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Reader feedback: Do not defend racism

Re: Prešov will not build fence around Roma, By Martina Jurinová, October 3-9, 2005

When an elected official propagates racist stereotypes by saying, "The fence will protect non-Roma inhabitants from thieves," and at the same time publicly proclaims that he is not a racist, I believe the situation is pretty obvious to anyone regardless of whether they are Slovak, Roma, or British.

Defending such behaviour by claiming outsiders should not interfere seems to me sillier that sticking one's head in the sand.

To me it is only the influence of outsiders that has made elected officials take the situation seriously and treat it with due respect. Without the EU, national government officials would not have bothered local officials to behave in a fair and respectful manner to all citizens.

I am happy to see a local publication written by local people treat the situation of the fence in Prešov in an objective and concise manner, rather than to delve into vague generalizations about one group's culture.

Such is the village philosopher's strategy at the local pub, to boil it all down to "the other side's unwillingness to change" and paint the entire Romany nation with one brush, thus turning the subject to one of generalizations of us and them.

When local people have made the progress to finally stop doing that and deal with one issue at a time, that is a success.

Outsiders should let them get on with their business one point at a time rather than encouraging them in their old ways of justifying their decisions based on age-old stereotypes regarding education, integration and benefits.

BB,
Munich, Germany

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