Monday, June 29, 2009

RrOMA/SINTI AND THE HOLOCAUST


From
PR-inside.com

Roma seek recognition at Holocaust conference


2009-06-29 21:28:03 -


PRAGUE (AP) - Gypsies attending an international conference on the Holocaust said Monday the suffering they endured at the hands of Nazis during World War II has never been fully recognized.
«We are still fighting for the recognition of the genocide of the Roma population during the war,» said Cenek Ruzicka, a prominent Gypsy leader. The nomadic Caucasoid people found throughout the world also are known as Roma.
«The Romani Holocaust still has to be studied,» said Ruzicka, who wants the Czech government to create a fund that would finance research of Roma suffering and properly compensate the few survivors still alive today.
Jan Istvan is one of them.
In December of 1942, he escaped from a place where the Nazis herded Czech Gypsies before transporting them to death camps. He was lucky and made it out alive. His parents and six siblings died.
«Nobody survived,» the 88-year-old told The Associated Press in a recent interview.
Up to half a million European Gypsies, also known as Roma, are believed to have died at the hands of the Nazis during the Second World War _ along with 6 million Jews. Others were sterilized or subjected to grisly experiments.
It is a little-explored and tragic part of history that many experts and survivors say deserves more attention.
«Roma were subject to the same Holocaust as Jews,» said Felix Kolmer, a vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee and one of the organizers of the conference who invited Ruzicka to talk at the five-day gathering.
Ruzicka used the meeting to address a thorny issue _ a communist-era pig farm and vacation resort on the grounds of two former camps where hundreds of Czech Roma died.
One of these camps was in Lety, 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Prague, where some 1,300 Czech Roma were sent between August 1942 and August 1943. While 327 people died there, many others were taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
The second camp, known as Hodonin u Kunstatu, was located in the eastern part of what was then Czechoslovakia. Of the 1,360 Roma detained there, 207 died.
«Nobody can challenge the facts,» Ruzicka said. «You don't build pig farms or enjoy your vacation at places like that.
The Czech Human Rights Ministry has been planning to build a center for studying Roma culture in Hodoninm, but there are no plans to remove the pig farm. Instead, the government has offered to upgrade a nearby memorial in honor of the victims.
To Istvan, still haunted by his ordeal, the reticence to officially recognize what he and his family went through is a slap in the face.
«I wonder from time to time how is it possible that it was me who survived?» he said. «That starvation, that poverty, that beating _ that time when people ceased being humans.
The Nazis, together with Czech police, deported him and his family to Hodonin u Kunstatu in June 1942.
«Conditions in the camp were harsh,» Istvan said, adding that family members were separated from each other and that many people died of starvation and infectious diseases.
Only about 10 percent of some 6,500 Gypsies living on occupied Czechoslovak territory are estimated to have survived. Of the roughly 5,000 who were transported to Auschwitz and other camps, 583 returned home.
To this day, Europe's 7 to 9 million Roma still face widespread prejudice.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND


The following is a story which appeared on BBC online.
I hope one of the lessons learned by the local police is that Roma from Romania are ROMA NOT ROMANIAN.
One must ask how bad things in Belfast really are if the Roma would willfully return to Romania where institutional racism and discrimination are well documented.



'Lessons learned' on race attacks
The police have said they did not know enough about the concerns of Romanian families who fled from their south Belfast homes after a spate of attacks.

Most of the 100 people involved - members of the ethnic Roma group - are to return to Romania. Twenty-five have already left, 75 are planning to go.

Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said lessons had been learned.

A 19-year-old man arrested over the intimidation of Romanians has been released on bail pending inquiries.

Assistant Chief Constable Finlay said: "We didn't, probably, know enough about the Romanian community.


“ It has been difficult for us to get connections, particularly with the Roma community in Belfast ”
Naomi Long Lord Mayor
"We didn't have the ability to, perhaps, reach in and understand what was going on in their lives and what their fears and apprehensions were, and perhaps we came to that slightly late.

"What we are seeing now is increased dialogue with the Romanian community. There is no support network for Romanians in Belfast and that is something everybody is keen to see supported."

However, Barbara Muldoon of Anti-Racism Network said while she welcomed the comments, last week's attacks were a repeat of similar incidents dating back six years.

"I think the police were incredibly slow to act over the last week, didn't do what they ought to do, now they say that they've learned lessons," she said.

"But we've been here before, we've heard this before, when are these lessons going to be learned?

"When are we going to have a situation where people don't return home because they have no confidence that the police can protect them?"

Reputation

Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long said the council had tried to make contact with the Roma people.

"It has been difficult for us to get connections, particularly with the Roma community in Belfast," she said.

"The council has tried to engage with them but because of their experiences of discrimination in other parts of Europe, it has been difficult.

"It has been an extremely damaging time for our international reputation and one of the challenges moving forward is how we try and engage these people who are involved in these attacks."

Emergency funds provided by the Housing Executive are to be used to fly the Roma families back to Romania.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities said it was likely the remaining families would leave before the end of the week.

Police do not believe paramilitaries were involved in last week's attacks, which were condemned by all political parties.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8116102.stm

Published: 2009/06/24 09:24:53 GMT

© BBC MMIX

Thursday, June 25, 2009

MINUTEMAN AMERICAN DEFENSE



There's been a resurgence of white supremacist and anti immigrant activity throughout Europe and the United States.

Here is the story of Shana Forde.

After she was thrown out of the minuteman civil defense for being TOO RADICAL, She helped establish the minuteman american defense organization.

The main premise of minuteman american defense is that it is their job to "patrol America's borders", especially the Mexico/US border. They blame high crime rates on "illegals".

Last week, Forde and two of her cohort white supremacists were arrested for the murder of a father and daughter during a home invasion/robbery. They also shot the mother, but she survived and managed to wound and identify the invaders.

They are being investigated for other crimes. It seems they finance their anti crime anti immigrant activities through home invasion and murder.

Ho hum.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

EUROPEAN UNION


The plight of Europe's Roma
Recent attacks in Belfast show that discrimination against Roma is on the rise and that Europe must act now to protect them.
Robert Fox
Tuesday June 23 2009
guardian.co.uk

They are not the smallest nation of Europe, but they are among its most discriminated-against people. Events in south Belfast last week pointed up once more the plight of the Roma, who face discrimination and violence in some half-dozen countries of the EU.

This month's European parliamentary elections saw the return of two members of Hungary's Jobbik party on a blatantly anti-Roma ticket ? though they phrase their appeal as being against "Gypsy crime". Though the Roma have inspired generations of musicians in Hungary, violence against the Roma community there has become steadily more pronounced since the end of the cold war. In the early 1990s a Budapest punk band used to strut its stuff to such lyrics as "The flamethrower is the only weapon I need / All Gypsy adults and children we'll exterminate".

Attacks on Hungarian Roma have been increasing and there have been seven gruesome murders in under a year.  The Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary movement associated with Jobbik, is accused of a string of attacks on Roma including burning families out of their houses. Similar attacks have been reported in the Czech Republic, where Roma have been forced into some 300 ghettos in the past decade.

The BBC reported that several of the Roma women attacked in Belfast wanted to return to Romania as they believed they would get better treatment there. The problem is that the attitudes against the Roma have been hardening in eastern Europe as much as in western Europe. The European parliament has passed a powerful resolution to ensure equal opportunities and rights for the Roma, but with very little practical result. 

The resolution passed by the Strasbourg parliament in November 2007 followed the furore in Italy after the wife of an Italian naval officer, Giovanna Reggiani, was raped and murdered as she walked from a suburban railway station in Rome. The following day police raided a number of Roma squats and camps on the outskirts of the capital and a 24-year-old Roma, Nicolae Romulus Mailat from Vurpar in Romania, was arrested and charged. Demands for the "return" of Roma to Romania grew, and when Silvio Berlusconi returned to office in May 2008 he proposed registering and fingerprinting anyone identified as a "Gypsy".

The following summer, thugs, abetted by Camorra gangster bosses, trashed Roma camps in and around Naples. One of the charges levelled against the "zingari" of Naples was that a Roma adolescent had broken into an apartment in one of the better-heeled parts of the city to seize a baby. Such charges against marginal social groups are very common, and in Italy it was seized on to justify raids on around 700 Roma encampments and shanty towns.

As the Belfast incidents illustrate, the Roma face irrational fear and prejudice. They are one of the most elusive cultures of Europe: loosely bound by a common sense of identity and a collection of common tastes and expression, most notably in wonderful music. No one knows how many there are, nor where exactly they came from. Estimates of their numbers vary between 4 and 12 million, because Roma are fearful of identifying themselves in official census returns, particularly in southern and eastern Europe.

