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In Prague You Get Assaulted For Defending Refugees

by Andre Vltchek

When respected philosophers get attacked in the middle of the street, you know that something is going terribly wrong with the nation.

The Czech Republic (and before, Czechoslovakia) was always a tough, racist place. It had its shameful share of anti-Semitic pogroms (Franz Kafka wrote, after one of them, that he will never be able to feel that he belongs to Czechoslovakia, anymore). It voluntarily exterminated a great number of its Gypsy (Roma) population during the Second World War. And it kicked out millions of Germans right after the war, following a shameless orgy of rape, murder and looting. “Shameless”, because the Czechs generally collaborated with the Nazi occupation regime, and therefore had no moral mandate to “settle scores” with its German minority.

“Czechs were always outrageously racist, and low”, I was once told by my dear uncle who, during the Communist era was helping to build industry in the Middle East and elsewhere. A true internationalist and a Marxist, he fell in love with the Arab culture and the Arab people, and he despised the bigoted attitudes of his colleagues towards them: “You would not believe what Czechs were doing in the Middle East. To make extra money, Czech workers pimped their own wives while calling Arabs names, and despising them.”

I experienced Czech racism on my own skin, first hand. During my childhood, I was beaten after each class at my elementary school, simply for having half Asian and half Russian mother. “You have Asian ears”, I was told, after having my shoes pissed into during cold winter days, with urine freezing fast in a bitter cold.

Those Roma (Gypsies) who survived the war, and those who were later “imported” in cattle cars to settle the border regions that were left empty after the deportation of the German minority, had it, of course, much worse.

There have been millions of excuses and justifications for racism against the Gypsies. Most of them were outrageously and out rightly bigoted: “We are supporting them and they do not want to adapt, ungrateful lot.” To be a Gypsy meant that you had your children sent to some terrible “special schools” for retarded minors. It meant that you would never find a decent job. You were sidelined, insulted and left totally unprotected, because the entire society was against you, from those thugs at the street corners, to the Euro supremacists in the Parliament.

Zuzana Brejcha, a Czech-Austrian film director, wrote to me: “Discrimination and racism against the Czech and Slovak Gypsies (Roma) is absolutely horrifying.”

And now the refugees!

***
Czechs have collaborated with any power that bothered to penetrate their land. And they are collaborating now, more shamelessly than ever.

They collaborate with the West, and with its horrific imperialist onslaughts all over the world. After all, Czechs are proud members of NATO.

They are more “Catholic than the Pope”, attacking and provoking arrogantly all the great countries that are resisting Western fascism, including Cuba, China and Russia. They do it, as always, cowardly, knowing their backsides are being covered by the United States and Western Europe. They bark only if it brings some rewards. They do nothing for free.

Of course it all began with Vaclav Havel and his era. That arch darling of the West, and a member of one of the richest Czech families, immediately cashed on his dissident-ship and after the Czechoslovak people opted for their new (and richer) master, he went to Washington in order to perform a thoroughly embarrassing intellectual prostration in front of the US leadership, religiously and publicly licking the rectum of the most violent imperialist country on Earth.

Naturally, a “pragmatic” nation like this prefers not to see the big picture: not to understand how the refugees actually became refugees.

It only sees “a menace, a bother, and a discomfort” that arrived with those millions of destitute people whose countries were colonized, fooled and robbed by the West.

And on top of it, they complain, those refugees are mainly “black and brown and yellow” and “not like us, and absolutely unwilling to assimilate and accept that superior Christian Western culture.”

And so the Czech public opinion is now predictably totally against those devastated human beings, whose countries were royally screwed in order to make the West, including the Czech lands, so rich.

Consequently, the Czech army is deployed, and the concentration camps are being erected.

My friend, my fellow philosopher, Milan Kohout, has been threatened on the street only because he dares to defend the refugees; only for showing a mirror to the nation.

The line has been crossed. Outraged, I went to Prague, in order to add at least a few words to what was already said by Milan.

anti-islam-brno-facebook

***

Death threats against Milan Kohout are unbelievably colorful. Milan himself sometimes jokes, sadly: “During Communism, Czechs used to be very educated, a bookworm nation. Not anymore, of course, but their command of the language is still very advanced. This shows, unfortunately, in their intimidations:

“After we kill him he could perform in the Smichov Tunnel. His performance could be called: ‘Composition and decomposition of the body’.”

“We will wait for you at night with fire torches, and burn your face.”

“I want to cut hands and feet of your family members and let them bleed to death.” (Milan has a three-year-old daughter)

“I would love to use pliers and pull out all your teeth.”

“I will first cut off your dick and then exterminate the rest of your family.”

“We will sent all immigrants and Kohout to gas chambers!”

