Czech Senator Okamura: Let's "democratically" send the Roma to India
The online magazine Česká pozice (Czech Position) published the following commentary on 28 June. News server Romea.cz presents it here in full translation:
Czech Senator Tomio Okamura has evidently run out of patience. The newspapers, radio and television are preoccupied with the political crisis in this country and no one is paying attention to him.
The jack-of-all-trades who has advice to give on how to cook, govern and live and who can be hired to speak about all of this seems to have decided to break through the barrier of the media's lack of interest in him. He can't have put much thought into it if all he came up with is complaining about Romani people.
The senator has published a text on the tabloid news server Parlamentní Listy in which he writes, for example, that "the gypsies should wake up their elites, unite, and try to form their own state. The right to self-determination is the right of every nation and that is why the Czech Republic should democratically support their emigration to the country from which their ancestors first came, i.e., ideally back to one of the states in India."
Okamura should understand that fooling around with the right of a nation to self-determination decidedly does not mean that right should be interpreted as "we recognize your nationality, now get out of here". That would mean that the recognized rights of "Czechoslovaks" to self-determination after the First World War would have indicated to them that they should (freely) head back to the native lands of their ancestors, if they could even have figured out where that was, but even back then some Okamura-like figure would probably have told them they needed to go to some ancient homeland of the western Slavs.
Okamura doesn't understand that during the last census, less than 15 000 people reported Romani nationality in the Czech Republic. The right of a nation to self-determination does manifest itself in claiming a certain part of one's native country, and the native country of the Czech Roma is the Czech Republic. In addition to everything else he claims to know how to do, does Okamura now want to become a Romani national revivalist on the model of the Czech ones?
Okamura goes on in his article to say that another example worthy of following would be that of Liberia, which makes one suspect he doesn't know what he is talking about at all. Does he believe it is acceptable to compensate for a past insult - slavery - not through clear-cut emancipation and integration, but through an effort to move the blacks back to the country of their ancestors? Something along the lines of "You've slaved away for us long enough, so here's your freedom, go back to where you came from"?
According to Okamura, the Czech Republic should proceed "truly democratically" in these efforts to eject the Roma. They should only support those who want to voluntarily emigrate, perhaps by sponsoring "the foundation of their new existence abroad and after reaching a bilateral agreement with the target state or province." It's nice of Okamura to want to proceed democratically and to reassure the public of that.
The highlight of Okamura's text, however, is its opening claim, saying that it is ridiculous for him to be labeled a racist, because he was targeted by racism and xenophobia in his own childhood (he never explains why a victim of racism cannot also be a racist). He continues: "As an adult I no longer have those problems. From the personal experience of my own life, it follows that if the gypsy is perceived pejoratively today, it is not the fault of the neo-Nazis, the Czechs or the Turks. It is first and foremost the shame of the Roma."
The following logical conclusion can be drawn from these words: If Okamura was exposed to racism and xenophobia in his youth, that was his own fault (and that of the Czech-Japanese community), not the fault of any Czechs or Turks. He probably behaved terribly as a youth, and his entire community was evidently badly behaved as well.
After reading Okamura's screed, I had the following idea: What if we were to support the right to self-determination (and naturally, as correct democrats, we would do this "really democratically") of people named Tomio Okamura? It seems this is a special caste of persons whose customs are incompatible with life in a civilized society. I apologize to all the other potential Tomio Okamuras in the Czech Republic, if there are any.
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