Earlier today, Příběhy z Anglie (Stories from England), a group that I follow on Facebook, shared a link about a Czech Roma Petr Torák, who will receive an OBE this May. And, what a surprise, some racist Czech idiot has to comment with “WTF?”. Isn’t this just typical of the limited Czech mentality? Oh my god, those three letters wound me up!! I bet that the person who wrote it lives in the Czech Republic and not Britain. Why? Because, as Jeremy Paxman says in his book The English: A Portrait of a People “Tolerance, rather than fish and chips or Wimbledon, is what makes us English.” And I would love to believe that Czechs and Slovaks who have made their life in the UK have become more tolerant exactly because they are living amongst people who are more tolerant themselves and it has brushed off on them.
I can see it on myself. When you’re brought up in a country that hates gypsies it’s bound to have an effect on you. And I think I was probably a bit of a racist myself before I came to live in the UK. Luckily, cultural diversity that I’ve encountered here has made me realize that it’s not the colour of a person’s skin that matters. One would have thought that in the 21st century people in civilized European countries like the Czech Republic or Slovakia wouldn’t care whether you’re white, black or bloody purple. Unfortunately, they still do. I know many Czech girls living in the UK who have married black guys and I know that they have problems back home when they go and visit their families. Or not exactly problems but the locals give them funny looks and make stupid comments. They’re still as intolerant over there as they were sixteen years ago when I was living there. Will it ever change?
I realize that Czech gypsies don’t have the best reputation back in my country and they don’t do themselves any favours. Many of them don’t adapt to what the Czechs consider to be an acceptable way of living. They live in small communities and don’t seem to try particularly hard to integrate into Czech mainstream society. But then again, how hard are Czechs trying to let them integrate? I don’t know the history of the Czech gypsies, where they came from and when, how they settled in the country (do educate me if know, please). I am not sure whether the hatred towards them was always present or whether it is something that developed over time. Actually, there is an article that I have just found, which looks really interesting but I don’t have the time to read it all right now – it’s rather long! It’s called Gypsies in Czechoslovakia. Do have a read if you’re interested, perhaps you’ll find the reason why things between the Czechs and the Roma community are as they are.
Last thing I’m going to say is that I do wish people learned not to tar everyone with the same brush but treated everyone – white, gypsy, muslim or whatever! – primarily as a person because we are all human, aren’t we?! Rant over, I’ve calmed down a bit now 🙂 Time to go and do some work in the garden!