Sunday, February 28, 2010


Karel Holomek on the Roma Holocaust, education of the Roma, and the Workers’ Party
Brno, 27.2.2010, 12:12, (ROMEA)

Karel Holomek, the founder of the Museum of Roma Culture, has been striving for rapprochement between the majority society and the Roma for 20 years. On the rising displays of intolerance toward this minority, various regional editions of Denik quote him as saying: “Even though hundreds of Roma suffered and died during the Second World War at the ‘Gypsy Camp’ in Hodonin by Kunstat, as of last year tourists were still using the recreation center, swimming pool and tennis courts that are located on that same site.”

However, thanks to a decision by the Czech Government last year, the camp became state property by year-end and a memorial to the victims of the Roma Holocaust will be erected there. “The ‘Final Solution to the Roma question’ introduced by the Nazis remains an unknown topic to most of Czech society. This is why we must speak out about it,” Holomek said in an extensive interview for Denik. Holomek, who is also the chair of the Society of Roma in Moravia, has been striving to establish a memorial at both Hodonin by Kunstat and Lety by Pisek since 1990.

“From August 1942 until the end of 1943, an internment camp for Roma from Moravia was in operation on the site which the Roma call Hodoninek. Romani families from Bohemia were driven into a similar camp in Lety by Pisek. Even though no single location was established for the purpose of exterminating the Roma, as a result of the dire living conditions in these camps, many people lost their lives there. Most survivors were then transported to the extermination camps at Auschwitz. Only about 10 % of the Roma living in Bohemia and Moravia survived the war,” Denik quotes Holomek as saying.

Holomek believes that since the government has taken the first step of acquiring the Hodonin site, it will complete the next step of establishing a memorial to the victims of the Roma Holocaust. The site will be managed by the Museum of Roma Culture in Brno, which wants to reconstruct the preserved building and create an exhibition there commemorating what happened in Hodoninek. “In addition, an extensive new international education center will be developed there where children and adults can learn more about the culture and history of the Roma and about the ‘Final Solution to the Roma question’,” Holomek says in the interview. He says the government has allocated CZK 70 million for the creation of the memorial and work should begin in Hodoninek this year.

“Every August the Museum of Roma Culture organizes a mass on the green in Hodonin for the Roma who perished there. However, the mayor is usually the only person from the town to attend; during the service, local people usually people drive their tractors through the green as if nothing were going on. Such a sight bothers no one there. Maybe they are not aware how deeply we are hurt by such behavior. This is a testament to the fact that respect for the Romani victims is not yet part of the legacy,” Holomek says.

Commenting on the other “Gypsy Camp” at Lety by Pisek, Holomek says: “The agreement now is that Lety will be taken care of by the Lidice Memorial and the state will build a memorial site near the former camp, an information center, and a more comfortable access road. This small memorial will be separated from the pig farm that remains on the site by a barrier of bushes and trees.” Holomek says a fund should also be established to eventually move the pig farm a few kilometers away from the site.

Holomek compared the Holocaust of the Jews to that of the Roma, saying Jewish people once enjoyed and continue to enjoy a completely different position in society than the Roma. “The Roma were always on the outskirts of society. The ‘Final Solution to the Roma question’ ordered by the Nazis was easily accepted by many of the Czechoslovak insitutions of the time, which were more or less indifferent to the fate of the Roma,” Holomek says. “My family is from Svatoboric by Kyjov, where before the war there was a large Roma settlement, Hranicky. When the order came for the local Roma to go to the concentration camps, the town councillors accepted it without a word. They could have stood up for the Roma living there,” Holomek says, pointing out that the prison officers at both Hodonin and Lety were exclusively Czech.

Even though Holomek takes exception to the plans of some officials today, he says the government and state institutions are now showing their apologetic stance toward the Roma through their behavior. “They perceive it as important to settle this part of the past. The European Union is also pressuring them to do so. Of course, on the other hand most of society has not taken this on board. I hope this will finally change with the younger generation,” he says.

In Holomek’s view, the situation in the school system has become unbearable. “For example, in Brno more than 90 % of the Roma in the city attend just three schools. That is simply a catastrophe, because if the majority and minority do not learn to live together and to get along starting in their youth, it is very difficult to correct this once they are older,” Holomek says. “My granddaughter, on the other hand, attends school with many white children, and when I ask her whether any of her schoolmates are Roma, she says she doesn’t even know. That’s super! If we learn to get along as children, it will be of benefit to everyone. The barriers and differences between us as adults will be erased.”

Holomek believes it is very difficult to work out a solution to this problem when parents and teachers prevent the “mixing” of children at school. “White parents do not want to send their children to school with Roma, because they view it as a sort of handicap. They are partially correct, because for a certain amount of time the level of instruction will actually be reduced as a result of including the Roma. However, on the other hand, the social maturity of both groups will increase through contact. The question is from what grade level should we prioritize contact between the majority and the minority, and from what age is it good to place the main emphasis strictly on education,” Holomek says. In his view, Romani parents are also to blame, as the often prefer to enrol their children into the schools they themselves attended, which have predominantly Roma populations.

