Sword duels in Hyde Park could be making a comeback. That is, if Jan Żyliński, a Polish aristocrat and businessman living in London, has his way. In a widely publicised YouTube video that has received over 365,000 views, Żyliński challenges Nigel Farage, a British politician and leader of the right-wing UK Independence Party (UKIP), to a duel. UKIP is known for its strong stance in favour of limiting immigration to the UK.
It is estimated that over a million Poles have moved to the UK since 2004. Żyliński explains in the video that he takes issue with discrimination against Poles in the United Kingdom – discrimination he believes is being fanned by Farage and his party. “I’ve had enough of the discrimination against Polish people in this country,” Żyliński says. “The most idiotic example I’ve heard of has been Mr Nigel Farage blaming migrants for traffic jams on the M40.”
Żyliński’s father was cavalry officer and Polish war hero Captain Andrzej Żyliński, who led a famous charge against the Nazis during the Battle of Kałuszyn. The video opens with Jan Żyliński pointing to a gold statue of his father on horseback, holding his sword aloft.
“I am his son, I have his blood and I have realised that now what I have to do is stand up in defence of my people in the United Kingdom,” he says.
Żyliński claims a duel is what any self-respecting 18th century Polish aristocrat and English gentleman would do to settle such a disagreement. He qualified his challenge, however, saying that if Mr Farage’s sword-fighting skills are “rusty” then he would gladly engage in a duel of words – a debate. Farage declined. “I’ve been trying to keep violence out of the election,” he said.