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Former Czech Prime Minister and presidential candidate Jan Fischer on 8 April: Save World Roma Festival KHAMORO

Prague, 10.4.2012 18:43, (ROMEA)
Former Czech Prime Minister and current presidential candidate Jan Fischer.

On the occasion of International Romani Day on 8 April, Jan Fischer, a candidate for President of the Czech Republic and former Prime Minister, sent words of encouragement to Romani people in the Czech Republic. News server Romea.cz is publishing his statement in full translation below.

Greetings from Jan Fischer on the occasion of International Romani Day 2012

On the occasion of 8 April, International Romani Day, I wish for all Romani people that the quality of their lives will continually improve, as I hope they will for society as a whole. I hope Romani people will not have to witness marches by extremists and neo-Nazis demonstrating against their presence in our country. I hope Romani children will have the opportunity to receive an education of the same quality as the one received by their fellow citizens. I hope Romani people will become a self-assured component of Czech society, and that Czech society will appreciate their contributions.

I am aware that these wishes may sound naive, and in some respects they are. However, without big and sometimes naive aims, we will never be able to take the small steps that bring us closer to the society in which we want to live: A society of solidarity, without ethnic and social tensions, where people support one another - an open society. We can only achieve this if we work to improve the economic and social situations of the entire population, not merely those of one particular group which has been unfairly stigmatized.

International Romani Day is a day on which we celebrate Romani culture, among other things. In that context, I must take this opportunity to draw attention to the insensitive cuts by the state this year in its funding of the World Roma Festival KHAMORO, which is held in the Czech Republic. I join the appeal of the excellent Czech ethnographer, Eva Davidová, for the preservation of this festival. I am convinced that even in our current complicated economic situation, this festival has a place on the cultural map of the Czech Republic and must be supported. As an event it makes a fundamental contribution toward breaking down stereotypes and building mutual awareness so we can be open with one another and show one another solidarity.

Gwendolyn Albert, Jan Fischer, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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