Friday, January 30, 2009


The following article was published by
Prepared by EveryOne Group:

Rome - The police are combing the Roma camps of Rome around th clock, following two episodes of attacks and rapes in Rome and Guidonia, according to a report by Everyone Group.

“The fact that there are those who exploit the victims’[i] suffering in order to carry out a campaign of racist and xenophobic propaganda arouses our indignation. It should lead the Italians to reflect on the moral barbarization that intolerance can bring about in a modern country” said EveryOne Group representatives.

The police operations are very spectacular and are carried out with the use of helicopters, police dog units and armed men in uniform. The interventions are carried out both during the day and in the dead of night, causing serious problems for the Roma families. The operations foment racial hatred in the local people, who are often present at the police operations shouting insults and threats at the Roma and yelling at them to leave the country[ii].

During the police manhunt, the details of 500 Roma were taken, while 20 were arrested on charges that had nothing to do with the rapes. The local people, however, witness these “spectacular” arrests and the intolerance increases. In the meantime the politicians and the authorities sound the “rape alarm”, pointing their fingers at the Roma without any evidence to back it up.

A few hours after the media had given the news of the attack gangs of racists destroyed some makeshift shelters in the Primavalle Roma camp. The police immediately completed the operation and bulldozed the camp leaving 50 people homeless (including many sick people and 20 children). As always, their only sin was being Roma and happening to live near the scene of the attack.

January 27th, 2009 – police have arrested six Romanian citizens (who are not from the Roma ethnic group).

However, newspapers and TV news are continuing to blame the crime on the Roma, even if they belong to a different ethnic group from the arrested men. A furious crowd tried to lynch the arrested men, while all over Rome a series of violent acts are being carried out against the Roma. In this climate, Ministers and member of the Lega “Nord” party are fomenting this xenophobic wave by proposing chemical castration to “protect society”[iii].

Those responsible for the rape are not Roma, and the culprits’ responsibility, according to both Italian and international law, is individual. Extending the guilt to the whole of the Romanian population is a terrible abuse. We must also point out that in 2008 EveryOne received dramatic testimonies of rape that young Roma women suffered after they found themselves helpless in the hands of racists (especially in Northern Italy). These crimes took place after the police had cleared the settlements and taken their husbands to police headquarters - yet nobody has ever taken action against this “invisible” drama.

On the wave of the intolerance aroused by these cases, the institutions have announced the employment of 30,000 more soldiers to work alongside the police on the streets of the major cities[iv]. It is to be noted that already back in 2008 the Ministers of the Interior and Defence initiated a project to increase the number of soldiers in the cities to 30,000, investing a total of two billion euros a year. The Prime Minister defined the Roma, immigrants and the homeless “the evil army” and “the enemy” to be combated using these troops[v].

On January 25th, in the city of Guidonia where the rape took place, a group of about twenty Italian neo-Nazis (members of Forza Nuova) carried out acts of violence against immigrants and Roma[vi]. Four of them attacked immigrants from Eastern Europe.

There is a concrete possibility that someone is trying to raise the level of xenophobia to repeat the effect generated by the brutal Giovanna Reggiani murder - maybe by accusing innocent people from the Roma ethnic group of rape. It is a line of conduct went along with by the Neapolitan magistrates who recently sentenced a young Roma girl called Angelica to 3 years, 8 months’ imprisonment without any proof and on the mere evidence of an Italian mother who had accused her of trying to kidnap her baby. EveryOne had already demonstrated that the charge was unfounded at the time. Angelica’s lawyer has made an official protest against this unjust verdict[vii]

For some years now EveryOne Group has been monitoring the Roma settlements in Italy very carefully. It pays particular attention to the situation of the Roma families of Romanian origin who are being subjected to true policing and judicial persecution[viii] However, deliberately put-up cases against the Roma are not only confined to Romanians.[ix]

It is now obvious that organized racist groups are now at work in Italy. They have never been investigated by the police, they act, unfortunately, without any hindrance from the authorities and with the tacit support of the majority of the press and media. There have been no arrests or sentences following assaults on the Roma people, or the arson attacks on their makeshift shelters. And no action has been taken when on several occasions the members of EveryOne have reported, not only brutal assaults, but also orchestrated attempts to attribute to the Roma particularly hateful crimes capable of inciting public opinion and the media.

