People in excluded locations have worse living conditions and a worse starting line. The state, which has resigned to the problem since the 1990s, is also to blame, says Hospodářské noviny reporter Martin Biben. According to him, it is the people living in these areas who can decide the elections, as sociological surveys have already shown at least once.
They have poorer access to the labor market, poorer conditions to find an adequate job that would support them, poorer access to education and poorer access to housing. According to Biben, however, the state is not interested in people who live on the outskirts and in excluded locations.
“Since the early 1990s, the problem has been developing here, and no one has ever really dealt with it at the national level. Before the elections, politicians always say that these people should not vote for the extremist parties. They will vote for them anyway, and that will put the debate to rest for the next four years, and so on. it keeps repeating,” explains Biben.
The fact that the opposition is made up of populist and extremist parties is a sad result of our politics and the development of the political scene over the past 34 years, and one of the reasons for this, according to the reporter, is precisely the neglect and lack of care for people on the peripheries. “I’m not just thinking about people in those excluded locations, there are maybe 100 thousand of them in the country, but I’m thinking about the entire strip of the former Sudetenland and not only that. Even within the regions, there are peripheral zones where people have worse living conditions, and nobody deals with it.” adds the reporter.
“I myself don’t quite understand why politicians are not willing to deal with it. Maybe they find it unattractive. However, it turns out later that these people decide the elections. We could see it, for example, in the second round of the presidential elections in 2018, when Miloš Zeman won above Jiří Drahoš. There, the statistics clearly showed that Zeman was able to mobilize exactly these people – people in foreclosures and excluded locations,” says Biben.
You can watch the entire interview in the video below or listen to it in your favorite podcast app. What were its main themes?
0:34-4:20 Hospodářské noviny journalist Martin Biben has been traveling to peripheral areas and excluded localities for reports for several years. How has the situation of the people who live here changed over the years? Do people feel like they have been forgotten? And are they willing to talk to journalists?
4:20-8:27 Did Biben himself have any prejudice about people from excluded localities? And is there anything that pleasantly surprised him?
8:27-13:53 About what motivates women to engage in prostitution and what makes the sex business in excluded locations specific.
13:53-21:18 What is responsible for the low quality of life of people in excluded locations? Is it a systemic problem of the state, the individual responsibility of individuals, or both? Who exploits the situation of people from excluded locations and what does the business with poverty look like? Who benefits from it and according to Biben, how should the state intervene? How could the quality of life of people from these locations be improved?
21:18-24:38 What could be the reasons why people from excluded locations often fall into drugs?
24:38-27:52 About the conflict between minorities in excluded localities and why, for example, in Krupka in North Bohemia, it was not a dispute with Ukrainians, but with Moldovans, and how this confusion occurred.
Spotlight – Martin Biben. | Video: Blahoslav Baťa