Czech heavy metal singer accused of racism over latest album|
A Czech heavy metal star has got himself into trouble over the lyrics of
the title song of his band’s latest album “Deratizer” or
exterminator. The refrain refers to stealing gypsies and suggests an
exterminator be employed. The rock singer has defended himself against
accusations of racism.
The lyrics from the title song of the latest album by the well-known Czech
heavy rock musician Aleš Brichta have put him at the centre of a row over
whether they call for the racist cleansing of the Roma community
Mr Brichta’s refrain accuses politicians of making idiots of everyone
while gypsies steal bicycles in the streets. It finally suggests some sort
of exterminator could solve the problem.
Lawyers who represent Roma organisations say that the text is
unambiguously racist. Czech Television has reported that police are
investigating whether it breaks the clear Czech legal ban on material which
incites hatred or demeans minorities or ethnic groups.
As well as those lyrics, the album cover of Brichta and his ABband’s
latest offering displays the so-called exterminator in action with some
sort of gun on Prague’s landmark Charles Bridge.
As well as a drug addict and homeless person on the receiving end of this
action, there is also an image of a dark-skinned youth fleeing the scene
with an apparently stolen car radio and woman’s handbag. Brichta says the
figure is taken from an Arabian tale.
The musician was a founding member of the heavy metal band Arakain which
was a giant on the Czech heavy rock scene in the 1980s and 1990s. He says
he is not a racist and says the text includes some artistic license. The
song is, he says, essentially an attack on Czech politicians for not
addressing fundamental problems in society and is a call for them to get to
grips with criminality.
One of those politicians – former deputy prime minister and leader of
the Christian Democrats Jiří Čunek - has described Brichta’s call for
an exterminator as “tough” but suggested it might have been
artistically beefed up. Mr Čunek leapt into national politics after
removing members of the Roma community from the centre of the town where he
was mayor. Other politicians have condemned the song.
The storm over the 50-year old musician comes almost a week after Canada
reintroduced visas on Czechs because of a surge in asylum applicants from
Roma. These have followed a series of extremist marches targeting the Roma
and horrific attacks on them. The Czech government was due to unveil a
report on the condition of the Roma community on Monday together with
suggestions on what further steps should be taken to tackle their