“If a school director makes up some excuse for sending a Romani child who lives in his district to a predominantly Roma school, I consider that without exaggeration to be a crime. He may be doing that because Romani children often really do have problems in first grade, but a proper director must solve this problem, not sweep it under the carpet. When Romani children do end up in the first grade of regular school, directors for the most part have not the slightest problem with immediately sending such children to ‘special school’. Even though they are calling these schools ‘practical’ today, they are essentially the same as the ‘special schools’, because the level of education there is simply lower,” Holomek explains.

Holomek says the claims of some practical school directors and counseling facility psychologists that Romani children do not have the genes for regular school are preposterous. “When Czech Roma emigrate to Canada, many of the children who attended special education in this country are suddenly capable, after just three months in Canada, of learning a foreign language well enough to interpret for their parents. How is it possible that in this country they didn’t even learn to write?” he asks.

Holomek believes the tests used in educational-psychological counseling centers must be set up differently, as they are currently not able to say anything about the intelligence of the children taking them. “These are rather tests of lingustic and social sensitivity, which understandably disadvantage the Roma terribly. What should be most important is that all clever children receive a good education irrespective of their social origin. If such an approach were to be taken, there would be fewer children in the practical schools and teachers would be able to give them more attention. In the end, the situation everywhere would be improved,” he says.

In the interview, Holomek also welcomes the dissolution of the Workers’ Party, even though he is aware the problem as a whole is much more complicated. “I am not a lawyer and my emotions tell me the party should be dissolved. However, on the other hand, I am aware that in a democracy these people can join other parties and nothing will really change. Society has just received a clear signal that the behavior of the Workers’ Party crossed the line and that we do not want such a dangerous party in this country because its members and promoters commit violence,” he says.

Holomek does not believe Czechs are racists, although according to a wide variety of research, large numbers of people here take great exception to the Roma. “Yes, they have prejudices, and for historical reasons, many of them have had bad experiences, but who is without prejudice? We have to deal with this somehow, look at it from both sides, discuss it, refine our opinions. The world is full of others whom we can truly call racist. How this is dealt with, what kind of a stance the authorities take, depends on the society, on the degree to which its democracy has developed,” he says.

The full interview, conducted by Zuzana Tausova, can be found in the Brno, Vyskov, Breclav, Blansko, Hodonin and Znojmo print editions of Denik.

ryz, regional editions of Deník,, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Saturday, February 27, 2010



February 23, 2010,7:20 [IST]
Nevada (US), Feb 23 (ANI): Hindus and Jews have asked European Union to officially declare Roma maltreatment as "apartheid" and then make all out effort to resolve it.

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a statement issued in Nevada today, said that condition of Roma in Europe had most of the signs of an "apartheid" and everybody involved was explicitly aware of it. No more think tanks, research, analysis, surveys, and polls were needed to measure the gravity of Roma societal exclusion, as it was starkly visible to the naked eye.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich, argued that most of much publicized fancy plans/programs launched by European Union and its various bodies, including "Decade of Roma Inclusion", had failed to make a major dent to bring Roma at par with rest of the population. It was now time for Europe to come out of those cleverly coined terminology of Roma "projects/plans/programs" and "declaration/pledge/promise/initiative" photo-ops and do something "concrete and real" for Roma upliftment.

Rajan Zed and Jonathan Freirich urged various religious leaders and organizations of Europe to openly embrace and bless the Roma cause as religion told us to raise the voice for the helpless. It was a sin to watch the Roma suffer day after day for the last about 1200 years and not do anything about it.

Zed and Freirich pointed out that it was shocking to see how inhumanely Europe was treating its about 15 million Roma brothers-sisters. It was clearly reprehensible, hazardous and immoral and a blatant failure of Europe to meet its international obligations. When it came to Roma, Europe frequently failed to implement its own laws distinctly mentioned in its own books.

Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan Freirich further said that alarming condition of Roma people was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, etc.

Besides the absence of any serious efforts at their inclusion, Roma were being used as "punch bag" and blamed for the social ills of Europe and many politicians even exploited segregation to their political advantage. European neglect was trapping Roma in cycles of persecution and poverty. Roma issue should be one of the highest priorities of human rights agenda of Europe and world, thus reversing the history of persecution, Zed and Freirich stressed. (ANI)

Friday, February 26, 2010


The following is an open letter written by a member of the United Kingdom Association of Gypsy Women. I am so impressed by the tireless work they do. They have been a leading voice against the relocation of Roma to the toxic lead mines in Kosovo and they never stop addressing the overwhelming issues faced by Roma and Travellers in England.

I salute these women.