It is just as evident that a press and political campaign is underway aimed at criminalizing the Roma people by setting public opinion against them. This has allowed an appalling number of brutal camp clearances, intimidation, de jure and de facto expulsions of entire Roma families and judicial errors.[x]

For example, the case of the kidnapping of little Denise Pipitone, a crime constantly attributed to a hypothetical “gypsy” woman, in spite of all the evidence leading to Italian kidnappers; and the case of the “Roma racket” where, according to the Milanese authorities, children were forced through torture and threats to carry out thefts amounting to millions of euros every year. The truth of the matter was that they were children from families living in conditions of terrible hardship who were involved in petty theft[xi]

Then we have the “attempted kidnapping at Ponticelli”[xii] which led to young Angelica’s prison sentence: it was an authentic set-up, announced months before with the creation of an anti-Roma committee and the participation of members of the Camorra who had set their eyes on the land the Roma community were occupying.

Then again, the attempted child snatching in Catania[xiii], thanks to inquiries carried out by EveryOne, we were able to convince the authorities the charge was unfounded.

In the meantime in the large cities there have been cases of police officers beating up Roma citizens then making false and unfounded accusations against the victims. Typical cases were the assaults on Stelian Covaciu[xiv] and Anton Caldarar [xv] video. (whose story appears in a video on our website). EveryOne also demolished another absurd case, that of the so-called “gang of Roma women robbers”[xvi]

EveryOne Group has also pointed out how some of the particularly horrible crimes attributed to the Roma ethnic group seem to happen just before restrictive measures are taken (either by the government or local authorities) against the liberty of the Roma community. Measures carried out in order to facilitate the expulsion of Roma families from Italian soil.

We remember the case of Giovanna Reggiani, which took place shortly before the approval of the Prodi government’s “security package”; the cases of Ponticelli and Catania, which took place before the Berlusconi government’s “security package”; the case of the Roma torturers and the child pickpockets at Milan’s Central Station during the “Sociality Pact” debate in Milan (resulting in an authentic racial law)[xvii]; and the case of the assault on two Dutch tourists by the Romanian shepherds Andrei Vasile and Paul Petre just before the visit from the European delegation to inspect the Roma settlements in Rome.

And now, just after the European Commission has published its report condemning the institutional persecution of the Roma in Italy[xviii], here we have two gang assaults with violence and rape, which have already been attributed to the Roma community in the capital by the media. “Inhuman Violence. Police comb the Roma settlements,” writes ‘Il Corriere della Sera’. Italy has to answer for its xenophobic and racist actions to the European institutions, but now its operations appear justified by the “criminal and ferocious nature” of the Roma people.

Over the past few months the EveryOne activists have collected together the testimonies of Roma people who have been approached by Italians asking them to commit illegal or morally ambiguous actions. The coincidence of crimes ascribed to Roma citizens, the racist measures and the need to justify them, would lead us to suspect there is a real danger of deliberately set-up cases finalized at criminalizing the Roma ethnic group.

The Giovanna Reggiani murder presents several disconcerting breaches and procedural flaws in the investigation, beginning with the fact that the authorities declared they had found blood on Mailat’s face and under Mrs Reggiani’s fingernails (after she had inflicted deep scratches on her assailant’s shoulders). No DNA results, however, were included in the legal proceedings in court and it appears that they have instead gone missing. The key witness, Emilia Neamtu (on whose testimony Mailat was sentenced to 29 years’ imprisonment) is an unreliable witness, suffering as she is from a serious psychotic illness. What is more, there are testimonies of strange contacts between some Italians and Romanian Roma in Rome shortly before the crime took place.

We are convinced that the investigation should be repeated in a more objective fashion. The same goes for the attempted kidnapping at Ponticelli, which led to a young Romanian girl, Angelica, being sentenced without proof. We now have reason to fear that the new series of attacks carried out in Rome - which have triggered off this new “witch hunt” – are part of the same plan.

The 29th January 2009 the four romanian confessed the rape[xix] and finally the auhtorities officially stated that they were not Roma people. However the initial accusations of a hypothetical “gang of Roma wearing balaclavas” spreaded racial hatred and provideed racism with an alibi. In fact such accusations have created abuses on Roma an Romanian People [xx].

