Czech rock musician Radek Banga is engulfed by a wave of death threats for his anti-Nazi gesture

5. 12. 2016


Czech rock musician Radek Banga has become the target of a wave of ferocious racist attacks on Facebook.

A Czech neo-Nazi rock group Ortel has won a popular pop-music competition "The Czech Nightingale". The competition is based on voting by the general public.

During the "Czech Nightingale" award ceremony, when it was announced that Ortel had won the competition, singer Radek Banga, who was in the audience, stood up and left the hall. The ceremony was televised. Since the broadcast, he has been receiving thousands of death threats on his Facebook profile.

The comments include the following:

"The gentleman with the strange moustache did not finish his work during WWII. Pity. This country would now have been  free of the darkies."

"A double dose of gas should be used for this fucker."

"Dirt. Burn them to death."

"Banga! You will go!"

"Gipsy boy, your insolent brown face will be bashed in."

"Banga, die, you racist swine."

"Banga is a gypsy and is afraid of gas just as all those immigrant fuckers."

"Gas all the Roma!"

"Banga, you are just a black clown, a pitiful darkie. The Ortel rock band are patriots who are not indifferent to what is going on here."

"Banga, this was a CZECH nightingale. What were you doing there, you Indian immigrant!"

Most of these instances of hate speech, which have been published on Facebook, are criminal offences under the Czech Criminal Code, punishable by three years' imprisonment, but the Czech police does not investigate these crimes and Facebook does not remove these instances of hate speech from its pages.

During the Second World War, the Nazis killed many members of Radek Banga's family. This is why, he says, he made his anti-Nazi gesture and left the ceremony.

"I would like to ask my colleagues, the singers, the TV presenters, the actors, the sportspeople. WHOM DID YOU APPLAUD? YOU APPLAUDED NAZIS. I hope you will be able to sleep," said Radek Banga on his Facebook profile.

He added in an interview broadcast by Czech Television: "I am very deeply affected by the current rise of the extreme right. My family was sent to a concentration camp. My wife's family also. My three great uncles and my grandfather were active in the anti-Nazi resistance. One of them fell as a regular soldier of the Czechoslovak army. The other two were arrested by the Gestapo and died during bombing. Only my grandfather managed to survive the concentration camp."

A handful of Czech singers have expressed solidarity with Radek Banga, but most of them have remained silent. Most of the Czech celebrities stayed in the hall and clapped when the neo-Nazi band was given the award. Singer Lucie Vondráčková approves of the fact that the Czech nightingale award was given to a neo-Nazi band: "I think it is good that there is a variety of styles and views." The - Roma - singer Lucie Bílá criticised Banga for his anti-Nazi stand: "It was wrong for Banga to make this gesture. We live in a beautiful country and we should value this. We should regard each other highly and Banga's gesture was unnecessary. These are things which you do not say. And if you want to say them, you should say them in private."

In March 2016, Czech documentary film maker Vít Klusák filmed an Ortel concert which took place in the North Moravian city of Frýdek-Místek. During the concert and after it, the audience openly raised their arms in a Nazi salute, chanted Sieg Heil and other racist chants.

Vít Klusák told Czech Television: "I was really horrified that the stars of the Czech show business openly tolerate the neo-Nazism of the Ortel rock band. This is really serious because the show business celebrities function as role models for so many people."

Czech pop singer Dan Bárta said that most Czech show business celebrities simply want to appear on television at any cost and will do anything for this. They do not have any moral scruples. Singer Vojtěch Dyk agrees: "Popularity means that you really try hard not to antagonise anyone. So it is important for the celebrities NOT to make any clear ethical statements."

Another singer said: "These are not such artists as would be willing to take a moral stand. They are simply entertainers. And entertainers will applaud anyone, even a neo-Nazi."

Source in Czech: "Stavidla nenávisti (Waves of Hatred)" - a report broadcast by Czech public service television (in Czech) HERE

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