Marián Dancso, educator, municipal council member and Romani community member, says Czech ombudsman should resign
Marián Dancso, a municipal council member in Lom, Czech Republic and a teacher at the Janov Primary School in Litvinov has called on ombudsman Stanislav Křeček to resign in the wake of his recent attacks on the inhabitants of socially excluded localities. Křeček stated that the inhabitants of such localities "create them and make no effort to get out of them".
"The cause of the deteriorating situation in socially excluded localities is not the lack of efforts from the local population to change their situation, but the long-term inability and lack of interest of the Government (and some municipalities) to solve this problem. On the contrary, the rules are set so that the 'poverty trade' is developing in a very sophisticated way, from which some housing cooperatives, business entities, politicians, etc., benefit in particular," Dancso said in a statement sent to the Romea.cz news server.
"You are not protecting the rights of everyone without distinction, but rather creating dividing lines and room for hatred," Dancso has written. Romea.cz is publishing his statement in full translation below.
Dear Mr Ombudsman,
I consider it necessary to respond to your comments regarding the situation in socially excluded localities and their inhabitants. You allege the deteriorating situation there is mainly due to the inhabitants, perhaps because they make no effort to change their situations and "trash one apartment unit after another made available to them".
You are probably thinking about this through a discourse that has become well-worn in part of our society, and I am not the only person saddened by such statements and shorthand being perpetrated by somebody such as yourself, i.e., the person who is the ombudsman.
From the available public sources and professional statistics it is clear that the poor situation in the excluded localities is due to a combination of many factors that interact with each other in a complementary fashion, more or less. The causes can be economic, social, cultural and spatial, but also political, symbolic, etc.
The cause of the deteriorating situation in socially excluded localities is not the lack of efforts from the local population to change their situation, but the long-term inability and lack of interest of the Government (and some municipalities) to solve this problem. On the contrary, the rules are set so that the "poverty trade" is developing in a very sophisticated way, from which some housing cooperatives, business entities, politicians, etc., benefit in particular.
I will make use here of my personal experiences from the places where I live in the Litvínov and Most districts for all of the examples to follow. I would like to recall the scope of the "politically engaged" SBD Krušnohor housing cooperative, with which, in the past and still today, there is also litigation ongoing about the issues I mentioned above. I will also mention intentions of its political program, publicized by the campaign slogans: "We will build a village for the riff-raff" and "Inadaptables don't just need to be addressed, they need the final solution", etc. The practices of SBD are well known in the region, although it is evident that they are inciting resentment and hatred towards a group of citizens who cannot all be tarred with the same brush.
I can also offer you my experience from the town of Lom, where I live. Here, representatives of the Roma minority are seen primarily as "cheap labor", and they are further manipulated and, in a sense, "intimidated" by the local authority to such a degree that they are not even willing to point out the scandals that are underway because they are afraid of what will happen if they do. I can assure you that members of the Romani minority are not the only ones in this position, either.
Dear Mr. Křeček, it is not possible to solve the issue of social exclusion by making self-serving pronouncements through the media depending on how politically appropriate the moment is, or whether people will like them. Indirectly, you are "justifying" this "lucrative poverty trade" for many entrepreneurs.
I also cannot agree with your allegation that members of the Romani minority are to blame for their situations and that there has been no effort made on their part to change anything. It is surprising to me that you can express such views to the public given the position you hold. You may be doing so with a sense that society as a whole is aggravated by the pandemic situation, with some bringing their own "gallows" with them into the streets. Is this actually the ombudsman's role? You are not protecting the rights of everyone without distinction, but rather creating dividing lines and room for hatred.
Mr Křeček, on the basis of your attitudes, I urge you to resign as ombudsman - this role is clearly incompatible with your approach and views. It is completely unacceptable for a high-level authority, one to which people refer when it comes to matters of discrimination and human rights protection, to be headed by someone supporting discrimination.
Let me conclude by saying this: I am a Rom, a Gypsy, if you will, and I do not consider myself somebody who would like to be equated with those who not only exploit things in a parasitic fashion, but who do so deliberately.
Mgr. Marian Dancso, MBA
Representative of the Lom municipality for "Citizens for the city, the city for the citizens" (Občané městu, město občanům)
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