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Czech Xenophobes To Displaced Roma: 'Gas The Gypsies!'

Pushed out of Prague, Roma are heading to northern Bohemia. Their arrival has triggered a backlash from native Czechs in the region of Ústí nad Labem, which is also attracting right-wing extremists who come from the city to stoke local anger and shout the

A memorial to Roma victims of Nazi regime, in Ukraine(Anosmia)
A memorial to Roma victims of Nazi regime, in Ukraine(Anosmia)

Worldcrunch *NEWS BITES

The northern Czech region of Ústí nad Labem is in an uproar, with citizens opposing the organized influx of Roma -- whom they hold responsible for mounting crime -- and radical-right extremists taking advantage of the heated situation.

On recent weekends, the radicals have traveled from Prague and other parts of the country to give incendiary speeches and yell slogans such as "The Czech Republic is for the Czechs – Gas the Gypsies!" The reference to killing the Roma by gas chambers is particularly vile, with estimates of between 500,000 and 1.5 million exterminated by the Nazi regime during World War II.

Roma areas have been cordoned off by police who use water cannons and tear gas if necessary. There are regular tussles and arrests.

The Roma have made their way here from the outskirts of Prague, where their rented living space was bought by real estate developers. So far their housing space has been rent-free, although normally they are charged exorbitant rents. Some who cannot find work -- there are few jobs for the largely illiterate Roma -- turn to crime. "The Roma are in a vicious circle from which they cannot escape," says sociologist Ivan Gabal.

Crime has risen in the area since the arrival of the Roma, and "white" Czechs are now afraid to let their children go to school unaccompanied. The situation exploded when 20 machete-wielding Roma attacked six "white" Czechs in a disco.

Locals were also piqued that for weeks, nobody in the federal government seemed to take notice of the situation. A first visit by Czech Premier Petr Necas only came last week. He announced a plan to make people more employable by raising the number of years of mandatory schooling for all Czechs, including Roma. But the changes aren't set to go into effect until 2015. Roma who do not send their children to school will lose social benefits, he also warned.

Critics of the measure say that what Roma children need is to be taught Czech, a language many do not speak. Until now, Roma children who attend school go to special schools that they leave early because they're under pressure to join the criminal milieu that enables Roma to make ends meet.

Necas also stated that the special police forces would for the time being stay in the area, a measure supported by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who favors a hard line against the violence. Meanwhile, radical right wingers are using the Internet to organize demonstrations in other Roma ghettos around the country.

Read the full story in German by Hans-Jörg Schmidt

Photo - Anosmia

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Violence Against Women, The Patriarchy And Responsibility Of The Good Men Too

The femicide of Giulia Cecchettin has shaken Italy, and beyond. Argentine journalist Ignacio Pereyra looks at what lies behind femicides and why all men must take more responsibility.

photo of a young man holding a sign: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

A protester's sign referring to the alleged killer reads: Filippo isn't a monster, he's the healthy son of the patriarchy

Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press
Ignacio Pereyra

Updated Dec. 3, 2023 at 10:40 p.m.


ATHENS — Are you going to write about what happened in Italy?, Irene, my partner, asks me. I have no idea what she's talking about. She tells me: a case of femicide has shaken the country and has been causing a stir for two weeks.

As if the fact in itself were not enough, I ask what is different about this murder compared to the other 105 women murdered this year in Italy (or those that happen every day around the world).

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We are talking about a country where the expression "fai l'uomo" (be a man) abounds, with a society so prone to drama and tragedy and so fond of crime stories as few others, where the expression "crime of passion" is still mistakenly overused.

In this context, the sister of the victim reacted in an unexpected way for a country where femicide is not a crime recognized in the penal code, contrary to what happens, for example, in almost all of Latin America.

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