“99.99 percent of the Czech people would love to chop your body to pieces.”

“Let us kick his ass not from the back but from the front.”

“I want to hang you on the tree, then to use acid so your body would decompose, and then burn it and throw it into a sewer as food for rats.”

Milan is unrepentant. He now carries a big knife and pepper spray in his pocket, and has applied for a firearm license. He has no doubt where the Czech racism and wrath against “the others” really comes from:

Czech identity as a nation is very weak. Historically, it is a nation of collaborators”, he explains. “It is a tremendously frustrated nation, not at all at peace with itself. And after the so-called ‘collapse of Communism’ here, Christian religion, both Protestant and Catholic, began raising its ugly head, once again. And Christianity is almost synonymous with racism and intolerance. On top of it, there is this overall European culture of intolerance and racism all around the continent.

Milan Kohout is mainly hated here because he defends the refugees and because he dares to demonstrate, as a thinker and as a political performer, that the West in general and Europe in particular, have been busy destabilizing and looting countless countries all over the Middle East, Africa and Asia, forcing millions of people to flee their homelands, becoming refugees. He does not think that accommodating refugees is an act of charity: he thinks it is Europe’s obligation.

He holds Europe responsible for the crisis, claiming that the continent is morally liable for the horrors the refugees are fleeing from — and must therefore open its doors and accept millions of people that are seeking asylum there. The Czech Republic, a member of NATO and one of the most eager allies of the United States, should take at least 1 million of migrants, he demands.

***

But Prague is quickly turning into one of the main centers of anti-immigrant sentiments, with people like Lutz Bachmann from the German anti-Islam PEGIDA movement often giving fiery and bigoted speeches here.

As AFP recently reported:

Czech President Milos Zeman has come under fire for his fiery anti-migrant broadsides, earning sharp criticism from the UN’s human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who has also accused Prague of systematically detaining migrants in “degrading” conditions to deter others from entering the country.

Mr. Milan Kohout recently confronted Milos Zeman, the Czech President, on several occasions. He also accused the Czech nation of racism. He managed to ‘infiltrate’ the most notorious “refugee camp” in the country, in Běla pod Bezdězem, which he described as “not too different from WWII concentration camps”.

President Zeman fired back, accusing Milan Korout of hypocrisy: “Go take some refugees to your own home, if you are so concerned about their fate.”

Milan accepted the challenge. He loaded his wife and baby into a car and drove to Běla pod Bezdězem, in order to “pick up few refugees and take them home”.

What awaited him was a nightmarish camp, and extremely aggressive guards. “Have you fallen from Mars?” he was told. “Taking the refugees home?”

He got smuggled into the camp by a Syrian NGO employee. And what he saw was horror. People stripped of all dignity, their passports and money “confiscated”.

Refugees looked like some dangerous criminals, like detainees; they were living behind bars and some barbed wire,” explained Milan. “They robbed them of everything, their rectums were checked, fingered, even the rectums of little children. Money was confiscated. I spoke to one family from the destroyed Iraq. The man used to be a journalist. He had to leave Iraq with his wife and small children. They were all detained, near the border, and they were handcuffed, humiliated and interrogated, before being sent to the camp…. Only because, by a mistake, they stepped few meters into the country, on the Czech soil, while moving through Austria.

“Fuck the refugees”, I was told by a teacher on board a train from Prague to Pardubice. “Those niggers should stay where they are.”

Many in the Czech Republic are now suggesting that immigrants should be gassed. I first thought it part of some shade of the infamous “black” Czech humor. But it is not. It is part of the Golden Dawn phenomenon in Greece and the rest of Europe.

anti-refugee demo, Prague

People in the Czech Republic appear hyper-alert and very edgy. A middle-aged man, who was obviously upset with us, approached the table at which we were discussing racism with Ms. Infidelius recently:

“You are talking bullshit!” He shouted at me.

“How do you know?” I replied. “Were you spying on us?”

“Yes, I was listening!” He replied aggressively. “You think you can hide by speaking English? Defending those Arab niggers!”

“What is next?” I asked. “Are you going to start gassing the Muslims?”

He backed up. He intuitively realized that I was going to fight him. Right there, in the pub, the old fashioned way. One more word he would utter, and it would be a fist in his muzzle. How else does one deal with the Nazis?

***

Later, Ms. Mara Infidelius, commented:

“Main-stream Czech musician Daniel Landa who used to sing in the racist band “Orlik” in the 1990s (and has since distanced himself from it) recently had a huge concert (50,000 attended) where he sang several Orlik songs such as “Bily Jezdec” (White Knight). He also told the audience that we are “at war.”

