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August 12, 2022



Tomáš Ščuka: We may disagree with him, but Romani candidate for extremist party is entitled to his opinions

7.9.2018 7:09
Tomáš Ščuka
Tomáš Ščuka

On 5 and 6 October we will be voting in the local elections to the councils of cities and municipalities as well as to the Senate, the upper chamber of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. I have been unable to avoid noticing the sharp reactions of some Romani people to the young Romani man who has decided to run as a candidate for the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" movement of Tomio Okamura (SPD) in Karviná.

When I first read the critical comments about his candidacy I understood the negative remarks and the great indignation coming from other Romani people. Frequently such cases are perceived as betrayal, as selling out, etc.

The majority society here views such cases of Romani candidates with humor, they find them amusing. I get it - our freedom of speech provides us with easy opportunities to express ourselves on social networks about unusual phenomena or attitudes in the life of this society, of which we are a part.

On the other hand, I believe these so-called deviations or fluctuations of behavior or attitudes, unfortunately, do have a place in the social environment. During our lives we regularly encounter people who are out of line with the mainstream of majority opinion, or not in line with the rules of social behavior.

These differences may surprise us for a short while, but we do not normally pay attention to them for long. I am asking myself, therefore: Should we perceive such extremes similarly when they appear inside our Romani community?

My answer is YES! We Roma also have the right to be extreme!

While we do not have to like the fact that a young Romani man is running as an SPD candidate, it is necessary to realize that this is not the first such case in this area, and it will not be the last. Certainly we can remember the Romani candidates in the 1990s for the Republican Party of Miroslav Sládek.

Let's also recall the vocal Romani supporters of Jiří Čunek, or of Mayor Řapková of Chomutov, who brought forward her own radical "solution to the Romani question." Actually we should never forget these cases - on the contrary, we should learn to accept them just as we accept the way the rest of society runs.

As the Romani minority, we are different from everybody else primarily because of our culture! Democracy itself, though, its principles and values, must be respected in all its aspects.

Being of the same nationality or skin color has nothing to do with democracy. Each of us bears our own responsibility for our own decisions and steps.

Believe me, candidacies of this sort are not usually successful. Such people are just shooting themselves in the foot - and what's more, in public!

First published in Romano hangos

Tomáš Ščuka, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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