We are therefore asking the European authorities to keep a close eye on the situation in Italy in order to prevent further abuse from the police and magistrates being carried out against the Roma people. We also ask for the present political and press campaign to be stopped as its aim is to criminalize the Roma ethnic group in Italy. EveryOne Group is also asking for new in-depth inquiries to be carried out into the Giovanna Reggiani murder (the key witness, Emilia Neamtu, has now returned to Romania where it is possible to talk to her without any pressure from the Italian authorities) and the Ponticelli case (Soccorso Legale Napoli is in possession of all the evidence that proves the innocence of the young Roma girl, and the judicial errors carried out in the legal procedure).

Let us remember that intolerant movements have often, throughout the course of history, attributed brutal and ferocious crimes to unwelcome minorities in order to justify their repression. It is no coincidence that in the years when the Nazi-Fascists were power Jews and gypsies were described as negative stereotypes whose rehabilitation was considered impossible.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


UN Today Guilty of Denying Romani Holocaust

We are enraged by the exclusion of Roma from the UN Holocaust Memorial Day, this is regardless of the mercyless slaughter of Romani in the genocide of Second World War. This is an effective denial of history and another example of the refusal to acknowledge the suffering of Romani from an institution charged with its protection.

This compounds arguments that the UN is inept to operate on the behalf of the world and is afraid to commemorate history, for fear that it will offend and become unable to deal with bigoted voices opposing such a memorial. The members of the UN have not accepted their own Romani populations and so consider us to be a nation less people. Why must we constantly seek recognition and basic human rights?

We are an international presence and our voice can not be suppressed again, after 60 years of abandonment and relentless persecution in we are once again condemned to an undocumented history. Requests as to how such a ceremony can be considered a Holocaust memorial if it is not all encompassing were met with silence. The blatant denial of requests for information proves that racism is endemic in the UN and is responsible a massive international failing.

The UN can not claim to be a force for social progress if through its actions is complicit in global intolerance and permits the continued persecution in every nation, from bias in judicial systems to the casual disregard for basic human rights of Romani. It can not be considered ‘An Authentic Basis for Hope: Holocaust Remembrance and Education’, rather an affirmation of our continued segregation and slow eradication.

Ivan Vesely

Dzeno Association

Sdruzeni Dzeno
V Tunich 11
120 00 Praha 2
Czech Republic


On 22 January 1888, Louise Michel, an anarchist and participant in the Paris Commune was wounded in an attack on her life. She testified for her attacker, urging his acquital, because of her lifelong campaign against the penal system.

Interestingly, after the slaughter of the Communards, Louise Michel survived. She was dragged before the court and the judge released her, laughing and saying that she was the ugliest woman he'd ever seen. His decision was based on his belief that no woman SO ugly would have any impact on society.

He was proven very wrong after Michel continued to live a life of political activism.

Yesterday was the United Nation's Holocaust Remembrance Day, which excluded all involvement of Roma/Sinti. Our political organizations continue to be ignored or stonewalled by the United Nations, which should be ashamed.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Dosta! Go beyond prejudices, discover the Roma.

"Dosta", the Romani word chosen for the Council of Europe current campaign for Roma rights, means "enough!"

Roma rights are violated every day in Europe. Roma workers are refused jobs, their children are refused places in schools. Roma communities are often considered as marginal, and are victimof social exclusion.
Roma are European citizens: they form a group of about 10 million people and can be found in almost all Council of Europe member states; in some Central and Eastern European countries, they represent over 5% of the population.

The address below will take you to a good slide show of the Rroma/Sinti of Europe.

Sorry, you'll have to cut and paste the address.


Romani/Sinti in North America are protesting the United Nation's outrageous decision to ignore the suffering of the Roma/Sinti people in the Holocaust Remembrance day (1/27/09). This in spite of all the antiRoma sentiment and actions throughout Europe today.

We are also protesting a recent episode of CBS' Criminal Minds which depicted the Roma in the United States as murderers and thieves.

I will post more extensive information as the plans take form.

If anyone has information, ideas..., they can reach me by leaving a comment on the blog or by e-mailing me directly at

We are actively seeking the help of lawyers to pursue legal cases.


Radical simply means "grasping things at the root."
Angela Davis

Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo - obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.
Angela Davis

Today is Angela Davis' 65 birthday. That fact is amazing considering that she was once on the FBI TEN MOST WANTED LIST, and the orders were shoot to kill.
Angela is a life long Communist and political activist. She is also my personal hero.
The main focus of her work today involves the prison system, and anti racism.