Dear Sir

It is with regret that we find ourselves once again having to write to you in regard to the long standing and ongoing harassment by your officers toward the Stewart family.
at Gorebridge. Despite our best efforts to resolve this situation via consultation with yourself, senior officers and the Fiscal office the family still suffer from relentless harassment.

At 9.30 this morning this family that includes young children one of whom is only 2 months old were subjected to a drugs raid. We have been involved with the family for several years and we have never seen any evidence nor had any reason to suspect that the family has any dealings at all with drugs. In our efforts to support the family we have regular contact with Educationalists and Social workers none of whom have ever raised in meetings or in private that there is any suspicion of activity with drugs on any level.

The Stewart family was told that “a complaint” was made that they were dealing in drugs. We make formal request for a copy of the warrant raised and details any evidence your officers had that gave rise to the raising of the warrant. We have in the past furnished you with a copy of an authority from both Pauline Mitchell and Paddy Stewart, a copy of the same is available if required.

No drugs were found at the Stewarts address.

As an Association that deals regularly with cases of harassment against Gypsies and Travellers over many years, I am obliged to inform you that this is the worst case we have ever encountered.

We are disappointed that having placed faith in you and approached you personally in a letter dated 29th September 2009. This letter was addressed for your attention and was sent via email Fax and Royal Mail but failed to generate the courtesy of a reply.

In October 2009 while in Edinburgh we spoke to the Stewarts Social Worker who confirmed that she had witnessed the harassment for herself while making a home visit to the Stewarts, officers called at the house for no apparent or stated reason,
when they saw the Social Worker sitting in the house they decided against the unnecessary call and left. As a result of what she witnessed the Social worker advised the family to make note of any further visits, to request log numbers for any alleged complaint against the family and to take officers collar numbers. This was advice that we echoed.

In the past one of our representatives attended a multi agency meeting held in regard to the Stewarts. An officer from your force cited a large number of calls that had been made to the police in relation to the Stewarts. On face value this showed the family in a very poor light, however when challenged the officer was forced to admit that the bulk of the calls we in fact calls made by the Stewarts requesting assistance because they were being threatened and intimidated by local residents! Needless to say they failed to receive the assistance they had requested.

The Stewart family live in difficult circumstances with totally inadequate housing, although there have been suitable properties identified that would be ideal for their needs they reside with their children in a porta cabin and pay the council £850.00 a month for the privilege. Life is stressful enough for the family, both Pauline Mitchell and Paddy Stewart are caring and conscientious parents doing their best to bring their children up to be good citizens, two of the children have special educational needs and it is very damaging indeed for them to be exposed to the high levels of fear that this constant harassment causes.

We request once more that you now as Chief Constable take responsibility for the actions of the officers under your command and put a stop to this immediately.

Yours faithfully

Shay Clipson

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Scandalous treatment of Roma in Kosovo”

16 February 2010 | 14:03 |
Source: Tanjug

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg called for an end to forcible return of Roma to Kosovo.

After his second visit in ten months to the contaminated Roma camps in Česmin Lug and Osterode, Hammarberg said that the situation had not changed, and called for an urgent evacuation of the settlements.

“The fact is that these camps have been inhabited for an entire decade is scandalous. The international community is partly to blame for this situation,” Hammarberg said.

He said that the lead contamination posed a very serious danger for the people and children of the community.

“New, safe housing is needed for about 600 people, in order to close the camps. They all need immediate medical care as well,” he said.

Hammarberg said that he is concerned about the fact that Europe is implementing a forcible return of Roma to Kosovo.

According to UN statistics, 2,500 people from EU countries were returned to Kosovo in 2009.

Some of the Roma forced to go back to the province were sent to the contaminated camps, most of them being from Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

“I am calling on European countries to stop the forcible return until Kosovo is ready to secure the necessary conditions of life, medical care, education, social services and jobs,” he said.

He reminded that Kosovo has already signed readmission agreements with several countries.

“In Kosovo alone there are 20,000 internally displaced persons and the unemployment rate is at about 50 percent, which clearly shows that Kosovo still lacks the infrastructure needed to allow a sustainable reintegration of refugees,” Hammarberg said.

He added that some of the refugees have lived in other countries for a long time and have children that were born in European countries, speak the languages of these countries fluently and have no ties to Kosovo.

“The result is that many refugees are trying to return as soon as they can to the countries they used to live in,” the commissioner said.

In a report published last summer, Human Rights Watch said that the Roma district in the northern city of Kosovska Mitrovica was attacked by ethnic Albanians in June 1999
"By June 24, the district had been looted and burned to the ground, and its 8,000 inhabitants had fled. Many were resettled by the UN in camps in a heavily contaminated area located near a defunct lead mine. The move was originally intended to be temporary, yet about 670 Roma still live in camps near the site, with damaging consequences for their health," said the report


Swedish Government Rejects Criticism of Kosovo Deportations

18/02/2010 - Sweden's migration minister Tobias Billström has rejected international criticism of the country's decision to repatriate Roma refugees to Kosovo. Following a visit to northern Kosovo last week the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, called for a total halt to the deportations due to inhumane conditions in refugee camps.

