He’ll tell you all about the benefits

Author: Eva Bajgerova
Location: Usti nad Labem
One Sunday afternoon I was taking the international fast train from Ustí nad Labem to Brno. I slept the whole way to Kolín, where a group of three young people with backpacks got on and sat right behind me. They were talking very loudly, so I couldn’t help listening.
They were talking about the problem of social benefits, and one of them very expertly explained the criteria for the subsistence minimum and real household costs. Because I am a Romany advisor and I also concern myself with these questions, I could keep up with him.
The two who were listening didn’t want to believe that such benefits exist. I felt like turning around and telling them that he was absolutely right. Then they asked him: "Come on, who told you all this?” And he answered: “The best person to go to for information is a Romany advisor. He’ll advise you best. He’ll tell you about all the benefits.”
I preferred not to get involved, but felt quite uplifted that finally someone realized that a Romany advisor is an expert. But after a moment I was crestfallen. They finally agreed that the Romany advisor helps the Roma so well that they prefer to stay unemployed and collect social benefits rather than go to work, and that therefore the state budget of our republic has more expenditures than income. Their conclusion was that it would be better if no one gave out advice.
Luckily the train had stopped at the Brno main station by then and I got off, disappointed by what young people think.
Jirka [aaa@mujbox.cz] responded on 30 September 2001:
Why are you talking about Czechs and Roms? Are Roma not Czech? Were they born in ROMLAND? They were all born here. Their home is here. Theirchildren, their families, duties and rights and their responsibilities are here. They are first of all countrymen. Are all the Czechs white?
And who of all the Roma is a ROM? Nobody. And why is this? Because the society wants them to assimilate and be a Czech and a ROM at the same moment.
Are there so few of the others who live on social money? Does anyone criticize them as they criticize Roma? When a Czech and a Rom commit the same offense, the Rom is a worse person for that.
Damn it people, let’s learn to look inside our own rows and see the disorder. Let’s teach our children to be tolerant and stop telling them that they should fear Roma.
There is a very nice Romany proverb: A good person has a good word for everyone. Everyone is able to domiracles when praised. But when we say Roma are bad, we have negative thoughts and negative thoughts are bad. Let’ s search for good things in Roma.
There are plenty good things, but you have to have the will to look for them.

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