Migrations of some of the Roma started from India and south-west Asia in the dying days of the Roman Empire ? hence the name "Roma", from "Rumelia", the old medieval term for the rump of the Byzantine Empire in the Balkans. One group was supposed to have hailed from Egypt, hence "gitanos" in Spanish and the English term "gypsy". The pattern is one of a mosaic, with no one dominant language, ethnicity, or even faith; some now arriving in northern Europe are Muslim, while others are Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.

In Communist eastern Europe the Roma did relatively well in terms of state assistance, but in recent years they have fallen desperately behind. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia male Roma unemployment can be as high as 70%. Educational standards have dropped, and girls as young as 12 are still subject to forced marriages.

Some of the most serious prejudice is silent. The BBC persisted in referring to the victims of the Belfast bully gangs as "Romanian", not mention their Roma status for some days. Viktoria Mohacsi, a Roma member of the European parliament, says that the Hungarian police often refuse to recognise the recent attacks on her community as hate crimes. "They said it was illegal moneylenders or that it was Roma killing each other."

The Economist last year described the Roma as Europe's "bottom of the heap", pointing out that their treatment was both shameful and wildly impractical ? "excluding an Ireland?size group of millions from the labour market? is a colossal waste of human potential".

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

THE TYPE-WRITER


On 23 June 1868, Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for his invention, the "type-writer".

The typewriter not only changed the methods, speed and clarity of communtications, but it marked an important turning point in the lives of women.

Monday, June 22, 2009

MYANMAR


Two members of Aung San Suu Kyi's party were sentenced to 18 months in prison for the crime of praying for Suu Kyi's release.

The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi by the military court in Yangon is scheduled to resume in a few days.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

HORTENSIA BUSSI


Hortensia Bussi, 94, the widow of Chilean President Salvador Allende, died Thursday in Santiago, Chile.
After the assassination of her husband, Bussi helped lead opposition to the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, established in a bloody coup, sponsored by the United States in 1973.

She was the mother of author Isabel Allende.

RICK STEVES


FROM
seattlepi.com

The following is an excerpt from Rick Steves review on the PI online.
This is the second time in a month that I have published Rick's anti Roma comments. So what is his story?

"...We drove by a Gypsy camp switchbacking from the Mediterranean coast up into the interior of Montenegro. Our guide explained the local Gypsies don't want to go to school and don't want to work. I commented that they don't want their children to be taught lifestyles that threaten their nomadic ways. The camp was absolutely filthy. Our guide said, "That's their aesthetic." I couldn't really imagine a society with an aesthetic to be sloppy...as if moms bark at her kids, "You can't go out to play until you mess up your room."

All over our world, nomadic cultures like the Roma (or Gypsy) culture are struggling ' I think because they're at odds with societies that require fences, conventional ownership, and non-nomadic ways. I wonder how many nomadic cultures (American Indians, Eskimos, Kurds, Gypsies) will be here in the next generation.

Cresting the mountain into the Montenegrin heartland, we came to a village that looked like it had no economy. Then a man took us into a big, blocky, white building that looked like a giant monopoly house. He opened the door and we stepped inside, under tons of golden ham peacefully aging. It was a smokehouse ' jammed with five layers of hanging hamhocks. Our Montenegrin friend stoked up his fire, filled the place with smoke, and we filmed. More industry than you realize hides out in sleepy villages...."
Rick Steves 17 June 2009

WORLD REFUGEE DAY



Today, 20 June 2009, is World Refugee Day, declared by the United Nations.

Circumstances get continuously worse for refugees and asylum seekers worldwide.

Last night there was another attack on a Roma family in Belfast, and in Hungary....

and the beat goes on.....

Friday, June 19, 2009

AUNG SAN SUU KYI


Today is the 64th birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi who remains "disappeared" in a Myammar prison.
How quickly the press forgets.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND


From Associated Press

NI politicians condemn attacks on Romanians
By PETER MORRISON and JILL LAWLESS – 1 day ago

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — The thugs used bricks and bottles to drive more than 100 Romanian Gypsies from their homes in a wave of attacks. On Wednesday, the victims were sheltering in a community center after a church plucked them off a Belfast street.

The grim images from this week — families carrying possessions in bundled blankets, a mother clutching her 5-day-old baby — are more evidence of rising anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, but also of a situation unique to Northern Ireland: new fault lines in its tragic history of ethnic divisions.

About 20 Romanian families, carrying their belongings in suitcases, duffel bags and blankets, were being sheltered on the community center's indoor tennis courts. One man carried an accordion, while parents gripped the hands of young children and some women covered their heads with jackets and sweaters to avoid being photographed.

The families were taken in by the City Church on Tuesday after youths attacked their homes in a working-class neighborhood of south Belfast, smashing windows and hurling threats. Local authorities moved them to the roomier community center Wednesday morning. Some said the attackers had guns, but there were no reports of serious injuries.

"They made signs like they wanted to cut my brother's baby's throat," said one man, Couaccusil Filuis. "They said they wanted to kill us."

Police said the racist attacks started last week, with gangs smashing house windows and attacking cars. The violence flared again on Monday when youths hurling bottles and Nazi salutes attacked an anti-racism rally called to support the migrants.

Belfast City council press officer Mark Ashby said the majority of the victims were Roma, or Gypsies, from Romania.

Romania's Foreign Ministry condemned the attacks and urged British authorities to take measures to avoid more racist violence.

Marian Mandache, from the Romanian Gypsy NGO Romani Criss, said the Northern Ireland violence was the latest in a disturbing trend of attacks across Europe.

"Starting with Italy in 2007, there have been waves of ... racist attacks against Roma," said Mandache. "Afterwards, there were attacks in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania."

The Northern Ireland government said the displaced Romanians would be given temporary accommodation in Belfast. But many said they wanted to leave Northern Ireland.

"We want to go home because right now we are not safe here," said a woman who gave only her first name, Maria. "We want to go back home to Romania, everybody right now does."

Racial tensions are rising across Europe as the pace of migration grows and the economy worsens. Far-right parties picked up seats in many countries in elections for the European Parliament earlier this month. The whites-only British National Party, which calls for the "voluntary repatriation" of immigrants, increased its share of the vote and won its first two European seats.

Europe's 7 to 9 million Roma people face widespread prejudice in Romania — where estimates of their numbers vary between 500,000 and 2 million — and other countries. The European Union's rights agency has said Roma face "overt discrimination" in housing, health care and education, despite many government programs designed to help them.

Since Romania joined the EU in 2007, thousands of Roma have moved west to richer European countries, where many live in squalid camps with no access to health services, education, basic sanitary facilities or jobs. More than 700 encampments have been built in Italy, where Gypsies have been met with hostility and blamed for begging and street crime.

Northern Ireland has only a tiny Romanian population — fewer than 1,000 people, according to a government estimate.

But a number of Romanian Gypsies have moved to Belfast since 2007 and have become a visible presence, selling newspapers on the city's streets.

"The fact is we've seen a lot of things change here — people selling the Belfast Telegraph on the streets, something you didn't see before," said Jolena Flett of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities. "They are easily identifiable.

"When people are looking for a fight, as a lot of people are now, just because of frustrations in their own lives, anything will spark it off."

Northern Ireland's surge in racist violence over the past few years has coincided with the decline in Northern Ireland's traditional conflict between paramilitary groups rooted in rival Catholic and Protestant districts.

Much of the violence has been blamed on Protestant youths, who once would have vented their anger against Catholics or joined outlawed pro-British paramilitary groups.

Racist attacks have become especially common in south Belfast, a diverse area that is home to Queen's University, some of the city's most affluent neighborhoods and a Protestant district known as The Village, a close-knit working-class neighborhood where curbstones are painted in pro-British red white and blue.

Dozens of families, including Chinese, Africans and Poles, have been driven from their homes in recent years, and student houses — occupied by a mix of Catholics and Protestants — have been attacked by Protestant gangs.

Patrick Yu, director of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, accused the perpetrators of seeking "ethnic cleansing of all minorities out of the Village and the surrounding area."

The latest bout of racial tension in Belfast has escalated since an international soccer match between Poland and Northern Ireland sparked rioting three months ago. Flett said more than 40 Polish families had been forced out of their homes in south Belfast since then.

Police said there was no evidence the violence against the Romanians had been orchestrated by paramilitary groups, and politicians from both sides of the sectarian divide were quick to condemn the attacks.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, a Catholic and former IRA commander, said the attacks had been carried out by "racist criminals within our society who are unrepresentative of the vast majority of the people of Belfast."

"I am appalled at this situation," said Health Minister Michael McGimpsey, a Protestant from the Ulster Unionist Party. "There is no place in Northern Ireland for this kind of racist violence and abuse."

Associated Press Writers Meera Selva and Nardine Saad in London and Alina Wolfe Murray in Bucharest, Romania contributed to this report. Lawless reported from London.

SUSAN B. ANTHONY


On 18 June 1873, Suffragist Susan B. Anthony was found guilty by a judge in New York State, of breaking the law by casting a vote in the 1872 presidential election. The judge fined Susan $100 which she refused to pay.