However Billström told Swedish Radio news on Thursday that despite the difficult conditions faced by Roma refugees in Eastern Europe, Swedish law did not allow him to interfere with decisions made by the migration ministry, which rule on deportations on a case by case basis. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Sweden repatriates the largest number of refugees to Kosovo, including children from the Roma minority, despite longstanding concerns over human rights violations in the country.



Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A follower of this blog asked me what messages I deleted.

The only messages I delete are for products for sale. I would not delete comments I considered controversial or varying from our political perspective. We totally support dialogue.

What we delete are commercial advertisements which appear selling everything from computers to viagra.


This video is wonderful. Pecker Dunne is a Roma/Traveler in Ireland. His music blends traditional Irish and Romani. The condition of Romani people worldwide is so very dismal, hence the reason this blog is often dismal. I thought we might all enjoy some music.

--- On Sun, 2/21/10, YouTube Service <> wrote:

YouTube help center | e-mail options | report spam
chavajuke has shared a video with you on YouTube:
Pecker Dunne was born into a travelling family in Wexford c1933. Like other travellers, he used to play on a fiddle he made himself. He performed outside hurling and football matches. He also busked widely in Ireland, England and France.
Resembling a Mexican bandit with his trademark beard and stocky build, he is a colourful character, as widely known around Ireland as Margaret Barry was to a previous generation. He is best known for The Miximatosis Rabbit and a version of The Black Velvet Band called The Old Morris Van. It was from him that Sweeney's Men got Sullivan's John.
For the past 20 years or so he could be heard singing and playing the banjo in Killarney and at Munster Final day in Thurles. He featured in the film Trojan Eddie with Richard Harris and Stephen Rea. Nowadays he lives in County Clare.
Aged 74, he was treated in a local hospital in 2007 for a throat illness. His spirit was as high as ever. Sr Carmel O'Sullivan said: "Part of his healing process... more
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Sunday, February 21, 2010


On February 22, 1943 Sophie Scholl, 22, was beheaded by the nazi Regime.

Sophie was a student at the University of Munich and member of the White Rose resistance.

She and her brother Hans were arrested for distributing anti nazi flyers at the University. She was convicted of urging students to rise up and overthrow the nazis.

She was also involved in one of the only demonstrations of German women against the nazis. When a high ranking nazi gave an address to the female students at the university Sophie stood up and turned her back on the speaker. Dozens of women followed her lead.


Saturday, February 20, 2010


By Nick Iliev

Slovak town raises concrete wall around Roma ghetto - report
Thu, Feb 18 2010 11:22
A 2.2-metre wall built with public funds separates the Slovak town of Ostrovany, separating two thirds of the population, who are Roma, from the rest, the Times on London said on February 18.

"Nobody told us that this was happening — they just came one day and started building," the daily quoted one of the town's Roma residents, Peter Kaleja, as saying. "The mayor should not have spent that money on the wall, but should have built houses for us."

Regardless of the outrage emanating from human rights activists or the Roma who found themselves in a concrete exile, local authorities said that the extreme measure was necessary "to protect householders whose gardens back on to the Roma settlement and who complain that their fruit is frequently stolen".

The accusation is that the Roma "huts" were constructed illegally in the area, and thus the local population fell victims frequently to looting and theft.

Illegal Roma huts and spawning ghettos are no isolated to Slovakia alone. On January 14, 2010, the Bourgas Municipality in Bulgaria ordered one such Roma ghetto in the city's Slaveikov borough razed, and the Roma dispersed from the site.

The Roma site, which at the time consisted of some 20 shacks and other "shelters", was perched in immediate proximity to a major railway junction.

On January 14, bulldozers flattened five barracks, and the occupants of the remaining 15 or so shelters were told to collect their belongings and clear out by January 15, when the bulldozers returned and cleared the rest of the perimeter.

The Bourgas municipality has a similar problem in the summer of 2009, when 30 sheds were cleared by authorities after a Roma camp site suddenly arose in the same area. At the time, a small girl had died after being hit by a passing train.

"We are trying to get the message across clearly, that every time illegal construction takes place here, it will be destroyed and cleared. We will not allow roaming Roma here," Bourgas mayor Dimitar Nikolov was quoted as saying by Dnevnik

But the concrete wall in Slovakia has raised other concerns. It sent a powerful message of exclusion, said Stanislav Daniel, of the European Roma Rights Centre, quoted by the Times.

"It has a very high symbolic value. We would not object to the owners building their own wall and paying for it. But this is the first time that a municipality in Slovakia is using public money to protect the private property of a few people."


