THE TOLERANCE PROJECT|
A media campaign to combat prejudice against Romani.
WHAT IS THE TOLERANCE PROJECT ABOUT?
The Tolerance Project is a media campaign which has as primary goal to stimulate
a public debat on racial violence and discrimination in the Czech Republic
against Romani .
Since 1989 the position of Roma got worse. Housing is bad. Education
policy has contributed to the fact that almost no Roma kids get any further
than basic-school. Half of orphans are Roma. The splitting of Czecho-Slowakia
had dramatic concequences for many Roma. Ten-thousands of them are now stateless,
because government refuses to acknowledge them as Czech citizens. Non of
both countries is in fact willing to accept them. This longlasting stalemate
has led to distrust, fear and apathy among Roma. In the last years at least
25 Roma have been killed by violence based on racial motivs. Regularly,
the Czech press reports of violent attacks of youth, often skinheads. These
violent attacks are not wholeheartedly condemned and even sometimes tolerated
by many Czechs. Anti-Romani prejudices are widespread and the marginal socio-economic
status of many Romani only further enhances persisting cliches.
THE TOLERANCE PROJECT IS A REACTION
This campaign is organised by one individual: Juul Hondius. In 1994
he came for a period of six months to the Czech Republic to work and study
as a photographer. During this period he decided to undertake action against
the widespread discrimination of Roma. This campaign is a reaction on the
extreme situation of Roma in a society were they are not wanted, but do
With the help of many people;interpretors & local contactpersons, he
travelled along different Czech cities to make many photoportraits of Roma.
Young & old, and poor & rich, trying to show all existing variation
in Roma's social status. While photographing he tried to avoid to show the
actual circumstances of 'their' surrounding; he prefers to show real faces
of real people, The context of their reality today should not be mixed up
with romantic stereotypes of the wandering happy gypsy tramp.
in the way we see in many existing reportages.
The majority of Czech citizens prefers to ignore the Roma,
some would even prefer the Roma dissapear. Juul Hondius decided to fight
this ignorance by making Roma visible on the streets of Prague.
He made a selection from the many portraits and added thought-provoking
texts to them.
These posterdesigns where blown up to very large seizes; from 1.5m.x 2m.
up to 4 x 5 meter
Now, more than two years later, the photograhps are finally covering the
walls in the city of Prague.
As a follow-up project of the campaign, the posters will be photographed
again being they are taken down, in order to document any positive and/or
negative responses to this media-campaign. In this way, the feed-back of
the Prague population can be documented. Here can you see the results:
Juul Hondius isn't organising this campaign as a representative of The Netherlands,
but as a independent individual.