Renowned Romany musician Eugen Horváth died on Friday at the age of 74,
the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno said. The Slovak-born Horváth, known
as Janko, came from a musical family, and learned the play the violin at an
early age. In 1969, he formed his own cimbalom band which recorded several
albums including the 1992 record Gypsy Weeping..
Hundreds of people joined the Roma Pride 2014 march leading from Prague’s
Old Town Square through the historic city centre on Saturday afternoon. The
event is a celebration of Romany culture and identity and aims to draw
attention to the discrimination of Romanies in the Czech Republic, be it in
the sphere of housing, education or on the job market. Similar Romany Pride
marches are taking place in 15 European countries..
The EC has sent the Czech Republic a formal request for information
regarding the alleged discrimination of Romany children in the Czech
education system. The Czech authorities have two months in which to provide
the information. Amnesty International has welcomed the move saying that
the Czech Republic has for years failed to take effective measures to
secure equal access to education for Romany children who are very often
placed in special schools for children with learning disabilities.
Romany women in the Czech Republic generally have a low level of education,
make on average 10,000 crowns a month and live in a rented flat with their
family, according to the outcome of a Charles University survey on the life
of Romany women. The vast majority marry young –between the age of 18 and
21, close to 40 percent of them have three or more children and
singlehandedly shoulder the burden of looking after the household. The vast
majority said they had faced discrimination when looking for a job or flat..
Foreign diplomats from the US, British and Scandinavian embassies in Prague
are assembling a football team to play a friendly against a local 3rd
division team Junior Roma which is being cold shouldered by Czech rivals.
Czech third division teams have refused to play against Junior Roma on the
grounds that their game is excessively aggressive, but the team’s coach
Pavel Horvath sees racism as the real reason behind the boycott. The
friendly is to take place in Dečín on September 21st.. .
Lukáš Houdek is a man of varied interests. As well as being a
photographer who has explored the post-war massacres of Czechoslovakia’s
ethnic Germans, he is co-curator of an exhibition entitled Transgender Me
that gets underway in Prague on Monday. In addition, Houdek, a Romani
Studies graduate, writes for a leading Roma affairs website; indeed, for
much of our interview I was under the mistaken impression that he himself
was a member of the ethnic minority.
In a recent edition of Czech Books, we spoke to the Romany writer, Irena
Eliášová. She mentioned that her novel, November, had been published
earlier this year by an internet publisher. This inspired David Vaughan to
find out more about Romany writing in the digital age, and he discovered
that Czech Roma have embraced the social media in a big way.
Along with Charter 77 and the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly
Persecuted, the Czechoslovak Helsinki Committee was a key dissident
organisation in the communist period, pressuring the government to adhere
to its human rights commitments. Today known as the Czech Helsinki
Committee, it is still active, advocating for people who often have nowhere
else to turn. I discussed the committee’s work with its director, Lucie
Rybová. But I first asked her about the reasons for its establishment, in