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May 17, 2022



Author raising a Romani child says Czech Public Defender of Rights is racist and evil is slowly winning

11.3.2020 7:42
Monika Le Fay and her daughter Tulinka. (PHOTO:  Personal archive of Monika Le Fay)
Monika Le Fay and her daughter Tulinka. (PHOTO: Personal archive of Monika Le Fay)

Monika Le Fay, an author, documentary filmmaker and publicist, has responded to the election of Stanislav Křeček as the Public Defender of Rights in the Czech Republic. News server is publishing her article here in full translation; the Czech edition was first posted to her website and used with her kind permission.

The creeping victory of evil

Do you all know what it's like to raise a Romani child in a country where the President is a racist, the Prime Minister is a racist, a vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies is a racist, the head of the Catholic Church in the country is a racist and now even the ombudsman is a racist?

You'd rather not know.

Imagine taking a bus in Prague in the middle of the day, when there is no danger.

Unfortunately, a couple of stops before you transfer from the bus to the metro, there are just three passengers on board - you with your five-year-old daughter, who is clinging to your hand like a tick, and a gentlemen wearing a t-shirt that reads "Ortel". [Translator's note: The name of a neo-Nazi band in the Czech Republic].

The 50-year-old white man in that t-shirt doesn't take his eyes off the two of you for a second. The hatred in the air is so thick it could be cut with a knife.

The child had been singing a song in English by the Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu:

"All my life I’ve been waiting for

I’ve been praying for

For the people to say

That we don’t wanna fight no more

They’ll be no more wars

And our children will play

One day, one day, one ..."

... and suddenly she stops.

"Mommy, I'm afraid!" she whispers.

"Nothing's happening, you don't have to be afraid," I say to calm her down, reflecting on why it is that I don't carry a weapon with me in Prague and don't even have pepper spray on me.

"That man has big eyes!" the little girl says quietly, and hides behind my back.

Racism here is an everyday reality, it's our daily bread.

In our "bubble" of clever people, foreign nationals, friends and family, everything is absolutely normal. However, all it takes is to go somewhere by public transportation, to go shopping, or just to walk down the street for things to be different.

How can a baby who has never experienced such a thing understand it? A little girl who cares about all the children and human beings all over the world, who cannot walk past a single crushed bug or baby bird who has fallen out of its nest without noticing it, or noticing another kid who has lost sight of his parents for a microsecond, or noticing the homeless man begging for money. What she would love most of all to do would be to bring them all home with her, feed them, give them a place to live, clothe them, give them money for their journey.

It is just such a little girl that our new ombudsman, the person who is meant to defend the rights of those who are oppressed and weak, Mr Křeček, recently said should be "taking care of her rights on her own".

I admire all people of color who manage to live in this country day in and day out.

All those who contribute to the general atmosphere of fear, hatred and indifference here are to blame.

If we take a good look at this from all sides, we see that the people whom I mentioned at the beginning of this piece are not the actual elite of the nation in any sense. Rather, they are conjuncturalists (in the best case scenario), or outright psychopaths and sociopaths. To anticipate that those people would ever aid anybody other than themselves or draw the line against racism is a utopian notion.

The rest of us who are forced to live here along with them must defend ourselves. One day it's the Roma who are the target, then the next day it will be LGBT people, and the next day it will be the owners of small houses, and the next day it will be bicyclists, and eventually it will be everybody who owns a dog.

Evil always begins gradually and expands its territory step by step. It is necessary to draw the line against it.

And yes, to appoint a racist to the post of ombudsman is simply evil.

Monika Le Fay, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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