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Romale, start your own "home defense" against pogroms

According to Minister Ivan Langer, it is perfectly in order for Nazis and fascists to operate paramilitary organizations here. There is, therefore, no reason why you, the Roma, should not have them as well.

The state evidently is losing the ability and will to protect you against pogroms. You should therefore defend yourselves. Everyone has the right to self-defense.

An unremovable "liberal" in the service of mafiosi, Nazis and fascists           

This sleeping man, Interior Minister Ivan Langer, is a real "liberal". He wants everyone to have the freedoms they deserve - for example, his acquaintance, the mafioso Kutal (of the LTO case) or the entrepreneur Sekyr, connected to the godfather of the underworld, Mrázek. He even wants the neo-Nazi Workers' Party (Dělnická strana) and the National Party (Národní strana), that successor to the Czech fascists, to enjoy their freedoms. Langer shows the individuals named above his friendship by finding them credible and by lobbying for their interests directly with the government and at the bank, and he wants the political parties named above to have truly absolute freedom. No matter what the Nazis or the fascist primitives do, Langer immediately repeats the slogan he has learned by heart: Incident X is just "another drop in the bucket" that will lead to the dissolution of the party.

Of course, by now there have been so many "drops" that not only is the bathtub full, it is spilling over onto the floor. What does Langer do? Once again, he warms up his little story about "drops". Meanwhile, the Nazis and the fascists are laughing at everything and everyone. Due to the fact that the police and some municipal authorities have done nothing during recent Nazi and fascist provocations, the extremists feel rather safe in escalating their own actions against the Roma and Jews.

There is no doubt that Ivan Langer should never have become interior minister, just as it is clear that he should be promptly removed from office (along with his completely incompetent Police President). It was also incompetent of PM Mirek Topolánek to admit he has not selected some of his colleagues well (besides Langer and Dalík there is also, for example, Minister Řebíček), as this led to the pathetic defeat of his party in the elections.



During the Saturday action of the Workers' Party's "People's Militia" in Litvínov, the issue was not that the Nazis had not announced their action to the authorities beforehand, but that they had come to town to take out their anger and hatred on innocent people. This was nothing less than an organized pogrom against the Roma which remains without a single sign of any effort to punish the organizers. The police have declared no such intention and evidently consider this mass effort to beat up and terrorize the Roma to be a misdemeanor offense.

The police also failed in one thing during their own intervention:  They underestimated the level of aggression, the tactics, and the number of participants in the neo-Nazi action. At the start there were only half as many police officers as extremists on the square in the center of Litvínov (according to Ondřej Cakl, who has been directly observing neo-Nazi actions for a very long time, around 400 Nazis participated). Additional police vehicles did not arrive until a half an hour into the event, and some arrived even later. This meant the Nazis were able to break through the police cordon and head off in small groups in the direction of the Janov housing estate. Here again there were police errors and technical ones; some of the Nazis got around the police barricades and made it almost all the way to where the Roma were assembled. The police intervened at the last possible moment to prevent a clash.


Home defense should be organized           

There have been countless extremist actions at which the police have either failed or programmatically not intervened (and during which they refer to merely observing an ongoing violation of the law as a "tactic") - it is pointless to list them all here. The actions at which police officers have genuinely upheld the law and prevented it from being broken can be counted on the fingers of one hand.  Langer, who is responsible for the police, leaves the Nazis and fascists alone in other ways as well. He is tolerating the paramilitary organizations they have founded, which send "patrols" around to places where the Roma live. The Roma in Litvínov were the first to grasp that the state is tolerating violation of the laws by the Nazis and fascists. They therefore organized their first-ever regular home defense. Two weeks ago they pushed 12 "patrolling" Nazis out of Janov, and on Saturday they were ready to stand against the extremists.

It is better to organize and train such home defenses in order to avoid violent excesses by individuals. An organized unit that obeys orders and is under control can defend itself proportionately - and really defend itself, not just be the first to attack. It would therefore be better to create organized home defenses in places where more Roma live together, defenses that will not violate the law during interventions. 

