Thursday, February 26, 2004

Found in Translation Department

Allow me, briefly, to point out a few things about the two CTK articles I translated in my previous posting:

1) On a lighter note, when they say "an angry man hurled an ashtray," you should know that these are not the cheapo plastic ashtrays that prevail in American bars, but ponderous, thick-walled, glass ashtrays that can easily kill someone.

2) Note the headline of the second piece, "Slovakia Deploys Against Looting Army." In other words, the (white) Slovaks are Slovakia; the (nonwhite) Roma are not. And not only are the Roma not Slovaks, they are an army, i.e., a force of invading foreigners.

3) In general, throughout the articles, which, since written for the Czech News Agency, will run in every daily in the Czech Republic, the language is such that the Roma are always "they" or "them." Note the fifth paragraph of the first piece, for instance, which refers to "they" without bothering to make clear who "they" is. Why bother?

4) Substitute the words African-American for Rom and Romani, and African-Americans for Roma, and you will learn a great deal about Czechs' and Slovaks' attitude toward Roma. You will also understand how little Czech journalism has changed in this respect since 1989.

5) Apart from the tedious repeating of information in the second piece, note that Interior Minister Palko seems to be fairly bragging to journalists about the Slovak police's use of a water cannon against the protesting Roma: "This is the largest police mobilization since 1989. As you have noticed, it was also the first time since 1989 that a water cannon has been used." Not to mention that his comment suggests that he himself made the decision to use it, as opposed to the police on the ground.

To read a good article about racism toward Roma in Europe in general, click here.

That is all for now. I have paid work to do.