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September 21, 2020



Gyulla Banga: The Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion is about Roma without them

19.5.2015 6:52
Gyulla Banga
Gyulla Banga

The goings-on around the Agency are genuinely embarrassing. It's a farce!

So, the employees have gone on strike? The Human Rights Minister has a great deal of patience - if I were in his place I would fire them all within the hour, without discussion.

These people want to protest? What is it they don't like?

Can it be the outrageous sums of money they are paid to teach Romani people how to tie their own shoes - through their partners in the localities, of course? What are their salaries compared to those of "ordinary" social workers?

How are the Agency staffers any different - or any better? What have the criteria been for someone to be able to work at the Agency?

How is it possible that the Agency has employees with zero experience in social work (to say nothing of zero experience with the Romani community)? I had a look at their open letter to the minister that was circulated on

The signatories to this have many degrees, but of course I was unable to find a single surname that would indicate one of them is Romani - sure, someone with the last name "Novák" might be Romani too, but I'm not going to spend the time to research every name on the letter. There are also several gadje who are Romani Studies graduates among the signatories too, of course.  

My question is:  How can these people be beneficial to the Romani community? With all due respect, they are not social workers, they have no practical experience, so how are they planning to help?

I would genuinely be interested in an answer to that question. Recently I was quite amused by one of their reports, which categorized the Černý Most locality in Prague as a ghetto, for example.

On what basis, I ask? Did the person who wrote that report ever even go there?

Is that community supposed to be a "ghetto"? If so, then we have rather nice excluded localities here in the Czech Republic, I have to say.

I also wonder what the Agency has done so far for Romani people that has really been essential? What are their results after all their years of existence?

In my opinion the Agency hasn't done a thing, and that's all there is to it. These people have just drawn on state subsidies in order to have income themselves.

How many Romani employees do they have there? Can it even be as many as five?

Isn't it the case that no Romani people work there at all? If not, then who are they?

How do they plan to aid Romani people without employing Romani people? What kind of system is this?

This is like working as a taxi driver without a driver's license. I'm actually tired of reading how much money is going to be spent on integration and similar projects here.

Those Romani people who actually wanted to integrate have done so long ago, and they didn't need anyone's help. Even a subsidy in the billions, however, will not aid those who do not want to integrate.  

The so-called humanists will constantly try to persuade us that this is not the case. A classic example is the recent "research" showing that of all the minorities in the country, Czechs dislike Romani people most of all (around 80 % of respondents reportedly said this).

That news ruined everything! The question, however, is this:  What if it were to came to light, through research, that most people actually don't care whether you are Romani or Tatar when they don't know anything else about you?

I bet that if such research were performed, for example, by five Romani people in Prague, the results would actually be completely different. Who would that serve, though?

Who benefits from these public opinion polls? You can guess.

Certainly they benefit the Agency and similar outfits. Those institutions have to wave them around as proof that they have a lot of work to do to convince everyone else that the Roma aren't so bad.

They also need a decent salary for doing that work. Of course, we Roma have been doing that same work - convincing the gadje that we are not all the same - since childhood free of charge.

No one has ever paid us to do it, and sometimes we have had to defend ourselves by any means necessary. Many of us have experienced the feeling that we were on the same intellectual level as the gadje in our class, but we had to be better than they were to be recognized.

Those of us who played sports had to be five times better than the average in order to be recognized, etc. We kept our own counsel then, and we still do today.  

The Agency, as a whole, should be immediately shut down - we don't need its staffers. Instead, experienced Romani social workers should be working in the field in those towns.

Every town should, together with the Roma who live there, choose its own concept and work together with the Roma to improve relations. So my message to those now on strike is this:  Friends, no one is forcing you to work for the Agency.  

Most of you have decent educations, you are all capable of finding another job right away. You are not Romani, so I presume none of you will have a problem with that.

Certainly many of you have families to feed at home, so you can't afford to just sit around. I wish you the best of luck in finding a new job. 

Gyulla Banga, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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