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Radek Banga refuses interview for ROMEA TV, objects to articles published by news server Romea.cz and to hateful attacks against him on Czech social media

23.4.2021 13:55
Radoslav Banga (PHOTO:  Facebook.com)
Radoslav Banga (PHOTO: Facebook.com)

Romani author and musician Radek Banga has cancelled a previously-scheduled interview for the Romani online television channel ROMEA TV. According to an agreement with Romani journalist Richard Samko, the interview was originally meant to be broadcast live on Thursday, 29 April.  

Banga says he dislikes the articles that news server Romea.cz has published aboutcovering his recent remarks about the Romani community. He has referred both the news server and ROMEA TV to his official statement posted to Facebook, where he has apologized in part for what he said during the DVTV interview.

"Dear Sirs, I would like to let you know that I am withdrawing from my intention to provide any interviews to ROMEA. Although we were agreed that I would respond next week to the news that you have published commenting on my interview for DVTV and on the book (Ne)pošli to dál, which has in and of itself sparked many coarse, hateful reactions targeting my person, you've published other news reports during the week that have just poured more fuel on the fire, and one published contribution even called for bullying behavior toward my person," Banga has written to Richard Samko to explain why he will give an interview.  

"I believe you comprehend that I am surprised and worried by such behavior and I do not have any need to participate in anything like this," the musician went on to say. News server Romea.cz published its first article after Banga's media appearances on Monday, 19 April.  

Zdeněk Ryšavý, director of the ROMEA organization, has commented for news server Romea.cz as follows:  "That was a news item where news server Romea.cz just quoted Radek Banga's statement and added a statement by his twin, Patrik Banga, to the piece, who has distanced himself from what his brother said." The news server then published a commentary by Jaroslav Miko, who expressed respect for the singer but objected to his remarks that "at least 30 %" of Romani parents conceive children so they can be awarded welfare benefits.  

"News server Romea.cz then published the statement by the [volunteer civil society members of the] Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs, and on Thursday evening we published a video that had been posted to Facebook by Radek Banga's brothers, Patrik and Gyulla," Ryšavý said. "We reject Radek Banga's accusation that it was the Romea.cz news server that has prompted hateful commentaries toward him. On the contrary, the ROMEA organization rejects any and all hateful commentaries and we are decidedly against anybody attacking anybody else in a vulgar way or threatening somebody just because of a difference of opinion," the ROMEA director said, adding that this morning Romea.cz has also published a commentary by Renata Berkyová condemning the hateful posts against Radek Banga.  

"Radek Banga had an opportunity to explain his remarks. Instead, he is pointing the finger at news server Romea.cz and alleging that the news server has facilitated offensive commentaries against his person. It is he himself, through his own remarks, who has triggered the avalanche of insulting comments about Romani people in discussions on the media outlet to which he did give an interview to promote his book where, without having a trace of competence to do so, he expressed his views of the level of education among Romani people generally, etc. Instead of giving an explanation or attempting to calm the situation, this just exacerbates it further. That's too bad," said journalist Jarmila Balážová, the founder of the ROMEA organization.        

In his most recent social media statement, Radek Banga has partially apologized for his recent remarks. "I am aware that a couple of sentences in the DVTV interivew, taken out of the context of the personal story that I am sharing in my book (Ne)pošli to dál, could have rubbed somebody the wrong way. Naturally I apologize to those of you who have erroneously believed those remarks were about you, even though it was said that they were about the experience of just some individual Romani families. Be that as it may, all of my remarks, just like my book, have been absolutely distorted by many people, taken out of context altogether, interpreted and understood in completely the wrong way," the statement says. 

"I know that some of my statements, whether in the interview or in the book, might come across as rough or sore. That is because that's what my life was like. However, the only aim of all my activities has always been and is to find the causes of the problems that are negatively influencing the lives of us Roma and non-Roma and to speak truthfully about them, with a sole motivation - to improve our lives," Banga writes in the statement, which news server Romea.cz is publishing here in full.  