ROMA/GYPSY HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL


INVITATION - Calling for the Third NY annual "Roma/Gypsy Human Rights Film Festival"
submission in New York City.

October 1 to 7, 2009.

Deadline for submission is July 1, 2009

http://www.gypsyfilms.org/Submission.htm

Through literally centuries of slavery, genocide, massacres, and relentless ostracizing, the Romani (Gypsy) People, who presently number around

15 million worldwide, continue to suffer unprecedented levels of violence, civilian attacks, fervent segregation, police brutality, and an appalling lack
of legitimate representation in art and media.

The Third annual NY Gypsy Film Festival taking place in October,2009. is dedicated to embracing the Roma culture and heritage of gypsies from around the world.
All screenings, Q&A's, and musical events will be held at the Bulgarian Bar, Mehanata, located at 113 Ludlow St. in the Lower East Side.

We would greatly appreciate any feedback and suggestions. Tell us via email about meaningful films dealing with issues that the Romani people are facing.

We also especially encourage any Roma/Gypsy film makers, professionals or amateurs to submit their work, considering this film festival is about the heart and substance of the issues.

Discussions with filmmakers, screenings, and events including a musical guests will be announced throughout the week.

www.gypsyfilms.org

nygypsyhumanrightfilmfestival@yahoo.com

nygypsyfilmfestival@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

FASCISM


FROM romaloloro

Pogroms in Italy, "final solution" proposed in electoral campaign in Czech Republic, Rromani children placed in schools for mentally handicapped across Central and Eastern Europe, ripped tents in France, where the Rromani families are thrown on the street, now the turn of Northern Ireland, where recently, extremist groups are targeting Rromani families originating from Romania.

Where is Europe going to? Adolf Hitler had a European project. In the immediate aftermath of World War II European states launched the European Union precisely to prevent the return of this project. There is still time to avoid this.

The Voice of Roma called the European institutions to rapidly adopt the Frame-Statute of Rromani people in the European Union, as proposed by the Rromani Activists’ Network on Legal and Policy issues (RANELPI)*. The immediate adoption of this Frame-Statute that has been endorsed by the Presidency of International Rromani Union (NGO with consultative status within UNO) and implementation of this Frame-Statute is now an emergency.

* The Frame-Statute proposal is available online in English, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish and Romanian on the website http://www.rroma-europa.eu

Association "La voix des Rroms"
50, rue des Tournelles
75003 PARIS
Tél. & fax: +33 (0)1 80 60 06 58
lavoixdesrroms@gmail.com
http://www.lavoixdesrroms.org

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

FASCISM IN HUNGARY


WORLD SOCIALIST WEB SITE
wsws.org

Hungary: What accounts for the success of the extreme right?
By Markus Salzmann
17 June 2009

The gains made in the recent European election by extremist and neo-fascist forces in Hungary and a number of other countries are a serious warning to the entire European working class. Twenty years after the introduction of the capitalist free market in Eastern Europe, fascism is once more raising its ugly head.

In Hungary, the neo-fascist Jobbik party won nearly 15 percent of the vote and three of Hungary’s 22 seats in the European Parliament. In other Eastern European states, as well as in England and the Netherlands, ultra-right parties also increased their share of the vote. In Romania, the Great Romania Party (PRM) received 7 percent of the vote, and in neighboring Bulgaria, the extreme right-wing National Union Attack party won 12 percent and two seats in the European Parliament. In Slovakia, the equally right-wing Slovak National Party (SNS), which has participated in a government coalition with the Social Democrats since 2006, received just 5.5 percent—i.e. just over the five percent hurdle necessary for representation in the European parliament.

Jobbik’s electoral success means that the party, up until now dependent on financial support from a number of rich backers, will be entitled to considerable sums in the form of European Union (EU) subsidies. In the European Parliament the party will be led by 42-year-old Krisztina Morvai. The party campaigned in the European election under the slogan “Hungary for Hungarians,” blaming Jews and Roma for the country’s advanced economic crisis and social decline.

Jobbik is the political arm of the “Hungarian Guard,” a paramilitary organization, which openly agitates against and attacks Jews, Roma, gays and other minorities.

Supporters of Jobbik or similar outfits are suspected of responsibility for a wave of murders of Roma. In February a Roma man and his five-year-old son were shot dead in cold blood as they attempted to flee their burning house, set on fire by arsonists. A 54-year-old pharmaceutical factory worker, also Roma, was shot on his doorstep in late April.

High on the list of suspects are individuals with police or military training, including perhaps veterans of the Balkan Wars or the French Foreign Legion.

Despite the gathering of DNA and other evidence, no one has been arrested for any of the crimes. This comes as no surprise since ten percent of the Hungarian police force are members of the “Ready to Act” union that has close links to Jobbik.

The Hungarian Guard was created in August 2007 by Jobbik leader Gábor Vona. Units of the group clad in black deploy in cities and communities on an almost daily basis claiming they are providing the public protection against “gypsy crime.”

Jobbik and the Hungarian Guard have been systematically supported by the right-wing Citizen’s Federation—Fidesz. During the numerous demonstrations against the country’s “socialist” government, Fidesz used its extensive party apparatus to mobilize participants and then handed over the microphone at rallies to the neo-fascists. High-ranking functionaries of Fidesz and the church were present at the founding of the Hungarian Guard. Allegedly, there have already been informal discussions over a future government coalition between Fidesz and Jobbik following the next election.

POLISH TEXTBOOKS


Tuesday, 16. June 2009 - 20:06

austriantimes.at

Polish kids learn maths by counting smelly Germans and Gypsies

Polish education officials are in hot water again - this time for a nursery rhyme book that helps children to count with rhymes that say Germans smell and Gypsies sell children.

And they have refused to apologise for the book or withdraw it - saying those that have complained should not be so sensitive.

The book follows the release earlier this year of a maths book that asks kids to work out an equation for saving as many Christians from a sinking ship as possible - while drowning as many Turks as they can - and before that a Sunday school brochure with a pic of a black child and the words: "It's a shame prayer doesn't whiten skin as well."

In the latest scandal the book of children's counting rhymes called "Entliczek, pentliczek - the best Polish rhymes" by author Joanna Furgalinska includes phrases like "One, two, three...all Germans smell of wee" or "Where are going Gypsy, one, two, three, I'm going to the market to sell some kids".

In another story in the officially backed book authorised for use in schools, a naked Jew with no money is thrown out on the street.

The author Joanna Furgalinska defended the work saying: "The content comes from old historical Polish rhymes, let's not get carried away by the over-zealous politically correct brigade.

"There is not the tiniest jot of anything offensive in this book. As soon as the PC brigade see the word Jew they instantly start shouting about anti-semitism but there is not a shred of evidence to back it up."

Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich said: "When I read it, I was just sad. I do not know whether it is anti-Semitism, but it's certainly a lack of sensitivity."

Polish mum Anna Kurczowska-Ossolinski who bought the book for her children said: "I want to teach my sons how to be tolerant towards others. If I had given them this book they would have learnt many bad things. I am sure that this book should not be given to small children."

Meanwhile child psychologists have slammed the book.

Child psychologist Malgorzaty Ohme added: "This sort of book destroys all the work of child educators. Words help create a child's view of the world, so kids will accept it all literally."

From Austrian Times

KOSOVO


COMMEMORATION
KOMEMORACIA
1999-2009

FROM: ROMANOLILORO

Ten years already!

Don't forget the ethnic cleansing and exodus of the Roma from Kosovo!

For the Roma from Kosovo, the 16th and 17th June, are a sad anniversary. It was indeed on these dates, on 16th and 17th June 1999, that Kosovar nationalists began to systematically attack the houses of Roma and other communities, forcing several ten thousands of Roma into exile. Hundreds (?) of Roma were savagely killed, women were raped, sometimes in front of their husbands and their children. Hundreds of people are still missing today.

Ten years later, the rights of Roma are still being violated in Kosovo. The few thousand remaining Roma, out of a community which had more than 100 000 people, live in fear and under precarious conditions. Their survival depends largely on humanitarian aid and transfers from their family members abroad. Excluded from the labor market, they are also absent from public institutions with the exception of parliament where one local representative acts as an alibi. The constitution does not guarantee any particular rights to the Roma, and minority rights are not applied to them.

After having suffered ethnic cleansing and an exodus, the Roma community in Kosovo is today threatened by assimilation and may even disappear entirely which does not however prevent the governments of the host countries refugees to think about the forced repatriation of the refugees.

We call today for the public recognition of the ethnic cleansing of the Roma from Kosovo. The perpetrators must be brought to justice, the victims need to be compensated.

We also call for an urgent solution to the refugee problem. Refugees should have a real choice either to return to Kosovo or to stay in their host country.

Finally, we ask for the rights of Roma in Kosovo to be guaranteed in Kosovo so that they can be free and equal citizens and for racism and discrimination to be banned.

