On the eve of International Roma Day, Radio Prague is featuring music by
some of the country’s best Romany singers.
It was supposed to be the week when she started her comeback tour. Instead,
it ended with her death on a hospital bed. Věra Bílá, who died on
Tuesday, was just 64-years-old. But those who knew her say her songs will
remain an important contribution to the genre of world music forever.
Elena Gorolová, a Roma social worker from the north Moravian city of
Ostrava, has been included on an annual BBC list of 100 inspirational and
influential women for 2018. The BBC highlighted Ms Gorolová’s campaign
against forced sterilisation as well as her work to return
institutionalised children to their birth families.
Whereas in 1990 there were eight Roma MPs in the Czechoslovak Parliment,
today there are none and candidates who belong to the minority have not had
much success in the recent communal elections either. Although individual
cases of success exist, they are extremely rare. Reasons behind the lack of
Roma representation in politics include negative cononations with the
minority among majority voters, a lack of popular candidates and low
election participation among members of the Roma minority themselves.
Earlier this year the young piano virtuoso Tomáš Kačo performed for the
first time at New York’s famous Carnegie Hall. It was the fulfilment of a
long-held dream for the 31-year-old, who comes from a large Romany family
in a small Czech town and was a youth prodigy before seizing a
life-changing chance to study in the US.
Why do ethnic conflicts in some parts of the world flare up so easily and
spread so fast? Is ethnic hate and intolerance contagious? Researchers from
the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined forces to try to find the answers to
some of those questions and arrived at some surprising conclusions.
Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human
Rights, has welcomed a deal for the Czech government to acquire the site of
a pig farm in Lety, southern Bohemia, which once housed a World War II
internment camp for Roma.
Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman has announced an important
breakthrough in the government’s efforts to secure the buy-out of an
offensive pig farm in Lety, South Bohemia located on the site of a former
concentration camp where hundreds of Roma died in inhumane conditions in
WWII. The company that owns the farm has now agreed to sell it to the
state, opening the way for a dignified memorial to the victims to be built
on the grounds.