I started to record everything

Author: Lucie Conková
Location: Usti nad Labem
Ms. Kondásová has had a lot of bad luck lately and nobody seems to want to help her. I was there when the last thing that she tells about happened. I was listening and boiling with anger.
"My neighbor Ms. Prosková bought my apartment. She bought it without me realizing it because I did not really know what I was signing – I’m not very good at reading – and I was at home alone. She not only promised to buy a new place for me but also agreed to compensate me financially within a month time. She did not mind the overdue utility bills and unpaid rent. If I had known what I was signing, I would have never agreed to sell the place.
Soon after buying my apartment for no more than fifty thousand crowns Ms. Prosková started bugging me to settle the bills. I did so and we became her tenants.
Of course we did not move out. But she prohibited us from making any repairs.
She also calls the police about us. She doesn’t like my children playing out in the courtyard and she and other people who live in our house wrote and signed a petition to prohibit us from entering the courtyard. She threw it in the mailbox. Probably she did not have the guts to give it to me personally.
But our rent covers not only our place but also the shared space. So I asked the neighbors whether they agreed with the petition, and they said no. They also told me that it was not true that my kids playing in the courtyard bother all the inhabitants of our house.
Since there are also commercial tenants in our house, it was decided to equip the entrance with buzzers. Everybody got connected but us. Since all visitors have to be buzzed in and we have no buzzer, our family and friends have to either whistle or throw stones at the windows. That also bothers Prosková. I have asked her many times to install a buzzer to our apartment as well, but she claims that we have broken it and have no right to a new one. It is not true, and stones have already broken two windows in our apartment.
The other day I was out in the courtyard sweeping. I made a small heap of hay and leaves. I wanted to burn it as people usually do. But Prosková and her husband happened to pass by and started shouting about Gypsies daring to make fires in her courtyard. I explained that I was just sweeping the yard, but she became really angry and called the police again.
When the police arrived they asked no questions and started calling me names, too. When my son came down to see what was going on, they sent him away saying that it was none of his business. They were very unfriendly and they actually wanted to take me to the police station. I agreed to go, but it seemed that they were just trying to get me upset. They succeeded.
Suddenly it occurred to me that Lucka had a tape-recorder with her. I borrowed it and I started to record everything, especially the police and how they behaved to me, a Romany woman. I felt that they’d do anything to do the will of the whites.
But you’d be surprised how quickly they left when they saw the tape-recorder. They just said that they had taken down my name, and that they believed this would never happen again.”
I was there when this happened, and I know that the house was far from quiet even long time after the police left. When Mr. Kondás came home from work, there was another clash. Of course he had to defend his wife, so he went over to Prosekês to punch him in the face.

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