Czech racism seems to have always been about hating the under-dog (the 
Roma). Now the mass media is full of hateful statements against the refugees by the President, politicians, and other prominent figures.  Threatening ‘race traitors’ with nooses at demonstrations and spewing hatred on the Internet is the new normal.

There are anti-refugee and pro-refugee demonstrations, but no one seems to see the big picture. Who caused the crisis? Why aren’t we demonstrating in front of the Embassy of the United States or Saudi Arabia?”

The sentiments do not seem to follow logic.

In a Moravian village where I come from, you would not find one single Muslim in the radius of 20 kilometers”, my Czech publisher (Broken Books) once told me. “But they all hate Muslims there. It is simply racism. I cannot stand it here, anymore. I myself am thinking about leaving this country, about emigrating. But I still don’t know where to go.

Internationalists during the Communist era, the Czech now seem to have fallen under the spell of the lowest form of mass culture, the most vulgar form of European and Christian racism, complete with its cultural superiority complex: all traits that Carl Jung, after World War II, called “a pathology”.

Was the overthrow of a socialist government quarter of a century ago really worth all this?

The Czechs seem to have “returned home”. But their home is not a society of “freedom and democracy” as the arch collaborator Vaclav Havel used to claim; “home” is the Western imperialist regime, its savage capitalism, as well as its dreadful twin sisters: ignorance and racism.


Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

6 Comments

  1. Francis says

    Funny how Off Guardian’s motto is “Because facts really should be sacred”. This piece is an opinion piece containing only the facts that support the author’s extremist opinion. This is not intelligent writing.




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  2. Seamus Padraig says

    I’ve had it with Vltchek. In his zeal to convince us all how singularly awful the Czechs are, he succumbs to the very things he accuses them of: stereotyping and prejudice. Are the Czechs really that different from everyone else in Europe on this subject? Isn’t it true that most countries in Europe have movements or even whole political parties opposed to immigration? Why single the Czechs out? Because they teased him as a kid for having ‘Asiatic ears’ (whatever that means)?

    I hate imperialism as much as Vltchek does, but I’m afraid that, on other subjects, I will have to take his opinions with a grain of salt.




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  3. zvezdicaslo says

    In relation to recent rise of the racist extremism (= neo-fascism) in the Central and Eastern Europe, here in Slovenia quite many people are concerned about the developments in Hungary during the last years. In particular because the leader of our largest right-wing increasingly nationalistic and extreme party Janša is Orban’s great friend (Janša is also our former PM who was ousted after months of serial mass protests in 2012-13. While in government, Janša introduced several anti-democratic measures in Slovenia which were suspiciously similar to Orban’s policies.) Hungary is also Slovenia’s neighbour, and I recent months we also ‘share’ with Hungary the refugee crisis. Due to Orban’s razor wire fence on the border, the whole refugee wave on the Balkan route is now coming through tiny Slovenia (with only 2 million inhabitants).

    Anyway, here is another of my comments about this topic which was deleted by the Guardian moderators (eh, the kind of things that the Brits are not ‘allowed’ to know about):

    To the many people on these threads cheering on Orban and supporting the barbed-wire Europe, here is whom you are supporting:

    Those who write and recommend such posts are here publicly supporting neo-fascism.

    Orban is a neo-fascist (also according to his compatriots who have been protesting against his total demolition of democracy in Hungary for years), increasingly moving to the far-right and flirting dangerously with Hungary’s Nazi-fascist past. Good to know that you support Orban’s ethnic cleansing of Hungary, such as evicting the Hungarian Roma (who have lived in Hungary for centuries) from their homes and demanding segregation of the Roma children in education (= apartheid).

    During WWII, Hungary was a willing Hitler’s ally, killing and deporting Jews and all. Hungary also occupied parts of my nation Slovenia during WWII, and among other things prohibited public use of the Slovene language, burned Slovene books, deported Slovene intellectuals etc. (= ethnocide on the grounds of declaring the Slovenes as ‘inferior’).

    And recently Slovenia (as well as other nations sharing borders with Hungary) has had some quite serious diplomatic clashes with Hungary, where Hungary acted as an aggressive ‘perpetrator’ against other nations, resurrecting for example the Greater Hungary concept even via its diplomatic service (and Hungary refuses to apologise for it).

    Oh, and the razor-wire fence on the border was first promoted by your hero the most wonderful László Toroczkai, the mayor of Ásotthalom and the leader of the far-right 64 Counties Youth Movement in Hungary that advocates the revision of the Trianon Treaty of 1920, which defined the current borders of the Hungarian state.


    “Greater Hungary” proponent came up with idea to build fence

    B92, June 2015

    The man who originally came up with the idea to build a fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia is Laszlo Toroczkai, the mayor of the town of Asotthalom. [He] “favors a Greater Hungary.”

