Analysis: Czech parties defaming Roma during EP campaign
The Parliament of the European Union definitely has a lot to look forward to from the Czech Republic this year. Famous antigypsyists and con artists who believe we have forgotten about their past crimes are planning to get to Brussels by playing the anti-Roma card.
Today we will introduce you to the election campaign activities of Otta Chaloupka, Lukáš Kohout and Václav Prokůpek. We will also take note of the group called NE Bruselu - Národní demokracie (NO to Brussels - National Democracy) of Adam B. Bartoš, who is infamous for his antigypsyism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia.
Otta Chaloupka is a famous antigypsyist who, during his previous term in office as an MP, proposed laws aimed against Romani people. Now in an election video for the Republika party, Chaloupka has continued his anti-Romani invective.
"An estimated quarter of a million Gypsies live in this republic. An enormous amount of them, the vast majority, live off of the benevolence and work of the majority society. When I imagine, given the birth rate of this group, how many of them will be living here in 10 years, I can't imagine how the Czech Republic is going to be able to overcome all of its feelings, all of the insults, all of the assaults of racism... Purely as an economic problem: How will we support half a million or a million people who do not work and are not interested in working, who consider it their inviolable, privileged right to live their lives to the detriment of this society. This is an economic problem we are not going to know how to solve here. We will have to take more money away from firefighters, hospitals, pensioners, just to support the half a million or one million people who never were interested in working in their entire lives, who are only interested in drinking alcohol, playing video poker, reproducing and stealing," Chaloupka says.
Two of this country's most infamous con artists are now running as candidates for the Aktiv nezávislých občanů (Assets of Independent Citizens - ANEO) movement. I can only presume that the independence they enjoy is freedom from the truth.
The logo of the movement is proof enough of the kind of people who have established it. It is so similar to the logo of the ANO party that voters could easily confuse them.
The leader of the ANEO candidate list for the EP elections is Václav Prokůpek, who was discovered by news server Romea.cz and Czech Television to have committed fraud. Prokůpek is the author of a completely fabricated news article about "a Romani treasurer who robbed a Romani political party" published by Parlamentní listy, a tabloid that takes aim at human rights in general and Romani people in particular.
This journalistic canard, which was first reported by Romea.cz, was reprinted by most of the Czech media without any attempt to verify it. Journalists subsequently discovered other reports that had been invented by Prokůpek out of whole cloth.
Prokůpek is a notorious liar who likes to brag about college degrees that he never actually earned. For many years he has regularly appeared on the candidate lists of various obscure groups.
The con artist has run for the extremist group Law and Justice (Právo a spravedlnost) and for the court-dissolved Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS), of which he was a member, and he most recently was the leader of the Independents' Association (Sdružení nestraníků) in the Plzeň Region.
An outline of Prokůpek's CV of fraud can be summarized in a few key moments. In addition to his membership in the neo-Nazi DS and his candidacy for its successor party, the DSSS, he is infamous as a cunning, relentless hustler, as follows:
- He lies about having graduated from several colleges with degrees
- He has completely fabricated news articles attacking Romani people
- He established a movement to support mafioso Vratislav Kutal, who was convicted of murder in the heating oil scandal
- He has plagiarized texts
- He has posed as an attorney and conned people out of their money under various pretexts
- He has insinuated to his clients that he was the ex-husband of [Czech politician] Lucie Talmanová
- He has been tried twice, once for assaulting an MP and once for beating up a pensioner
- He has lied about being employed by the Slovak Hockey League as a trainer.
Czech Television has dealt with Prokůpek inconsistently. On 7 May 2012, its "Reporters" program broadcast information about his career as a con artist and caught him in several lies.
Then on 15 September 2012, the ČT24 channel of the public broadcaster presented Prokůpek as a credible candidate of the Independents' Association on its "Political Spectrum" program. Now Czech Television's election coverage seems to be afraid to ask the ANEO leader about his fraud.
Lukáš Kohout, another infamous con artist running as a candidate for ANEO, won't bring them any credibility either. Kohout has falsely claimed to be supported by [a famous Czech folk-rock band] Čechomor and has passed off texts by leading politicians and at least one blogger as his own on his website.
