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Reader feedback: Painting it too black

Re: Reader Feedback: "Slovakia not looking good," By Dolores Littell, Volume 8 No 32, August 26 to September 1.

Dear Dolores,

I feel I should point out that every country in the world suffers from racial or religious discrimination to some degree. You will note the letter from Sarah Connor (Reader Feedback: "Irish worse than Slovaks") in the last issue where she states that Ireland has problems of discrimination against the Roma too. Slovakia is a candidate state for accession to the EU. Ireland is already a member. Whether a country is a member or a candidate will not make the discrimination go away, it unfortunately exists everywhere in the world in one form or another.

I remember, for example, that when I lived in the UK in the late 1970s, there were many cases of racial discrimination brought before the courts by black West Indians. I lived in south London and I can tell you that, in their own way, they were often equally if not more discriminatory against the white population (in some areas of London to be white was to be in the minority) than they were discriminated against.

Great Britain, an EU member state, in similarity with Ireland, also has an element of discrimination against the Roma. There is an element of discrimination in Germany, one of the largest member states of the EU, against the Turkish population, etc.

Having said this, I do agree that the problem of racial discrimination exists and needs to be solved, but perhaps a more balanced view is called for. The problem needs to be addressed by the Slovak government and the governments of other countries and the EU. I am sure that the current Slovak government is applying itself to the matter, as are the rest.

I have lived in Slovakia for the past nine years or so. I love Slovakia. It is now my home. I do agree that there are problems in Slovakia concerning discrimination against the Roma population, but I do not agree with your inference that Slovakia is the only country that does not look good.

The same problems with the Roma arise in other countries; perhaps part of what Tiax writes (Reader Feedback: "Roma not oppressed") is true. Perhaps part of the cause of the problem of discrimination against the Roma is not about the treatment of the Roma by the majority, but with the Roma treatment of others and their well-known abuse of the welfare systems in Slovakia and other countries. Systems that the majority of the working population of a country support through their taxes.

I feel you are painting a very black picture of a country you perhaps need to get to know a little better.

Kevin Guerrier

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