Radek Banga: Official statement on the DVTV remarks and my book 

I am aware that a couple of sentences in the DVTV interivew, taken out of the context of the personal story that I am sharing in my book (Ne)pošli to dál, could have rubbed somebody the wrong way. Naturally I apologize those of you who have erroneously believed those remarks were about you, even though it was said that they were about the experience of just some individual Romani families. Be that as it may, all of my remarks, just like my book, have been absolutely distorted by many people, taken out of context altogether, interpreted and understood in completely the wrong way. Several serious circumstances have forced me to make this statement. 

In recent days, the avalance of coarse commentaries bordering on hatred against my person and from my own people, the Roma, has become impossible to ignore. The number that I spoke of on DVTV was not based on any statistics, but was based on my personal knowledge acquired during my active 10 years of work in prevention, which I think was clear from what I said. 

The allegations that my book is not truthful have also reached me. Believe me, it was not easy to decide to share my experiences and feelings so openly and truthfully, especially from my childhood and teenage years. I am all the more hurt that anybody would feel the need to make light of the facts that I have revealed, or to deny them, or to present themselves as more knowledgable about my personal experiences from my own life than I am myself.   

I consider the opinions that I have written this book with the aim of defiling or humiliating my own family, or even all Romani people, to be the most serious allegations. 

For many years I have been publicly active using the pseudonym (the brand) Gipsy.cz. For more than 10 years I have been visiting primary schools, vocational schools, high schools, children's homes, drop-in clubs, and, through my personal story, I explain to both Romani and non-Romani children why it is important that we all treat each other with respect. Can anybody actually believe, despite this, that I would ever write a book that is against Romani people?

I know that some of my statements, whether in the interview or in the book, might come across as rough or sore. That is because that's what my life has been like. However, the only aim of all my activities has always been and is to find the causes of the problems that are negatively influencing the lives of us Roma and non-Roma and to speak truthfully about them, with a sole motivation - to improve our lives.

The main problem that I want to draw attention to with this book relates to all of society today, not just to Romani people. Whether it's alcohol, drugs, or gambling, for example, any addiction destroys our families from within, whether they are black, white or green. I do not know a single family that has not been laid low by such problems. Unfortunately, frequently what goes hand in hand with addiction is aggression, domestic violence, and the creation of a toxic environment for children. According to psychologists, domestic violence can have a worse influence on children than a wartime conflict. That is what I want my book to draw attention to. For that reason, I am unable to share the opinion that "one doesn't speak of such things". What is humiliating is not just to speak or write about it, what is humiliating is to live in it and do nothing about it. For that reason, I have decided to openly share my own story. If we actually care about our families and our children, then we must talk about this, otherwise the children and families affected will just continue to be destroyed by this.    

Also, I simply dislike the shocking conditions in which children have to live in some localities, and I dislike how little some parents are doing about it so that the children won't have to live like that in the future. It's all the same what nationality the family is. I want, through this book, to also give hope to all who have experienced something bad, no matter how demanding the situation is that they are in. I am convinced that at any moment of our lives, we can decide to change them. However, it is difficult to change somebody else who, for example, is suffering from addiction and behaves aggressively, if that person themselves doesn't want to change. That's up to them. 

Each of us is able to realize what kinds of errors our parents made and do our best not to repeat them, and eventually we can overcome our own barriers and be happy. That is the main message of my book. If you are interested in it, then please read it. If not, or if, for whatever reason, it is unpleasant to you, don't read it. Please, though, don't let yourself get carried away writing evil comments and messages or even go so far as to commit violence, no matter who is calling on you to do so. Our own anger, hatred and violence destroy us ourselves above all. 

Thanks to all who have read this far and are helping me to share this.

Have a good day.
Radek
 

ROMEA, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Hate, Internet, Radek Banga, ROMEA



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