Exhibition of 30 racist murders since 1989 marks International Romani Day
One community that’s borne the brunt of skinhead attacks are the country’s Romanies, 250,000 of whom live in a state of uneasy cohabitation with their white neighbours. Romanies make up half of the three dozen people killed in racially-motivated attacks since the fall of communism. April 8th is International Roma Day, which was first marked in 1971 and has been celebrated here in the Czech Republic since 1990. We spoke to Ivan Vesely, head of the Roma organisation Dzeno.
But this isn’t about Brussels and politics and decision-making. This is about two communities – white Czech and Romany – who simply do not understand each other and have no time and tolerance for each other. Politicians can’t change that.
How is International Roma Day going to be marked today in the Czech Republic?you can read it here] to Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president. In the letter we say that April 8th is a day of celebration for the Roma, and of course, there will be dancing and singing. But Roma Day is not only about Roma culture. Roma Day is also about emancipation. Roma Day is about the many problems which we experience every day in Europe.”
After 18 years of holding these celebrations and seeing almost nothing changing in Czech society, are you still an optimist?
“I’m an optimist, because we have two possibilities: live together, or face a return to fascist policies. And in that case there will be some kind of fight.”