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June 26, 2022



Romani musician refuses to be nominated for possible state honors during Czech President Zeman's time in office

17.6.2022 15:15
Ida Kelarová (PHOTO: Petr Chodura, Czech Philharmonic)
Ida Kelarová (PHOTO: Petr Chodura, Czech Philharmonic)

The renowned Romani musician Ida Kelarová has announced on Facebook that she has refused to be nominated for consideration for the state honors that the President of the Czech Republic announces on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day (28 October) each year. Kelarová said she could not imagine receiving state honors from the incumbent, Miloš Zeman. 

Romani community member and Central Bohemian Regional Authority official Cyril Koky had wanted to nominate Kelarová to the Czech Senate, which annually submits a list of figures to the President to be considered for state honors. Romani community member Štefan Ličartovský also wanted to nominate Kelarová as a possible candidate for state honors.  

"I am immeasurably grateful for this proposed nomination for state honors, especially because Romani people themselves want to propose my candidacy. If I were actually nominated by the Senate, and if President Zeman decided to bestow the honors upon me, I would not be able to accept them. I do not consider the current president to be a dignified representative of our country and his decisions make me ashamed and angry," Kelarová told news server

"Zeman, through his words and deeds, basically is against what I have been trying my best to achieve here in the Czech Republic for the last 25 years, which is that people should be able to show each other respect, to be able to pay tribute to each other. Naturally, his remarks about Romani people have been shameful too, but I essentially cannot identify with his attitudes or opinions about anything," Kelarová said.

"I cannot imagine accepting an award of such importance, which I appreciate immeasurably, from Czech President Zeman. When I was younger, I would never have believed that my work could achieve such high recognition - but I also would never have believed we could have such a president of our country," the musician told 

Koky said he wanted Kelarová to be officially recognized as a woman who both proudly espouses her Romani roots and represents the Czech Republic as an excellent singer. "Moreover, she has long dedicated herself to the education and raising of Romani children and has opened up ways for non-Romani people to discover Romani culture. Ida Kelarová has actually done a lot for Czech-Roma dialogue and it would be an important signal to society for her to be appreciated for that work," Koky, who is an official specializing in the national minority agenda at the Central Bohemian Regional Authority, told news server

jal, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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