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Czech celebrity's music video against Islam earns ridicule, but at what cost?

12.8.2016 8:00
Olivie Žižková, a Czech celebrity, recorded a music video in 2016 that earned kudos from anti-immigrant groups and ridicule from others. (PHOTO:  RESPEKT.cz)
Olivie Žižková, a Czech celebrity, recorded a music video in 2016 that earned kudos from anti-immigrant groups and ridicule from others. (PHOTO: RESPEKT.cz)

Erik Tabery, Editor-in-Chief of the Czech weekly RESPEKT, has commented on the phenomenon of celebrity Olivie Žižková and her music video against Islam, "Europe, Start Breathing" (Evropo dýchej). "We all love videos of people we can laugh at because they are a unique opportunity to feel better. The singer Olivie Žižková and her song 'Evropo dýchej' offer many reasons to feel better in this regard, but it's not really a laughing matter, for several reasons," Tabery writes for news server Respect.cz after Žižková was interviewed by journalist Daniela Drtinová of the DVTV channel.

Žižková's song against Islam has earned her the admiration of those on the Czech anti-immigrant scene. Her subsequent interview on DVTV has become an object of ridicule for those opposed to such views.

Tabery writes that while Žižková's performance during the interview was proof that she understands absolutely nothing about the issues her music video references, laughing at her will not solve anything. "Given the course of her career to date, it is evident that she is used to being laughed at and that it doesn't bother her. She wants to be talked about, to get attention. That's the primary aim, and any moment when everybody helps her by sharing her interviews and making funny pictures of them is a success for her mission. Unfortunately, in our current atmosphere, for the many people who share her world view, such loud laughter creates the impression that everybody is laughing at them too," Tabery writes.

"When the next Olivie Žižková turns up (and after this success one certainly will) in my view it would be better to prepare to respond differently. Either pay no attention at all and don't give her free advertising, or take her seriously and try to interpret the meaning of the environment that has inspired her to record such a song," Tabery writes, adding that the media are fascinated by such people and can sense that interviews with them attract great attention and give more and more room to their views.

"There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but the impression is arising here ever more strongly that these people represent the Czech Republic and are the real face of our country," Tabery writes. In conclusion, he says the response to such messages should not be laughter, but the offering of a different face to represent Czech society.

Erik Tabery, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Islamofobie, Média, refugee, společenská atmosféra



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