September 2015. People seeking refuge from war and poverty are on the move. Europe is shaken by terrorist attacks. Suddenly all are more concerned with identity, putting pressure on domestic issues of ‘otherness’.
Begun in early October 2015, the film’s reflection on the underlying conditions that lead to discrimination of “the other” became more and more relevant given the great influx of asylum-seekers entering Europe. After the Paris attacks in November 2015, the unprecedented election victories by anti-immigration platforms and rising anti-EU sentiment across Europe, multiculturalism as a societal goal in Europe began facing its greatest challenge since the 1920s.
In the Czech Republic, Romani children have been disproportionately placed in de facto segregated or special schools for the mentally disabled for generations. In November 2007, the European Court of Human Rights found the Czech Republic had unlawfully, indirectly discriminated against such children in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Because little has changed since then, the European Commission also began infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic (and Slovakia) over discrimination against Romani children in education.
Judgments against these states could not only be costly, but could also provide political ammunition to advocates of leaving the EU. Such a turn of events would close these societies off, be disastrous for Romani people and other marginalized groups, and harm the EU and the larger project of a peaceful, democratic Europe.
In this film, you will meet Czech and Slovak Romani immigrant children, several considered ineducable by their own societies, as they thrive in a new school, in a new language, in an equitable environment in the UK. You will also meet children in the Czech Republic who are breaking through the biases of ‘us and them’ as they redefine what is possible.