Happy Birthday Angela

For more information on Angela Davis please visit these websites.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Berlusconi's Frighteningly Successful Racism
by Adetola Lawal

Two days after the United States Presidential Election, Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, said to the President of Russia, President-elect Barack Obama “has all the qualities to get along well with you: he’s young, handsome and suntanned, so I think you can develop a good working relationship.” This statement was harshly rebuked by Italian politicians as being racist. Berlusconi’s opponent in the last Italian election, Walter Veltroni, went far enough to say that his comments “seriously damage the image and dignity of our country on the international scene.” Unfortunately for Italy, this statement is insignificant compared to the racism rampant in the Italian government and population at large. The Roma (Gypsy) are an ethnic group that emigrated from South Asia to many countries primarily in Southern and Eastern Europe almost a millennium ago. For many centuries, Europeans have been at odds with the Roma community due to their cultural differences and physical appearances. The Roma have experienced injustices for centuries including losing their children, suffering discrimination, and even being forced into labor.

Italy is no different from many European nations in that there is conflict between native Italians and Gypsies. However, today, the magnitude and scope of the conflict is uniquely Italian. Berlusconi, shoring up support from extreme-right political groups in Italy such as the openly racist Northern League and previously fascist Alleanza Nazionale, has moved to pass extremely repressive legislation that would “identify immigrants as the chief source of Italy’s economic and social problems.” This legislation included several stipulations that called for fingerprinting of all Roma to reduce crime, jailing of illegal immigrants, increasing police authority, confiscating the property of illegal immigrants, as well as the immediate expulsion of all immigrants upon possession of a criminal record. The shocking parallels Berlusconi’s government has with Hitler’s may have gone unnoticed in America but not by the rest of Europe. The EU has declared that the fingerprinting is “an act of discrimination based on race and ethnic origin” and that the Italian government should “refrain from collecting the fingerprints from Roma, including minors.”

If the quasi-fascist government of Berlusconi is scary, the behavior of some Italians has been downright appalling. Jean-LĂ©onard Touadi, Italy’s only black Member of Parliament, recognized this saying “with an economic crisis under way, Italy has found a scapegoat to blame its woes on.” This chilling indifference to the plight of Roma was displayed this summer on a beach in Naples after the drowning of two teenage Roma girls. After a sunbather put a blanket over the two corpses, other sunbathers on the beach continued to resume their activities as if nothing had happened, some even relaxing only a matter of feet away from the corpses. De-humanizing hatred towards the Roma is not an isolated incident. Gangs burned down Roma camps in Naples due to the uncertain allegation by an Italian woman that a Roma girl tried to steal her child. In some cases this racist behavior has not just been condoned by Italian politicians, but encouraged. Northern League leader Umberto Rossi declared before the pogroms that “it is easier to destroy rats as [to] wipe out the gypsies.”

According to a recent newspaper survey, almost two-thirds of all Italians support the expulsion of all Romani, even those with Italian passports. This de-humanization of a segment of Italy’s population is indicative of a hard right government becoming fascist, and unfortunately non-binding resolutions by the European Union do little to stop these actions. Italian xenophobia is not limited to just the Romani; it extends to African immigrants as well. In soccer games it is not unusual for fans to boo every time an African touches the ball and to yell “Die!” when African players are injured. One chilling example of such sentiments comes from Giancarlo Gentilini, mayor of the Italian city of Treviso, who openly said “I don’t want to see any blacks, browns, or greys teaching our children” and “I want our streets cleansed of all the ethnics groups that are destroying our country.”

Reminiscent of America only a quarter century ago, police brutality against Africans in Italy has gone on nearly unchallenged. In the Italian city of Parma an innocent Ghanaian student was beaten by the police under false allegations that he was helping a drug deal while hurling racial slurs at him. These policemen are being investigated but hide behind Berlusconi’s legislation that has expanded the authority of the police. Interestingly enough, in another parallel to Hitler, Berlusconi’s government passed legislation that granted the Prime Minister immunity from all criminal courts. These abuses of power by Berlusconi’s government, supported by racists and fascists, have gone too far and are not likely to stop anytime soon without serious, enforceable, condemnation of these acts. With Italian discontent with the economic recession rising, and a more militant government expanding, the recipe for a twenty-first century Nazi Germany is nearing completion.