Italy: Sentencing of human rights defenders Mr Roberto Malini and Mr Dario Picciau

Brussels, February 20, 2010


Received From Roma Virtual Network

Human rights defenders Mr Roberto Malini and Mr Dario Picciau were informed on 12 February 2010 of their conviction, on 5 November 2009, to the payment of a fine for disturbing a police operation in Pesaro in December 2008. Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau are co-presidents of EveryOne Group, a non-governmental organisation supporting Roma people and refugees.

Further Information

On 12 February 2010, Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau received notification by the Italian authorities that they had been sentenced to a prison term, commuted into payment of a fine of 2,100 euro, for ”in complicity with each other, they caused the interruption, or at least disturbed a police operation aimed at identifying three foreign citizens, and used abusive language towards the officers from Pesaro-Urbino Police Headquarters, and interfered in the carrying out of their duty” in accordance to Articles 110 and 340 of the Penal Code. They were sentenced through a so-called penal decree signed by the office of the magistrate for preliminary investigations of Pesaro on 5 November 2009. The penal decree is a judicial procedure allowing a magistrate to sentence a person on the basis of the prosecutor's submission only, without hearing the accused. Penal decrees can be appealed within 15 days from their notification.

According to EveryOne Group, on the evening of 20 December 2008, a police officer was talking ”in an arrogant manner” to a young Roma man, Mr Nico Grancea, while his colleague waited in the patrol car in front of a coffee shop. ”We greeted the young man, Nico Grancea, who we knew very well as we had been offering him assistance for over a year. In answer, we received from the first officer an abrupt and threatening invitation to show our ID cards.
The police officer took note of our details.” Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau reported that the police officers then left without issuing any notification. ”The magistrate investigating the case did not listen to what the owner of the coffee shop, or Mr Grancea, or the EveryOne activists had to say. The Pesaro investigating magistrate decided for a conviction without a trial” they added. Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau have appealed the sentence.

EveryOne Group reported several instances of abuses and intimidation from the authorities and in particular the police, due to their work in assisting Roma communities and refugees. In particular, their work in opposing police raids in Roma camps in Pesaro and their advocacy over the expulsion of a group of Afghan asylum seekers while their asylum application was pending, originated police hostility. The policy of the Pesaro authorities towards Roma people has reportedly been raised in Parliament and EveryOne Group reports that this has led to the transfer of the head of the police in Pesaro to a different province.
Front Line believes that the sentencing of Roberto Malini and Dario Picciau is motivated by their legitimate human rights work in support of minority rights, especially Roma people.

For further information:

EveryOne Group
info@everyonegroup. com

Friday, February 19, 2010


As stated in many previous posts, the situation of the Roma of Kosovo is desperate.
Not only are conditions in Kosovo (life on a pile of lead)deadly, but the countries of Western Europe are repatriating or planning to repatriate, Roma refugees from Kosovo. Several hundred have already been returned.

We've recently been lobbying Hilary Clinton to make a statement in support of the Roma of Kosovo. We have been hopeful because of supportive statements she made recently concerning the Roma/Sinti of Europe.

On 17 February 2010, Clinton made a statement in honor of the anniversary of the independence of Kosovo.

Dare I say we've been let down again.

There is a quote I paraphrase:
The screams of your enemies are not as deadly as the silence of your friends.

And the beat goes on.


Independence Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

February 17, 2010

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Republic of Kosovo as they celebrate their second anniversary of independence on February 17. This is an occasion to celebrate Kosovo’s development as an open, unitary, and pluralistic republic and its commitment to deliver on the promise of democracy for all of its people. Kosovo’s progress in these two years demonstrates its dedication to responsible membership in the community of nations and to stability in the Balkan region. ‪

I commend the Government of Kosovo for its continued efforts to build a secure and prosperous future for all of Kosovo’s citizens. The United States remains a steadfast partner of the people and Government of Kosovo, committed to strengthening Kosovo’s institutions and further developing a fully functioning, democratic, and multiethnic state able to achieve its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. ‪

Hilary, who are the Romani again ?
And let us not forget the role of Bill and Hilary Clinton in the war in Kosovo which has had a profound impact all the Roma.

On March 3rd, Romani women and allies are going to distribute fliers outside the Swedish Parliament to protest the proposed deportation of 300 Roma back to Kosovo.
We are seeking allies in New York to hand out fliers (will be provided) outside the United Nations in New York on March 3rd.

Please contact
for more information


My friend Casimire, a talented Romanchai artisan and jewelry maker is selling the Wheel of the Romani made of copper.

If anyone is interested, please contact Casimire at

Casimire reminded me that I forgot to say that some of the proceeds of anything he sells will go to LoloDiklo. And believe me, we could use it.


On 19 February 1942 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,signed Executive Order 9066 which authorized the military to relocate and intern U.S. residents of Japanese ancestry, including native-born Americans

In many cases, the internees were given only 48 hrs notice of the evacuations and lost most of their property, including homes and businesses.

How can this be justified? I know apologies have been spoken and "reparations" made but who thinks this could not happen again. Who are the terrorists now ?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


We are so impressed with the work being done by our sisters with The United Kingdom Association of Gypsy Women and others to draw attention to the plight of the Roma of Kosovo.

