Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sometime in the 1990's, 1994 I think, England passed the Caravan Sites Act, which decreed that Gypsies (Roma and Travelers) could only camp on Caravan Sites, which were to be like reservations for Native Americans. One of the many problems was that there were no sites decreed for Roma/Travelers. Ha.
Under the Caravan Sites Act, it is illegal for Roma/Travelers to camp anywhere which is not a designated site. But remember there were no sites. Which meant that anywhere Gypsies stopped was illegal.

Fourteen or so years later there are a few designated sites, but many more Travelers than sites. This has created an area of constant irritation and debate. Where are Travelers to camp.

Council after council has denied the right of Travelers to camp in empty fields "not designated as official sites". Talk about a conundrum.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As the economy worsens in the western world, the need for scapegoats seems to escalate in tandem. The situation of the Rroma, and immigrants in general throughout Europe is horrendous.
In the next few entries I'm going to present the situation of Rroma in various countries in Europe.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Today, I heard an interview on the radio with a Danish man, one of the creators of the Living Library concept.
The idea is that people from various groups, usually those marginalized in society, agree to talk with people one on one. The goal is to learn more about a group you know through stereotypes and prejudices.
The "living books" have included Gay people and Lesbians, Atheists, Muslims, gang members, Holocaust Survivors, immigrants, Roma....

People meet at the library and can "check out" a living book for up to 30 minutes.

Many who have participated in the events report an increased understanding of others points of view. They have also reportedly been more inclined to challenge their assumptions in general about those unlike themselves.

The first Living Libraries were held in Denmark in the early 2000's. The early experiments were very successful and the idea spread throughout Europe. Living Libraries have now been held all over the world.

The Bainbridge Island (WA) library is one of the first in the US to engage in Living Library. They are holding the event tomorrow Sat. 25 Oct 2008.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The Republican Party has spent more than $150,000 on clothes, makeup and accessories for Sarah Palin since the Republican Convention. Wow.
What happened to the sweatsuits and sneakers many hockey moms wear?
Wonder what "Joe Six Pack" thinks of that.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I guess it's a sign of the times.

Waterford Crystal has announced plans to fire most of its Irish workers and move its factory overseas.

More than 280 specialist workers, including those involved in glass blowing and hand-cutting of lead crystal will be fired in the coming months.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


We're down to the wire in the effort to get Dina Babbitt's Auschwitz watercolors returned to her. She's 86 years old and ailing. The Auschwitz Museum Board is meeting in Nov. We are hoping at this time a compromise can be reached concerning Ms. Babbitt's paintings of Roma inmates of Auschwitz.

I encourage everyone to send an e-mail to the Director of the Board. Anyone interested can e-mail me directly for the address.

More information on Ms. Babbitt can be found through a Google search. There are also several entries on this blog, including one dated Sat. 26 Aug.



An entrepreneur in the Czech Republic recently bought a former mental hospital with the intention of rebuilding it into luxurious apartments.

After his development plans were met with opposition, he threatened to move 50 Romani families from their dilapidated slum into the the former mental prison.

As tourism is booming in the area and Czech landowners prefer their Rroma remain invisible in their squalor, panic ensued.

The Rroma are simply being used in this battle over property and this situation
has increased already dangerously high tensions against the Rroma.

The irony that this controversial proposal concerns moving Rroma to a mental prison does not escape me.


The first article is about the rise of racism against all immigrants in Italy. What started as attacks on Rroma is escalating into violent attacks against all "others".

The second is a statement from European Rroma concerning the urgent needs of Rroma people

Check them out.

If you can't get to the articles, go directly to



So, I think the big news out of the last debate was John McCain's accusing ACORN of destroying the fabric of American Democracy. Wow. The unceasing attack on community organizers. I worked with ACORN in the 1970's in Denver and even then they were doing good, hard work trying to get affordable living for everyone.
ACORN is being accused of everything from voter fraud to causing the financial collapse of capitalism in the US.
When it comes to voter fraud the Republicans set the bar. Wish Obama had mentioned Florida or Ohio in the last two presidential elections.

Mounted police attacked anti war protesters, many of them Iraq veterans, last night outside the debate at Hofstra University. There are pictures on the Internet of battered demonstrators laying at the feet of baton wielding police. About 20 protesters were arrested. Let's talk about the fabric of democracy. What happened to the first amendment.

Speaking of protests, on Oct. 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown led the failed raid on Harper's Ferry. He was subsequently hanged.

I read a good article from Alaska Radio on Sarah Palin and Native Alaskan rights. She has launched attacks against Native People's right to subsistence hunting and fishing rights, tribal sovereignty and indigenous languages.
Go to
to find the original article.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


As the economy worsens around the world so does the oppression of the Rroma, and immigrants in general. The need for scapegoats increases exponentially in hard times. Talk about blaming the victim. In this economically harsh time, the US Government just opened a new,expensive, hi-fi border control office

Today on KUOW, the Seattle NPR station, one of the emcees talked about Gypsy music and how it released her inner Gypsy. I'm so sick of that kind of trivialization. Of all people, someone employed in broadcasting needs to know better. Despite the romantic images, the truth is that if she were Gypsy, chances are she'd be experiencing prejudice and oppression. She wouldn't be welcome anywhere and her camp would be burned down. She'd have no work.
I just got a letter from a 51 year old man who has been alienated from his culture (Rroma) his whole life because of the oppression his parents and grandparents experienced. This is such a familiar story for Rrom. Pretend you are something else. It's safer. Wonder how that fits in with releasing his "inner Gypsy". His parents and grandparents were chased all over Europe because of their "Gypsiness".

