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Czech PM Petr Nečas at Gypsy Spirit: Prejudice deforms the rules

Prague, 13.12.2010 19:39, (ROMEA)

This year's awarding of the Gypsy Spirit prizes took place under the auspices of Czech PM Petr Nečas, who attended the event from start to finish instead of merely making a formal appearance as some politicians tend to do. He delivered his opening remarks without notes. News server Romea.cz publishes the full transcript of those remarks below.

Speech by Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas at Gypsy Spirit 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is truly a great pleasure and also a personal honor for me to participate this evening in the awarding of the Gypsy Spirit prizes. I believe every activity that contributes to the integration of the Roma community and to appreciation of those who take part in working with the Roma community is something that helps our society.

More than 200 years ago, the noted British thinker and politician Edmund Burke said "freedom exalts the spirit". In order to be truly free, we must live in a society with rules. These rules must apply to everyone and be upheld by everyone. Nothing so deforms these rules as prejudice. Prejudice makes a truly free life impossible. Nothing so deforms the rules as when we do not have equal access, for example, to educational services. Nothing so deforms the rules as when we are not treated equally, for example, on the labor market or in everyday social life. If these rules do not operate, when they are so deformed, life is not truly lived in freedom.

Having quoted the British politician and thinker Edmund Burke once, I would like to reference another beautiful saying of his: "For a country to be loved, it must be lovely." I know of no greater praise for diversity and plurality than that saying.

It is in all of our interests that our society be diverse. Diversity and plurality, the fact that we are not the same, that we differ, is our common wealth. Please, let's preserve it, because the Roma community makes a significant contribution, as we can see in the delightful examples of Roma culture which we are witnessing here.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you a good evening and thank you once again for inviting me.

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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