In his first term, President-elect Barack Obama should let Berlusconi know under no uncertain terms that the actions he and his government are taking are completely unacceptable. Obama should also reinforce that America will be watching and will not be afraid to publicly rebuke Italy if the government continues to sanction human rights violations. With Obama’s clout and position he could help persuade the European Union to impose sanctions on Italy similar to those placed on Austria for its extremely far-right government in 2000. This includes measures such as preventing Italian ambassadors from having meeting at an inter-governmental level with other European nations. Oh, and finally, Obama may want to help Berlusconi with that tan.

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Friday, January 23, 2009


The following article appeared on BBC NEWS ONLINE

Roma Holocaust victims speak out

Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January is an occasion for Jews and Roma (Gypsies) to remind the world how their families were terrorised and butchered by the Nazis in World War II.

Roma in Vlasca, a village in southeastern Romania, told the BBC's Delia Radu about their wartime ordeal.
The wartime suffering of many Roma villagers is not well documented

The Roma people of Vlasca - traditional metal workers called Kalderash - are closed and inward-looking. They are reluctant to talk to anyone from outside the community.

It took weeks of negotiation to hear the accounts of Holocaust survivors in the village.

Historians often call it "the forgotten Holocaust". Up to 500,000 Roma are believed to have died in mass shootings and Nazi gas chambers.

Recent studies have brought more of their suffering to public attention, but to this day little is known about the Roma targeted for persecution and extermination by the allies of the Third Reich on the eastern front.

The men are the first to speak - and later, when it is the women's turn, they leave the room.

Dumping ground

Sandu Stanescu remembers how, in the early summer of 1942, some policemen installed a table by the road, covered it with papers and made lists: Roma families, extended families, communities - shatras.
Antonescu (left) was an ally of Hitler on the Russian front

The Nazi-backed ruler of Romania - military dictator Ion Antonescu - had just received his reward for attacking the Soviet Union: Trans-Dniester, "the land beyond the Dniester". It was a chunk of land in the east, between the rivers Dniester and Bug.

The territory, most of it part of today's Ukraine, became Nazi Romania's ethnic "dustbin" for Jews and Roma.

Conveniently the nomadic Roma had carts and horses and the police only had to escort them across the border.

But as soon as the convoys reached Trans-Dniester, the Romanian authorities confiscated everything.

"We lost our carts, horses, all our baggage and all the gold our fathers had hidden in the carts' shafts," Mr Stanescu says.

See maps showing Romania in 1942 and today

In freezing cold, with no food, thousands of Roma were marched towards the river Bug. The survivors were forced to live in camps of flimsy hovels on the outskirts of war-torn villages, or in stables on deserted collective farms, to provide forced labour.

"My father, Mihai Gheorghe, died there, my mother Maria died there, both my brothers died there," says Mihai Gogu.

"They died because of the bitter cold, because there was nothing to eat and you couldn't wash. I think filth was the main killer: lice were crawling everywhere, like teeming ants in an anthill. That was our ordeal."

Scavenging for food

One man speaks of "beatings, disease and bitterness in the fields".

My mother... managed to find another way to sneak back into the village - we waited and waited, fearing she might never come back

Mihai Iorga

Mihai Iorga recalls how his mother had "brought with her some embroidered pieces of cloth, like those ones people arrange on walls under the icons".

His sharp grey eyes are moist and he stands in the middle of the gathering to tell the story better.

"She tried to sell those in the neighbouring village, for food. But a Romanian policeman and a Ukrainian guard saw her, beat her badly and threatened to shoot her. She rushed back home crying.

"Me and my brothers begged her not to go again. But the following day off she went. She did what she did and managed to find another way to sneak back into the village.

"We waited and waited, fearing she might never come back... But lo and behold, there she was, carrying two buckets of potatoes and sweet cornflour! Oh, how we hugged her, how we kissed her! She then baked those potatoes straight on the flame because we were left with nothing, not even a pan or dish for cooking.

"Afterwards she managed to find a small tin. She melted some snow in it, there was no other source of water, and made a nice tiny polenta. It was so good! We felt so good!"

In 1944, when the war front moved west and the Romanian administration withdrew from Trans-Dniester, the Roma had to walk back hundreds of miles, "covered in mud, covered in bitterness".

A teenager at the time, Mihai Gogu was the only survivor in his family and saw many children dying on the road.

"We walked back, barefoot. Parents carried children on their shoulders. But time and again, one of these little ones would slip and fall off the grown-up's back. They died of hunger."

Mihai Iorga's father was taken ill and died during the return journey. It was his mother who managed to see her children safely to Romania.
Vlasca's Roma are close-knit and maintain a traditional lifestyle

Girls targeted

The men leave, the women enter in their flowery scarves.

