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The Prague Post isn’t known for being a journalistic “city on a hill.” However, the article Standoff is definitely worth reading.

600 demonstrators from the Worker Party DS (the Czech equivallent of the KKK) battled 1000 police in one of the biggest riot battles since the IMF/World Bank summit in 2000. (I remember those days. We tried to stay inside as much as possible and definitely didn’t go into the city center). It was a full out battle, complete with mounted police, Molotov cocktails and tear gas as police fought to defend the 200 Roma citizens holed up in their apartments.

Their “peaceful protest” purposed to petition the government to “solve the Roma problem.” The language reminds me of Hitler’s “Final solution to the Jewish question.”

I remember a conversation a friend of mine had with his Czech neighbor. She was going on about how she didn’t understand racism in America. How could we do such things to black people? A few minutes later she made a comment about how she disliked gypsies, because they’re dirty people. My friend pointed out her contradiction. She responded, “It’s different, though.” When questioned about issues of racism and the Roma, many Czechs will respond similarly, although the question of “How?” is a little more difficult for them to answer.

This scenario plays out throughout much of Europe. America is criticized for its racism. But question a European about their country’s treatment of Roma and the conversation quickly ends.

It just goes to show, no matter if you’re American, Middle Eastern or European, everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes.