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October 17, 2021



Monika Mihaličková: Soske ME DŽAV?! Let's contain this political cesspool!

17.9.2018 9:49
Monika Mihaličková (PHOTO: Jan Mihaliček)
Monika Mihaličková (PHOTO: Jan Mihaliček)

Half-truths and lies continue to be spread about Romani people in the Czech Republic. When it comes to politics, the rumor is that Romani people do not vote or that they do not want to get involved in politics.

I know very well that Romani people take a great interest in politics. The number of Romani candidates in this year's local elections testifies to that.

There are more than 150 Romani candidates running throughout the country. Your response to that may be: "So few?"

Compared to the number of Romani people living in the Czech Republic, this number may seem low. However, we must be aware that it takes a great deal of bravery to voluntarily engage in combat with the world of extremists and populists.

It may even require a certain amount of anger. To be a politician and, on top of that, a Romani one, is an almost fatal combination.

I am personally pleased by this number of candidates. It may be the historically biggest number of Romani candidates since the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

The allegation that Romani people do not want to get involved with politics, therefore, is simply a lie. This record-setting number of Romani candidates testifies to the fact that more and more of us are aware that if we want to achieve change, we must speak about it and contribute to it ourselves.

Each of us must do something to achieve such change. The elections where we choose representatives in our village, municipality or town may even be more important than the elections to Parliament.

Okamura and his "Freedom and Direct Democracy" movement (SPD) have announced 4 500 candidates running in the local elections nationwide. You can find many populist parties like the SPD in all of the regions here.

There are thousands of candidates who consider Romani people an easy target for scapegoating. However, you will not find a word against "Romani people" specifically on the electoral posters, because they have invented "better" labels for us.

The campaigns have given us nicknames such as "jellyfish", "riff-raff", "socially inadaptable", "vermin", etc. These nicknames for Romani people are printed on the posters and hang from enormous billboards on the town squares without anybody batting an eye.

How do you feel when you see all of this, Romale? Are you embarrassed by it?

Does it make you angry? Are you afraid?

Maybe you feel all of these things at once. If so, get off your butt and go vote!

The more of us who vote, the bigger chance we have of preventing this political cesspool from leaking into the local assembly of the town where we live. Believe me, many non-Romani voters here also do not want the Okamurites and those like them.

Many voters turn out for just that reason. They are not merely doing it for themselves, but basically they are also doing it for the rest of us.

We Roma must turn out too. We should turn out for ourselves, for everybody else, and for this country.

This is our home. You know the saying:  "So peske kereha, oda tu avela" - "You've made your bed, now you have to lie in it."

Go vote, and bring your entire family with you! Demonstrate to the world how "failure to vote" is just another lie being spread about Romani people.

Džan Romale, savore! I will be turning out, too.

I will be voting for the Pirates. It's the first time in 20 years I will be voting for a party without having to choose between the lesser of two evils.

ME DŽAV! A so tu?

Monika Mihaličková, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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