Naturally, the situation would be much better if the Roma were not forced to organize home defenses - if, for example, the state were to ban both the paramilitary units of these political parties and the Workers' Party and National Party per se. There are sufficient reasons to do so. Of course, we do not expect this from Langer. His specific brand of "liberalism" concerns neither the Roma nor other minorities. In other words, when someone hides their support for Nazis and fascists "in plain sight", like Langer does, it is difficult to expect him to also stand up for their victims.

Khamoro andre vodi                                                                                             

My friend  Janko Horváth, a Romani poet and a member of the Czech Republic's community of authors, wrote me his feelings about the events in Litvínov, where he lives. During the start of the Nazi attack on Janov he was coming home from work. He couldn't get home because the police decided to let the Nazis go first:

My three sons and I went to work in the morning together, since without work there is no bread. ... We finished around 16:00 and drove home. Suddenly my wife called me from  Janov: "Don't come here, the fascists are throwing Molotov cocktails at the house, we are afraid... ." We drove there anyway but the road to Janov was blocked by police, and when we asked why they would not let us through to our home, they answered: "Once the march goes through [i.e., the fascists] we will let you." We drove around and in all of  Litvínov we saw not one Romani soul - and no gadji either, everyone was hiding out of fear for their lives. We drove around the train station:  Little groups of Czech Nazis and their contact men...were waiting for their fellow-tribesmen to "clean up Janov" and "punish the Gypsies" for even existing at all ... . 

We were finally able to see our family, who were scared to death. My wife almost had a heart attack, and in the eyes of my young son I saw fear and questions: "Dad, why don't the white people like us? Dad - why are the gadji beating up the Roma? I get straight A's in school, I have Czech friends who come over to play on the computer... ."

I am speechless, tears are running down my swarthy cheeks. Anger is also tugging at me - who has the right to lecture others, to re-educate them and mold them after their own image? By what right does Czech society humiliate the Roma, who were born here and are citizens according to the laws of this country?! I have done honest work here for almost 30 years - in an engineering firm, in Roma movements, in the press, in the state administration, in education, etc. Who are the real filth and ulcers of this society ... ? Yesterday the whole nation could see it for themselves - pre peskere jakha.

Does anyone with the smallest bit of sensitivity wonder why the Roma are fleeing this country for Canada and other countries? Does anyone with common sense wonder the Roma are prepared to defend themselves? 

Despite all this obvious injustice, Janko Horváth is not motivated by revenge - quite the opposite, he is motivated by the spirit of the Romani saying Lačho lav feder sar maro
("A good word is better than bread"):

To all people, without differentiating, I would just say this: The Roma, as a nation, have never declared war on anyone and never warred against anyone, never deprived anyone of their territory, never occupied someone's territory. The Romani nation has a great heart - baro romano jilo, but the darma čakra says: The wheel is round, sometimes we're up, sometimes we're down. There is no day that does not end in night, no night after which day does not arrive. I wish all good people khamoro andre vodi - sunshine in their souls.    

I too wish the same to all good people - which naturally does not include Nazis, fascists, various kinds of Bolsheivks and everyone who protects these extremists. A good person, unlike these, will also live by another Roma piece of wisdom: Ma dikh pre amari morči, dikh pro amaro jilo (Do not look at the color of our skin, look at our hearts).

Janko, hang in there, we are with you! Roma, take care of yourselves, we are with you!



Translated by Gwendolyn Albert



Autor: František Kostlán | čtvrtek 23.10.2008 19:17 | karma článku: 9,95 | přečteno: 2102x
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Nezávislý publicista, hudebník, spisovatel, spoluautor knihy Příchozí, o životě migrantů. Narodil se 1954 v Praze, kde i žije. Před listopadem 89 pracoval v dělnických profesích, poté hlavně jako novinář a publicista. Byl mj. šéfredaktorem Českého deníku, šéfredaktorem časopisu Parlament, komentátorem Lidových novin a ČRo Regina, televizním dramaturgem diskusních pořadů. Je členem několika občanských sdružení zabývajících se lidskými právy, menšinami a životem dětí v dětských domovech.


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