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August 11, 2020



A mother's open letter to a hatemonger

Prague, 13.5.2012 19:07, (ROMEA)
Czech songwriter Jarek Nohavica, who has recently released songs with anti-Gypsy lyrics. Photo:  Website of Jarek Nohavica.

Dear Mr Nohavica,

I would like to thank you for the many pretty little songs you have written which I love and sing often. My children (I have four) also know some of them. They sing them at home or when they go camping with the Scouts.

That is why I was really sorry to first hear your song "Vaši Bedřišku" and now your new one, "Dežo". I will not be singing them to my children. I very much hope they never hear them, which unfortunately will probably not come to pass. It will be very difficult for me to explain to them why you recorded those songs and why you are playing them for people.

Two of my children are Romani. During their brief lives (they are 8 and 10 years old) they have already experienced a great deal. They were forcibly taken away from their mother the moment they were born because she wasn't living in acceptable housing. For several years, the only cuddling they got on the iron beds they slept on in the state institution were from piles of stuffed animals. At school, other children cursed them. When they walked down the street, adults whom they had never seen in their lives, who were complete strangers to them, cursed them as well. They have been subjected to false allegations.

My children (the older one is a boy and the younger one is a girl), despite all this, still believe me when I tell them they can be proud of themselves, that they will succeed in achieving something in life, that they will do the work they long to do, that all they have to do is to study well at school. They get nothing but the highest grades, both of them.

As their mother - which I am with all my heart, even though I did not give birth to them - it is becoming more and more difficult to answer their questions. I feel I am deceiving them when I tell them that what matters is not what you look like, but what you are like inside.

My children believe in justice. They believe the guilty should be punished. They believe the truth should be spoken and written.

My children are Romani and their innocent confidence will last only a few years longer before life shows them that what their mother taught them was naive nonsense. Life will show them that whatever they do, everyone will consider them "just gypsies" who steal sewer grates and live on welfare, and that it is best to keep their distance from them. Public opinion is a bitch.

Mr Nohavica, PLEASE, do not pour fuel onto a fire that is burning out of control and will injure the innocent one day. That fire is already burning my children, who suspect nothing at this moment as they sleep peacefully in the next room.

With respect,

Martina Vančáková

Gwendolyn Albert, Martina Vančáková, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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