Commentary: Czech Senator Okamura’s view of people in need
After November 1989, people in this country had high expectations. For
example, they expected that the practices of a police state would come to an end.
Unfortunately, those expectations haven’t been met, which is why I am constantly
raising that issue.
What nobody definitely ever expected, however, was a life in poverty in a residential hotel, if not directly on the street. How has this situation come about?
During the 1990s, unemployment began to sharply rise, as did the cost of living (sharp increases in the cost of energy, food and medicine, the privatization of apartments, rent and transportation price hikes, etc.). People who lost their jobs could not handle payments, for example, for the apartments they were repurchasing, to say nothing of mortgages for new housing. Our state is incapable when it comes to taking care of the deprived.
According to Senator Okamura, however, these people are parasites who don’t want to work. The senator is forgetting that today there are about 200 job seekers per job in this country. Moreover, many employers do not want to hire Romani people, for example, and many do not want to hire people without clean criminal records (even when what they were convicted of is unrelated to the job concerned).
Another problem is that Labor Offices do not match people to jobs or help them look for them, but tell them straight out that they have to find work themselves. An effective tool for finding work is therefore completely failing.
Mr Okamura is unconscionably picking on people who have it very hard in this country, such as mothers and their children, the unemployed, etc. He even calls mothers and their children parasites, mothers who must live all month on an amount of money that is often not enough for either their food or their basic needs.
A large portion of people on welfare are starting to experience seriously broken health, because in order to give their children something to eat, they often do not eat enough themselves. Our society is moving back toward a kind of feudalism.
Okamura and his fight against the most vulnerable is a clear example of this. In a country where human life is unfortunately of very little value, can we even be surprised?
On 13 May, the commemoration of the Romani victims of Nazism will take place at Lety by Písek. Unfortunately, ethnic Czechs contributed to the annihilation of Romani people during the Protectorate, and I can see that some of our fellow-citizens would like to repeat those efforts.
The author is a member of the Central Council of the Equal Opportunities Party (Strana rovných příležitostí).
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