There is a demonstation forming to oppose Sweden's plans to deport many Roma refugees from Kosovo. Many other western countries are planning the same. Serbia has already repatriated 300 Roma refugees back to Kosovo.

On 3 March people will be demonstrating outside the Swedish Parliament. We are looking for anyone in New York to hand out fliers condemning the forced relocations at the United Nations.

Please read past blogs for more information on the situation in Kosovo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



Roma Gypsy Children Given Death Sentence

14/02/2010 - These two little brothers Ergin aged 9 and Robert aged 5 live on the lead contaminate camp in Kosovo. As a result of lead poisoning both of these innocent children have Kidney failure, you can see in this photo how poor Ergin’s face has swollen up as his kidneys struggle to clear the toxins from his body.

Both boys need a specialist diet to help take the strain off their failing kidneys, their parents live in adverse poverty and struggle to feed their family from food scavenged from the waste sites.

This diet costs just 7 Euro’s a day at today’s exchange rate that’s £6.07 (UK) or $9.72 (US).

Until September 2009 the children’s diet was being funded by KAAD – Kosovo Agency for Advocacy & Development, but KAAD decided it could no longer afford to pay and the boy’s have been left to die.

Will you stand by while a child dies for the sake of 7 Euro’s ?

If everyone donated just 7 euro’s then Ergin & Robert would have a chance of survival while we fight to get their funding reinstated


To make donations just send 7 euro’s via PAYPAL to donations@patrinuk. org

Visit the Patrin website for more information.

http://www.patrinuk .org

Monday, February 15, 2010


Today is the birthday of Susan B. Anthony. Born in 1820, she died in 1906 before women in the United States received the right to vote.
She spent her entire career working for the rights of women. She travelled the country doing talks. These journeys were very difficult and tiring.

When Susan needed to rest she would visit Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her children for rest and revitalization. Though she loved Elizabeth's children she would often chastise Elizabeth that if she'd stop having children they would have won the vote years ago.

To relax when at Elizabeth's, Susan would travel to weddings taking place in the area and sit quietly until the question:
"Does anyone here have any reasons why these two should not be united?", and Susan would jump up and talk about what a marriage contract really meant for the woman, things like not only no right to own property, but actually becoming the husband's property.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Maggie Smith-Bendell was born on the edge of a pea field, the second of eight children in a family of old-fashioned Romany Gypsies. It was a harsh but magical childhood

By Veronique Mistiaen
The Guardian,
Saturday 13 February 2010

Depending on whom you ask, Maggie Smith-Bendell is either a grandmother from hell or a ­heroic and ­tireless campaigner for Gypsy rights. For the last decade, this feisty 68-year-old ­Romany Gypsy, has been helping Gypsy families to secure private land to live on and ­advising ­legislators on planning issues.

Now, "the grandmother of the land grab", as she has been described, has written a beautiful memoir to "try to explain to house-dwellers who we are and how we live", and record a way of life that has more or less vanished. "I feel privileged to be born in the era of the wagon and horse to good, ­old-fashioned Romany Gypsy parents," she says, sitting in her trailer office on a plot of land she inherited from her father, near Bridgwater in Somerset. "I worked with my dad for the last 18 years of his life, even when I was married. I drove his scrap lorry. He was my best friend. I understood his ways," she says, pouring tea and cutting slices of cake. "After he died, I never ­collected any scrap iron again or made the Christmas holly wreaths. With his death, the old way of life was gone. I wrote my book because I didn't want his memory and our ancient ways to die out."

Years before she wrote Our ­Forgotten Years, Maggie had created it all in her head – in Romany, her first ­language, which she spoke ­almost exclusively as a child. "In my head, I went back, reliving it all. When I was picking snowdrops in my head and the phone rang, I got very angry because I was there. I hankered for my past, for my ­childhood."

Maggie was born on the edge of a pea field near Bridgwater in 1941 to Lenard Smith and Defiance (Vie) Small – the second of eight children (quite a small family by Gypsy standards), each born at a different stopping place. Like most Gypsies at the time, her ­family travelled across the countryside, eking out a living from the woods and hedgerows, picking daffodils and snowdrops, catching rabbits, pheasants and wild duck, and collecting scrap metal and rags. They made wooden clothes pegs and flowers, which the women and ­children would sell door to door. They also worked for farmers, picking peas, beans and hops – and as soon as Maggie was old enough she contributed to the family's labour. "We started working at the age of three. My dad called us 'his little army of workers'."

It was a harsh life dominated by work, but also a life of freedom, driven by the seasons (they had no clocks, but knew when The Archers was on) and with an extraordinary closeness to ­nature. "We had the whole world as our school and playground. I'd go back on the road this minute," she says.

