamentarian there.

Internationale Gesellschaft “System der Philosophie” Société Européenne de Culture Don Quixote Club

Europe | Poland

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