M. Ahern has sent you an email

Below is a connection to a very good article on the Rroma, specificially in Italy and Kosovo. The article provides a connection to a video on the situation of the Rroma in Italy

Al Jazeera.Net

M. AHERN ( wants you to see following article

Roma student offers beacon of hope

( )

Also he/she attached you the following message:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fw: Romanian Government Urged to Respect European Court Judgments

The following statement concerns attacks against Roma in the town in Romania addressed in the movie SUSPINO: A CRY FOR ROMA. No Roma from Hadareni has received any compensation for the lose of life and property suffered in racist antiRoma attacks.
Unfortunately, conditions of and attitudes toward the Rroma throughout Europe continue to deteriorate. As economic situations worsen, the need for a scapegoat seems to intensify. Roma are those scapegoats.

--- On Mon, 10/6/08, European Roma Rights Centre <> wrote:
From: European Roma Rights Centre <>
Subject: Romanian Government Urged to Respect European Court Judgments
Date: Monday, October 6, 2008, 6:45 AM

ERRC Action in Support of Romanian Activist's Protest against Government Inaction
Budapest, Bucharest , 6 October 2008: Today, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) sent a letter of concern to Romanian authorities, drawing attention to the hunger strike of human rights activist Istvan Haller and calling on the government to take measures to monitor and safeguard Mr Haller's health.
On 2 October 2008, Mr Haller declared a hunger strike over the persistent failure of the Romanian Government to address the serious rights violations caused by three anti-Romani pogroms in the early 1990s in Hadareni, Plaiesi de Jos and Casinul Nou , Romania . Following European Court of Human Rights judgments in these cases, the Romanian government undertook to implement community development projects that included the setting up of infrastructure, as well as anti-discrimination, educational and other social measures. To this day however, the Government has failed to fulfil its legal obligations.
In its letter, sent to Romanian President Mr Traian Basescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Lazãr Comãnescu and Mr Gruia Bumbu, Head of the National Agency for Roma, the ERRC called for the implementation of community development programmes in the noted Romanian Romani communities, and announced its intention to file a brief on the implementation of the judgments with the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers in view of its forthcoming Human Rights Meeting on 2-4 December 2008.
The full text of the ERRC's letter is available on the Internet at: ERRC Letter Hadareni-Haller.
For further information, contact Theodoros Alexandridis, ERRC Staff Attorney, .

The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at
To support the ERRC, please visit this link:
European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200
Fax: +36.1.413.2201

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Planned Parenthood announced today that they have received over $1 Million dollars in donations made in Sarah Palin's name. The McCain-Palin campaign headquarters receives a thank you note for each donation. What a great idea.
Another form of community organizing.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


October 4, 1970, Janis Joplin was found dead in her Hollywood home. She'd be 65 years old today. I still miss her.

Pope Benedict and the Vatican continue to surprise me in their support for the basic rights of Rroma/Sinti in the European Union. They have even argued against the fingerprinting and other fascistic policies toward the Rroma in Italy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Below is a link to an article on Dina Babbitt and her attempts to regain her watercolors of Roma in Auschwitz.

For more information please see this blog date Saturday 26 Aug. 08.

People are being asked to send messages to the Holocaust Museum in support of Ms. Babbitt.

These messages may be sent to

Mr. Piotr Cywinski, Director
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
Oswiecim, Poland

Lolo Diklo is sending a letter of support for Ms Babbitt. We have been told that at this time all support is vital, but especially from Roma and or Rom groups.
I encourage everyone to send their support for the return of Ms. Babbitt's work to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.

Fw: History Claims Her Artwork, but She Wants It Back

--- On Thu, 10/2/08, <> wrote:
From: <>
Subject: History Claims Her Artwork, but She Wants It Back
Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008, 8:51 AM

The New York Times E-mail This
This page was sent to you by:

ARTS / ART & DESIGN   | August 30, 2006
History Claims Her Artwork, but She Wants It Back
A dispute over Gypsy portraits painted under the Nazi gun.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008


The Romanian government has recently launched a media campaign to help Romanian immigrants. The ads are focussed in Italy, where discrimination against Roma from Romania has been increasing at alarming rates.

Unfortunately, however, the ads seek to distance "regular" Romanians from "those degenerate Roma".

Though the government denies this is racist, the headline of the ad campaign states


By the way, oppression and prejudice against Roma in Romania is escalating also. That's amazing because the level of oppression in Romania is, and always has been very high.

By the way, the first photo is of traditional Roma women (and girl) in Romania.
The second photo is of Romanian immigrants in Spain. That's one of the photos in the HI, I'M ROMANIAN, NOT ROMA, campaign.
Hi ho.


Oliver Kaufman Crawford, 91 years old,died last week. He was one of those blacklisted in the "Red Scare" of the 1950's. Amazingly, he secured employment in TV and went on to write for shows such as "Star Trek", "Bonanza" and "Perry Mason".


1958----The Ameican Express Credit Card made its official debut. Oh my. And just look where that's gotten us.
1964----The Free Speech Movement began at the University of California, Berkeley.


Several weeks ago I received an e-mail urging me to make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name. Seems this idea was originally thought up by Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times columnist and radio host.
To date, the e-mailing has generated more than 31,000 donations totaling $802,678 as of Saturday 9/27/08.
Great going Patt.

The US military command was quick to state that there has been no violation of US airspace by Russia regardless of Sarah Palin's claims of vigilance against Russian warplanes in US airspace over Alaska. She cited this vigilance as one of her foreign policy credentials.