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Commentary: Czech state should give the unemployed work, not welfare

Ostrava, 15.12.2010 17:08, (ROMEA)

Welfare cuts, lost jobs, lost homes… We could go on describing everything people lose until they find themselves at the very bottom of the barrel. Yes, we call it the "bottom", because it is more than clear that what the state "gives" people in this situation is not enough to live on. Wouldn't it be better if these people were to receive work - the opportunity to show they not only want to work, but know how?

Many people around me live at the bottom of the barrel today. What will happen after the new year, when their welfare will be cut in order to pay down the state debt? They will no longer be able to pay their rent, much less feed their families. This doesn't just concern Roma, it also affects people from the majority society. Recently their numbers of homeless people and of people without families have been growing.

Where will these people go, how will they live? Or has this been artificially planned, that worldwide it is now "in" to have a large percentage of homeless people, so we have to follow the trend? Do you think people voluntarily lose their jobs, their homes, their families? Many of them have lost their families, their children, as a result of losing their jobs. Think about that. Where did this enormous number of homeless people come from? It is definitely not their own initiative.

What about the Roma and people from other national minorities who live in this country? Do you really think they just want to wait for welfare to be handed out? If so, you are mistaken. I know you are asking yourselves, "Where does this crazy woman live?" I live here in the Czech Republic, and thank God I am employed, but not everyone is lucky enough to have work. Believe me, I know many people from my neighborhood who would love to work and live "like human beings".

Can this be realized? It's hard when there is no work. Instead of the state (or a municipality) offering the opportunity of other work once jobs leave (creating more work opportunities than were previously available), the state offers these people welfare. What is the state protecting here? Nothing, it is just adding fuel to the fire on which the kettle is boiling. The state should reconsider, because the more fuel it adds, the more the kettle will boil - until it boils over.

Gwendolyn Albert, Bc. Antonie Burianská, chair of EUROPE-ROMA.CZ in the Czech Republic, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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