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November 26, 2020



Julius Zajac: I will never recognize a self-appointed Council of Elders

25.5.2015 7:52
Julius Zajac
Julius Zajac

So:  Now we have a Council of Elders. How its members intend to aid the integration of Romani people into Czech society is unclear.

What is clear, however, is that they want to represent all Roma and negotiate with politicians on our behalf. I will never recognize such a self-appointed body.  

If these people want to represent someone, they should be democratically, properly elected to do so. No one is preventing them from embarking upon a political career.

This Council cannot seriously believe that I will accept it just because its members have the same skin color as me. Mr Karel Holomek has stated in his interview for news server that what is essential for him is Romani identity and its preservation.  

Maybe this gentleman feels the Romani identity is threatened somehow. Does Mr Karel Holomek have the sense that what is threatened is our skin color, or Romani culture?

In what sense is our identity as Roma so very different, allegedly, from our identity as Czechs that we would need a self-appointed Council of Elders? Why do we need special laws because we are Romani?

How many clubs focused on the education of children has this Council of Elders created? How do its members imagine Romani integration into Czech society?

I am no populist, but there is something to the claims that it took the Vietnamese only "a couple of years" to integrate into Czech society. I have noticed young Vietnamese people (or to be correct, should I actually call them Czechs?) and the level of their Czech language and I really like it.  

The Vietnamese here speak Czech better than some Czechs do, even. Our integration into Czech society depends on education alone, on our appetite for leading our children to an education, not on Councils of Elders or on laws.  

All of this talk about racism, about how all the political regimes over the years have made it impossible for us to study, are just excuses. How many children in the ghettos do not have a bright future just because their parents have no interest in the education of their offspring?  

These parents take no interest in how their children are running out of time! How many young Romani people start their own families early, for how many of them does school play no role at all?

I don't believe money is what lies behind their lack of an appetite for education. Anyone here in this country can enjoy the good benefits of going to school. 

Julius Zajac, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Karel Holomek, opinions, Populism, Racism


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