Public officer unleashes war against Roma in the Czech Republic in a bid to gain popularity

By • on February 18, 2011

Pavel Louda, the mayor of Nový Bydžov, initiated of his own accord an action against the Roma. He assigned them a collective guilt for criminality, living off state benefits, not working and in short, for being a burden on the town. He launched an appeal to other mayors in the country to support of his ideas (his appeal can be found at the end of this article). According to experts, such an operation is best described as racist and unlawful.

However, not all the representatives of the Nový Bydžov Municipal Council agree with this repressive solution. Most of all, they believe that the mayor’s true intention is to create a reputation on the political stage. After a rape and several robberies committed by Romani boys in Nový Bydžov, mayor Louda kicked off his campaign by sending his “appeal for the cooperation of towns and municipalities with Romani communities” to other mayors.

Helena Krištofová, the Romani advisor from the Department of Cooperation and Development in Brno launched a counter-campaign against Louda’s call.

“I appeal to organizations that are not indifferent to breaches in human rights in our society. I have been working as a Romani advisor at the Office of the Magistrate of Brno for 12 years and am concerned about the escalation of anti-Roma manifestations, which have intensified recently.

This is my reaction to the letter sent by the mayor of Nový Bydžovt to municipalities in the Czech Republic (the document has been attached). In his letter, Mr. Louda appeals to mayors in matters of repressive proceedings against Roma and blames them for living off state support, etc. Please, evaluate the content of the letter and state whether Mr Louda is presenting an appeal for solidarity or lobbying for a witchhunt.

I am sure that there are legal means for punishing the Roma who have committed a crime. I also believe there are legitimate instruments for preventing the misuse of social benefits. But I refuse to accept the labelling of all Roma as “problematic” and to encourage the hostile approach as the only possible reaction towards the Roma ethnicity.

Thereby I am asking you to express your standpoint regarding Mr Louda’s appeal. I would also appreciate if you could attend the meeting organized by the mayor in order to “unite our forces and provide support.”

I would be thankful if you could forward this letter to other citizens.

Thank you.

Helena Krištofová”

 

I fully support her approach and I ask: when will our society stop letting these so-called “politicians” build whatever they want in their sandpit? When will those ineffective state representatives stop blaming the Roma for everything?

This is not only happening in the Czech Republic and Slovakia but in most countries with a  Roma population.

The unspoken truth is that nobody wants to hear that work offers are “always” offered to non-Roma. What should be added is that the Roma aren’t accusing non-Roma of blocking work opportunities for themselves – and therefore of discrimination. But then, why the widespread belief that the Roma only exploit the state, by having more children and even being responsible for high unemployment and even economic crises? By the way, Mr. Louda loathes the fact that the Romani population of Nový Bydžov has “plummeted” to 5% during the past 5 years. Apparently, the mayor is confusing the Czech Republic with China…

Louda’s appeal lacks any kind of objectivity. He does not mention non-Roma criminals, who also commit crimes, are drunks, loafers, leeches on social benefits and unwilling to work. Of course, if he did that, his approval rates for the upcoming elections would drastically decline.

“A text like this, published by a public officer, stinks of fascism” Jiřina Šiklová, a sociologist, commented on Louda’s action for the website ČT24. Louda’s campaign reminded her of articles from the magazine Árijský boj za okupace or “The Aryan battle during occupation.” She labelled the mayor as a Fascist who should be suspended from his function.

Čeněk Růžička, the head of the Committee for the Compensation of theRomani Holocaust in the Czech Republic, commented on mayor Louda’s campaign and the behaviour of young Romani criminals in Nový Bydžov for the website Romea.cz. He thinks that Mr. Louda is trying to draw attention in political circles and that his initiative is undoubtedly dangerous. “However, what the Bydžov Romani boys did deserves a righteous punishment like any other criminal offence,” added Růžička. Miroslav Mareš, a specialist on extremism, joined in the discussion held on the same website: “Such negative, sweeping generalizations are detrimental to the nation as a whole, not just to that specific ethnicity”.

To sum up, a smaller or even bigger fish embracing this kind of ideology always causes a stir in his pond.

“An appeal for the cooperation of towns and municipalities with Romani communities”

We would like to discuss precautions, put your experience to use and further our ideas.

We would like to cooperate with you on the implementation of an initiative of towns and municipalities dealing with the Roma question. Our enterprise should lead to the adjusting of the necessary legislature. Ivana Řápková, who will represent our initiative in the Parliament, is willing to tackle the most pressing issues:

  • An alarming fact is that politicians keep talking about the misuse of social benefits while not doing anything to prevent it. Neither the Employment Law, nor the Law about Social Benefits and Assistance for those in Material Need state clearly: “Benefits will be taken away if proven their purpose is misused.” Public officers know that a mother’s maternity benefit and a father’s workfare end up in slot machines.
  • Social Benefits do not have a “ceiling.” The more children, the more financial support –without work.
  • The state supports incredibly rich companies that make slot-machines. A village simply cannot refuse having one as the law does not allow such an intervention.
  • One of the preliminary enactments of the Law on Municipalities orders towns and municipalities to take care of the general development of their territory and the needs of their citizens. It reads that a citizen of a town/municipality is a Czech citizen with a permanent residence in that town/municipality. So, I ask: why are towns forced to look after hundreds of Roma from other regions or even other countries? Despite the fact that they’re not citizens, they use public services e.g. public space cleaning, public lighting and low-threshold social services without bringing any profit to the municipality – not even tax revenues. We let these outlanders live in our towns and mess around and breed bad blood among the decent citizens of the town, who want to get a good night’ sleep before going to work in the morning.
  • Many other topics can be discussed as well.

 

Dear Mr/Ms. Mayor,

I only want the state to put things into order, to stop making goofs out of us mayors, and to stop bowing down to the EU on behalf of higher goals of European togetherness. I want to take care of my citizens, including the decent Romani ones without having to deal with outlanders. I want the same conditions for everybody. I see it as normal in our country for me to go to bed in the evening, get up in the morning, go to work, look after my children, whom I send to school, without giving headache to people by screaming in the streets,  robbing and stealing. In Bydžov we have to kick the Roma out of their beds to get them to do community service of at least 30 hours a week. We also have to pay a security agency to watch over the safety of our decent citizens as police has failed in this respect.

In order to implement as many plans as possible we need your support and help. Therefore I invite you to the meeting of towns and municipalities with Roma communities.

Regards,

Ing. Pavel Louda v.r.

Mayor of Nový Bydžov

 

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