ONG:

Ibar/URYD
Chachipe
UFAT
CCPECO
Rromano Radio
Ibar34
Rromano Phralipe

Sunday, June 14, 2009

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CAMPS AND GHETTOS 1933-1945


Nazis had 20,000 separate camps in Europe, new research finds.

IrishTimes.com

The findings of a US team could reshape our historical understanding of the Holocaust, writes MONICA HESSE in Washington

"A LITTLE more than a decade ago, researchers at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum decided to create an encyclopedia of concentration camps. They assumed the finished work would be massive, featuring a staggering 5,000 to 7,000 camps and ghettos.

They underestimated by 15,000.

Their ultimate count of more than 20,000 camps – which they reached after a year of research – is far more than most scholars had known existed and might reshape public understanding of the scope of the Holocaust itself.

“What’s going to happen is that the mental universe of how scholars operate is going to change,” said Steven Katz, director of Boston University’s Elie Wiesel Centre for Judaic Studies.

“Instead of thinking of main death camps, people are going to understand that this was a Continent-wide phenomenon.”

The Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos: 1933-1945 “is the first major reference work for Holocaust studies since . . . the fall of the USSR” and the opening of many European archives, says Paul Shapiro, director of the museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

Scholars chased footnotes in old books and used internet mailing lists to find historians who might possess tiny pieces of the puzzle.

Most of the sites included in the encyclopedia were known, says Geoff Megargee, the encyclopedia project director. “But they were known to one or two people . . . Sometimes there would be just one person who had done research on one prison.”

The first volume focuses on SS-run camps and contains more than 1,100 entries written by some 230 contributors.

Few people might realise, Megargee says, that each of the 23 main camps had sub-camps – nearly 900 sub-camps, each placed into categories with chillingly euphemistic names.

There were “care facilities for foreign children”, where pregnant prisoners would be sent for forced abortions. There were “Germanisation” camps, where foreign youth with what were deemed desirable racial features would be indoctrinated.

There were “youth protection” camps for the rebellious German teenagers who’d been caught listening to jazz.

In his decade of working on the project, Megargee says that he never stopped learning of new atrocities or personal stories.

“There was a woman who was a professional singer in the barracks” in a sub-camp of Flossenburg, he recalls, “who sang Ave Maria for (her fellow prisoners) one Christmas. She moved the barracks to tears, then a guard overheard her and came and knocked her teeth out.” Her story is recounted in the entry on the Wilischthal sub-camp.

Shapiro says that the sheer number of camps could put an end to the lingering protestation that ordinary people knew nothing of the killing under way in their locales.

“In most towns, there was some sort of prison or holding area or place where people were victimised,” Shapiro says.

“Think about what this means. For anyone who thinks this took place out of sight of the average person, this shatters that mythology. There was one Auschwitz. There was one Treblinka. But there were 20,000 other camps spread through the rest of Europe.”

Says Shapiro: “What we are seeing in this project is that all of Europe was a camp.”


– ( LA Times/Washington Post service)

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

Saturday, June 13, 2009

FROM POLITICS.HU


June 10, 2009, 9:15 CET
news
Roma sociologist testifies before US Congress on ethnic strife in Hungary
By MTI
A Hungarian Roma sociologist whom the Helsinki Commission of the US Congress heard on Tuesday asked the United States to consistently condemn anti-Roma violence and hate speech, and help investigate racist crimes committed against the Roma in Hungary.

"We ask the United States to help us ... find the perpetrators of grave, racially motivated crimes," Katalin Barsony said.

The Helsinki Commission invited several Central European Roma experts to the hearing which discussed the recent rise in anti-Roma violence.

Attacks against Hungary's largest minority group, the Roma, estimated at 600-800,000, had increased recently. Over the past half a year five Roma people were killed in suspected racially motivated attacks. To date, however, none of the killers have been found

CZECH ROMA IN CANADA


Czech Roma seek safe haven
TheStar.com - GTA - Czech Roma seek safe haven

Shelters jammed as asylum-seekers fleeing neo-Nazi persecution pour into southern Ontario

June 12, 2009
Lesley Ciarula Taylor
Immigration Reporter

The Salvation Army in Peel is feeding nearly 100 Roma immigrants in shifts because its shelters are jammed, just one sign of an explosion of Czech Roma asylum-seekers to Ontario this year.

From January to April, 1,077 Czech Roma poured into Toronto, Peel Region and Hamilton to get away from neo-Nazi firebombings and beatings. Last year in total, there were 853 Czech Roma refugee claimants.

Among the most recent is high-profile journalist Anna Polakova, 46, and six relatives including her son, Marek, who she says was badly beaten by skinheads.

"I believe it would have been naive to risk further attacks ... being aware that one is risking the life of one's children or someone else in the family. Just consider that during the past 20 years, more than 30 Roma have died this way," Polakova wrote Sunday on the Czech Roma website romove.radio.cz.

Peel and Toronto officials are sitting down this week with Queen's Park and Ottawa to talk about resources to handle the influx, said Sue Ritchie, manager of the Peel shelter program.

"We're at overflow since this started" in February, said Joann Lameck, executive director of the Salvation Army's Peel Region Emergency Residential Shelter program.

Roma families of up to 14 have crammed two shelters and two hotels for months, requiring that two or three sittings be held for dinner each day. Peel had been turning them away for several weeks before reopening its doors two weeks ago.

"The staff are getting burned out, but there's no major crisis," Lameck said.

Toronto shelters are handling a surge in Roma as well, said Pat Anderson, manager of Partnership Development. "Our system is flexible. We can depend on motel contracts."

The numbers have been rising since Canada lifted its visa requirement for Czech travellers in November 2007. In April, a 22-month-old girl in Vitkov, Czech Republic, was badly burned in one of three firebombings of Roma houses. On May 3, the 250,000-strong Czech Roma community organized its first ever national protest rally against neo-Nazi attacks.

"The situation in the Czech Republic is getting progressively worse," said Paul St. Clair, executive director of the Roma Community Centre in Toronto. "These are the people who can afford to sell something and come. There are more Roma in Hungary or Slovakia facing the same thing, but they are poorer."

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was quoted recently as saying, "It's hard to believe that the Czech Republic is an island of persecution in Europe." A spokesman said this week the government "is monitoring the increase quite closely."

While many Roma withdraw their claims, so far 75 per cent of those who applied got refugee status this year and 95 per cent last year, he said. Meanwhile, none who arrived since April, when 404 Roma claimants landed in southern Ontario, have had refugee hearings scheduled.

The Immigration and Refugee Board sent researchers to the Czech Republic in March to investigate, but their report has not been released.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

QUEBEC STRATEGY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA


FROM Seattle Gay News June 5, 2009
INTERNATIONAL NEWS by Rex Wockner

"Quebec Justice Minister Kathleen Weil has announced the Canadian province will implement a comprehensive strategy against homophobia before the end of the year......

"We see it as a major step forward here since doing so, Quebec will acknowledge officially that homophobia--and not homosexuality--is a social problem and take action, instead of passively banning discrimination", said Magazine Etre editor Andre Gagnon."

Hi Ho.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY


On 10 June 1895, Hattie McDaniel was born in Wichita, Kansas. She was the first African American actress to win an Oscar, for her role as a maid in Gone With the Wind.

Several years ago Alice Randall wrote an excellent book called The Wind Done Gone which presents Gone with the Wind from the perspective of a maid at Tara.

Quite different stories eh?

June 10th is also the birthday of the fabulous Judy Garland.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

NAVAHO NATION VS FOREST SERVICE


Supreme Court clears expansion of Arizona ski resort on mountain sacred to Indian tribes
Bureau News June 8th, 2009 Court steers clear of Ariz. ski resort dispute
From GaeaNews

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from Indian tribes that wanted to block expansion of a ski resort on a mountain they consider sacred, but an attorney for some of the tribes said the fight may not be over.

The justices said they will not get involved in the dispute between a half-dozen Western tribes and the Arizona Snowbowl ski area north of Flagstaff. The tribes wanted to block the expansion because the resort plans to use treated wastewater to make artificial snow on the mountain.

Howard Shanker, who represented some of the tribes, said the decision did not come as a surprise, given that the high court takes about 1 percent of the petitions it receives. Shanker said he doesn’t believe all avenues have been exhausted.

“As long as there are Native Americans who believe in the sacredness of these sites, there are going to be people who try to preserve and protect those beliefs,” he said.

Jack Trope, executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs, called on Congress to strengthen religious freedom laws to better protect sites that American Indians consider sacred.

The 777-acre resort wants to spray man-made snow, add a fifth chair lift and clear about 100 acres of forest to extend the ski season on the western flank of the San Francisco Peaks that have spiritual and religious significance to 13 Southwest tribes.

