14.05.2017 23:21

Roma, neo-Nazis and eastern Slovakia

Autor: Lenka Haniková | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Alana, a young student who comes from eastern part of Slovakia, is trying to solve her living and social problems in her own way. As many other voters, she gave her support to Kotleba´s party in the last parliamentary election in Slovakia. There´s definitely something weird in Slovakia. Maybe you have noticed, maybe not. And maybe you´re one of them.

Alana grew up in Letanovce, which is a small village in eastern Slovakia. Except one tourist and commercial place, it is almost forgotten part of the Slovakia. Letanovce, one of the oldest Spiš´s villages, is located on the northern slopes of the Slovak Paradise. The village offers the best access to its most visited places. However it´s a poor location and its inhabitants are not able to live or eat only from the beautiful nature. On your way to weekend tourism you can be surprised by a small piece of space situated near the last village in close proximity of the National Park Slovak Paradise with small houses. If you take a look at your surrounding more cautiously and slow down your drive, you'll notice that there´s a Roma settlement located beneath the beautiful hills where you breathe clear air with breath-taking silence. The Roma minority was moved to the new segregation site named Strelník in 2013. In March 2015 there lived almost one thousand people. Problems with the Roma minority in Letanovce remained even after Roma´s relocation. After going through one of these villages situated in eastern Slovakia, you will find that there are people who want a decent life. Who will provide them with it? You can say that government should. But it's not always that easy.

Alana is a young student who lived her whole life in Letanovce before going to college. Now she is studying massmedia communication in the western Slovak town Trnava. Her wish was to stay anonymous so we will use only her first name in the following article. „Shortly after I started attending elementary school, I understood what it means to really learn to come up with these people,“ she says. As „these“ people Alana means Roma. Around two thousand inhabitants live in Letanovce as says the latest census data. A large part of them was Roma minority in the past. Before the village decided to build a separate settlement that the Roma inhabit now, Alana had had problems getting to school normally. „On our way to school they threw garbage on us, cursed us and were unpleasant and rude,“ says Alana about times when she was attending an elementary school as a little girl in the village. There´s no any hatred in her voice, I would say that there´s only resignation on her old life. Her assertiveness to these inhabitants of Letanovce started in her childhood. But as she says, it´s difficult for her to try to explain the whole phenomenon with Roma minority to someone who have not any bad experience with them yet. „It's not about hatred or anything like that. It's just a desire to make them behave just as all decent people. If they are unable to do it, government should do something in this case,“ she says. But these are the most widespread arguments of the inhabitants of villages in eastern Slovakia who have problems with the Roma minority.

This is the most difficult aspect of this problem. What does the government actually do with those people whom many people in eastern part of Slovakia, where their concentration is the highest, called social parasites? Because that´s the way how Roma really labeled peoples in slovak´s society. Last but not least, there are many prejudices and stereotypes about the Roma among the Slovaks. If they destroy their homes, government will build them a new ones. They don´t have to work, because social benefits from the government are generous enough. They will give a birth to children that are synonymous with other money. And there´s a feeling of growing tension in our society. Politicians don´t do anything about it, and it is logical that when a person with ideas and suggestions how to solute the situation with the Roma minority in Slovakia comes up, something will change in people. And something has changed in Alana too.

All actions have reactions. And the entire tension has to get out of the way, it can't be overwhelmed and scrutinized without any evidence of its former existence. Alana has decided to solve this problem in her own way. She voted for Ľudová strana naše Slovensko in the past elections to the Slovak Parliament. Party among other things promised in its election program to „make some solutions“ with Roma minorities. And neo-Nazis, with their chairman Marián Kotleba, have got to the parliament for the first time. Even if they're just a part of opposition they are definitely a part of Slovak parliament. They are patrolling in trains, don´t condemn the holocaust, and they regard the president of the first Slovak republic Tiso as the only one real president in Slovak modern history. Kotleba can be happy enough. Preferences of his party have risen since the last election and the latest polls give him up to 10% of voters support. They have a rhetoric, walk among people and talk to them about their real problems and visit mainly the areas of forgotten Slovakia, where Slovak Prime Minister Fico and other ministers have never been yet. They just don't ignore people. But some of their voters, especially young people, support them as some statement of rebellion. Alana because of her feeling that the state is simply not interested in ordinary people.

„He promised that he will going to do something with the situation with Roma. I'm not saying that I regard all his activities as legitimate, but I didn´t have a choice. The state doesn´t deal with our situation,“ she says. However, this view is not very unique in Slovak society in these times. It is not so important that we finally break away from a democratic Europe, because as these people says, we all want only our own free life, where we will not be afraid to go out or to school. „I´m not saying that I will vote for him in next elections and support his party. But I´m frustrated. From the position of a young person I don´t feel like living in my village in the future. That´s not my home anymore. It´s not very perspective and even if I´m studying in Slovakia, I can´t see my future in this country very perspective as well,“ says. But Alana is not the only one frustrated person. The most difficult aspect that appear in this case is that after questioning about Kotleba´s „program with Roma“, Alana doesn´t know about it nothing specific. „He just said that no one would be parasitic on the system,“ she answers. And this argument is getting more and more frequent among people. Maybe as the only one. But who knows what does it really mean?



Klíčová slova: neo-nazis, slovakia, east, roma


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