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July 6, 2022

 

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Commentary: Faced with Ukraine's humanitarian catastrophe, racial discrimination is reproducing under the guise of Czech solidarity

28.4.2022 5:45
Mgr. Viktor Elšík, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, General Linguistics Institute, Faculty of Arts, Charles University (PHOTO: Facebook)
Mgr. Viktor Elšík, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, General Linguistics Institute, Faculty of Arts, Charles University (PHOTO: Facebook)

Let's not have any illusions: The Czech Republic is falling apart. The country is in the first phase of a decline into a perception of events along tribal lines, including at the level of the elites governing both our cities and the entire country. 

For the most part, our constitutional and civic principles have been and continue to just be declaratory, ever since the 1990s, when the state failed to effectively address the discrimination that was happening against its own citizens on ethnic grounds. In the face of the humanitarian catastrophe today in Ukraine, the Interior Minister of a Government that is liberal is now talking about "two kinds" of refugees. 

In this discussion, some (the "inadaptables") apparently are less entitled to seek asylum here from the bombings, murders and rapes that are underway because they might have bigger families for whom it is a bit harder to find accommodation. Conductors throw these refugees off of Czech trains to the applause of fellow passengers, even though, like every Ukrainian, they have a lawful, temporary right to free travel, and district towns led by what was recently a democratic opposition to the ANO movement make the populist gesture of canceling accommodation for these refugees after Prima TV, which has long been racist, does its reporting on them (with the excuse that "children going to their after-school clubs walk by that place"). 

I'm not even speaking of the people here who are relativizing Russia's invasion and the very need to help refugees from the war in general, which is so saddening. I'm talking about those who, while mouthing the slogans of international solidarity and defense of our democratic orientation, reproduce tribalism and incite racial discrimination - in other words, the very features of the regimes they claim to oppose.

Viktor Elšík, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Discrimination, pomoc, Racism, refugee, Ukraine



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