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September 18, 2019
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Antigypsyist hoax returns to Czech Internet alleging that Roma get free public transportation

20.6.2019 10:26
A 2019 Facebook post featuring an antigypsyist hoax about the Czech town of Jablonec nad Nisou. (PHOTO:  Collage of ROMEA.cz)
A 2019 Facebook post featuring an antigypsyist hoax about the Czech town of Jablonec nad Nisou. (PHOTO: Collage of ROMEA.cz)

Hoaxes, unfortunately, return to the Czech Internet on a cyclical basis, and one example is a current hoax alleging that the town of Jablonec nad Nisou, in association with the public transportation companies in Jablonec nad Nisou and Liberec, has supposedly introduced a new type of public transportation ticket just for Romani commuters from the Zelené Údolí area. Despite this hoax being very old, it is making the rounds on social media again and sparking agitation.

News server ROMEA.cz reported back in 2011 on the project that gave rise to the rumors. A social worker from Jablonec nad Nisou proposed that safe transportation to school during the winter months should be provided to children from the socially excluded locality in Zelené Údolí, which is 1.5 kilometers away from the town center and predominantly inhabited by Romani people.

Local children walk to school along a busy category 1 road that has no sidewalk and is almost impassable during the winter. The only opportunity for them to safely commute, therefore, is to take the tram.

The idea to support the children living in Zelené Údolí with their commute to school was approved by the board of the transport company and in October, November and December 2011 a pilot project offered 22 reduced-fare coupons to the parents of these children that were solely valid for use on the tram into the center of town and back. Instead of paying CZK 1 130 [EUR 44] for the three-month passes, residents of Zelené Údolí paid just CZK 250 [EUR 10].

Such a wave of annoyance about the three-month experiment arose from the local non-Romani residents that the town council distanced itself from the project, which has never been tried again. Eight years later, we can see what kind of a hoax has been generated from it by reading the text of what is circulating online:

"If they introduce in Prague what they have introduced in Jablonec, then I will sign up as having Romani nationality... One can hardly believe that something like this is possible.... JABLONEC, or 'How the gypsies are training us...' The town of Jablonec nad Nisou, in association with the public transportation companies in Jablonec nad Nisou and Liberec, has introduced a new type of public transportation ticket just for our Romani fellow citizens from the Zelené Údolí area. They introduced it and they also paid for it. These tickets can be used by anybody and are FREE for our Romani minority!!! The main reason was the increasing number of cases of drivers and ticket takers being assaulted, especially during the evening, when people get on the tram before being asked for their ticket, and when the driver asked to see the ticket, he was attacked. The town of Jablonec nad Nisou justified its move by saying this: 'At least there will be peace, neither the municipal nor the state police will ever do anything about it.' The tickets are transferable and valid - in no small number - for that group of inhabitants. What else is there to add? The gypsies have again achieved what they wanted. Will they punch in the teeth of the cashier at the market and get food vouchers free of charge next?? Will they assault the gas station attendant and then get vouchers for gasoline??? They really know how to work the state, all we can do is envy them. They are called inadaptable, but the opposite is true, they know how to adapt perfectly, and when things don't work for them, the state, the police and the rest of us have to adapt to their behavior. Is it normal to be afraid to walk through the town in the evening? Where are those whom we pay, and who are supposed to protect us, hiding out? Why does the town complain there is no life in Jablonec in the evening, they should go take a look after 9 PM and see the real reason. This will only get worse .... In Prague one doesn't have to wait for it to be 9 PM. There, even during the late morning, ethnic Romani passengers without tickets manage to boldly prevent and scare paying commuters from using public transport! My fellow commuter in this photograph kept kicking me with his jeans until I had no choice, to preserve my still-healthy tibia, but to give up my seat. I had no choice. On the other side of the aisle his numerous relatives, who were drinking, eating and shouting, had already set up camp. (Although I was one of the brave who did not get off at an earlier stop than planned, I did not dare photograph that company as they were waking up to provide a more complete picture here...). A mass ticket in Jablonec for the entire squat, one that is free of charge and transferable, particularly disadvantages those who pay and uphold the conditions of the Municipal Transportation Rules, but Prague has 'perfected' this. They address Romani migration on public transport by having the ticket-checkers check passengers who are, at first glance, financially 'promising', so the darker-skinned ones will have enough time to exit at the next stop and wait for the next connection. What is the real case when it comes to equal rights for all the citizens of this republic?"

 

zda, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

antigypsyism, Hoax, Jablonec nad Nisou, MHD



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