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Kovalčík, Martin

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Mladá fronta dnes - Czech Republic | 28/07/2009

Martin Kovalčík on relations between Czechs and the Roma

In a guest commentary for the liberal daily Mladá Fronta Dnes, Martin Kovalčík of the "People in Need" relief aid organisation seeks the reasons for the Roma's exodus from the Czech Republic: "Czech society is giving them to understand that they are not wanted here. This is a disgrace for us all. Twenty years after the establishment of democracy we still haven't understood that it's not 'we' and 'them', but that we're all citizens with the same rights and obligations. … The Roma are not at the same starting line as the people from the majority society. To be frank, if I were a Roma I would also think about emigrating. … When [signs] appeared in shops in Austria saying 'Czechs, don't steal!' there was a wave of protest here in the Czech Republic. After all, not all Czechs are thieves, they said. This generalisation is insulting. But aren't we doing the same with the Roma as what we protested against when the Austrians did it to us?"

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