“The snowmaking gives you predictability that you will open each year and open at the most critical time of the year, which is before Christmas,” Snowbowl general manager J.R. Murray said.

The tribes have argued that the proposal violates a federal law on religious freedom, but the federal appeals court in San Francisco last year disagreed.

The full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the treated sewage could be used on the ski slopes, reversing the decision of a three-judge panel on the same court. The panel had held earlier that using wastewater on a mountain sacred to the tribes would violate the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The full court, however, said the tribes will still have full use of the mountain for their ceremonies and the snowmaking would not affect that. No plants would be harmed, no ceremonies would be physically affected, and no places of worship would be made inaccessible, the court said.

The tribes asked the Supreme Court to step into the case and find that the use of treated sewage would constitute a “substantial burden” on the tribes’ exercise of their religion.

The U.S. Forest Service earlier had approved the ski area’s expansion. The Obama administration opposed the high court’s intervention in the case, noting that the ski resort has been in operation for more than 70 years and that recent snowfall has been sporadic.

The tribes challenging the proposal are: the Havasupai Tribe, the Hopi Tribe, the Hualapai Tribe, the Navajo Nation, the White Mountain Apache Nation and the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

The Hopi have been making pilgrimages to the peaks since at least the 1540s. The tribe directs its prayers toward the peaks and considers them home to the spiritual Kachinas that bring the world water, snow and life. To the Navajo, the peaks are central to their creation story. Navajo members consider the mountain as family and greet the peaks daily with prayer songs.

Joe Shirley Jr., president of the Navajo Nation, appealed last month to U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to withdraw the federal approval of snowmaking.

The mountains include Humphreys Peak, the tallest in Arizona and one of the only ski slopes within easy driving distance of Phoenix.

One of the only alternatives is Sunrise Park Resort, which is owned and operated by the White Mountain Apaches.

Indian tribes have fought previous development plans by ski resort owners on Humphrey’s Peak since at least the 1970s.

The case is Navajo Nation v. Forest Service, 08-846.

FASCISM IN HUNGARY


From The Times Online
June 9, 2009

Jobbik: Meet the BNP's fascist friends in Hungary
by Adam LeBor

As the electoral triumph of the BNP shocks the main political parties in Britain, our correspondent reports on the rise of the extreme right in Hungary and among its Eastern European neighbours

Eastern Europe is hurtling back to the future, nowhere more than in Hungary. This week, Jobbik, the far right party, allied to Britain’s BNP, won 14.8 per cent of the vote in the European elections. This gave the party, also known as the Movement for a Better Hungary, nearly as many votes as the ruling socialists, securing them three seats in the European Parliament. Budapest’s chattering classes are in a state of shock.

Once again the language of the 1930s is shaping political discourse. The region’s old hatreds, supposedly laid to rest by EU membership, have been reanimated. Jobbik campaigns against “Gypsy crime”; the Slovak National Party and the Greater Romania Parties denounce their homelands’ ethnic Hungarian minority; and Ataka, Bulgaria’s ultra-nationalist party, attacks, verbally, that country’s ethnic Turks.

Watching the election results, I realised that life can indeed imitate art. Which is especially unsettling as I have just written a thriller about an extreme-right takeover of Eastern Europe, under the guise of the European super-state. The Budapest Protocol draws on my years of reporting from the region for The Times. It conjures up a dark world where a continent-wide conspiracy, rooted in the last days of the Second World War, exploits collapsing economies, endemic corruption, soaring poverty and violent crime and foments hatred against the Roma (Gypsies) to undermine already shaky democracies and take power.

Even before the election results, reality trumped my imaginary scenarios. I knew that Roma houses are frequently firebombed. But I did not imagine that gunmen would lie in wait as a terrified father fled his burning home with his five-year-old son and then open fire, killing both. That happened in February when Robert Csorba and his son Robika were murdered in Tatárszentgyörgy, central Hungary. They were buried in the same coffin, Robika resting on his father’s chest. In April Jeno Koka was killed in Tiszalök, eastern Hungary, the fifth Roma to die violently in the past few months. Koka, a 54-year-old grandfather, had just said goodnight to his wife Eva and was setting off for work when he was felled by a shot to his chest. He bled to death a few yards from his door.

Roma activists claim that a hit squad is operating, and witnesses talk of masked men and mysterious SUVs that roar off in the night. There are disturbing similarities between the murders: the killers usually target the last house in the village to make a quick getaway. The murders are planned with military precision, say the Hungarian police. The police chief, József Bencze, has 100 investigators working on the murders. The FBI and Hungary’s military intelligence service have been called in. A new rapid-response mechanism can lock down any part of the country within five minutes of a new attack being reported. But there have been no arrests.

Robika Csorba was born in 2004, the year that Hungary and its neighbours joined the European Union. But any dreams of a new era of tolerance have longed turned sour. In March this year, in Košice, Slovakia, police officers forced six Roma teenage boys aged between 11 and 16 to strip naked, kiss and hit each other across the face, after they were arrested for stealing a purse. The police recorded this on their mobile telephones and also filmed the boys’ genitals. The footage shows the terrified boys looking back and forth at the laughing police for instructions as they hit each other. The police mock them for not being violent enough and threaten the boys with dogs.

In November 2008, in the neighbouring Czech Republic, hundreds of activists from the extreme right Workers Party attacked a Roma settlement in Litvinov, north of Prague, armed with cobblestones and petrol bombs. Hundreds of Roma gathered, ready to confront the extremists. Czech police deployed 1,000 riot officers between the skinheads and the Roma but the running battle lasted for hours and 15 people were injured. Last month the extreme right Czech National Party even called for a “final solution” to the Gypsy issue in a television campaign advertisement for the European Union elections.

In my novel the conspiracy plans to wipe out the Roma with a fictional genetically engineered drug. That was inspired by my investigation for The Times into an actual decades-long, state-run campaign to stop Gypsy women having children. I travelled to a small village in eastern Slovakia where Gypsy women had been sterilised without their consent. In Europe, in 2003, I found levels of poverty and deprivation usually seen in the developing world and an officially sanctioned policy of apartheid. The Slovak half of the village was clean and tidy, its spacious houses built of brick and concrete and painted white. The Roma were confined to draughty hovels of wood and earth, which they built themselves, on the outskirts. They had no heating, electricity, gas, water or even sewage.

Inside one of the hovels we met Zita. She was 23 and illiterate. Like almost all Roma women, she dreamt of a large family. For Roma, the family is of supreme importance, the axle on which their world turns. Zita had given birth to her second child, a daughter, by Caesarean section. Still groggy, she was presented with a piece of paper to sign by a nurse. She told us: “They gave me a paper to sign, but I don’t know what it said because I cannot read or write. I was in pain after the operation. My signature is three crosses and I signed with that. After the operation, a nurse came and explained that I will not have any more children. I felt very bad. I started to cry.”

Activists believe that hundreds of Romany women were coercively sterilised during the communist regime and its aftermath. They were subjected to segregation in wards, waiting rooms, toilets, washing and dining facilities. They were often verbally or physically abused and were denied access to their medical records. Their hospital files were often stamped with an “R”. Zita’s husband, Krystian, said: “They think that the Roma are devils and they can do what they want with us.” The last documented case took place in 2007, according to Ostalinda Maya Ovalle, of the European Roma Rights Centre, based in Budapest. Not a single woman has yet been compensated.

Much of the support for the far Right is a protest vote: against incompetent governments, widespread corruption and the continuing economic influence of old communist elites, reborn as democrats with better suits and their fingers in the European Union subsidies till. It’s easy to sidestep political institutions when they have little popular support. Jobbik benefited from a fury at the government that makes the anger in Britain over MPs’ expenses seems genteel. It dates back to September 2006, when Ferenc Gyurcsány, the former prime minister, admitted that the Government had been consistently lying about the economy.

Hungary was convulsed by a week of violent protests and riots, the worst instability since the failed 1956 uprising. The police were either incompetent or brutal, failing to control the violence or clubbing protesters senseless. Protesters occupied Kossuth Square in front of Parliament, camping out and cooking great pots of goulash. A minority were extremists, but most were just normal people, furious at a political class of former communists that for years have enriched themselves and impoverished the country.

That rage has grown louder and more vociferous, as crime rises and feelings of insecurity, especially in the countryside, strengthen. Jobbik is expert at channelling public anger, away from political institutions and on to the streets. It also has a uniformed wing, the Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard). Its several thousand members wear black paramilitary-style uniforms and march in formation. They target villages, protesting against “Gypsy crime”. In December 2007 the Gárda held a rally at Tatárszentgyörgy, where Robert and Robika Csorba were killed in February 2009. Gárda leaders condemned the crime and there is no evidence that its members were involved. Critics say that the Gárda’s uniforms are similar to those of the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian Nazi movement, which killed tens of thousands of Jews. Jobbik strongly denies that it is anti-Semitic and has condemned the Holocaust. “We are not against anyone, just for Hungary,” its leaders say. Their uniforms are not paramilitary, but are based on the traditional outfits of Hungarian folk dancers. Maybe, but folk dancers don’t march in military formation. An allied website — jobbik.net — carries a lengthy article explaining how Hungary is a “Jewish colony”.

