Czech politicians respond to President's antigypsyism: He divides us so we won't unite against him
Some other Czech politicians have begun to respond to Czech President Miloš Zeman's remarks about Romani people avoiding work - remarks which prompted Romani people all over Europe to post photographs of themselves at work to Facebook. "When my son Nick was born, my Romani friends came to visit all the way from Ostrava to give him a medallion of the Madonna. They call me frequently to see whether I might have a job or work for them, to ask how I am, to tell me how they are. They're business people. Miloš, what the hell have you ever done for them and who gave you the right to insult them like this? former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) tweeted.
Czech Senator Jiří Dienstbier (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) tweeted the following: "You can choke on hatred, but you can't eat it. Mr Zeman is playing a transparent game. He offers one group grudges against the Roma, another his grudges against journalists, and somebody else some grudges against Praguers - you can see for yourself what else he is dishing up. He divides us so we won't unite against him."
Miroslav Kalousek, the chair of the TOP 09 party, called the President's remarks "absolutely hideous and unacceptable". "That would have been hideous even if it had been said by somebody in a fourth-class pub. When the President of the republic, who is meant to be a President for all citizens, says it, then it is hideous and unacceptable," he told news server iDNES.cz.
Czech MP Petr Gazdík (STAN) also disagrees with Zeman's remarks, as do Czech MP Marian Jurečka (Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL) and Czech MP Miroslava Němcová (ODS). "A President is meant to unite people, not divide them. His remarks divide society," Gazdík told iDNES.cz.
"As has been demonstrated, there is a big part of the Romani community here who do honest work. A politician should do his best to be a person who integrates these people in a positive way. He should do his best to make sure these people get a high-quality education and work," Gazdík said.
"I do not like how the head of state is speaking about some of the citizens of this country. I comprehend that some people here have had bad experiences with some Romani people, but I decidedly reject tarring all of them with the same brush," Němcová said.
Czech MP Jiří Dolejš (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia - KSČM) tweeted statistics about Romani employment captioned as follows: "Not only is he insulting them, it's drivel." Pavel Fischer, a recent Senate candidate, said of Zeman that "He is dredging up the mud from the very bottom of our society! The President of the republic has made his remarks about journalists and Romani people - the autumn season has begun. There is nothing left to do but to put on our boots and rubber gloves and get our our brushes and buckets. The 100th anniversary of the republic deserves a more elegant style."
Zeman's first remarks in this latest series were a nostalgic reminiscence about the communist era and insinuated that without external compulsion, Romani people do not "want to work". After casting his own ballot in this weekend's elections, he reiterated the false allegation that "90 %" of Romani people are unemployed in the country while speaking to Czech Television's Richard Samko, who is a Romani community member.
Monika Mihaličková of the ROMEA organization refuted the President's claims by demonstrating that according to official statistics, not only do 70 % of Romani people in the country work, but 80 % of the people who collect unemployment benefits are not Romani. Czech sociologist Daniel Prokop then confirmed to the media that Zeman's claims were completely inaccurate.
- MEP Soraya Post supports Romani photo campaign responding to Czech President's antigypsyist remarks
- Disagree with the Czech President's antigypsyism? ERRC makes it easy to email him
- European Roma Rights Centre: Czech President's remarks were antigypsyist hate speech
- Romani Rose: Society must condemn antigypsyism just as it condemns antisemitism
- MEP Soraya Post for ROMEA TV: Antigypsyism exists everywhere in Europe
- Romani actors featured on Czech "StarDance" television show
- Czech elections won by the Spolu (Together) coalition, who could form a majority with the Pirates-STAN coalition, communists out after 100 years in the national legislature
- Six Romani men and women are running in Czech elections to the lower house, one for ANO and Levice, two for the Greens, two for ultranationalist party
- Pope's words at Romani housing estate in Slovakia gave hope to those attending
- LIVE AT 16:00 CET: Pope Francis meets Romani people at Košice's Luník IX housing estate in Slovakia
- Most Czech publishers say literature by Romani authors is not "mature" enough - but the KHER press says it's ready
- Romani NGOs in Czech Republic's Liberec Region issue statement on events in the runup to the October elections, warn against ultra-right violence
- Czech Senate Committee on Social Policy recommends rejection of bill authorizing attachment of welfare benefits over local unpaid fines
- Czech President signs law to compensate the victims of illegal sterilizations
- Stanislav Tomáš, who died in police custody, laid to rest in Teplice, Czech Republic. Civil society and his family call for his death to be properly investigated
- Romani residents of infamous Czech housing estate are repairing dilapidated buildings themselves with the help of the town hall
- 70+ Romani students attending Czech colleges applied to the ROMEA organization's scholarship program this year