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Romani activists write to Czech President and ask him to publicly help calm unrest

Czech Republic, 13.9.2011 4:06, (ROMEA)

Various Romani civic associations, individuals and initiatives have decided to write to Czech President Václav Klaus regarding recent events in the Šluknov foothills. News server Romea.cz publishes their letter in full:

Esteemed Mr President:

We are turning to you because we believe that just like us, you are following events and are aware of the mutually exacerbated relationships between people from the majority part of society and the Romani national minority in our country. The recent events in the Šluknov foothills are ample proof of the situation.

In that context, we must inform you that the members of Romani families are afraid of their fellow-citizens' behavior. Romani people who lived through the 1930s cannot help but compare those days to today's reality, and very often they evaluate their position today as worse. They cannot forget what Czech guards were capable of perpetrating in the Nazi concentration camps at Lety by Písek and Hodonín by Kunštát.

Esteemed Mr President, citizens are watching in disbelief how easily part of society can be manipulated by extremists and neo-Nazis into hunting down Romani families. It's obvious that someone from high political life must publicly call on the nation to restrain itself. Otherwise, these manifestations of intolerance will be repeated with even greater intensity in other parts of the republic.

Esteemed Mr President, you enjoy the honor and respect of the citizens. We believe that you have the opportunity and the power, in your position as head of state, to speak to all citizens irrespective of their origins. Please consider whether the time has come for you to make a public statement through which you can ameliorate the tension in society through the force of your personality. The citizens will certainly accept such a move from you with gratitude and understanding.

We too would appreciate and welcome the opportunity to meet with you. If you were to receive us, it could have a very positive impact not only on the tense situation of today, but on future developments for our society as a whole.

With respect,

Forum CZ, o.s.

ROS Karlovy Vary

Grémium romských regionálních představitelů (Committee of Romani Regional Representatives)

ROMSKÝ BLOG 2011 o.p.s.

Skupina proti rasismu na FB Roma Aven Jekhetane (Group against Racism on Facebook "Roma Aven Jekhetane")

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František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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