During the deportation pregnant Roma women were killed because they were unable to walk fast enough.

"A heavily pregnant woman was shot before my eyes," Maria Mihai recalls. "She fell on the ground. And the baby started struggling inside her."

The women remember how their mothers had to find water and food miles away from the camps, there were long queues at the wells, sometimes the water sources had dried up. They remember their mothers making clothes out of thick brown paper potato sacks.

But most stories revolve around the constant fear of being raped by the armed guards.

"Both my parents died. I was only a girl, in the flower of my youth. That was very dangerous. They tried to take us young girls by force," says Natalia Mihai.

There were horsemen hunting women and little girls hiding under their mothers' long-layered Gypsy skirts.

"Once they put a gun at a girl's neck and raped her, something like a whole committee raped her and they were shouting and chanting," says Floarea Stanescu. But Natalia Mihai asks her to stop: "Don't remind me of all that, I feel like dying".
Maria Mihai says she and fellow Roma were reduced to eating dog meat

A report by the International Commission for the Study of the Romanian Holocaust says the number of Roma victims in Trans-Dniester is difficult to establish, mainly because the lists of deportees were negligently put together.

Some 25,000 Roma deportees are accounted for and the number of dead is thought to be 11,000. According to the report, half of the deported Roma were children and the women were frequently subjected to brutal sexual attacks.

Now that the Roma women in Vlasca have finished their stories, the men are back.

Both groups make a few final comments about the food in Trans-Dniester. "The Ukrainians used to catch those underground creatures, moles, you know", says Maria Mihai. "They skinned these animals and either ate them or sold them to us."

"Yes," says Mihai Iorga, "I ate moles too, on the banks of the Bug".

"And when we saw those moles, we wept with revulsion," continues Maria Mihai. "And we ate dogs, too… Yes, dead dogs, sweet Jesus, we were given dog meat, too."

"But in the summer, the mussels in the Bug were a luxury," says Mihai Iorga. "She knew how to cook those, my poor mum."

Most of the Holocaust survivors in Vlasca have received compensation via the International Organization for Migration, in Geneva. The IOM says survivors and their close relatives receive up to 7,000 euros (£6,590; $9,070) each.

The compensation is paid under an IOM partnership with Germany.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The thing that positively blows me away is that with over 2 million people in Washington DC for the inauguration, the DC police report NO arrests today. The same was true on the night of Obama's election. Though people took to the streets in every city in the United States, no arrests (in connection with the festivities) took place.
I'm awed.


European Roma and Travellers Forum
Press Release

Roma ignored at the UN Commemoration of International Day in the memory of the holocaust

Strasbourg, 16 January 2009: Today, in a letter addressed to United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon the European Roma and Travellers Forum expressed its indignation at the decision to exclude the Roma Holocaust from the commemoration ceremony.

Mr. Kawczynski, president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum said this decision did not honor the United Nations, which should be at the forefront in respecting the memory of persecuted populations.

“The Holocaust was the implementation of the Final Solution, Hitler’s genocide programme intended to eradicate the genetic contaminants in his plan to create a master race. Only Jews and Roma were subject to the Final Solution, and both peoples lost the same percentage of their total number. However, since the end of the war in 1945, nothing has been done to acknowledge the Romani survivors” said the ERTF president.

Mr Kawczynski reminded United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon of his statement at a Press Conference on 14 December, 2006 where he strongly maintained that “Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community ”

He added that the United Nations’ decision to exclude Roma from Holocaust remembrance therefore clearly contradicted his views and only perpetuated the marginalisation of the Roma people in the historical record. The Roma continue to face exclusion and discrimination at all levels.

Mr. Kawczynski asked the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon for a meeting to discuss the increasing discrimination and marginalisation of Roma in member states.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), which has a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe and a special status with this institution, is Europe’s largest and most inclusive Roma organisation. It brings together Europe’s main international Roma-NGOs and more than 1,500 national Roma organisations from most of the Council of Europe’s member states.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Here are two e-mail addresses if you want to contact the United Nations about their decision to exclude Rroma/Sinti from the upcoming Holocaust Remembrance in New York.

Please see below entries for more information about the exclusion.

