I saw an article on Romea today (posted below) which made me think about an article I was going to post myself. How many times have I gone to YouTube looking for a certain video or song, only to find pages of hate-filled racist comments, or worse racist videos targeting the Roma or other minority groups? It isn’t only YouTube though. It’s hundreds of websites – Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter…

and no one does anything.  They all state some incomprehensible reason, such as ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘insufficient information’… or something equally ridiculous.

As many of you know, I was recently a member of a website called Tumblr and I was consistently harassed, bullied, and hated for being Romani. I received death threats and other disgusting comments and emails such as the one posted below:

This was a relatively benign message compared to some of those I received. Tumblr used to have an option to track IPs of anonymous posters, as well as an option to discover usernames of people harassing you. They removed that service and despite forwarding every death threat and message such as the one above, I received not so much as one single comment from their support team. It didn’t even matter if people chose to send the messages from their Tumblr account. Often people have multiple blogs utilizing multiple email addresses and none of the blogs were ever banned.

Tumblr will NOT ban IPs of such racist bullies, despite having the capability to do so.

In short, I was left to deal with it however I could. My choice? To walk away from that website.

It’s not that easy though, is it?

When the internet is a place where faceless bigots can post hate-filled racist comments, videos, photographs, and more with a single click of their mouse. It’s racism made easy. Where actions deemed offensive in the ‘real world’ bring fame, attention, and in some cases support. There’s no hiding from it.

   

It angers and upsets me. As the article below states, “Videos on YouTube are classified only by its parent company, Google, with the help of YouTube users” and the same rules apply for multiple websites that contain user-generated content. Community only works if all members of that community uphold the same values and rules. Apparently, many people on the internet think there isn’t a problem with “e-hatred”, it’s not “real” and doesn’t actively “harm” anyone.

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From Romea.cz:

Hundreds of videos inciting racial hatred are freely available on the YouTube website, including videos of songs with Czech-language lyrics, but police do not know how to intervene against their authors. Allegedly the perpetrators cannot be prosecuted because the website belongs to an American company and is not subject to Czech law.

The number of promoters of right-wing extremism in the Czech Republic grew last year, according to a Czech Interior Ministry study. Neo-Nazi bands have posted videos of many songs onto the YouTube server. Police argue that they are monitoring such videos there, but reportedly cannot do more, primarily because of the US Constitution, which guarantees the YouTube server falls under the American view of freedom of speech. Lawyers, however, insist the Czech criminal code can apply to such cases.

“The problem has to do with acquiring evidence. When the material originates outside the territory of the Czech Republic, we run into these differences in legal arrangements,” explains Dagmar Bednarčíková of the Czech Police Presidium.

The imaginary borders of the internet were established more than 10 years ago by a French court when it ordered the blocking of an auction of Nazi paraphernalia on the Yahoo server, which is global in scope. A similar court verdict has yet to be reached in the Czech Republic.

Videos on YouTube are classified only by its parent company, Google, with the help of YouTube users. “It’s impossible to monitor every video. That ‘s why we use the power of the community of millions of YouTube users who report explicit content to us which in their view violates the rules of the community,” says Janka Zichová, PR manager for Google in the Czech Republic.

Ragnarök

The “power of the community” and the “rules” don’t always work, however. Many videos by the Czech band Ragnarök (and others) are available on YouTube. The group is the favorite of one of the arsonists convicted in the Vítkov case in 2009, Jaromír Lukeš. Examples from the lyrics of this band, which plays “white power” music, show not only the authors’ crudity, but also their ideology of Nazism and racism. Ragnarök is no better than any other bands of this sort; in one of their lyrics below (translated from the Czech) they shore up the herd-like nature of these racists and praise their ideology through the symbol of such a group:

… you shaved your head put on hard boots/and became our white brother/ you’ve learned the truth of where our state is going/ nothing but animals here, so you must fight/ never fear you will never be alone again/ now you have friends for life and death/ never fear you will never be alone again/ we will all come fight for you at any time/ faith, blood and honor is your slogan now/ don’t hesitate to give your life for the future/ only one goal now – exterminate the filth of the world

