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October 26, 2021



Tomáš Ščuka: Romani people need competent representation first and foremost, not Romani representation at all costs

1.8.2018 10:04
Tomáš Ščuka
Tomáš Ščuka

I would like to discuss one of the big deficiencies in the Romani community, and that is the active participation of Romani people in political life. Thanks to the existence of online social networks, which make communications and the opportunity to share opinions so easy, we have recently been able to follow different calls to action, discussions, and similar inputs from the widest possible sample of Romani people across the Czech Republic who are frequently expressing their views of the necessity for higher participation by our community and sharing their perspectives.

All of this is naturally good and welcome! However, in my view, we are not commenting on current events at all in many of these cases, we are not discussing this serious subject in the context of the present day!

The opinions expressed publicly by Romani people aiming to promote Romani candidates on the basis of their ethnic origin unfortunately move us from the present-day back to the past. That's not good.

What Romani people need first and foremost is competent representation, not representation that is Romani at all costs! Calling for solidarity in the question of support for this or that candidate just because he or she is Romani is an approach with which I fundamentally disagree!

Just because we are a national minority in the Czech Republic does not mean we must hold the same opinions about everything. What about respect for democracy, for its principles and values?

We see in the media that the 200 MPs sitting in the lower house are free to disagree about the important political questions concerning the future of our country. We should be building and honoring democratic in values within the Romani community as well.

The fact that we are a minority does not mean we will always agree with each other about everything. Today, educated Romani youth are not engaging much in politics, unfortunately.

I believe this is happening because these youth are only just now forming their political identities. Some have already run for office even though they had little chance of success because of the unelectable positions they were offered on the parties' candidate lists.

These Romani people deserve our thanks for demonstrating an interest to participate in public affairs, however. This generation of youth is very well aware that the movement of politicians post-1989 who came from the Romani community was successful not just because of the education of some members, but also because of the leadership spirit among those who directed the movement.

The reality is such that only actual leaders from the Romani community have any chance of succeeding in democratic elections today, where competition and rivalry are unforgiving. I also comprehend the necessity for some educated Romani youth to work hard on themselves before undertaking any eventual candidacy.

It is necessary to realize that we Romani people change as society changes! We live here with everybody else and, as a national minority that still does not enjoy an equal position in this society, we deserve to have educated, erudite political representation of the Romani people.

The Romani people want to be proud of their representatives. In the 21st century, such pride is a natural need of any group or nation that is part of the social arena.

I am anticipating the arrival of a positive time when such actual leaders will begin to appear, soon, who will be capable of capturing people's support and gaining enough of it to represent them in the state administration. At such a moment, mutual solidarity among Romani people during elections will arise in an absolutely natural way, exactly and only through the moral, professional profiles of the candidates, including their social capital.

However, I must repeat that these calls through the online social networks to support Romani candidates just because of their origins are inappropriate and return us to the past. The criticism that Romani people have no solidarity with each other is unjustified and does not respect the essence of democratic elections.

Dear readers, I am hoping for a change in this regard that is essential for our advancement. That means progressing in all directions!

First published in Romano hangos

Tomáš Ščuka, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 512x

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