Features and Commentary
6.10.2016 10:27 I am angry and disappointed. Despite the recent Hungarian Migrant Quota Referendum being deemed invalid and not succeeding in obtaining enough voter participation to have any significant meaning, the Hungarian Prime Minister and his followers have already begun spinning this failure into a success story for the delusional and uninformed. We need to stop this, for Europe. full story
5.10.2016 14:52 Martin Dudi is a 22-year-old Romani student from Písek who comes from a family that does its best to uphold Romani customs and traditions and even still speaks the Romanes language. Until the age of three he only spoke Romanes at home, and he did not begin to use Czech until he went to preschool. full story
26.9.2016 21:21 The finale of the 16th annual competition "Miss Czechoslovak Roma", which was held on Saturday, 24 September in the Czech town of Hodonín, prompted many different reactions. In addition to commentaries on social networking sites, Petr Uhl published a critical article about the Romani beauty contest on news server Romea.cz. full story
International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance met with Czech Government about removing the pig farm at Lety concentration camp site18.9.2016 14:16 On 12 July an International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) delegation including the IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, attended high level meetings in the Czech Republic to discuss the future of the former concentration camp site of Lety u Pisku where a pig farm currently stands. Martina Maschke, Chair of the IHRA Committee on the Genocide of the Roma and Mirjam Karoly, ODIHR's Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues formed part of the delegation and reflect below on their visit to the site.
19.8.2016 10:05 Is the Czech folk singer Jaromír Nohavica continuing his previous racism, or is his most recent song actually an apt criticism of society? It's very difficult to unequivocally tell, but Nohavica's previous seriously-intended anti-Romani song should be a warning. full story
16.8.2016 9:48 Oświęcim, a small town in southern Poland, is infamous as the location of Auschwitz, the Nazis' biggest concentration and extermination camp not just for Jewish people, but also for Romani people and anybody who did not conform. Many innocent people died there. full story
21.7.2016 9:57 It used to be called "Black Ostrava". That was in the days when the motto was "We're miners and we're the best." full story
1.7.2016 14:57 There are practices vastly different here, such as the pleasantness of people you sit with on a train. You will get a warm, “Dobrý den!” and when you leave you’ll receive a “Na shlédanou!”. The brusqueness of the waiters and waitresses is another change but my personal jury is still out on whether the fake happiness of tip-motivated American waiters is better than the genuine lack of caring.
Parent of child with Down Syndrome writes open letter to Czech tabloid waging anti-inclusive education campaign25.3.2016 18:46 Tomáš Hečko, the parent of a child with Down Syndrome, was approached by the tabloid daily Blesk in the Czech Republic for an interview on the topic of inclusive education and decided not to give them one. "Your newspaper has abandoned the pretense of even attempting to appear objective and instead of providing information is leading a campaign - a campaign against several thousand children with mild mental disability who are exercising their right to an inclusive education (or who want to do so in future) in the mainstream primary schools. You are also waging this campaign against us, the parents," he wrote in an open letter to the Blesk reporter. full story
Yaron Matras: Do Roma need protection from themselves? The Council of Europe comes under fire from academics for reinforcing prejudice24.3.2016 23:43 Almost one hundred academic researchers specialising in Romani studies have signed an open letter to the Council of Europe’s Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, expressing their concern about a recent Council of Europe communication announcing its new four-year Thematic Action Plan on Roma and Traveller Inclusion. They take issue with the statement’s depiction of Roma as having a pre-disposition to early marriage, violence, organised crime and begging, and say that such suggestions contribute to, rather than confront stigmatisation and prejudice. full story
9.2.2016 21:02 Here in the Czech Republic we have all been talking about the terminology being used to describe the education of children in the primary schools. Of course, it is the impact of these education programs that has such a basic, determining influence on all of society once the children educated in these programs grow up. full story
František Kostlán: Neo-Nazis and the "optimists" are not equivalents, all democrats should oppose extremism9.2.2016 3:25 We have made a mistake. We have let a discussion arise in Czech society asserting that the followers of former Czech President Havel, the "optimists" or the "truth-lovers", are just one side of the same coin as the fascists, neo-Nazis and populists of this society. full story
22.1.2016 11:14 The Slovak Anti-Poverty Network argues that “housing and the protection of the right to housing is the weakest component of public policies”.1 There is a shortage of affordable accommodation; despite the growing number of applicants for social housing, public authorities rarely build new flats, and the number of flats available for rent is low and falls way short of the demand. Programs promoting social mix (more affluent social classes living with the poorer) are entirely missing. full story
5.12.2015 20:29 When Harland Sanders began selling fried chicken, he was no different from anyone else. What turned his efforts into the famous KFC restaurant was a few small details, among them the secret ingredients of his spice mix. full story
10.11.2015 15:20 On Monday, October 26th, Pope Francis spoke to an audience of 7,000 members of the Roma and Sinti communities on the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul IV's meeting with Roma people in an informal settlement near Rome. While many were happy to receive his blessing, others were less impressed with what he had to say. In this guest blog, William Bila takes issue with the Pontiff’s message. full story
27.10.2015 17:46 Dear Brothers and Sisters, I welcome and greet you all cordially. I thank Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò for his words and for having organized this event in collaboration with: the “Migrantes” Foundation of the Italian Episcopal Conference; the “Migrantes” Office of the Diocese of Rome and the Sant’Egidio Community.
2.10.2015 16:36 It has been more than 10 years since I first learned of the forced sterilization of women in the former Czechoslovakia and how it was still continuing in the 21st century. It is now almost 10 years since I first met Elena Gorolová and many of the other women to whom this actually happened. When I imagine what their journey toward justice has been like, I picture them all on a train ride. Sometimes the train abruptly stops on the tracks, but no one never explains to the passengers - or the rest of us – when exactly the doors are going to open. full story
23.9.2015 23:37 Yesterday, I discovered (via Facebook) that someone was attempting to sell a shirt via the popular website "Zazzle" (an online retailer that allows users to upload images and create their own merchandise, or buy merchandise created by other users, as well as use images from participating companies), that was extremely offensive. full story
Renata Berkyová: Slovak party wants to take Romani children from their families to counter public fears16.9.2015 22:50 One might think that the state removing children from the care of their own parents in order to re-educate them is an historical phenomenon only. In Slovakia, though, Ms Nicholsonová of the "Freedom and Solidarity" Party has said she believes such a concept could spare Romani children from "inhuman treatment" in the settlements. full story
16.9.2015 2:50 The Grand Italia Ristorante Pizzeria in the Czech town of Hrušovany nad Jevišovkou posted the slogans "We don't serve immigrants" and "Stop Islam" to its Facebook profile at the start of September. After members of the public responded to his messaging, restaurant manager Tomáš Ševčík then posted the following: "Yesterday I was called a Nazi because I expressed my opinion about the problem with refugees - we got 200 negative reviews, insults and threats. When I looked at the profiles of those posting I couldn't believe it. They either work for a 'nonprofit' or are foreigners and don't understand at all what is going on - this is just a gimmick so we'll be afraid of them. I don't mind foreigners, what I mind is this invasion OF ILLEGAL REFUGEES WHO BELIEVE THEY ARE ENTITLED TO ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING." full story