Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Reader feedback: A complicated issue

Re: Roma leaders warn of another exodus, News shorts, Nov 18-23, Vol 9 No 44,

The assimilation of Roma can be achieved. I have lived in Slovakia for 30 years and grew up with many Roma friends. Roma from cities, towns, and larger villages in western Slovakia are usually much more assimilated than those from eastern Slovakia. When I was about 7-8 years old (1965), there was a Roma settlement on the outskirts of my town in western Slovakia. Roma built their dwellings, without any permit, on land they didn't own - mostly without proper sanitation. A few years later, authorities gave these Roma homes in town, basically separating them. It was probably drastic for them, but they assimilated quite well.

So I remember these settled Roma, but also those that were still travelling with their wagons drawn by horses. Even settled Roma kept away from the travelling ones. I don't know what happened to the travelling ones after communism ended their way of life. Perhaps they built those shanty settlements in rural Slovakia and kept their way of life, speaking only their own Roma dialect. Where I am from, every Roma speaks Slovak and their own dialect. I personally think the Roma situation in all of central Europe, and to a lesser degree in western Europe, is much more complicated than any of us can imagine.

Pete, Slovakia

Top stories

In praise of concrete

It was once notorious for its drab tower blocks and urban crime, but Petržalka now epitomises modern Slovakia.

Petržalka is the epitome of communist-era architecture.

Slow down, fashion

Most people are unaware that buying too many clothes too harms the environment.

In shallow waters, experts are expendable

Mihál says that it is Sulík, the man whom his political opponents mocked for having a calculator for a brain, who “is pulling the party out of liberal waters and towards somewhere completely different”.

Richard Sulík is a man of slang.

Blog: Exploring 20th century military sites in Bratislava

It seems to be the fate of military sites and objects in Bratislava that none of them were ever used for the purposes they were built for - cavernas from WWI, bunkers from WWII, nuclear shelters or the anti-aircraft…

One nuclear shelter with a capacity for several hundred people now serves as a music club with suitable name Subclub (formerly U-club).