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Czech town's chamber of commerce wants to deploy the Army against Roma

22.6.2015 19:57
The Romani-occupied quarter of Předlice in the Czech town of Ústí nad Labem. Buildings with bricked-up entrances like this are not unusual there. (Photo: František Kostlán)
The Romani-occupied quarter of Předlice in the Czech town of Ústí nad Labem. Buildings with bricked-up entrances like this are not unusual there. (Photo: František Kostlán)

The District Chamber of Commerce (Okresní hospodářská komora - OHK) in the Czech town of Ústí nad Labem has published an "Open Call to Local Politicians and Citizens"  that reads as follows:  "In Ústí nad Labem and other towns we are threatened by a demographic catastrophe that may already be unavoidable. We must have the courage to describe this problem and propose solutions."  

The basis of the "problem" is then described by the OHK as the "negative immigration [sic] of inadaptable inhabitants or just the socially vulnerable." This primarily means Romani people.

The OHK refers to analyses that they say "describe the problem well":  An article from news server Krajské and a statement by Slovak Interior Minister Kaliňák alleging that frequent incest in the Romani community is the reason so many Romani children attended "special schools" in Slovakia. "How can we best help ourselves in this situation?" the OHK then asks.

"Certainly not as we currently are doing, when almost nothing is going on and the problem is being tiptoed around. Political representatives from the ground-level up should establish an association of towns experiencing similar problems and develop pressure on their national representatives to solve them," the "Open Call" says.

The OHK believes the options for solving this problem are:  Counting the number of Romani people, putting a cap on welfare benefits, and calling up the Army for help. "The Army is able to begin doing this without delay and it would save the towns a lot of money. Guard duty in excluded localities would be the ideal practice exercises for them... It is important that we finally begin to do something. Otherwise the last of us will go extinct in another 15 years and it is all the same whether we are living in the center of town, in Brno, or Skorotice or in South Bohemia," their statement concludes.    

Ghettos patrolled by the Army

It seems that the OHK, which characterizes itself as the "most important entrepreneurial institution in the region" wants to push the Roma and all other "inadaptables" and "socially vulnerable" persons into ghettos patrolled by the Army. That, of course, is not much different from the concepts enacted by Nazi Germany.

The national headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic writes the following about itself:  "Our mission is to create opportunities for entrepreneurship and to promote and support measures contributing to the development of entrepreneurship in the Czech Republic and thereby to the overall economic stability of the state." The head of the national chamber is a former Minister of Industry and presidential candidate, Vladimír Dlouhý.

It is difficult to imagine that the Czech Chamber of Commerce actually considers a condition of economic stability to be the creation of ghettos guarded by the military and the displacement of "inadaptables" from the public space. In any event, when news server asked what the national leadership of the Chamber thinks of its colleagues' "Open Call" in  Ústí nad Labem, their press spokesperson responded:  "We have no information about this matter and therefore no comment."    

When we asked what more information other than the text of the "Open Call" they needed in order to take a stand on the issue, no answer ever came. We have also not received any response from the  Ústí Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

Michal Komárek, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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