The slogan “blood and honor” is inextricably linked to the neo-Nazi organization Blood and Honor, whose main headquarters are in Britain. These two words, usually used together with the expression “faith”, are featured in the lyrics of “white power” music as an iron-clad rule and have become symbols of it. This is reflected in another composition by Ragnarök, called “Skinheads”:

Skinheads, Skinheads, the last defense/ Skinheads, Skinheads, elite of the nation/ Skinheads, Skinheads, faith, blood and honor/ Skinheads, Skinheads, Skinheads/ We take up our swords – we will live here/ to guarantee the peace we introduce/ now our terror is unleashed on their black skin/ and every black ulcer pays in blood / Niggers ruining Bohemia – we won’t fuck around/ they need to get out of here…

This band’s relationship toward Romani people is like that of the other racist groups; here are the translated lyrics of their song entitled “Gypsies” (“Cigáni”):

Too many here, we all hate them /see that pack over there let’s beat them up /not too few of them here – too many/ those fucking black assholes will soon know our wrath/ No one wants you here everyone hates you/ fuck off we don’t want to know you/ no one wants you here everyone hates you/ you fucking black assholes destroy our beautiful state/ Get out of here already, you stink like cow manure/ you foul black assholes destroying my nation/ now we’ll shoot you all and put you underground/ you’re the only ones to blame for destroying our country

In order to complete the ideological picture of this band, here are a few more translated fragments from other songs of theirs:

from “Seven, seven fires of death are coming…”

The first fire is coming, the yellow ones spread through Europe/ They will die in the flames for their arrogance /The second fire will spark when the niggers flood the old continent / And try to push everyone around/ The third fire will spark in Africa – all black monkeys will be burned forever /Only smoke will rise from the scorched earth/ Whites will set the fourth fire on the day the scurvy Jew takes over/ All the synagogues will lie in ashes

From “Men in Capes”:

KKK – last defense of our towns/ klan of the knights of the white race/ KKK – land, blood and honor/ the plan of doom for all niggers / White men in white capes rode through the land/ Protecting the proud white people/ White men in white capes rode through the land /And the flaming torches flared in the darkness/ Crosses burned everywhere, niggers lived in fear/ The klan of white knights ruled the night

In the song “Stalingrad” the band lauds its Nazi predecessors:

… thousands of dead bodies/shouts for help/ the thunder of cannons /dead bodies pile up everywhere/ more men die for faith and their ideals/ dust falling to dust…

The following Ragnarök lyrics provide a nice example of the affinity between the ultra-right and extreme left in their opinions about Israel:

Israel is occupying all of Europe/ Europe is recovering from cruel blows/taking its future into its own hands/ armed forces attack, bombs fall on synagogue roofs/Israel in flames, the cities of centuries fall/ from thousands of synagogues only ruins, stones remain /Israel in flames, the cities of centuries fall/ from thousands of synagogues only ruins, stones remain/ The world rulers meet the smoke /paying for their crimes /returning to their faith/ but God can’t help them anymore

Naturally, we can’t discuss this band without mentioning their classic tune “Čechy Čechům” (“Bohemia for the Czechs”), which is a slogan these uncivilized people love to shout – otherwise they are usually saying that our country belongs in a Europe of unified Nazis:

Bohemia for the Czechs/ just like it was before/ Bohemia for the Czechs/ nothing but the nation living free/ Bohemia for the Czechs/ just like it was before/ Bohemia for the Czechs/ nothing but the nation living free…

Lastly, an exemplary specimen of how these defenders of freedom imagine coexistence with others:

… punch him push him down kick him all should be afraid /kick him if he moves, hatred is your weapon/ kick his teeth out of his hole, stamp his skull to bit/ kick him if he moves, come what may / The street is war/crush your opponent without fear/ The street is war/ a survivor never fears opportunity

František Kostlán. Czech Television, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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