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September 24, 2018
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Czech sociologist: We must face down xenophobia by supporting those who are intimidated

30.11.2017 9:30
Czech sociologist Ivan Gabal. (Photo: archive)
Czech sociologist Ivan Gabal. (Photo: archive)

Former Czech MP Ivan Gabal, who is also a well-known sociologist, has been interviewed by the Czech online broadcaster DVTV, describing to reporter Martin Veselovský why he decided to initiate the fundraising drive in support of the Romani and other children at a school in Teplice who were recently attacked online - "THEY WANT TO GAS THEM, WE WANT TO SEND THEM TO SCHOOL!" ("ONI JE DO PLYNU. MY JE DO ŠKOL!").


Gabal said he believes it is important to support children and their parents when they become the targets of xenophobic attacks. "We must face this down by supporting those who are endangered, those who are being intimidated, and now we must demonstrate that there is no reason for them to be afraid," Gabal said in the interview.

In his view, the money itself is not as important for the school as the moral support it represents, which the principal can convey to both the children and their parents. "All of us are parents, so you all know what it feels like if somebody begins to intimidate your child," the sociologist said.

Gabal reminded viewers that politicians bear responsibility for divisions in society. "If, in this situation, we elect a politician to head this state who will divide us further, who will spark fear or will denigrate people because of their ethnicity, or because they are long-settled foreign nationals in our country, then we ourselves will live in fear - some people will fear humiliation, others will flee the country, and everybody will withdraw from the public arena," Gabal said in the DVTV interview.

"Czech society is, in comparison with Poland or Hungary, for example, not very antisemitic at all, not anti-Jewish," Gabal said. "However, it is clear to see that if you begin to play politics with this, as the SPD has begun to do - because this is especially about their backers - then it can escalate to a level where actually people begin to call for children to be sent to gas chambers, whether they are Romani or Jewish."

Tereza Heková, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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