Is it any wonder that the Czech Republic protests against the Refugee Crisis? Just think about it for a minute. The Czech Republic recently got its freedom after decades of going through the Communist parties. Why would they want to open their doors to new strangers?
The Czech Republic and Germany have completely different attitudes towards the Refugee Crisis. One of the countries gives million asylums to refugees from war zones, mainly from Syria and the other countries, protesting against the problem. The Czech media, politicians and ordinary citizens aggressively meet the Refugee Crisis. The Czech Republic is one of the Visegrad group of countries. The Visegrad group of countries is an ally group of four countries, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, based in Europe. This group has a strong policy against refugee crisis. They are not interested in immigration flow in Europe. They do not support Angelina Merkel, a chancellor of Germany, with her “open door” policy towards refugees. According to Forbes (2016) “Angelina Merkel’s visit to Prague was dominated by mass protests to her refugees’ policies on the streets and squares of Prague.”
Andrea Pruchova, who is a visual analysts and a Czech herself, has been working on the media representation of social issues of the Refugee Crisis in the Visegrad countries and helped to go deeper in the history of two bordering countries and their attitudes.
Pruchova (2016) said “In the history, the Czech Republic is seen as a victim of Nazi regime, the one who suffered, tortured by Germans. The old generation has been through Nazis and the Communism times, where they were dictated to be the same and keep quiet. The Communism has a direct link to the Czech hesitation to refugees. There is still fear in people’s mind of being victims of the past decades, especially for the old Czech generation. And Germany is the one that has a dark history behind it. Since the 90s, they have been proving that they have changed. Germany now is a part of democratic Europe. The Czech Republic simply is not forced to be democratic and welcoming refugees today. The Czech Republic and Germany, are two countries that have a different historical background which they do not share.”
The main root of Czech hesitation regarding refugee crisis is a fear of being different. The Czechs seem to be scared of anything new: different culture, people and religion. Though, the young generation is keen on helping refugees, while the old generation is skeptical about the Refugee Crisis.
The only religion mostly Czechs know is Christianity. Even though, the most of the Czech are atheists, they know what is Christianity, that is why they welcome Christian refugees. Pruchova was born after Communism regime and her generation is completely unaware and disconnected from any religion. People of her generation have no experience with different religions.
The media in Germany is neutral and educate Germans about an actual situation with refugees in their country. The media works there towards refugees, but also aware people about a different culture and any cultural barriers that can happen between two of these cultures. The Media has not changed much after the 40s in the Czech Republic. They repeat negative news and create a psychological bridge in people’s mind. The Czech Republic could produce more positive actions about the Refugee Crisis on their local media platforms. For now, it is not balanced and the media is full of negative attitude towards refugees. European citizens need to be able to make their own analysis. For now, they are just under the influence of the negative media. Successful refugees’ stories could be posted more often , so that people could see who they are and therefore be welcomed.
Written by Kristina Bakeeva.