For majority of the Czech population, Romani people have a negative image. They are regarded as thieves and violent people who cannot be trusted. This negative image and prejudice still exist among Czech people. In Czech Republic there is a region called Maticni Street in the town of Usti nad Labem. On this street there are Romani-gypsy-inhabited flats. Maticni Street in Usti nad Labem is a side-street lying between a main road and the railway tracks. On one side of the road are 3 blocks of flats which are municipal flats, two of which are occupied by gypsy families. Most of these gypsies are unemployed. The Usti nad Labem city authorities were unable to force the rent non-payers of Maticni Street to abide by the law and so, in order to protect the interest of law abiding people nearby who were suffering from the noise and smell, the authorities decided to build a wall dividing the anti-social part of the street from the normal one in 1999. The wall was not designed to ban entry for anyone to anywhere, - its purpose was to cut down the relentless noise. Unfortunately, the wall in Maticni Street has become a simplified, stereotyped symbol of racism in the Czech Republic. The Roma say they are systematically victimised by the police, who fail to pursue perpetrators of racist attacks. Although the wall is broken down in Maticni, discrimination and prejudice continues. Because of all social conditions, gypsy children is afffected. They know that they are ?gypses?. They know about wall. Their parents dont have enough money. There is a social organization which makes some activities for gypsy children. But it is not enough. Some of them arent sent to school. Most of them are sent automatically to special schools for the to support retarded children or children with educational and other problems who are unable to attend regular primary education. They should attend normal elementary schools. These schools are racially motivated and aim at racial segregation. On the other hand, it was common place that Roma parents did not make a special effort to support their children.
Photo documentary story / Photojournal by Turkish photojournalist
Gulbin Ozdamar Akarcay (Hits: 92516)
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