The phrase "Spieprzaj dziadu!" (which is sometimes translated from Polish as "Piss off, you old git!"). was used by the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński on the street of Warsaw in response to a middle-aged heckler during the November 2002 Warsaw mayoral campaign in the Praga district, in which he was taking part.
On 4 November 2002, after an afternoon campaign meeting, Kaczyński was about to get into his car when a unidentified passerby wearing a hat and a pair of dark glasses heckled him.
- Passerby: "You've changed parties, you've run away like rats."
- Lech Kaczyński: "Sir, piss off Sir! That's what I'd say to you."
- Passerby: "'Piss off, Sir'? Sir, you are just afraid of the truth!"
- Lech Kaczyński (closing door, from the seat of his car): "Piss off, old man!"
- Passerby (shouting to a journalist): "How can anyone respond like that: 'Piss off Sir'? I asked the guy politely."
The name of the passerby was, as of November 2009, unknown. Since then the phrase had been quoted in television programmes and in films, had inspired websites, appeared on T-shirts and on a multitude of other objects.
Afterwards, Lech Kaczyński explained that politicians also have the right to defend their honour: "I put up with the first lot of his insults. It was only after the second lot, that I told him firmly – though mildly for a Praga street – to go away."
In a separate incident in Lublin, in 2008, a man identified only as Przemysław D., 34, also shouted "Spieprzaj, dziadu!" in the vicinity of Kaczyński and was prosecuted for insulting the President. The Polish edition of Newsweek questioned, in its own editorial, how Kaczyński could have complained that someone was rude to him, when his own phrase used in 2002 was equally rude to someone else.
The phrase was brought up again by candidate Donald Tusk, now Polish Prime Minister, during the 2005 presidential election campaign. On 26 September, during a televised debate with Kaczyński. According to Tusk, Kaczyński's remark had caused a furore at the time.
In 2007, the Civic Platform political party included footage of the original incident in one of their campaign television advertisements. Also in 2007, Jerzy Szmajdziński, the leader of the Democratic Left Alliance, told Kaczyński "Spieprzaj dziadu!" after Kaczyński criticised the period of communism in Poland by saying that socialism was "a system run by rabble for rabble" ("socjalizm to był ustrój hołoty, dla hołoty"). Kaczyński and Szmajdziński both later died in the same plane crash in Smolensk.
In 2009, while in Lublin, a member of the Polish Parliament Janusz Palikot quoted the phrase in reference to Kaczyński and was reported to the police for insulting the President, a criminal offence in Poland. However, linguists were divided as to whether the insult, being a quotation, had a satirical function and was therefore protected by freedom of speech legislation.
In Polish popular culture
The phrase has been repeated in various television programmes, notably the sitcom Świat według Kiepskich ("The World According to the Kiepskis") and cult cartoon Włatcy móch. It is used in the Polish versions of the computer game The Witcher and also appears in a milder form ("Zjeżdżaj, dziadu" – "Get lost, old man") in the translations for the animated films Astérix at the Olympic Games, Open Season and The Simpsons Movie. Wristbands have also been produced by those opposed to Kaczyński sporting the phrase. In November 2009, seven years after the original incident, a new coin called the Seven Old Men of the Capital was introduced by a local businessman in Praga to commemorate the event. It was not legal tender, but could be exchanged for services in participating outlets in the Praga area. 10,000 coins were produced and each was worth seven zloties.
Similar political incidents:
- Sarkozy's outburst rings bells, news24.com
- Original Polish text reads:
- Passerby: "Partie żeście zmienili, pouciekaliście jak szczury."
- Lech Kaczyński: "Panie, spieprzaj pan! Oto panu powiem."
- Passerby: "'Spieprzaj pan'? Panie, bo pan się prawdy boisz!"
- Lech Kaczyński: "Spieprzaj, dziadu!"
- Passerby: "Ale jak tak się można odzywać: 'spieprzaj pan'? Ja się grzecznie spytałem człowieka."
- "Spieprzaj, dziadu!" środkiem płatniczym..., Banzaj.pl
- "Spieprzaj dziadu" nie znieważyło Lecha Kaczyńskiego, Newsweek.pl
- Spieprzaj dziadu – PO przypomina wpadki PiS-u, Money.pl
- "Spieprzaj dziadu" na "ustrój hołoty", Wprost
- Prokurator poci się nad "spieprzaj, dziadu", Dziennik
- "Spieprzaj dziadu" w bilonie, Gazeta Wyborcza
- Spieprzaj dziadu na... monecie, Fakt