Canada: Czechoslovak Roma express support for Romani celebrity and condemn Czech support for xenophobic band
The Association of Czechoslovak Roma in Canada says it is not possbile for a xenophobic band to be part of Czech show business and receive public support from Czech celebrities. Romani emigrés living Canada have taken a stand in favor of the singer Radek Banga, who recently left in protest during the "Czech Nightingale" awards ceremony together with several other performers after the xenophobic music group Ortel won an award.
"The Association of Czechoslovak Roma in Canada fully supports the disagreement and protest expressed by the Romani singer Radek Banga, alias Gipsy, who left the theater during the Český Slavík Mattoni awards ceremony when the second-place result was announced for the racist Ortel group," Karolína Bánomová told news server Romea.cz. "We disagree that a strongly xenophobic band and any other xenophobic artwork might be part of Czech show business and also Czech society. We cannot stay silent when such dangerous precedents as hatred and xenophobia are publicly supported by Czech celebrities," she said, referring to the statements made by celebrities Lucie Bílá and Lucie Vondráčková, who have indirectly stood up for the xenophobic music group.
"We live in a beautiful country where we should respect each other. The gesture by Radek Banga was quite unnecessary. Some things are not said publicly, but should be said privately," Bílá said after the awards were announced, later adding that: "I don't know Ortel's work and I am not here to moralize or preach about who belongs where or not. If the laws or the state allow it, then the band has a right to freedom of speech and the fans also have the right to send in their votes. Yes, you're right, I'm an all-embracing nerd, but I don't intend to change."
Both Radek Banga and his brother Patrik have become a target for racist attacks from fans of the Ortel band since the protest. Racists have also threatened to burn down the offices of news server Romea.cz.
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