Radek Bangas new book alleges he was abused as a child, his twin brother remembers things differently
A new book released by the celebrity musician and Romani community member Radek Banga called (Ne)pošli to dál, which translates as "(Don't) Pass It On", is sparking a public reaction in the Czech Republic. In the book he describes his childhood and the conditions he remembers having to live in with his siblings.
The celebrity raises subjects such as allegations of abuse of the welfare system, taking aim at members of his own community. His brother, the journalist Patrik Banga, is pushing back on Radek Banga's description of their childhood.
"Dad wanted to kill me"
"Frequently, in Romani families, there are parents who exploit their children and just make use of them as an income source. I know many Romani people will be angry about my saying this, and I know it's not the case for every family. However, I have seen it many times, and I'm telling you that in many families their children are just hostages from a young age. There are parents who, instead of setting up a functioning order, set the rules so that their own survival is what is served. These are often parents in Romani families who are interested above all in welfare benefits from the state or are directly interested in their children's money," Radek Banga's book claims.
In an interview for the DVTV online interview program, Radek Banga expanded on his remarks and alleged that 30 % of Romani families exploit their children as income sources. "I daresay that 30 % of Romani families are exploiting their own children as a survival strategy and raising them to be their hostages from an early age. It's not the children we're fighting against, we're fighting against the parents. The education of Romani children has to be a priority for their own parents," the celebrity said during the interview.
Radek Banga claims to have experienced something similar as a young boy: "My parents always had the money for cigarettes and alcohol. When we were supposed to have school supplies, though, suddenly we were 'the poor ones'. They always found the money for an expensive bottle of alcohol, by some miracle, but not for textbooks, when I was in high school."
The book also describes domestic violence. "When I was two years old, Dad wanted to beat me when he was drunk. He told Mom I was a demon. When she was describing it to me later, what she said was absolutely the same things I had been seeing in my dreams. Mom pulled me from his arms and saved me," the author recounts.
In the celebrity's view, some parents may not be at all aware of what they are doing to their children, which is why he wants adults to realize what kind of mark they can leave on children. "The only thing we can do is comprehend these errors and not commit them ourselves," he said in the DVTV interview.
"Children should not have to grow up in such conditions... If anybody else is growing up in conditions like the four of us grew up in, then that decidedly is not right," he went on to say.
Once Tomio begins quoting him...
Radek Banga's account of his childhood, however, is being contested by his twin Patrik Banga, who is a well-known journalist. Patrik Banga has publicly objected to his brother's book through a post on his own Facebook profile.
"Romale (and not just Romale), a lot of you are writing to me and I get it that you're all angry, but you are writing to the wrong Banga. Even if you curse me a hundred times, I am not responsible for what my brother writes. He's an adult, he's his own person, and he has simply chosen this path of self-promotion. Speaking for myself, I can only say that I must have grown up somewhere else altogether with different people and it all happened in a parallel universe, because after reading the book, that is exactly the impression I have," Patrik Banga posted.
"Look... most of my friends also knew our Mom, and each of them simply knows that the way Radek has rendered her is absurd, and he frequently contradicts himself in the book, that must be clear to anybody who reads it. Also... if somebody writes in a book about themselves seven times that they are excellent or exceptional, all one can do is close it and never return to it. So that's what you should do. That way you'll have peace of mind. Tomio [Okamura] will begin quoting from it in the lower house and then you'll really see something. It's his beer to drink, though, not mine, really," the journalist posted.
I feel sorry for my father
"There's an enormous difference between how I used to perceive my life at the age of 15, when I was experiencing domestic violence and hated my Dad for what he was like and how he behaved towards us, and how I perceive it now, at the age of 39," Radek Banga told news server Novinky.cz. "I've done my best to comprehend why my father, who tormented and hurt us, was like that. When I learned about his life story, over time I stopped hating him, and I've reached the stage of feeling sorry for him. He had quite a hard life and those experiences left a distinctly negative mark on him."
The point of the book, according to the author, is for people who have had similar experiences to know they are not alone. "They also have to learn to speak about their problems - I didn't begin talking about these things until I was 24. Up until that point, even my best friends never knew what was happening in our home," Radek Banga revealed in the interview.
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