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May 23, 2022



Renáta Kováčová: Tragic death in UK of two Romani girls from Czech Republic sparks horrible online commentary

4.1.2017 7:30
--ilustrační foto--
--ilustrační foto--

Most of us have probably heard about the tragedy that happened on New Year's Eve in Great Britain when a driver ran into two young girls from the Czech Republic and then left the scene without providing them first aid. One girl died on the spot and the other also succumbed to her injuries later.

The news item was published by most Czech dailies, but the stumbling block here is that the deceased were Romani, and just being a Romani person, in the Czech Republic, is considered contemptible by the people who participate in online discussions here. Despite that, I believed I would not read any racist commentaries beneath the Czech online news reports about the deaths.

Two young lives have been cut short, after all. I was greatly mistaken.

News server had to erase all of the discussion posts and publish this statement:  "Hello. The ethnicity of the victims, when reporting on this tragic accident, naturally plays no role. It would be racism not to report on this case just because of the skin color of the victims. We would also like to point out to you all that Romani people are Czechs too. You are confusing citizenship and ethnicity. We are erasing the racist insults in the discussions beneath our online articles and here on Facebook. We are blocking the authors of the harshest (and illegal) remarks. Have a nice day,"

The capacity for compassion is the very basis of humanity. Some of the online discussants expressed themselves in such a way, though, that I hesitate to consider them human beings.

I didn't know if I was awake or in a bad dream while reading some of the posts. Those who wrote them deserve a couple of well-aimed spankings from their parents.

The cavil we frequently hear about Romani people in the Czech Republic is that they have been badly brought up, but I ask who raised these individuals posting online to hate so much? How could anybody allow that in the first placel?

Naturally the kinds of commentaries were also posted that automatically appear under any article about Romani people here. Yes, you guessed correctly, the ones about welfare benefits.

It never ceases to amaze me that anybody can believe there are special benefits for "Gypsies" here. Once again, for all of you unintelligent individuals out there:  The social welfare system is established the same way for everybody and it's all the same whether the applicant is black, yellow or polka-dotted.

The fact that somebody is Romani does not mean that person automatically receives social welfare. My Dad has worked at the same job for more than 30 years, my Mom also works, my brother and friends also work, I could go on and on - and by the way, all of us are ROMANI.

The greatest atrocity I came across while reading these discussions was the celebration of Adolf Hitler and the sharing of images from the concentration camps. People are simply ineducable and are disparaging the biggest human tragedy of the 20th century, which happened just because of somebody who believed he was something more than everybody else.

I hope those people will have their profiles blocked so they will never be able to publish such things again. I hope the family of the deceased and all those who have been bereaved will find all the strength they need to cope with this tragic event.

I am extremely sorry this happened and I sympathise with you. I hope the guilty party gets what he deserves, even though that will just be a very small comfort for your mourning souls.

Renáta Kováčová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Diskuze, Racism, Roma, Tragédie


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