Czech-German Relations Today
The Czech and German sides met. They made an agreement. Smiles were exchanged. He handed her 1000Kč, left her at the bus shelter where they met and drove off in his Mercedes.
Forget the pomposity of the Czech-German Declaration and its associated fora. The real face of Czech-German relations today can be found on the E55.
For the past three years, Bonn and Prague have gone through the difficult ordeal of creating a formal Declaration. As torturous as it was pointless, the Declaration was primarily about history or perhaps about trying to get away from history. Yet all the official negotiations about the meaning of the past that has surrounded the fruitless document and all the academic discussions that have been conducted over the past few years have consistently ignored a real problem between the two countries that exists today.
Prostitution on the E55 is the serious issue between the two countries today that few seem willing to talk about. The problem is not just a moralistic one regarding prostitution itself, and it is not just a matter for the villagers of Dubm who have seen their community destroyed in recent years. This aspect of Czech-German relations has severely unpleasant consequences: hundreds of unwanted babies. 50 unwanted babies are abandoned by prostitutes every year at the maternity ward in Teplice alone. Some are born with syphilis or are born HIV positive.
I have heard Czechs say that it is not their problem because the prostitutes on the E55 are mostly Roma. Leaving aside the uncivil racism inherent in such statements for the moment, it is time to realise that this issue does affect all citizens of the Czech Republic no matter what they think their blood-line is.
In the first place, there is the question of money. Who is paying for these poor children while they are in the hospital and then in the orphanages? You, the taxpayer of the Czech Republic, of course. Furthermore, though I am sure that the orphanages do their very best with the resources available, what will happen as these unwanted children grow older? Not having grown up in a stable environment with loving parents, are they not more likely to be the cause of further social problems that end up costing the Czech taxpayer more money? The German side should recognise its financial responsibility in this matter.
More important than money naturally is the moral aspect of the problem. These children are being given no chance in life. People have a moral obligation to look after them, even the dark-skinned ones that no one wants to adopt. People also have a moral obligation to see to it that fewer of these children are created in the first place, and that means getting at the root of the problem itself: prostitution. If the Czech Republic and Germany do not feel that they can ban the practice, the sex industry at least needs to be regulated so that pregnancies and disease transmission can be kept to a minimum.
This could be a point for real co-operation between Bonn and Prague if politicians could pull their heads out of the past for just a moment and realise that real problems exist here and now. Together, the governments could work on education programs, law enforcement and perhaps even shaming some of the customers using video as the police chief in Dubm has suggested. Forget declarations about the past, and forget the pretentious rhetoric of reconciliation. Deal with today. Hello, Discussion Forum, discuss this. Hey, Fund of the Future, help these poor children to have a future.