Thirty years of freedom: Roma in the Czech Republic wanted totalitarianism to end, value the chance to do business, lament antigypsyism
News server Romea.cz and ROMEA TV, the first online television channel in the Czech Republic to feature Romani content, are broadcasting the opinions of different Romani community members about the 30th anniversary of the events of 17 November 1989. Ladislav Bílý and Emil Voráč have made video statements relating their memories and opinions.
In his statement, Voráč recalls establishing a strike committee in November 1989. "I was 28 years old in '89. I was young, but I remember establishing the strike committee. I was working as the manager of the chemists at the Moser Glassworks. I wanted the totalitarian regime to fall, I wanted democracy," he said, adding that he had also considered emigrating to the USA at that time.
Voráč also reviews the negative aspects of the last 30 years of democracy. "I have seen a hatred against Romani people develop here that has become more and more intense, radical, and very brutal," he said.
In his video statement, Ladislav Bílý emphasizes that the opportunity to go into business and to travel are the most positive aspects of the last 30 years. On the other hand, he criticizes the situation of Romani people in the area of employment.
"The Roma were the first to be fired and the last to be hired," Bílý said in his video for ROMEA TV, where he also recalls the building of the segregating wall on Matiční Street in 1999. "For Czech citizens, Romani people are undesirable. They make that clear to us through the newspapers and social media. Even the current President of the Czech Republic makes that clear to us almost every day."
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