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PRAGUE, November 23rd - Again and again when we read in the press about Romanies, it's under such headlines as "Romany crime", "the Romany problem" or "Romany unemployment". Alternatively Romanies are depicted as the passive victims of racism, and the fact that Czech Roma have their own rich culture and history tends to be submerged by these stereotypes. But things are changing, as Romany culture begins to assert itself, with writers, artists and musicians winning growing acclaim. Last weekend saw a small step in the right direction, with the launch of a week of Roma culture on Stanice Vltava, Czech Radio's station devoted to the arts and culture.

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A few words from Czech Radio's dramatized reading of a short story by the Romany writer Ilona Ferkova - one of the many programmes of Roma writing and music that can be heard over the coming days.

One person who's warmly welcomed this celebration of Romany writing is Milan Masek, a young Roma from Cesky Krumlov, who's studying to become the Czech Republic's first ever Romany priest. "I'm really glad that books are beginning to come onto the market, where you can read Romany poetry or songs. It's really beginning to catch on. In the past there was no access to Romany literature at all. It's good, that when you read a poem or a short story you can get an insight into the mentality of the Romany nation."

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Milena Hubschmannova is the Czech Republic's foremost expert on Roma history and culture, and the driving force behind the programming for the week.

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November 8 marked one year since the murder of Sudanese student Hassan Elamin Abdelradi. On the occassion of this sad anniversary, the Documentation Center for Human Rights released the following document.

The Association of Romani Children and Young People of the Czec Republic has put together an exhibition of drawings by Romani children from the Slovak town of Jarovnice who died during the floods earlier this year. The exhibition is entitled They No Longer Live Among Us and those interested in taking a look at it can do so in the lobby of the city hall in Otrokovice na Zlinsku (near Zlin in eastern Moravia) from October 27. The unique drawings by the children of Jarovnice had already been winning renown abroad for years, where they were exhibited a number of times and won a number of awards at international artistic competitions.

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