In her book, illustrated with ­family photos, Maggie conjures up the call of the road, the beauty of a crisp ­winter morning, the nights when all the ­children fell asleep safe and snug in the wagon, the days working in the fields with other families and meeting up with them in the evening around a roaring open fire with a stew cooking in the pot. A few of her favourite ­family dishes are included in her book as a postscript, along with some wagon songs, traditional Romany crafts and a small dictionary of Romany words. There is, for example, a recipe for ­rabbit stew and one for jog-jog, the hedgehogs, which, she says, "are eaten in the wintertime as they are considered unclean in the breeding season, like most animals. These meals were nearly always made over an open fire, using a kettle iron to balance the big black pot we had."

"The yog [outside fire] was the ­centre of our life, of our family," she says. "Everything got discussed and pulled apart and put back together in front of the yog. It was everybody's job to keep it ­going. I still have fires outside," she says, pointing to the adjacent field where her father's mare is buried and where, until recently, she and her husband, Terry, kept their horses. On their land, there is also a larger, comfortable ­mobile home, a caravan where her two sons and grandchildren stay when they visit, a yard with two Alsatians and an open barn sheltering three beautiful antique Gypsy wagons as well as a miniature one she takes to schools so children can learn about traditional Romany culture.

But her memoir also describes darker memories: the bullying at school, the death of her little brother Jess after he fell from a cart, her parents' ignorance of the law and the constant suspicion and harassment from the police and villagers. One of her most vivid memories is of how terrified her family felt when a farmer and his wife offered to take her brother Alfie from them and look after him. Her parents grabbed their children and fled in a panic, leaving most of their precious possessions behind. They believed any gorgie (non-Romany) could take away any Gypsy child if they wanted to. "It must have been hell for my people back in them years," she writes. "How they must have lived in fear! ... We knew only that laws counted against us, that we were always in the wrong." These early experiences made her what she is today, "an activist for my race of Gypsy people," says Maggie, who runs an advisory service for Gypsies and Travellers based in the south-west of England, and campaigns for their right to live peacefully in accordance with their culture.

In spite of her ­heritage, Maggie decided she wouldn't marry a Gypsy. "They seemed far too controlling for my way of thinking; too quick with their fists," she says. "In fact, I thought I would never get ­married until I met Terry. He was born a gorgie, but he is my Gypsy man.

"Terry was a gorgie mush [man] just out of the army, and he had never met a Gypsy woman before. It took us several years to settle down to each other. And how I tormented him," she adds with a mischievous smile. "We never argued. I was not used to that, so I thought he was too pliable, but he was just not controlling. But I brought up my two boys in a Gypsy way: with strict discipline. Right from the beginning they were told right from wrong." Their son Michael, 46, is a landscape gardener, and Jason, 44, works for a baker. They have five grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

We go into the larger mobile home to visit Terry, who is sitting in the ­living room with a friend. He has cancer. "Back then, it was custom for us when someone was ill and dying, to return to all the old stopping places that had meant something to that person. Even though Terry is not a Gypsy, I took him to all the places that were special for us," says Maggie softly. She had taken her father on a similar journey years before. "Near the end we packed up and took him to all the well-known stopping places from my youth, everywhere his heart desired," she writes. "Every day I would fill the tank with fuel and ask him, 'Where to today, then, Dad?' We covered many miles only to find that most of our ­beloved stopping places were fenced off or blocked with stones and fences. This upset him badly. "So much of our way of life is over. Hops are now ­gathered by machine and peas picked by ­foreign workers who will work for less. Most of all, the common land has been fenced off or blocked. So many of our ­historical stopping places have been taken away from us."

To replace the ­traditional stopping places, the 1968 Caravan Sites Act stipulated that local authorities had to provide dedicated sites for Gypsies and Travellers. But there is a desperate shortage of legal pitches, and they are often built on "awkward and unhygienic places" such as over old rubbish tips and cemeteries, and come with many restrictions, says Maggie. As a ­result, "So many of our people are forced to live in bricks and mortar, like my grandchildren. Often they have to hide that they are Gypsies from their neighbours and even friends. They dread visits from their own ­family just in case the neighbours figure it out. We are now all split up. With each ­generation, our culture is getting weaker. For our people who dwell in houses, our ­Romany ways will soon be a memory. The only Gypsy ­culture left to them will be funerals and horse fairs."

After the Tories repealed the act in 1994, Travellers and Gypsies were told to look for their own land, but each time Maggie and Terry found a piece of land, they were refused planning permission because they were ­Gypsies. Gypsies all over the country face similar rejections, she says. Eventually, Maggie and Terry were granted planning permission on her father's old paddock, but only after "I had been degraded in public, in the press and in my local area, just for being a Romany." That's how Maggie became involved in helping her people to acquire land, often advising them to move on to the land first, start building, then lodge a retrospective application, which was more likely to be successful.

