If we have to leave here, we will only go to another place at the edge of town

Interview with Lido inhabitant


I – Interviewer from Vagus Civic Association

R - Respondent

LIDO, Klokočova

I: Why did you pick this particular spot?  

R: We grew up here, in old Petržalka, ever since I can remember. We’ve been living here for forty years, why should we live somewhere else?

I: Specifically, in this garden – section of LIDO, you’ve been living here for 40 years?

R: I remember this place since I was a little boy. I lived right here, over the water. Back then, there weren’t any roads. There wasn’t anything, not even the bridge. Only orchards – plums, cherries, apricots, peaches…

I: What is better here than in other sections of city?

R: It’s peaceful here. This is the fourth level of protection, nothing’s going on here, zero crime rate... The police know that we’re here and they have it under control. 

I: What is available for you in the vicinity?  

R: Everything. When we need gas, we go to the gas station, when we need electricity, we go to the other side – it’s real close, when we need to go to a shop, there’s one right there and there’s another and another… Nothing is far away, everything’s close. If you want to meet your friends, you can do it in 5 - 10 minutes.

I: So around here you’ve also built relationships, since you’re originally from Petržalka.  

R: Yeah, everybody knows us here. Since everybody knows everybody here, theoretically everybody is from here.

I: Is your life in this location beneficial in some other way?   

R: It’s beneficial because the city doesn’t have any problems with people like us. I don’t need to go and beg there; I don’t need to go there at all. Actually, we clean the garbage created in town. People like us do it for free, without asking for money. If you look at it in a certain way, we take care of 10 to 15 percent of the garbage.

I: Do you pick up the garbage regularly?  

R: We use it. We have a guy here who collects metal. He collects everything that people get rid of in the center.  If somebody kicks us out of here, where will they kick us to? Perhaps back to the center.

I: If you really will be sent away from this place, what will be your alternative?  

R: The alternative would be that most of us might fight it.

I: In what way?  

R: In a way that they can do whatever they want. What will they do? Will they chase me out of here with guns?

I: So, for now you have no reason to think about another place.  

R: What’s another place? When you go to Rača, what does it look like there? Like, can we even can fit in there? Whose vineyard are we going to take over? Again, only somebody’s who has it legally. And that somebody will again fight with us. By sending the police, he’ll send the law. And what for? I came over here, and no law bothers me here, nobody kicks me out. Ask people who live here. Maybe they have a problem because I burn garbage, because I have no place to put it...

I: What is your relation with the neighbors?  

R: Good, I have no problem with them. We don’t ask for water, we don’t want electricity.

I: So, this is a safe place, the neighbors don’t cause any troubles?  

R: No, they don’t make trouble, why would they? If we had a problem then what? We would make trouble day and night. No one would come here even to repair a car, or to visit, they wouldn’t be able to bring children here.  Now, anyone can come anytime. Nobody will even notice us when passing by. 

I: Has anyone told you that the construction of New LIDO should start soon?  

R: I’ve known about it for about 10 years, it was in the Petržalské noviny newspaper.

I: Was anyone personally here?  

R: Two guys in an expensive car were here and they argued about how many dumpsters it would cost to take everything down. It was maybe two or three weeks ago. We didn’t talk to them.

I: Do you have a feeling that the pressure from developers has become more intense?  

R: More intense in the sense that now they’re trying to resolve it through the law and through the police. But they haven’t been successful because the police are glad that we’re not in town, we don’t cross their path and make trouble. We’re too old for that. 

I: Have you seen the visualizations of that project?  

R: I have, I took it out of the newspaper. I don’t remember it exactly, but I know it will mostly be made of glass and some sports facilities should be here.

I: What do you thing about how it looks?  

R: It wouldn’t be bad looking. But if they’re going to build here, they should help people like us.

I: Has somebody offered you something like that? For example, replacement housing?  

R: We don’t need replacement housing. Let them give us regular work and we’ll find housing on our own. 

I: However, nothing like that has happened yet…

R: And it couldn’t. I don’t have to go to the employment office or the city to get a job, because I was in jail three times. So, nobody would give me a job working with people or money... Various people are here with various characters, that’s why we’re outside society. We’re not bad people, but they don’t believe us. 

A: If this project is implemented, what are your possibilities?  

R: None. We would have to leave everything except the stuff we need the most and disappear to another place at the edge of town. Basically, the city would push us out more and more. A closed-up neighborhood would be created and that would be the end.

I: So, do you perceive the fact that people are scattered in various city neighborhoods as a positive thing.

R: Yes, certainly.

I: Is there something you’d like to add?  

R: I’ll say only this much. If the developers want to come here, they should first go around and see all the people, ask them about their living options, abilities, etc. Based on that they should pick people who have skills and give them work, the possibility to move to container houses outside this area – perhaps past the Prístavný most bridge. They could build a small town, 4-5 container houses. They could put people like me there. I like gardening, this one will guard it, this one will get over his health issue and will be a fighter, he won’t be causing problems…

Photo credits: Andrea Kalinová