Fortunately, for years we have had freedom of thought and freedom of speech in this country, meaning that everybody can think and say what he or she wants to. I don't consider it a good idea, though, for a well-respected newspaper such as The Slovak Spectator has been, to publish just about anything. Especially not when the thoughts expressed give unjustifiable offence to individuals or groups. But this was exactly what happened when you published Mrs. Anne Matheson's letter ["Roma's plight needs a closer look," Letters to the Editor, Vol. 5 No. 29, August 2 - 15].
Especially offensive were the paragraphs where Mrs. Matheson generalized from her individual experience with Romany individuals. Even after several consecutive bad experiences with several members of the Romany ethnic group, the use of the phrase 'every Romany' in Mrs. Matheson's letter can't be justified, and is extremely offending to those Romanies who are diligent, reliable and honest (even if they are few).
For Mrs. Matheson's sake we hope that she will soon meet one of these nice Romany people. I hired a very nice young lady of Romany descent at my shop, where she has been working for two years at the counter without a penny missing and with many happy customers. I wish that Mrs. Matheson would find the courage to come to my shop and repeat her remarks in Slovak to my employee. Since my shop is a block away from her home, this should not present a problem.
What bothers me more, though, is that The Slovak Spectator would print such inflammatory remarks without an editor's note. Can we look forward to weekly forums with prejudicial remarks about ethnic groups in the Letters to the Editor column? Or do we want to stop this right now? Since we have several ethnic groups and people of foreign origin in Slovakia, there would seem to be endless possible combinations of remarks.
16. Aug 1999 at 0:00