A Roma Pride parade planned for Prague on next Sunday’s state holiday
will take the form of a protest against statements made by President Miloš
Zeman, organisers have announced. The head of state said recently that only
10 percent of Romanies worked. The claim was condemned by politicians and
civic groups, while its falsehood was also highlighted.
Roma Pride organiser Jozef Miker said the parade would be used to stand up against Mr. Zeman’s “outrageous anti-gypsy lies” and against the spreading of hatred against Romanies. The parade will run from the square in front of Prague Castle to Old Town Square.
One lane of Prague’s Vinohradská street was closed for three hours from
midday Friday for the funeral of Jan Kočka junior, a member of the
influential Kočka family clan.
The opulent funeral attended by thousands of people took place in the Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord at Jiřího z Poděbrad square in Prague.
The funeral procession then moved to Prague’s Olšany Cemetery, with the massive coffin placed in an ornate carriage drawn by three pairs of black horses.
The funeral procession severely restricted traffic, including city transport, which elicited criticism from the local authorities. Jan Kočka junior was killed in a car crash that he caused speeding two weeks ago.
Whereas in 1990 there were eight Roma MPs in the Czechoslovak Parliment, today there are none and candidates who belong to the minority have not had much success in the recent communal elections either. Although individual cases of success exist, they are extremely rare. Reasons behind the lack of Roma representation in politics include negative cononations with the minority among majority voters, a lack of popular candidates and low election participation among members of the Roma minority themselves.
The Office of President Miloš Zeman has rejected a complaint by the
European Roma Rights Centre that the Czech head of state’s recent
statements about the work ethic of Romania people was racist and undermines
Zeman said last week that while he was no fan of communism, at least under that system “the Roma were forced to work”.
In response, thousands of Romani people have posted pictures of themselves at their jobs as part of a social media campaign initiated by community member Štefan Pongo and supported by the Romea organisation.
Zeman said on Friday that he was happy to have “received photos from some of the 10 percent of Roma who work”.
Prominent ethnographer and sociologist Eva Davidová, who studied Romani
culture, has died at the age of 85.
She had begun documenting the lives and traditions of Romani communities in what is today Slovakia in the 1950s and 1960s.
Over the four decades, Dr. Davidová collected thousands of photographs and sound recordings of Romani songs, traditional narratives and fairy tales.
An exhibition about the Roma in Czechoslovakia has opened in the New Town
Hall in Prague. Sections of it examine the life of the Romani minority
during the First Republic, the Nazi occupation, under the communist regime,
and after Velvet Revolution of 1989.
The travelling exhibition will be on display in Prague until November 10th, after which it will be shown in other big Czech and Slovak cities.
Earlier this year the young piano virtuoso Tomáš Kačo performed for the first time at New York’s famous Carnegie Hall. It was the fulfilment of a long-held dream for the 31-year-old, who comes from a large Romany family in a small Czech town and was a youth prodigy before seizing a life-changing chance to study in the US. I caught up with Tomáš Kačo when he was visiting Prague last week from his home in LA. My first question: When was he first exposed to music in a meaningful way?
Why do ethnic conflicts in some parts of the world flare up so easily and spread so fast? Is ethnic hate and intolerance contagious? Researchers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined forces to try to find the answers to some of those questions and arrived at some surprising conclusions. I spoke to Associate Professor Michal Bauer, an expert on experimental and behavioral economics at CERGE-EI, who is one of the authors of the study, and began by asking him what motivated the research in this field.
The week-long festival of Romany culture Khamoro continued on Friday with a
colorful parade through the city center with over 250 Romany musicians and
dancers from different countries and regions taking part.
The festival also offers a concert of traditional Roma music at La Fabrika with artists from Russia, Portugal and Romania, a football tournament and a gala concert at the Prague Club SaSaZu on Saturday.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad
al-Hussein, has criticised the Czech Republic for alleged discrimination of
the Roma minority and segregation of Roma children in schools.
In his speech at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, he called on the Czech government to compensate Roma women who were sterilised in the past without their full consent and to terminate the use of both surgical and chemical castration for sex offenders.