The Gárda is Jobbik’s masterstroke. Anti-Roma sentiment soared after two murders allegedly carried out by groups of Roma. In October 2006, Lajos Szögi, a teacher, was driving his daughters through the village of Olaszliszka, in northern Hungary, when his car brushed against a Roma girl. He got out to check that she was all right. The girl ran away. Szögi was surrounded by a mob, including the girl’s father, mother and brother. He was beaten to death in front of his young daughters. In February, Marian Cozma, a star handball player, was stabbed to death after a fight in a nightclub in Veszprém, western Hungary. Cozma and his team-mates had gone to the rescue of a barmaid being beaten by a group of men. Two team-mates were severely injured. Such events cause widespread fury and disgust: both at the perpetrators and the failure of the police to protect ordinary citizens.

In an already shaky democracy, these feelings of insecurity, whether genuinely rooted or imagined, are the weakest part of the social contract between citizens and the state. In my novel, the conspiracy reintroduces the Gendarmerie, the national paramilitary police force that in 1944 forced half a million Jews on the trains to Auschwitz. The Gendarmerie was disbanded after the Second World War. Its return is now a major plank of Jobbik’s platform. Last month Jobbik caused uproar when it signed a “co-operation” agreement with the Independent Police Trade Union, a radical group with almost 5,000 members. Consider: thousands of armed public servants, responsible for law and order and public security, are now allied with a far-Right political party with its own uniformed guard. There is a whiff of the Weimar Republic here.

Across Eastern Europe, there are murderous attacks on the Roma minority, a fury with the political class, soaring poverty and unemployment, worries of economic collapse, fear that the street not parliament may be where the country’s future will be decided, and dynamic new forces of extremists driving a wedge between citizens and the state. In Hungary, Roma villagers have already formed self-defence squads to patrol their homesteads at night.

All the ingredients are in place for a long hot summer of social unrest. Disturbingly, that is not fiction, but fact.

The Budapest Protocol by Adam Lebor is published by Reportage Press at £11.99. To order it for £10.79 inc p&p call 0845 2712134

I've ordered The Budapest Protocol and will review it in this blog. I am very hopeful of a positive review because Adam Lebor is a very good writer and has a knowledge of and empathy for oppression.

NEWS FROM ENGLAND


A judge has been accused of using a 'racial slur' against gypsies while sentencing a conman, who he said had 'gypped' a student out of money.

Published: 8:12AM BST 09 Jun 2009

From Telegraph.co.uk

The slang verb 'to gyp' means to defraud or steal, and may be derived from the word gypsy.

Romany gypsies, long recognised as an ethnic group under the Race Relations Act, also say the word began life as 'gypsied' and is an insult.


The row began after Judge Christopher Elwen, who pronounced last year that Britain had 'lost its borders for the first time since 1066', used the word to describe an online con.

Sentencing Lee Scott-Major, a bogus EBay electrical goods trader, to three years, he said: "Whether the sum was £100,000 or £200,000 does not reflect the harm done to your victims, whether that be Mr and Mrs Andrewartha, Mr Kingshott, or the young student who was gypped out of £169."

Jake Bowers, editor of Travellers Times, said: "Gypped is an offensive word, it's derived from Gypsy and it's being used in the same context as a person might once have said they "jewed" somebody if they did an underhand business transaction.

"Basically what Judge Elwen has done is ascribed thievery to an entire ethnic group - of course there are criminals in the gypsy community - but there's no evidence there is a higher level of criminality than in any other community.

"I'd say his comment reflects the amount of ignorance that there is from the bottom of society, to its top, in the judiciary, about gypsies, and the idea that it's okay to have a go at the gypsy or traveller community without thinking about it.

"I suppose Judge Elwen might not have realised what he was saying and where the word was derived from, but on the other hand I doubt he thought he was talking about gyprock."

Romany activist Maggie Bendell-Smith added: "I would have been right up on my feet if I'd heard that in court and asking the judge to justify his choice of words. It's derogatory and I think an apology is called for."

Romany Community Relations Officer Hilda Brazil said: "If a similar thing had been said about a different race, the judge's colleagues would have been disgusted I'm sure and raised it with him. This is no different."

A spokesman for the Judicial Communications Office defended the judge's choice of words saying: "Gyp is defined in The Oxford English Dictionary as an act of cheating, nothing more.

"There is no evidence to connect this term to any ethnic group and this is certainly not how it was used in court."

The Oxford English Dictionary say they may resolve the issue in 2010.

Dr Philip Durkin, Principal Etymologist at the dictionary, said there was a "scholarly consensus" that the word probably was a "racial slur".

Monday, June 8, 2009

ELECTIONS IN EUROPE


2009 European elections: the right-wing parties make headway, but the line of human rights holds its ground

by EveryOne Group


Bruxelles, June 8, 2009.


As expected, the international economic crisis and the lack of a precise identity of European Socialism are the main reasons the right-wing forces have received such strong support from voters.

The failure to apply the international laws that forbid xenophobic propaganda (a phenomenon made possible precisely because of the weakness of the European left-wing parties) has certainly contributed to this shift in European political power - and particularly to the victory of the xenophobic, anti-European and neo-Nazi parties. With the new legislature, the number of MEPs will fall from 785 to 763.

As the international analysts have pointed out, the most worrying figure is the low turnout at the polling stations: an all-time low, the result, more than likely, of a lack of knowledge by European society of the significance of the European Union and its aims. Most of the parties in the 27 Member States use the European vote to test their own strength and to increase their own area of influence. The press also follows this line, omitting to inform people of the history, the achievements and the political horizons of the European Union. One important result is certainly the holding ground of the transnational movement for human and civil rights and the environment.

The Greens, who (as well as the protection of the environment) have made the appeals for the protection of peoples and minorities their own, have increased their number of seats from 43 to 51. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), which has made human rights its strong point, previously had 100 MEPs in the European Parliament.

Despite the defeat of Bayrou’s MoDem and the lack of support from the Democratic Party, ALDE has held on to 81 seats, which will be added to by the Irish Fianna Fáil party. GUE/NGL, from the radical left, retains 33 of its 41 seats. The PES (Party of European Socialists), which has not always been active in the field of human rights, finds its seats reduced from 194 to 159, while the “non-members” have a majority that looks towards progressive values.

The numbers speak quite clearly: the movement for human, and civil rights and the environment (made up of Socialists, Greens, Liberal Democrats, the radical Left and “non-member” liberals) holds a total of 380 seats out of 736. This is already a majority, which will often be flanked by the truly Christian members of the European People’s Party when voting on laws against the persecution and discrimination of peoples, and in the pro-environment campaigns and those for fundamental liberties. EveryOne Group itself already has a constructive dialogue with these MEPs, in our common aim to combat xenophobic, racist, negationist and neo-Nazi movements. Now that the feared 2009 elections are over, we can look forward to the future of Europe with confidence - because when it comes to human rights, the 27 Member States (despite the increasingly shameless propaganda from intolerant parties) still speak the same language.

The presence of the Radical Party in the European Parliament will be greatly missed: the party has fought a hard and courageous battle for civility, but failed to reach the 4% threshold. This, however, does not mean they will cease their efforts for the new European Union, perhaps working alongside the Greens, and once more with EveryOne Group, in the fundamental non-violent battles for human and civil rights and for the environment.

Contact: info@everyonegroup.com - www.everyonegroup.com - +39 334 3449180.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

JAMES MEREDITH



On June 6, 1966, Black activist James Meredith was shot and wounded as he walked along a Mississippi highway to encourage Black voter registration.
He survived his wounds and has lived a life of political activism.

On June 7, 1930, the new york times agreed to capitalize the N in Negro.

Romani struggled for years with the times to try to get them to use Roma or Romani when referring to Romani people. They refused. After over ten years, they finally agreed to capitalize the G in Gypsy.
Interestingly, in one letter I personally received from the times i was told that the reason they couldn't change their language was because then they would have to change all their typeset. (This was in 1983).
And here I had thought newspapers changed their typeset every single edition.

They have since started using Roma.

LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES


This was a very hard picture to include. So many Rromani people look this devastated because of the very real conditions of their lives.
Does anyone ever ask themselves if Romani could avenge so easily would many gaje (non Gypsy) remain.


June 7, 2009
Letters
Sam Raimi: Roma Stereotyping
To the Editor:

Re “After Spidey, a Return To Hell” by Charles McGrath [May 24]:

Many of us in Roma advocacy circles were already aware that Sam Raimi’s new film has as its horror villain not merely a Hungarian woman, as you write, but more specifically a Gypsy.

