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March 21, 2018
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Štefan Horvát: Okamura should not lead the lower house, Communists have harmed and are harming Roma, Czech Justice Minister should stay

4.3.2018 7:54
Štefan Horvát
Štefan Horvát

The news that Czech MP Okamura will remain in his function as vice-chair of the lower house of Parliament has really infuriated me - it is clear to all of us why he should be dismissed. We are a democratic country and it is absolutely unacceptable for anybody here to say what Mr Okamura has said and is continuing to say.

It is necessary to point out that he is not the only person saying such things. Mr Okamura alleged that the concentration camp at Lety u Písku was a place where the prisoners came and went freely and that there had been no fence around it.

He intentionally wanted to cast doubt on the camp's existence and on the concrete facts about what happened there, and he demonstrably wanted to minimize the importance of the atrocities committed against the Romani children there and everybody else who was imprisoned there. His meaning is clear to see.

The Fascist statements made by others in his SPD party are also clear proof of this meaning. Unfortunately, some people in this country are of the opinion that we Roma have no right to revive our nation, no right to our own history and language, to say nothing of our own culture.

These people even believe that we just appear and disappear like insects do. The Communists significantly contributed to this way of thinking about Romani people.

I recall very well the days when most Romani children just attended the "special schools", which meant they were denied an opportunity to study further. The Romani population of this country was intentionally, significantly damaged by the Communists in a deliberate, sophisticated way.

The consequences of that Communist "common good" are apparent even today. It is sad that some Communist intellectuals are taking up these nasty opinions again today and using their power to abuse them.

Once again the Communists have "distinguished themselves" by supporting Mr Okamura and objecting to the efforts to dismiss him from his function as vice-chair of the lower house. The Communists have shown their hand now, they are demonstrating how they intend to win the next elections and return to governing, even if it's just in a coalition with other parties.

The very fact that the Communists still have an opportunity to influence political events in the Czech Republic is a catastrophe. In my opinion we are rushing quite quickly back to previous times here, to very evil times.

I am glad that former President Václav Havel did not live to see this. In conclusion, however, I would like to spend some time discussing Justice Minister Robert Pelikán.

I see Mr Pelikán as a great figure because he is one of a very few politicians who have clearly objected to the distorted, obvious denial of the Holocaust and its Romani victims that Mr Okamura has perpetrated. I dare say Mr Pelikán is the right person for the job of Justice Minister.

This country needs people who are both honest and honorable. If freedom speech does apply here, if we are allowed to express our opinions, then I do not comprehend why the minister should be sued for freely expressing himself and saying the truth.

I do believe that "lies have short legs" and that the truth will always come out eventually. That's the same for us all, irrespective of our differences, whether you are a member of the elite or just an ordinary person.

My wish for us all is that things will get better here. STOP THE FASCISTS AND NEO-NAZIS!

Štefan Horvát, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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