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September 21, 2020



Karel Holomek: Segregation is a source of crime, frustration and hatred

28.3.2015 19:45
Karel Holomek  (Photo: Lukáš Houdek)
Karel Holomek (Photo: Lukáš Houdek)

I do not want to a priori suspect Mr Čunek of endeavoring to harm Romani people, even though he is succeeding exceptionally well at exactly that. He is being applauded on an open stage and people undoubtedly ultimately re-elected him as Mayor of Vsetín and even as Senator for exactly that reason.

It is quite possible that he believes he is behaving rationally toward the Romani people whom he calls "inadaptables", that he believes the introduction of harsher retaliatory measures will lead to the desired result, which is supposed to be calm in the town, payment of back rents, and safety. I just don't know whether he believes this as a consequence of being insufficiently mentally equipped, or whether this is fully intentional.

What do I see his misconduct as consisting of? First I hasten to say that I, too , am not satisfied with the way some groups of Romani people behave.

These people probably have enough reasons for behaving the way they do, just as other citizens of the town have a reason to judge them. Administrative sanctions against a person who does not intend to follow the rules may be appropriate.

However, such sanctions will decidedly not yield a permanent result unless the exaction of them is constantly supervised. They are not a systemic solution.

The basic cause of all disagreements is mutual incomprehension and misunderstanding, which is called the cultural difference between the majority society and the minority. This difference must be eliminated.

Senator Čunek is precisely the most infamous facilitator of the exact opposite:  Segregation. How can a solution be to raze a building in which Romani people live and to place them all together into temporary container housing?  

The town hall could attempt to redistribute Romani residents throughout its territory (admittedly only those who would take advantage of this in a helpful, reasonable way) while working with the majority inhabitants to ge them to accept such a solution and cooperate. Naturally this would be hard and would take a long time, but it is the only way out, and it would be a systematic one.

It is generally known that geographic segregation automatically projects itself into the schools. All those excluded localities?  

They are sources of crime, of frustration for those who must live in them, and of hatred of all against all. Those are their results.

Mr Čunek made his name in another way as well. Back in 2006 he succeeded in moving some of the Romani families evicted from the demolished building, with the aid of fraudulent legal maneuvers, into ruined houses without any appurtenances in the Jeseníky area.  

He elegantly rid the town of Vsetín of this problem by moving it into other localities. To shove such a problem into someone else's pocket is not just amoral and contemptible, it is also no solution.  

Mr Mayor, Mr Senator, you are once again developing your activities against "inadaptables". You already know how to do it.

No one can give you any better advice about this, you know best. Of course, it's a chore even to begin this and to keep it up, because it's a process that will last at least five years.

That means those who have applauded you up to now won't be doing so in the future. However, if you want to save face and convince them of your good intentions, you now have no other choice.

Reprinted with permission from the author's blog on news server Aktuálně.cz.

Karel Holomek, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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