This regrettable racial stereotyping perpetuates an indifferent and largely ignorant world’s vilification of a persecuted people while simultaneously exploiting their mythical exoticism.

Filmmakers use Gypsy characters as the source of chills and thrills but are silent in cases like the one last year in which sunbathers in Italy were undeterred after the corpses of two Roma girls who had drowned were laid out on the beach. Now that would be the subject of a true horror film.

Elizabeth Schwartz

San Diego

Friday, June 5, 2009

PESARO ITALY



From EveryOne Group:

Pesaro has broken up the local Roma community

The authorities gave the order to clear the abandoned factory where the roma were living and dispersed the families.

Nico Grancea’s grandfather Viktor survived Auschwitz yet refused the compensation offered by the Germans. Nico is considered one of the most important Roma activists in the European Union. He is about to start working with the EU institutions helping to monitor the situation of the Roma people in Italy. This is an account of what happened to their community in Pesaro. Today they are wandering around homeless, without shelter or any means of support.

Among them women and children, some of them sick and exposed to the harsh weather and racism. The only help they have received has been from a small group of activists.

EveryOne Group: “It was a terrible experience. One woman collapsed to the floor. Mothers and fathers in tears threatened to set fire to themselves if the authorities took their children from them. Our activists were not allowed to offer any humanitarian mediation and no assistance was offered the sick. The action by the police was totally unexpected, because the Mayor of Pesaro and authorities had officially promised to carry out an integration programme with jobs and housing.

At about 7 a.m. on the morning of February 25th in Pesaro, about 20 officers, (regular police and municipal police) entered the abandoned factory situated in Via Fermo, 49, where 30 Romanian Roma have been living for the last year. Among them patients being treated at San Salvatore Hospital for heart problems and tumours; many women and nine minors, including a few-month-old baby. The intention was to clear the factory and separate all the children from their parents. “We rushed to the factory and witnessed a heart-rending sight”, say the EveryOne activists. Mothers and fathers in tears, the children terrified. The police officers had announced that the children would be put in the care of the social services and taken to an institute. Only the mothers would be allowed to stay with them, the men would be thrown out into the street”. Nico Grancea, one of the most well-known international Roma activists is a member of this “nomad” community living in Pesaro. “The police told us the owner of the factory had reported our occupation of the premises.

However, they knew that the Mayor of Pesaro and all the local authorities were well aware of our presence in the building we had taken refuge in after fleeing from poverty and racism in Romania. Many of the people involved in the clearance are under the protection of the European Parliament as they have been subjected to attacks, beatings, and intimidation in Italy in the past - both from members of the police force and groups of racists”. The authorities, though, did not listen to reason, in spite of Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau from EveryOne explaining how delicate the situation was, seeing the community are witnesses for the European Union to the camp clearances being carried out throughout Italy. “Our group had obtained a formal commitment from the Pesaro local authorities promising a housing-employment programme”, say the activists.

The programme was supposed to have begun in early September 2008, but it has been kept on being postponed. ‘Il Messaggero’ and other local newspapers published the statements issued by the mayor and some councillors concerning the commitment taken up by the local authorities”. EveryOne had already supplied the social services and local authorities with the full names and details of the Roma community. The local San Salvatore Hospital, after hearing about the presence of children, pregnant women and seriously ill persons in the community, initiated a health and assistance programme for the families. Still awaiting the integration programme, exhausted from poverty and the hardships of winter, the Roma community now finds itself facing another humanitarian tragedy against which the EU Commission, CERD and the international organizations for Roma rights are fighting: the removal of minors from their parents by local authorities.

“Roma families consider the family unit their whole reason for living,” explain the experts from EveryOne, “and in many cases separation from their loved ones can lead the adults to attempt suicide. In the years of the Holocaust, the Nazis were aware of this aspect of Roma culture. In fact in Auschwitz, unlike for Jewish families, the “gypsy” families were kept all together in the “Zigeunerlager”.

When fathers, mothers and children are separated it leads to situations of great suffering and uncontrolled panic. During the police operation, a young woman threw herself to the ground, others shouted desperately, while one mother hid a kitchen knife in the folds of her skirt and murmured that she would slit her own throat if she was separated from her husband. In spite of the police cordon, we were able to communicate with the Roma community and prevent the worst happening”. Free movement and communication with the activists was not even granted to Nico Grancea, the young activist and protagonist of many actions in defence of the persecuted Roma, a witness and consultant for the European Parliament and international human rights organizations.

“My wife was holding our four-month-old baby,” Nico told us, “while the other mothers were terrified at what might happen. The police officers would not listen to us, they didn’t see families standing before them, just a job to be over and done with as quickly as possible. They are unaware of the Roma people’s spirit of sacrifice. They don’t know that many of us were very close to carrying out acts of irreparable self-harm. Some were considering setting fire to themselves if the authorities had split their families up.

They would not have separated us, we would have protested by sacrificing our own lives. My friends from EveryOne understood perfectly how serious the situation was and they helped us with their past experiences of dramatic situations. The police officers, however, refused to acknowledge their role as official mediators working on behalf of the European Parliament”. Fortunately the Roma mothers got together and made a courageous escape with their young children.

“I have been studying the Holocaust and the dynamics of the persecutions for the last thirty years”, says Roberto Malini, “I have published books and held conferences on the subject. It is undeniable that there are precise similarities between the years of the racist laws and the present. The flight of the Roma mothers in Pesaro reminded me of the famous operation carried out by the Westerweel Group in Holland, led by Mirjam Pinkhof – a dear friend of mine and survivor of the Holocaust – and other activists who saved the lives of countless Jewish children”.

Some members of the EU Commission and Parliament, who are in contact with EveryOne, followed the events taking place in Pesaro with trepidation. “While all this was happening, we were constantly in touch with a number of Italian MPs and senators, as well as the Pesaro and Urbino Public Prosecutor’s Office”, says Matteo Pegoraro. “We all feared the police operation would end in tragedy. Malini, Picciau and Grancea, however, have a lot of experience and it is not the first time EveryOne has found itself in these difficult and delicate situations. However, now the operation is over, it is necessary for those involved in politics to take a stand, and some MPs from the Radical Party have confirmed their intention of bringing up a parliamentary question on the episode”.

“I don’t understand why the authorities did not contact us before carrying out such an operation” Dario Picciau says. “While all this was taking place I was on the phone to Viktoria Mohacsi, the Euro MP, while the principal European NGOs were about to organize a task force in support of the Roma community. We cannot criticise the police officers, who were only obeying orders. They did not take into account, because it was not part of their job, the vulnerability of the families, as well as their precarious health, and their great fear, the result of many episodes of racism. However, we are unable to understand the reason for sending 20 armed officers with patrol cars and a police van to the factory, instead of trying to solve the problem around a table with politicians, local authorities and activists present. Viktoria Mohacsi, other Euro MPs and some of the leading experts in Roma life and culture were ready and willing to take part in a round-table conference”.

On Sunday 22nd February, Canale 5 sent a film crew (led by the journalist Mimmo Lombezzi) to the abandoned factory in Via Fermo to do a piece on the conditions of the Roma people in Italy - which should have been shown on Tuesday February 24th. Grancea and several Roma had spoken before the cameras about the persecution they are forced to undergo every day; the attitude of the police force towards them; the segregation they are kept in; and the actions of the “ethnic cleansing patrols” who are using violence towards the Roma exploiting the present climate of intolerance. One man had shown the Canale 5 cameras the bruises still visible on his body after he was beaten up in Ancona on February 15th, when xenophobic violence broke out in Italy following the brutal rape of a young girl in Caffarella Park in Rome the previous day.
A dossier on the episode has been sent to the European Parliament; the EU Commission and Council; the International Criminal Court of the Hague; CERD (the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination); and the Legal Office of the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) concerning the serious damage the lack of assistance and failure to carry out the integration programme promised by the Pesaro authorities has had on the Roma community.

Gruppo EveryOne

Tel: (+ 39) 334-8429527 (+ 39) 331-3585406

www.everyonegroup.com :: info@everyonegroup.com

LITHUANIA

Lithuanian Roma still suffered from prejudice and ill-treatment
By BR on June 4, 2009

From the Balkan Review


Hindus have urged Lithuania to urgently empower and integrate its vulnerable Roma community, who reportedly face blatant discrimination and social exclusion.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that according to reports Roma still suffered from prejudice and ill-treatment, substandard or inadequate access to education, healthcare, housing, etc.

According to recent Amnesty International Report 2009 on Lithuania: “Unemployment rates among Roma remained several times higher than among ethnic Lithuanians, and living conditions in Roma settlements were sometimes below minimum standards, lacking electricity and heating as well as drinking water and sanitation facilities.”

Human Rights Report 2008 on Lithuania published by US Department of State says that Romani community “continued to experience problems; including discrimination in access to education, housing, healthcare and other services; in employment (an unemployment rate of 50 percent); and in contacts with police.”

