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May 23, 2022



Commentary: Distance yourself from the machete attacks

Děčín, 12.8.2011 23:53, (ROMEA)
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Bloodshed has been committed in Nový Bor. While following the discussion of this incident, I am aghast at what people have been saying and cannot believe my eyes. First and foremost I am startled by the efforts of some Romani activists and other representatives of the Romani community to minimize the entire incident. Some go so far as to label those who committed the machete attacks as victims, as individuals who were in the right. The guilty parties responsible are said to be the waitress and the guests in the restaurant concerned, who are said to have looked like members of the extreme right (or is it left?).

When I think about what might lead me to strike someone with a machete in the head, it becomes clear to me that such a blow could kill my opponent. Nothing of the sort normally would occur to me - killing people is not one of my tendencies. This incident was said to be a bar fight. That I can imagine, and I can imagine in the course of a brawl striking someone such a blow that even Google wouldn't be able to find him - but a bar fight in which one side has machetes and the other just their bare hands is no longer fair. When the machete blows are struck against the head of the opponent, this fight becomes more or less a joint attempt at murder.

The legal qualification of this incident as grievous bodily harm appears extremely inadequate to me. I hope the expert witnesses will review it and reclassify the crime as attempted murder. I consider this incident to be just as brutal and contemptible as throwing a Molotov cocktail into a home where a family is peacefully sleeping with their children.

Allegedly people who looked like members of a racist movement were sitting in the pub and got personally involved in the incident. Even if Vandas himself had been sitting there with Kotáb (and by saying this I am not claiming those two are racists), no Romani person would have the right to physically assault them, to say nothing of striking them in the head with a machete, not even if they were making an inflammatory speech about him or her personally.

I am still waiting to hear someone from inside the Romani community thoroughly, uncompromisingly distance him or herself from the perpetrators. In the heat of their feelings of solidarity, no one wants to do that. Everyone is looking for something to justify the aggressors' actions - but there is no justification for them. This incident was contemptible and must be called so.

I don't have any sort of mandate to speak for the Romani community and unlike many others, I have never pretended to speak for the Roma living in this country. I present my opinions, take action, and write on behalf of myself alone. However, on this occasion I am representing my large family, my distant relatives, my acquaintances and my many friends. I am speaking up for everyone with whom I have analyzed and discussed this specific case - and often argued with over it.

What happened in Nový Bor is a contemptible crime for which there can be no explanation or justification. The Romani perpetrators evidently acted with intent, which anyone who is aware and respectable (and a member of this national minority) should have no understanding for. This behavior now is having a fateful impact on the community as a whole. It is necessary that exemplary sentencing be handed down in this specific case. A clear impulse must come from within the Romani community, addressed to the majority population, condemning this behavior. The behavior of the aggressors in Nový Bor is unusual and therefore I believe that for some time come it will stand out as a uniquely brutal, socially dangerous incident. I also hope no one will try to justify or minimize the actions of the perpetrators.

I never saw anyone from the majority population justify the behavior of the perpetrators in the so-called Kuřim case. I have never heard any Czechs minimizing the seriousness of the crimes of K. Maurerová. All of society clearly and uncompromisingly distanced itself from those crimes, expressing total disgust with them. The same should now be heard from us Roma with respect to the perpetrators in Nový Bor.

Drahomír Radek Horváth, Gwendolyn Albert, Drahomir Radek Horváth,, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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