Plagiarist Prokůpek has this to say, paradoxically, about Kohout: "Naturally, I cannot rule out the possibility that we might remove Lukáš Kohout from the candidate list. I did not know about his plagiarism, and as for Čechomor, Kohout claims those posters in the Šluknov district were put up by his enemies from the Social Democrats."
In his profile on Parlamentní listy (of course), Lukáš Kohout has also written an article called "I wouldn't look for money to close the pig farm" which includes the following: "I cannot understand at all why people think the dignity of the ethnic gypsies is being trampled by that PIG FARM?? I personally believe that nation has never been oppressed by anyone at anytime. At the most, the Czech nation is being oppressed here by this wannabe fringe of society. If Minister Herman and Prime Minister Sobotka want to tear down that PIG FARM they should just move all the pigs from the inadaptable localities there and the PIG FARM will soon be destroyed. With a little bit of luck it will a LETY MASSACRE. One or two girders holding up the building and the problem will quickly be solved."
Kohout's campaign video is entitled "Will the monkeys vote?" ("Budou opice volit?"). Naturally, by "monkeys" he means the Roma.
The clip shows Kohout going into a bathroom where a Romani man is sitting on a toilet. Kohout then gives him money to vote for ANEO.
Surprisingly, former television moderator Eva Jurinová is also running as an ANEO candidate. Her colleague from TV Nova, Zbyněk Meruňka, appears with her in her campaign ad.
Jan Čonka of the ROMEA organization intends to file criminal charges against Chaloupka and Kohout for defamation and disseminating hatred. "In their speeches, Otta Chaloupka and Lukáš Kohout publicly incite hatred against Romani people and defame them. Both gentlemen are exploiting populist, unethical tensions in society against the Romani minority. They are of course generalizing, which unfortunately has become the usual method of attacking Romani people as a whole. Moreover, we are not Gypsies, we are Roma. Their words are insulting and outrageous," Čonka, who works on a Romani employment project in Prague, told news server Romea.cz.
Adam B. Bartoš, the chair of the NE Bruselu - Národní demokracie (NO to Brussels - National Democracy) party, is infamous for his lists of "truth-lovers" [a derisive term for those honoring the legacy of former President Havel] and statements that many consider anti-Semitic. Czech Television refused to broadcast his campaign ad in its original form.
That advertisement included the following: "The European Union is an evil that produces more evil. It is our obligation to stand up to it, but we can't do it alone. We need your support. Come on 23 and 24 May to the referendum on the European Union. Let's kill the snake. Vote number 4. Vote No to Brussels - National Democracy."
The images in this advertisement depict a snake representing the European Union. When the words "The European Union is an evil that produces more evil" are heard, the background images behind the snake run through a montage of representations of that "evil" which include symbols of the state of Israel, the LGBT movement, and Muslims carrying banners reading "Islam will dominate the world. Freedom can go to hell."
The ad also includes photographs documenting the establishment of the state of Israel, photographs of Romani people, and anti-Semitic drawings depicting the alleged ritual murder of Anežka Hrůzová by Leopold Hilsner, a Jew, in the late 19th century. "The symbolism and image associations of the video clip cannot be understood in any other way than a direct, generalized identification of evil with the religious, national and other minorities or social groups depicted in the ad. For that reason, the clip could incite hatred against the national, religious or other minorities or social groups depicted in the ad, and the law serves to protect them against that," the Association of Television Organizations (ATO), a self-regulating commission, said of the campaign video.
What else is there to add? All of these people probably are out of luck, as the chauvinists, racists and xenophobes of the Czech Republic are now mostly relying on the Úsvit (Dawn of Direct Democracy) party.
Of course, in other elections, primarily local ones, some of them might score points by referring to their current brave mission of "demolishing political correctness" (read: being raging racists), promoting their own blood and nation to the detriment of the "enemies within". However, what is essential to these obscure groups is that with just 1 % of the vote, they will receive financing from the state.
Chaloupka has become sadly infamous for the following statements about Romani people:
- "Romani leaders should first and foremost start making an honest living. They are just as much parasites on the Romani community as the Romani community is a parasite on the majority society..."
