Slovak web portals change their background color to light brown to commemorate Holocaust victims
On 9 September, news server Pravda.sk and three other Slovak web portals changed the background color of their web pages to light brown. The gesture was meant to remind their readers of the "Memorial Day to the Victims of the Holocaust and Racial Violence", as well as to draw attention to the radicalization of the Slovak public - and not just in anonymous online debates.
The nonprofit organization People against Racism (Ľudia proti rasizmu) launched a new campaign on the occasion called "Let's Stop Spreading Hate Online". Representatives of the organization believe they have recently witnessed a radicalization of the stances being taken toward various national, religious and sexual groups in the Slovak online environment.
Denunciations and humiliation of minorities has been overflowing from the online world into the real one. Examples include a Muslim woman from Bratislava who has been subjected to six physical assaults during the past year and half, recent rejections of Romani people and Turkish people by accommodation facilities, and attacks on Arab shops.
The websites of Aktuálne.sk, the Slovak edition of Hospodářské noviny, the Pravda daily and the portal Ženy v městě (Women in the City) also ran a banner reading "No Brownshirts in Slovakia", which links to the website of the anti-hate campaign. "This is a strong, valuable gesture. Because the mainstream media outlets have also joined the campaign, they have taken a first step toward doing what Slovakia probably needs to do most of all to combat the revival of Fascist sentiment - involve all social forces to reject ideologies based on hatred using the tools of their trade," Irena Bihariová, chair of People against Racism, told news server Pravda.sk.
The organization has also designed materials for use by high school teachers and for those interested in online hate. They have published practical advice online about how to respond to hatred and to the various online hoaxes involving the topics usually engaged in by the conspiracy theory community and the extreme right.
"I am afraid that people are forgetting about the crimes against humanity committed some time ago, and that through these hate campaigns, or these lies, the memory of those crimes is being lost along with the eyewitnesses who experienced them - some people may have never even heard of them. Resisting hatred is only possible if all respectable people join forces and condemn it using their individual qualities. We have more in common with one another than we are different," Braňo Oláh, the child of a Holocaust victim who is participating in the campaign, told Pravda.sk.
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