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August 8, 2020



Czech town's bulletin intentionally racist in runup to local elections

Albrechtice, 26.9.2014 19:33, (ROMEA)
The racist excerpts from the Albrechtice bulletin prior to the 2014 local elections.
The racist excerpts from the Albrechtice bulletin prior to the 2014 local elections.

Albrechtice in the Jizerský Mountains may just be a small community, but we too have a municipal bulletin. If it were to be read by someone impartial, he or she would probably see it as a cross between a 1950's magazine promoting the "building of socialism" and a tabloid paper.  

The bulletin manipulates its readers in the same way as those publications, using the same phrases. It is completely imbued with a collective, family spirit.  

The newsletter is also a bit one-sided. Mostly it just discusses only the things our mayor has done or that have been implemented thanks to him.

As you can imagine, such a paper abounds with many appropriate photos. Councillor Kučera at the launch of a building site, Mayor Zeman cutting a ribbon, then having a companionable conversation with pensioners, Councillor Zmrzlý at the reconstruction of the municipal bridge.      

We even see them directly in action, as Mr Zmrzlý is not just on the council, but also owns the local technical services company which, as it happens, wins most of the municipal tenders. Overall, the bulletin gives the impression that in our town only Mayor Zeman, Councillor Kučera and Councillor Zmrzlý are at work.    

I probably don't have to tell you that these gentlemen and the mayor are hand in glove. I also should not forget Ms Kuřátková, the local "cultural officer", who is featured from time to time delivering a gift basket on some anniversary.  

Ordinarily, of course, there is no room for opposition in this bulletin, because its main and only editor-in-chief, graphic designer and publisher is the mayor. As you can imagine, censorship is really fierce there.  

This is funny, overall, when nothing is at stake. Today, however, I received the pre-election issue of the bulletin.

The content overall isn't offensive or surprising, with the exception of an article that was probably supposed to spark justified anger among the people about their "inadaptable" fellow citizens, and the mayor here specifically meant Romani people. The piece probably shouldn't even be called an article, as it only has two sentences, but as far as the content of those sentences, every word is a real gem.

On the one hand, to call Romani people "gypsies" in a municipal, public newsletter strikes me as pathetic, superficial and vulgar - and on the other hand, more disorder is actually caused here by the undisciplined cottage-owners and other visitors who come here on the weekends. The mayor, of course, knows that such slogans are music to the ears of a certain group of people here, but I for one am frankly ashamed of it.  

First published on the author's blog. 

Andrea Nováková, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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