- "The Roma are starting a political party again. What do expect to gain from it? Greater leverage for more advantages? Then I ask - how many more advantages do they want?"
- Elsewhere he has turned all Roma into criminals: "Today they don't have to work, all they do is complain, a wave of physical violence is rising against majority society and we just keep backing down... I understand the attempt to do something about this, to try to include them, to re-educate a generation of these inadaptables and create all the conditions so they can become decent people who don't bother anyone and who no one has to reject, but how many years has it been that we have done our best to include them and it hasn't had any effect? What is problematic is that they cost a lot of money, they contribute nothing, and that's how it's been for generation and they don't make any effort to change it. They cost us hundreds of millions of crowns and what do we get for it? Physical attacks, robberies, shoplifting, etc. If you don't work, you are not entitled to anything. If you start stealing, go to prison. I have heard the opinion expressed that if we take away their welfare they will commit even more crime. No, if you do something like that you will be in prison and you'll think better of it next time. Until the revolution there was the obligation to work. Gypsies had to work. They got a shovel, some of them just leaned on it, but they had be somewhere during working hours and at least pretend to work. Today they don't have to work, all they do is complain, a wave of physical violence is rising against the majority society and we just keep backing down. What are we waiting for? For them to chop us up with machetes on the street with impunity and steal pensioners' wallets? Whenever anyone [non-Roma] attacks a Gypsy, it's a racial crime and he gets the highest possible punishment, but if a Gypsy beats up a white guy, robs an old lady or rapes, tortures and terrorizes a 12-year-old white boy, he will only be punished as if he had lifted someone's wallet. It can't go on like this and its heading for disaster. Once people see that the state is not taking care of them they will take matters into their own hands and it will be bad, and I won't be surprised."
- When Romani leader František Tomáš called on the Mayor of Duchcov to come to a meeting with Romani people, Chaloupka responded with these words: "That was very clever of that gypsy leader. They have no lack of arrogance and conceit. People are on edge and if there are a few more such gypsy provocations there will be a massacre. Even the riot police won't save them then." Chaloupka also posted the following open letter to František Tomáš on his Facebook profile: "Decent people have long tolerated all of your aggression, your theft, and your unjustified demands for more and more privileges. As every reasonable person knows, this can't go on forever (...) People have had enough, Mr Tomáš. They are out of patience. You just keep crossing the line with your provocations. Keep pushing and something will break, soon. Do not rely on being protected by the state, on being allowed to do whatever you like. People don't feel the state is protecting them and it is just a matter of time before they start protecting themselves. Then, Mr Tomáš, things will be bad. Consider this to be good advice that I'm giving you free of charge."
- Romanian court hands down a scandalous decision: Roma woman who was beaten up by a minibus driver has to pay a fine
- German MEP of Romani origin Romeo Franz: The situation for Roma in Ukraine is shocking, I could not believe Roma live in such conditions in Europe
- CNN: Czech Republic has discriminated against Romani refugees from Ukraine, updated data refute the myth that they all hold dual citizenship
- Czech research finds one-third of Romani refugees from Ukraine have experienced discrimination here, most children are not in education, dual citizenship has not been "abused" by them
- Hungary's Jewish Community protests PM Orbán's racist speech in which he said Hungarians don't want to become a "mixed-race" nation
- Czech volunteers say second-largest city has broken its agreement by closing camp used by Romani refugees from Ukraine near Grand Hotel
- New handbook describes how to intervene against daily hatred and racism in the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands
- Czech local candidates who quit the "Mayors and Independents" party have secured enough signatures to run as independents
- All candidates for the "Mayors and Independents" party in Czech town are quitting to run as their own group after mayor is told not to run for espousing racist violence
- Czech mayor must either withdraw his candidacy today or be delisted as a candidate by his party ahead of local elections for his racist advocacy of violence against Romani people
- Czech party calls on mayor to withdraw from local election over racist approval of violence against Romani people
- Ukrainians are not the same as Syrians: On double standards for refugees, Czech aid, and breaking the rules while doing good