Mona Gillett, Dept. of Public Affairs at the United Nations
Kimberly Mann, Manager of the United Nation's Holocaust Outreach Programme.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


by Bill Templer

The president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum, Rudko Kawczynski, has expressed outrage at the decision by the U.N. to formally exclude the Roma from its commemoration ceremony on International day in Memory of the Holocaust, January 27, in the General Assembly Hall in New York City. He noted that "the Holocaust was the implementation of the Final Solution, Hitler's genocide programme intended to eradicate the genetic contaminants in his plan to create a master race. Only Jews and Roma were subject to the Final Solution, and both peoples lost the same percentage of their total number. However, since the end of the war in 1945, nothing has been done to acknowledge the Romani survivors."

The European Roma and Travellers Forum, based in Strasbourg/France, is Europe's largest and most inclusive Romani organization, bringing together Europe's main international and national Romani NGOs and organizations. The Romanies across Europe, from Britain to Turkey, continue to face exclusion and discrimination at all levels. Regarding the January 27th commemoration, the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army, no Romani representation was sought. Inquiries from Romani leaders have gone unanswered. Prominent Romani activist Ian Hancock (Director, The Romani Archives and Documentation Center, University of Texas/Austin) stresses: "The United Nations' decision to exclude Romanies from Holocaust remembrance only perpetuates the marginalization of our people in the historical record."

The National Socialists killed between 25 and 35 percent of all Romanies living in Europe, and as many as 70 percent in those areas under Nazi control the longest. Hancock and others argue that it is outrageous that there is no inclusion whatsoever of the Romani victims of the Holocaust in the planned UN event. Letters of complaint questioning this decision can be directed to Ms. Kimberly Mann (at, manager of the United NationsHolocaust Outreach Programme.

Gypsies under Fire in Gaza

This exclusion from the space of history and memory comes against the backdrop of the assault on Gaza, where a number of Domari Gypsies, direct cousins of the European Roma, have become victims of the Israeli onslaught. In so doing, the Israeli political class and its conscript army have viciously trampled upon a centuries-old bond of solidarity specifically between Jews and Romanies.

Amoun Sleem, head of the Domari Society of Gypsies in East Jerusalem, has noted: "We receive a lot of information and alarming signals from Dom families. Many Gypsies have already lost their lives, and many more have been left wounded. Those who are left live in fear and despair, worrying about what is yet to come. The ones living in Gaza have often lost everything they had." Her organization is seeking material help to aid distribution of food boxes to some 1,000 Palestinian Domari families in dire need in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as blankets and clothes for the needy Domari Gypsies who are bombed out or have fled their homes in Gaza.

The Dom community constitutes an impoverished and discriminated underclass in Palestinian society, and likewise across much of the Arab world, Turkey, and West Asia, including occupied Iraq Amoun reflects: "Although the Dom consider themselves Palestinian, their non-Arab ethnicity elicits such intense abuse that nearly 60% of the Dom community has failed to complete elementary school. Unskilled and uneducated, the Dom are locked into a cycle of dire poverty and derision."

The work of the Domari Society in Palestine is exemplary in the Arab world. In this dark hour of brutal massacre in Gaza, it is mobilizing to assist its community under Israeli military attack -- the close Asian cousins of that other pariah people who in Europe suffered together with Jews in the Nazi extermination camps.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Gitane Restaurant: Release the Gypsy in your Soul!

The following is an on-line ad for a new restaurant.

I am so sick of racist/romantic stereotypes used to sell products. I wonder how many Gypsies are going to profit from this new "boutique".

"Claude Lane is becoming the new Beldan Alley for boutique style cafes in the Financial District or FiDi to some of us... The latest addition is called Gitane or Gypsy in English. Gypsies are known for their bright colors in dress and in their music, art and food. Exec. Chef Lisa Eyherabide brings an eclectic melange of dishes popular in Turkey, France, Portugal and the Basque region of Spain.
Prices are reasonable and the drinks list as exotic as gypsies."

What exactly does exotic mean?
Being cold and hungry, living in poverty, forced to live on abandoned lead mines, beaten by right wing military groups, sterilized against your will, fingerprinted by the government, burned out of your houses, denied your humanity...?

