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Letter to the Editor: Romany comments aimed at Finnish audience

Dear Editor,

The premise of my letter, which you reprinted only in part in your August 2 -15 issue, was that the members of the Roma ethnic minority are not refugees.

What your readers don't know is that the original letter was sent to the Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper which printed derisive statements about Slovakia and the way some of its minorities are treated. I sent a copy of that letter to The Slovak Spectator as a courtesy.

Because they believe that the Roma have been mistreated in Slovakia, Scandanavian countries, and in like manner, Canada and Great Britain, have imposed visa requirements on Slovak citizens. This fact lowers the status of all Slovak citizens as desirable tourists or emigrants. Let Slovak readers be the judge of whether this is fair.

The definition of the term 'refugee' is "a person who is driven out of home and is denied food and safety, who then flees to another country for survival, usually in time of war or other disasters such as floods and earthquakes." This does not describe the situation of the Slovak Roma.

My particular and only concern is that the European Union countries which have been negatively influenced by the exodus, also have the power to keep our nation out of the European Union and NATO. My reason for tabulating the misfortunes of the unfortunate ethnic group in this town was to demonstrate to a foreign country that the problem was not new - it did not begin yesterday, but historically, hundreds of years ago. It may continue for much longer. Should Slovakia lean back and allow itself to be held ransom by these unfortunates?

Only uneducated Slovaks cannot see that our one and only chance to better our economy, and consequently the plight of all citizens, unemployed or underprivileged, is through sound foreign investments which will come only after we have gained the respect and trust of our democratic neighbours by being admitted to EU and NATO.

I am sorry to say that in North America, Sharon Otterman [author of "Roma minority unrest boils over," Vol. 5 No. 29, August 2-15] would be labeled as a 'bleeding heart' journalist. A good journalist must remain neutral and detached, and leave editorialising to the editors.

I do not concern myself with the internal social problems of any ethnic group, one acceptable employee in some shop notwithstanding [a letter written by Ján Mikšik in response to Ms. Matheson in Vol. 5 No. 30 had cited the case of a trustworthy Romany employee at a Malacký shop - ed. note]. I know of many others. Citizens are citizens, and the truth is the truth. I didn't believe that being specific about the truth deserved the derision I was subjected to by two of your readers. I cannot retract my statements - there is stark evidence to support what I have said; my detractors know that. Do they live in glass houses?

Anne Cecilia Matheson,

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