Saturday, April 10, 2010

Digital Rhetoric and A Nation's Grief

As the disastrous plane crash that killed not only Poland's president but also most of the country's top leadership registers in the national consciousness, government websites struggle to keep up. The official website of Poland's president was grayed out in the hours after the crash, which took place as the nation's officials were landing to attend a ceremony to commemorate the Katyn Massacre, in which over 20,000 Poles -- including the country's entire officer corps -- were executed in the Russian forest by Soviet secret police. The importance of this event in the national consciousness can be seen on the home page of the official government website of Poland, seen above, where a happy Polish family of four is juxtaposed with a grim photograph of the memorialized soldiers. The government has already set up an information and memorial site. (See below for a screenshot.)

Update: The site for the Polish president is no longer grayed out. (See below.) It is likely that soon the Internet will be the site of many conspiracy theories, given the long running enmity between Russia and Poland.


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