Prague, Politics and Drugs

Editor's Desk

Mitchell A. Belfer

Prague, Politics and Drugs

In 2009, Czech(oslovakia) surpassed the 20 year threshold it had previously held regarding its unhindered independence. Now, independent for nearly 25 years, the Czech Republic boasts a vibrant national character and, unfortunately, runaway political ineptitude. But somehow the political problems seem not to affect the country's civil society, which carries on its daily tasks and ensures a degree of stability despite the constant political swaggering and the corruption.

Think again!

Some people have fallen deep between the cracks and form a sub-society that contrasts vividly to the quaint yet exciting life of those living above the surface. It is here where the lack of prudence on the political level is most acutely felt for there are seemingly thousands of people throughout the country that require attention for drug rehabilitation, employment training and retraining, single parenting, basic hygiene. While such services do exist, they are terribly underfunded and, as a result, under-utilised.

The mainstream discourse tends to regard the underclass as Roma but not all drug addicts or homeless are Roma and not all Roma are homeless and drug addicts and in any case such labeling misses the point. There are people who need the government to perform its duties and not squander the nation's wealth on political adventurism. Think about President Zeman's power play; how much is it costing tax-payers? It rattles the brain. And these resources could be better spent fixing old problems that are conveniently hidden from the public eye.

That is until you walk through the park in front of Hlavni Nadrazi (the main train station). Within seconds you are confronted with scenes of social carnage. Substance abusers sprawled over the grass, needle tracks, glue bags, ripped clothes, human excrement. The stench is enough to drive a person to tears. There is scant humanity in that park; only those bustling by to get to and from the station with horse blinders on, afraid to make eye contact with the dispossessed.

Even though most people simply walk on, the park - and others like it around the country - poses an incalculable public risk. It is a miracle that instances of violence in the area are rare. That will change as the gap continues to grow and the problem is not addressed.

For a country that has so much to offer it is a shame that such an underclass has been allowed to fester. Instead of inspecting each government for what it does, it is time to start looking at what they do not do and hold the political class to account for allowing their bickering to prevent the fulfillment of their true responsibilities, to each and every person who lives on the territory of the Czech Republic. Only then could it be said that the communist era is truly over!

2020 - Volume 14 Issue 2