Zed pointed out that effective implementation, firm commitment and strong political will was needed to address the multiple dimensions of their social exclusion and poverty. Roma inclusion and integration programs needed to immediately take off the ground providing them with better health and education avenues, higher economic opportunities, sources of empowerment and participation, etc., Zed added.

It was moral obligation of Lithuania to improve the plight of its disadvantaged Roma population, Rajan Zed said and added that all religious groups of Lithuania should also come out in support of the cause of this distinct ethnic and cultural group of Roma, because religion taught us to help the helpless.

Zed urged that Lithuania, the country with a colorful history whose empire once stretched from the Baltic to Black Sea, one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union, and with abundant natural treasures like enchanting Curonian Spit, should do more to uplift its Roma brothers/sisters.

Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

SHIP OF FOOLS



On June 4th, 1939, the German ocean liner St. Louis, carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees from Germany, was turned away from the Florida coast by U.S. officials. Known as the Ship of Fools, it had previously been turned away from New York and Canada. Cuba was the only country to agree to accept the refugees, but the US government, which had tremendous influence in Cuba at the time, told Cuba to rescind its offer, which it did. The ship was eventually forced to return to Germany where the refugees were sent to Auschwitz.

KOKO TAYLOR


Koko Taylor, 80, Chicago blues diva and Grammy winner died yesterday while recovering from surgery. Koko was known for such songs as "Wang Dang Doodle". She never stopped performing and her last concert was just this May.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

VALERIE SOLANAS


On June 3rd 1968, Valerie Solanas, lesbian feminist, actress, and writer, shot and critically wounded Andy Warhol who had exploited her work and totally disrespected her. (As he did most people)

Aside from being known as "the woman who shot Andy Warhol", Valerie is also known for writing The SCUM Manifesto.

SULUKULE TURKEY


Copyright (c) 2009 The Daily Star

Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Last remnants of Rom history bulldozed away

By Agence France Presse (AFP)

ISTANBUL: Ferdi Celep sat on a sofa surrounded by the debris of his life, watching city workers empty clothes and furniture from a row of two dozen colorful houses huddled against the Byzantine battlements of Istanbul's old city. Within hours, the last remnants of a thousand years of Rom history were wiped out by bulldozers.

Anti-riot police supervised this final phase last week of the demolition of Sulukule, a neighborhood on the European bank of Istanbul once home to a vibrant community of musicians and artists whose rhythmic songs and belly dancing served as the city's musical heart.

Similar scenes have been repeated across the country as municipalities, supported by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), drive home a program of urban renewal, destroying ramshackle and often unsanitary housing in favor of new tower blocks, often many kilometers outside localities.

The demolition of Sulukule caused controversy as it razed an ancient community of Rom gypsies who can trace their history in the suburb back to Byzantine times.

"A big thank you to the municipality," said Celep, who is unemployed. "Thanks to them I will sleep on the street with my wife, my new-born child and the four-year-old. We have nowhere to go."

City officials in the Fatih district, run by mayor Mustafa Demir from the AKP, estimate the project will relocate about 3,500 people from Sulukule - 1,300 of them Romani - and replace their old housing with fancy, wood-paneled "Ottoman style" buildings.

The demolition, begun at the end of 2006, will wipe out "hovels you wouldn't dump coal in," according to the mayor. However local activist Hacer Foggo, of a group called the Sulukule Platform, estimates that closer to 5,000 people, the bulk of them members of the minority, are being displaced, and all to benefit the ruling party and its allies.

"Who is going to buy the houses that they will build here? It will be the profiteers, those close to the AKP," she said. "The idea is to expel the poor from the city centre and put the rich in their place."

Turkish media reported a few months ago that several AKP members and figures close to the party were allegedly among the prospective buyers of the new houses.

Foggo said the resettlement will break up a community that has survived through centuries thanks to a tradition of solidarity and mutual aid. "Here," she added, "at least everyone knew each other, the rent was very low and the local grocer always gave you credit."

Sulukule welcomed generations of residents from other parts of Istanbul who came for music, booze and belly dancing before a ban in the 1990s by conservative governments shut its colorful neighborhood taverns.

Some, meanwhile, insist the redevelopment of Sulukule amounts to more than the disappearance of one of the most picturesque parts of this sprawling city of more than 12 million that has served as the capital of three empires - Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.

It means the end of a millennia of history, according to British researcher Adrian Marsh, a specialist on the Roms of Turkey. Sulukule was the oldest known settlement in the world of Nomadic Roms, said Marsh, first mentioned by a Byzantine scribe in 1054.

His writings speak of "Egyptians" living in black tents along the fortress walls and eking out an existence thanks to their belly dancers, fortune tellers and dancing bears, Marsh said. After Constantinople - as it was then known - fell to the Turks in 1453, Sulukule's dancers and musicians became fixtures of the opulent nights at the Ottoman court.

"Demolishing Sulukule is not the same as demolishing just any other gypsy slum, the way it happens all over Turkey and Europe," said Marsh. "It is the annihilation of the memory of an entire community." - AFP



Copyright (c) 2009 The Daily Star

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

FROM HAARETZ.COM


Historically, whenever and where ever Gypsies were oppressed, so have been Jews. And where Jews are oppressed, so are Gypsies.
Present day Hungary is no exception.

Last update - 12:12 02/06/2009

'Proud Hungarians must prepare for war against the Jews'

By Yehuda Lahav

"Given our current situation, anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover, and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews."

This quote appeared in a newsletter published by an organization calling itself "The trade union of Hungarian police officers prepared for action".

Hungarian law allows police officers to organize in trade unions of their own. The union - by its own definition - aims to protect the professional interests of those unionized, and not to partake in political activity.
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However, the law does not prevent the union from distributing a newsletter, the content of which is at the discretion of its editor, and its editor alone.

The editor of the "prepared for action" union, Judit Szima (who also serves as the secretary-general of the union) didn't see anything wrong with the content of the article quoted above. It is little wonder, given the fact that the union has signed a cooperation agreement with the radical right wing Hungarian party "Jobbik" (Movement for better Hungary) which backs and operates the extremist paramilitary movement "Hungarian Guard" and warns against the "gypsy crime" - in effect trying to terrorize Hungary's gypsy community, as well as its Jewish community or anyone else they don't like.

Szima is the Jobbik candidate in the upcoming election for the European Union parliament, to be held June 7.

She has been removed from her post in the police force ahead of the election, but continues to serve as the union's secretary general.
The author of the article, which focuses on the duty of every Hungarian patriot to adopt anti-Semitism, did not stop at one.

The following issue of the newsletter included another of his articles, in which he argued "I am in favor of peaceful solutions. But a peaceful solution could only be implemented if our Zionist government were to relocate to Tel Aviv, as it is them who are calling for war."

"A crumbling country, torn apart by Hungarian-Gypsy civil war, could easily be claimed by the rich Jews," the article went on to say. "That is why we should expect a Hungarian-Gypsy civil war, fomented by Jews as they rub their hands together with pleasure."

This article elicited an official complaint filed with the prosecution, arguing that it contained incitement against minority groups. The prosecution rejected the complaint, stating that it did not call for violence against Jews or Gypsies, but rather called to defend against these groups' probable attack.

The "prepared for action" union affair is a testament to the state of racist incitement and anti-Semitism in Hungary. It has emerged that the union boasts more than 4,000 members, some 10 percent of the total number of police officers in Hungary. It is believed that in Budapest, the capital, the numbers are higher. This is not to say that all the union members harbor the same racist views held by its primary spokespeople and leaders - in most cases members join the union simply to protect their personal rights - but the Hungarian government and justice system can't, or won't, take action to separate the union's lawful protection of policemen's rights and its detestable political activities.

For example, after the recent resignation of prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, one of the candidates for the post was Gyorgy Suranyi, formerly the governor of the Hungarian Central Bank, a brilliant economist, and (unfortunately) a Jew.

The extreme right Hungarian Justice and Life party published on the front page of its newsletter a picture of Suranyi's face inside a yellow star of David (reminiscent of the yellow patch from the days of Fascism) with the following caption: "Suranyi is actually the candidate backed by the elderly [Israeli President] Shimon Peres. The takeover deal announced by the Israeli leader has now reached the stage in which a Jewish Hungarian prime minister is required. The deal has been in the works for many months." (The Forum referred to the unfortunate remark made by Peres recently, when he described the success of Israel's economy by saying "we are buying out Manhattan, Poland, Hungary...")

One of the two main reasons for the Hungarian authorities' failure in the face of racism and anti-Semitism is the fact that there are many right-wing elements within the government, who secretly or outright support the racist views and refuse to battle their perpetrators seriously. The other reason is that during the regime change of the 90s, the lawmakers viewed freedom of speech and expression as an absolute priority, and to this day don't provide protection to the victims of the misuse of this freedom