Karel Holomek on the "social unconscious" and the Roma Spirit Awards
This year's Roma Spirit Awards in the Czech Republic had to grapple with a lack of comprehension from an unanticipated party: From Romani people themselves. I have done my best to grasp what has happened here, and it took me a long time before I understood it.
I was interpreting this misunderstanding according to the criterion I had established for myself. That criterion was one of unequivocal support for seeing the Roma Spirit Awards given to those who have done something significant to combine the principles of civic involvement with Romani involvement in the program of tolerance.
Roma Spirit is based on the principles that were presented in this building [a 14th-century church] by its founders, who believed in those principles even better: Love against hatred, with the symbol of the heart. What has now aided my comprehension of what happened here this year was the recent awarding of the Prix Irene (named after Irena Bloomfield, an English psychoanalyst dedicated to people who found themselves in circumstances of difficult frustration) to the English psychoanalyst Earl Hopper for his book The Social Unconscious, in which he discusses the traumas that various societies of people experience unconsciously during their lifetimes without ever being able to rationally explain them, and how such traumas have an enormous influence even into the third and further generations descended from those who originally experienced the trauma - and how difficult it is to rid ourselves of what is so deeply hidden within us.
Each of us knows what these traumas are: Wars, murders that are absurd, inexplicable and unjust! Now we think of the Romani people as a group: 400 years on the outskirts of European societies.
Even in the third generation of descendants, a constantly repeated trauma can make itself felt through genetic consequences. Three generations, just so we can imagine what that means, is 100 years.
Four hundred years is, therefore, 12 generations. What a deep incision the centuries have made into the minds of Romani people, and we have only now spent 26 years in a democracy - albeit a still imperfect one.
This is the first generation to experience democracy! It will, therefore, take at least two generations for the new generation of Romani people to genetically record and transmit the influence of their experiencing comprehension, friendship, love and tolerance from those who are not their blood relations.
No wonder we lose our way in all this hustle and bustle, this refinement of ideas that today are sometimes becoming quite fascist once again - and certainly more or less intolerant. The Roma Spirit Awards are still not properly understood by people here, to a great extent.
A person - a Romani person - asks: Why is that? The answer is obvious: Overcoming trauma is not a matter of just one generation.
- Richard Samko on receiving the 2016 Roma Spirit Award: Give Romani people a chance!
- 2016 Roma Spirit Awards in the Czech Republic: Ctibor Nečas, R-Mosty, Evangelical Academy, Richard Samko and Olga Fečová
- Slovak Roma Spirit awards for 2016 go to antiracist campaigner and Mayor of the Luník IX housing estate
- Responding to refusals from nominees, Czech foundation says Roma Spirit prize is from the public, not the state
- Karel Holomek: Czech Gov't Roma Council has a new chair after cabinet reshuffle
- European Roma Spirit Awards: Impreuna, Roma Education Support Trust, Romea.cz, Spišský Hrhov, Sabiha Suleiman
- Karel Holomek: Merkel vs. Putin? Outrageous
- Karel Holomek: Migration crisis not new, Roma migrated from Slovakia post-WWII and to Canada post-1989
- Czech art competition for works about the Holocaust of the Roma announces winners this week
- "Your father is in the COVID-19 wing". A true story.
- Slovak Education Ministry establishes expert team focused on solving problems with the education of members of national minorities
- Today International Romani Day celebrated worldwide to mark the beginning of the Romani movement
- Romani competitive dancer Tomáš Kaluja aids non-Romani foster parents of Romani children in Slovakia with understanding ethnic identity
- Czech Republic: Charles University's Romani Studies Seminar accepting applications
- Academic Huub van Baar has found Romani people succeed on the labor market when given a chance
- Norway: Oslo City Council wants to ask Government for a memorial to Holocaust victims of Romani origin
- Scholars gather in Czech capital to discuss migrations and mobilities of Romani people
- Czech town sees its first-ever Romani music festival
- Czech senior citizen threatens arson against Romani neighbors for playing loud music
- High schoolers in the Czech capital don't discuss minorities, poll finds they distrust media and politicians