    He is the leader of the far right wing Hungarian organization 64 Counties Youth Movement – which stands for expanding Hungary’s borders to the size of the former Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

    In 2009 he was expelled from Serbia and prohibited from entering the country for the next two years for what the paper said were “territorial pretensions toward Vojvodina” – i.e., Serbia’s northern province. …banned from entering Slovakia for five years.


    Hungarian Mayor Threatens Migrants in Homemade Action Movie

    NYT, September 2015




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  4. zvezdicaslo says

    Thanks for posting this.

    This is what I wrote in the Guardian comments in September (before I was banned) to point out the reality of those EU countries who are so strongly against refugees/immigrants:


    Re the ‘dissenting’ countries the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia whom many posters on these threads are cheering on:

    They have the lowest number of immigrants per population of all EU members. They surely come across as xenophobes. It is interesting to note that Hungary, Romania and Slovakia were all Hitler’s allies during WWII, and all four countries have quite an appalling track record about their treatment of the Roma people (who have lived there for hundreds of years). By the way, during WWII Nazi-fascists murdered hundreds of thousands of Roma people.

    I think it is great that other EU members did NOT succumb to a revival of Nazi-fascism as groomed in these four countries. It surely would be a sad day had the EU aligned its moral compass with such a sinister ideology. I do NOT want the EU to turn into a Nazi-fascist organisation.

    Here is a taste of ideology which all those posters congratulating Orban / the four dissenting countries (and those recommending such posts) are publicly supporting on these threads:


    The Plight of the Roma: Europe’s Unwanted People

    Spiegel, January 2014

    Racist Abuse and Assaults

    But the Roma aren’t just trying to flee poverty. They are also trying to get away from discrimination and abuse.

    In ROMANIA, a far-right group last January called for the sterilization of Roma women. Bulgaria last year saw anti-Roma demonstrations in the capital, Sofia.

    In 2012, a mob in the CZECH REPUBLIC chanted “gas the gypsies” after a 15-year-old claimed he had been beaten up by Roma people.

    Human rights campaigners say the situation for Roma is particularly precarious in HUNGARY — even though the government claims to have a strategy for integrating them. “The Roma in Hungary are systematically discriminated against,” says Gabor Daróczi, director of the Romaversitas foundation which funds education projects for Roma. “They can’t find work, children don’t get an education.” He said the sentiment against Roma in Hungary reminded him of the 1930s. In August, three men were convicted of murdering six Roma out of racial hatred.

    Members of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán openly agitate against Roma people. Zsolt Bayer, co-founder the ruling Fidesz party and supposedly a confidante of Orbán, said: “Most gypsies aren’t suited to communal living. They immediately want to fuck everyone they see. If they encounter resistance, they commit murder. These gypsies are animals and they behave like animals. They shouldn’t exist, the animals. One has to solve that — using all means available!

    In March 2011, far-right militants occupied Gyöngyöspata, 80 kilometers northeast of Budapest, for several weeks. Neo-Nazis marched through the streets threatening and beating up Roma people. The government didn’t intervene against the racists. When an aid organization took hundreds of children from the village, the government described the rescue as an “Easter vacation.”


    European Commission Targets Slovakia over Roma School Discrimination

    April 2015

    The Open Society Foundations, Amnesty International, the European Network Against Racism and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) today applauded the European Commission’s decision to initiate infringement proceedings against the SLOVAK REPUBLIC for breaching European Union (EU) anti-discrimination legislation in its treatment of Roma school children.

    Under the 2012 United Nations Development Programme survey as many as 43 per cent of Roma in mainstream schools were enrolled in ethnically segregated classes. In 2012, a Slovak court clarified that the practice of separating Romani children from their non-Roma peers only was unlawful.

    Back in 2010, the Slovak government committed to end discrimination but has failed to take action. On the contrary, it has financed and implemented a project of so called container schools. Such schools are being placed directly in Romani settlements instead of ensuring integration of Romani students in ethnically-mixed mainstream schools. This practice is re-enforcing the existing segregation.

    PS: I am from a ‘central and eastern European state’ – from Slovenia. The Roma people also live here.




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    • zvezdicaslo says

      In relation to my posting the above comment on the Guardian website:

      I posted it twice. The first time, I posted it on the first page of comments, and it got deleted quite soon by the moderators (after it had been mostly attacked by other Guardian posters).

      I posted it the second time on a less ‘vissible’ place (page 18 of the comments), and it ‘survived’.

      You can have a look at my comment and the replies to it here:

      Refugee crisis: EU summit amid resentment over quota deal – as it happened (The Guardian, 23 September 2015)

      http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/60074909




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  5. Pingback: In Prague You Get Assaulted For Defending Refugees | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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