Miroslav Klempár: The value of a Romani life versus social norms
What is the value of a human life? What is the life of a drug addict, a homosexual, a prostitute, a thief - or of a corrupt politician - worth?
We usually measure the value of a human life according to our own emotional kinship with the person concerned. When a 15-year-old non-Romani boy was allegedly assaulted by Romani people in the Czech Republic several years ago, that incident sparked a wave of hatred toward the entire Romani ethnic group, but the death of a young Romani man in Žatec last week has met with the chilly response that "he was just a junkie", a statement most people have accepted as fact without asking for any evidence of it, and we are even hearing voices here that respond to this death by saying "good riddance".
How the local police intervened, and how the state police have subsequently investigated (or failed to investigate) this case are a testament to what value the life of a dead Romani man has for the police. That means this is no longer purely a problem for Romani people, because what is at issue is the value of the life of anybody who somehow does not conform to some kind of socially-established standard.
Xenophobia is the display of hostility toward, mistrust of, and rejection of anything that is foreign and does not fit the mold. The next time a tragedy like this happens, it might not be the son of a Romani mother, but the son of a different kind of mother who dies just because he is different than society imagines he should be, and the police will not investigate the way they should because he was just an ordinary... fill in the blank.
Let's consider the actual value of each human life and accept that diversity exists, whether it be diversity of ethnicity, race, religion or sexual orientation, or whether a person has succumbed to socio-pathological phenomena and is violating social norms thereby. Let's not let xenophobia win out over loving our neighbors.
The death of this young Romani man should not divide the non-Roma from the Roma, but on the contrary, it should bring us together. Love for our neighbor is what should connect us, and that is only possible when we accept our diversity.
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- Twelve assemblies announced internationally to mourn the death of young Romani man in Czech Republic
- Patrik Banga: We Roma must not lower ourselves to the racists' level! Racism and threats are what we criticize
- Czech Police in Ústecký Region seek eyewitnesses in the case of the Romani man who died in Žatec
- Petr Horváth, founder of the band Gipsy Sendy, has passed away at the age of 45 in Slovakia
- American author Paul Polansky has passed away
- Czech hospital refuses to examine young Romani man - by the time doctors agreed to see him, he died
- Mayor of Czech town apologizes after bureaucrat recommends application to use the town logo be rejected because she believed the applicant to be Romani
- Marcel Courthiade, linguist who dedicated himself to the emancipation of Roma and their language, has passed away
- Renáta Plachetková: EU citizens without settled status as of 30 June in the UK will be deported
- Legendary Romani musician Rudolf Bagár has passed away
- Romani singer Věra Gondolánová has passed away
- Czech protest against COVID-19 response brings together the far-right, those against the PM, those against the opposition, xenophobes - and punks
- Rajko Djurić, academic, author and former president of the International Romani Union, has passed away
- Czech Senate elections won by "Mayors" party, xenophobic rhetoric scored no votes, owner of disinformation tabloid not reseated
- Czech poll finds 30 % of the public does not want Romani children in mainstream classes and does want them to be segregated