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Czech Romanies should work - successful Romany

Prague, 21.7.2007 19:16, (CTK)

People living on welfare should be forced to work, Vojtech Lavicka, an excellent Czech Romany violinist of the group Gipsy.cz, tells the daily Mlada fronta Dnes today.

Instead of constant lamentations, Romanies should do something, Lavicka, 35, adds.

"In some points, I agree with the solution offered by Jiri Cunek," Lavicka says about the case in Vsetin, South Moravia, where Cunek, now the Christian Democrat leader, evicted some Romany rent-defaulters from their homes.

Cunek became a highly controversial figure over the move and some activists accused him of racism for his controversial statements about Romanies.

Those living on welfare may be forced to sweep the streets for some ten hours a week, it should be so, Lavicka said.
It is weird to pay some 5,000 crowns a month to someone only because he has no job, he added.
"Let him do something, maybe some work for the town or village," Lavicka said.

"For us, it would be a tremendous chance," he added.

At present, the worst stereotype on Romanies was created. They are no longer generally considered "thieves," but "parasites," Lavicka said.

"It is so because they do not work. Any non-Romany says: ,You do not work, you live on the welfare, we pay it from our taxes,'" Lavicka said.

This should be eliminated through a change in the welfare system. The Romanies should not be parasites, all of them should work, he added.

The welfare payment should be linked with some work. If it were so, the Romanies would think twice whether to live off 5,000 crowns a month for twenty hours of work per week or whether to find a job with 15,000 crowns a month and 40 hours of work a week, Lavicka said.

Besides, Romanies must not only lament and repeat that they are victims, arguing that Czechs are racists who keep harming them, Lavicka said.

"Even if this were true, anyone should share the responsibility for his own fate and do something," he added.

"However, Romanies simply do not this. For them, it is more comfortable to play the role of victims," Lavicka said.

Under the Communist regime, Romanies were forced to work and there were no problems with them, Lavicka said.

However, the Communists artificially cultivated cheap labor for the worst drudgery at "special" schools, attended by 90 percent of Romanies, he added.

After the fall of the Communist regime, the Romanies with insufficient education were very often sacked, Lavicka said.

The new generation is even worse than the previous one. A generation was born that does not know what it means to work. It may include the people who are satisfied with the system, he added.

Lavicka said that racism was no longer as acute as before in the Czech Republic. He set as an example the tremendous success of his own musical group. He said its concerts were regularly visited by some 1500 people, mostly non-Romanies.

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