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August 9, 2022



Another Romani musician in a Czech hospital sends social media message to COVID-19 deniers: This is real and the hospitals are running out of room

8.3.2021 8:40
Vladimír Dirda (PHOTO: Facebook profile of Vladimír Dirda)
Vladimír Dirda (PHOTO: Facebook profile of Vladimír Dirda)

On 4 March the famous musician and Romani community member Vladimír Dirda announced that he had contracted the novel coronavirus and was in hospital. He posted the information to social media and called on the Romani community not to believe the disinformation and various fake news items circulating on the Internet about the disease. 

"I would like to write to everybody who is so blind as to not believe in COVID to tell them that this is a real disease that is a thousand times stronger than any flu. I felt like I had been poisoned and I wanted to die during the last few days," Dirda admitted in the emotional post, asking people to wake up and realize that hospitals are running out of room every day.

"Don't listen to those heretics out on the squares, please! I would never wish this on anybody," wrote Dirda, who used to be part of the popular band Gulo čar, which is no longer together.  

The musician Milan Šenki has also set a similar message through social media warning that many acquaintances and friends of his have either succumbed to COVID-19 or will be living with its effects for the rest of their lives. "Nobody is taking quarantine or any other restrictions seriously anymore. Do we want to live normally again? Do we want to go to the pub with our friends for a little beer? Do we want to go to some festival this summer? Do we want to take the family on vacation? I think we all want that," he posted to his personal profile. 

"A year ago there were approximately 400 infections per day and what did we do? We followed all the rules so we wouldn't catch this sh***y virus and spread it. What are we doing now? We're just whining and cursing the Government while behaving irresponsibly ourselves," he posted, calling on people to spend the next three weeks behaving the way everybody did last spring, when all restrictions were upheld much more responsibly.

According to Šenki, chances are high that the Czech Republic will have enough vaccines available three weeks from now to vaccinate a large part of the population. "Come on, let's act in solidarity and unity again. That's where our strength is," the musician challenged on his social media friends.  

Lukáš Rejmon, the manager and partner of the singer Jan Bendig, had also called on the Romani community and others through his own social media profile to uphold the current regulations at the close of February. "Are these measures making you all angry? Then you should all do one thing. Go into lockdown at home, and three weeks from now you'll be where you want to be," he posted, adding that last spring everybody brilliantly coped with the pandemic situation - which was why the measures were then relaxed.

"Take a look at England. They're beginning to open up according to their plans, and an unbelievable number of people have died of this there. This situation is making me angry, too. Most of us have to listen to our consciences, though. When it comes to following the rules, in many cases there is not as much to celebrate as there was last year. There is no point in rebelling. We won't bring the Government down by doing that, we'll just drown ourselves. Let's show people we can do this, there's nothing else left for us to do anyway! You can make the Government pay during the autumn elections!" Rejmon wrote.

Several famous figures in the Romani community have previously become infected by the novel coronavirus, but some Romani community members continue to share disinformation about the virus on social media and to belittle the destructive effects of the virus. News server has reported on the cases of the singer Bertík Girga, the death in October of Jozef Bertík, contraction of the virus by the famous Romani journalist Jarmila Balážová, the hospitalization of Igor Kmeťo, and the light course of the disease, fortunately, experienced by the singer Monika Bagárová.      

Rena Horvátová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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