Friday, January 16, 2009


--- On Fri, 1/16/09, Morgan Ahern <> wrote:
From: Morgan Ahern <>
To: "Punkajia Focarile" <>
Date: Friday, January 16, 2009, 5:56 PM


On 27 January 2009 the United Nations' will hold its annual observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall in New York. No Romani representation was sought. Requests asking why and for inclusion from several Romani agencies, including the Union Romani and the IRU to both Ms. Mona Gillet ( of the Department of Public Information and to Ms. Kimberly Mann (, manager of the United Nations Holocaust Outreach Programme, have remained unanswered. The one answer that was received consisted of a reminder that the UN had underwritten an exhibit on Roma at the Hungarian Mission, and had hosted the reception of a Romani delegation earlier in the year.

The Holocaust was the implementation of the Final Solution, Hitler's genocidal programme intended to eradicate the genetic contaminants in his plan to create a master race. Only Jews and Romanies were subject to the Final Solution; both peoples lost the same percentage of their total number. Nothing was done to acknowledge the Romani survivors after 1945. The United Nations' decision to exclude Romanies from Holocaust remembrance only perpetuates the marginalization of our people in the historical record.

Ian Hancock

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Early in January, 8 Gay/Lesbian bars in Seattle received letters threatening that patron's drinks were going to be poisoned with Rictin in the next several weeks.
The Stranger newspaper also received a letter.

The good news is that the bars remain open and busy and the community response, including that of the Mayor of Seattle have been very positive and supportive.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Jerusalem 10 January 2009

Dear Friends,

After our letter informing about the situation in Gaza we received many voices of support and willingness to help. I would like to ask you to support our action, and make lives of Gypsies in the Holy Land easier.

Our organization would like to provide the most needy members of Domari community from the West Bank, but also Gaza with food boxes. Lack of food and poverty are one of the biggest problems for our society, and they require an immediate solution. As many as 1000 families need our help, and the estimated cost of one box amounts 200 NIS (equal to 40 Euro or 50 USD). Each box will contain rice, sugar, tea, milk, flour, vegetable cans and other necessary items. For traditionally big Gypsy families (often having as many as 6 children) that kind of help will be of big significance.

We also are in touch with charitable organizations who are able to transport food, clothes or blankets to Gypsy families in the Gaza Strip.

Your contribution can be sent via PayPal to Mr Valery Novoselsky, founder of Roma Virtual Network, our brother and supporter.

PayPal account:

We will be extremely thankful for any kind of help given to us in these difficult times. Let’s do not give up hope of witnessing peaceful days, in the same time working for making our today better.

May God bless you all

Amoun Sleem

Domari Society of Jerusalem
P.O. 51488 Jerusalem (Al Quds)
GSM: +972 (0)54 2066210

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I've added a link to MundiRomani which will take you to a great series of films on Gypsies worldwide.


The following letter appeared in the UN Observer.

As the director of the Domari Society of Jerusalem, an organization taking care of Dom people, I would like to give you some insight about the realities of our life.

I am saddened to inform you about the plight of our Gypsy sisters and brothers in Gaza. They live together with Palestinian people, thus also becoming the victims of the conflict. Until now the people in Gaza Strip did not have an easy life, it was riddled with poverty, anxiety and lack of hope.

Recently, the situation is really miserable. We receive a lot of information and alarming signals from Dom families. Many Gypsies have already lost their lives, and many more have been left wounded. Those, who are left live in fear and despair, worrying about what is yet to come. The ones living in Gaza have often lost everything they had. It is heart breaking for us, also because our ethnic group, already small, is decimating. Watching our relatives suffer is not easy as well.

On the behalf of Gypsy community from the Holy Land, I would like to ask you to remember about us, and keep our troubles in your minds. The Gypsies should stand united and supportive of each other, in order to survive and protect our culture.

I do hope and believe something could be done, to make the life of Gaza Gypsies a bit better.

Let’s pray for peaceful times to come, as well as take action to make the world a better place.

We count on you and your support. It is important for us, that the people know the facts and mishaps we face.

May God bless you and keep you safe!

Amoun Sleem
Domari Society of Jerusalem
P.O.Box 51488, Jerusalem (Al Quds)


For the ones who would like to assist the victims practically:
Bank account:
Domari Gypsy Organization of Israel
REG: 580350890
Mercantile Discount Bank ltd.
Sallah Eddin Branch no. 638, Jerusalem
Account No. 503878

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Helen Suzman, 91, the South African anti-apartheid activist died Thursday in Johannesburg. She won international acclaim as one of the few white lawmakers to actively fight against the injustices of the apartheid regime and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She was the only white person to regularly visit Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment.


Israel troops marched into Gaza.

As many as 20,000 ground troops are involved in this assault.