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Hospodářské noviny - Czech Republic | Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Petr Honzejk explains why the Czechs fear refugees

While refugees are regarded in Western Europe as people with individual destinies, the Czechs see them as a faceless, menacing horde, commentator Petr Honzejk writes in the liberal business paper Hospodářské noviny: "The respect for individuals that has developed over decades in the West was suppressed here in the Czech Republic by 40 years of communism. No wonder we have a problem showing respect for individual migrants. ... In addition we have experience with dark powers against whom any defence was futile. The Nazis came from the West, the Bolsheviks from the East. People in the West don't have such a complexed experience with powerlessness. ... The politicians don't explain that the migrants can't be compared with SS units or Soviet paratroopers. Rather President Zeman only reinforces our deeply rooted complexes. His remark that anyone who protests against xenophobia can go ahead and take in a refugee is nothing but primitive populism."

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