"On a private site, we can return to our traditions, for to have an outside fire to cook upon and sit around is forbidden on authorised council sites as a hazard. If you sing and dance on a council site, you're likely to get your marching orders for making noise; if you bring a horse back to the site you're causing a nuisance to others.

"I feel that every family I put on a little piece of land of their own, their culture will be preserved. They can send their children to be educated, have access to healthcare and have some security and dignity. In a small way, I am helping my people to keep our culture alive."

Our Forgotten Years: A Gypsy Woman's Life on the Road by Maggie Smith-Bendell is published by University of Hertfordshire Press, £8.99. To order a copy for £8.99 with free UK p&p, go to or call 0330 333 6846

Friday, February 12, 2010



Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, visits Kosovo to assess the situation of forced Roma returnees.
Strasbourg, 10/02/10 -

Several European governments are forcibly returning to Kosovo persons who have found shelter in their countries. To assess the situation, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, visits Kosovo from 11 to 13 Febru-ary.

According to UN statistics more than 2 500 persons have been returned from European countries during 2009, mainly from Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Among them are Roma, who have ended up in the lead-contaminated camps of Češmin Lug and Osterode in northern Mitrovica.
The Commissioner will visit these two camps that he already in his report of July 2009 recommended to be closed. He also urged that adequate housing be offered to all families affected, together with courses of decontamination treatment.


The lead levels found in the children of these camps are above any ever encountered by doctors. The Roma have been forced to live there for the past ten years.
We appeal to the international community to voice your disapproval of this situation.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


We are reprinting this article in its entirety from Nevo Drom, an excellent blog.

Forced evictions in Milan: EveryOne Group sends a report to the International Criminal Court of the Hague

Posted: 10 Feb 2010 10:44 AM PST

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

“The people who authorized these evictions in the freezing cold weather without the offer of alternative lodgings will come under investigation for crimes against humanity”.

On January 21st eighty makeshift shelters were bulldozed by the Milanese authorities. The huts were razed to the ground along with their contents: blankets, winter clothes, stoves for heating and essential medicines. The forced eviction took place in Via Sant'Arialdo, near the Chiaravalle Abbey, where about 150 Roma citizens, including children, pregnant women and sick people (many of them with cancer, heart problems, and handicaps) were thrown out onto the street and forced to set off on a tragic march to nowhere.

On the morning of January 28th, 2010, the co-presidents of EveryOne Group, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau delivered this report to the magistrates of the International Criminal Court of the Hague.

“Fortunately – after noticing the municipal police patrols driving up and down – many of the families left the settlement before the clearance began in order to avoid being charged for squatting and suffering the humiliation of the ethnic profiling that other families have been subjected to.

However, their homes, makeshift shelters made from wood, plastic and cardboard, no longer exist”. Ninety-five Romanian Roma were charged with illegally occupying a plot of land and are undergoing mass expulsion as the authorities have ordered them to leave the city: a reminder of the way the Roma were forced to leave centuries ago and during the pre-Holocaust years.

According to EveryOne Group, we are talking about intolerable violations of a person's fundamental rights and only a serious legal action can prevent the continuation of these clearance operations.

“For this reason” say Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau”, as a organization working in defence of minority groups, we have taken our complaint to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of the Hague. Our report claims that the actions being carried out by Milan's local authorities are crimes against humanity consisting of forced evictions, failure to offer assistance, bodily harm, and mass expulsions”.

In the report EveryOne Group sent to the Hague, we read “the Court defines crimes against humanity any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the
attack. In particular the Statute that regulates the Court's decisions identifies crimes against humanity: extermination, which according to article 7 of the Rome Statute includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine; deportation or forcible transfer of population; persecution - the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity; the crime of apartheid.”

“We sincerely hope” conclude the co-presidents of EveryOne Group, “that actions of this kind, that are undermining the integrity and the dignity of vulnerable human beings are severely punished by the judges and condemned by all the international legal organs.

A copy of this report has also been sent to the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the European Commission and the EU Commissioner for Human Rights.

Hoping, even sincerely hoping, is not going to get us anywhere and the problem is that there are even European Parliament resolutions passed against Italy to have its authorities refrain from such actions and what has happened? Italy and its municipalities have thumbed their noses at the Parliament and the Council. It is a farce and no one has the slightest inclination to do anything for and on behalf of the Gypsy. We should have noticed that by now.

While the idea of sending a report to the ICC may be a good idea the fact is that in all truth and honesty it is a waste of time and things other than this might be much more appropriate.

I hate to be a cynic but I doubt that the ICC judges will even look at the report. If it does not get filed under “G” for “garbage” then it will be shelved somewhere to gather dust. Let no one hold his breath and expect something to happen. Blue in face is not good color unless you happen to be in Avatar.


We're encouraging people to contact Secretary of State Clinton asking her to make a statement of support for the Romani of Kosovo.
Below is the e-mail address for her through the State Department.
She has been vocally supportive of the Roma and Sinti people in the past.
The situation in Kosovo and throughout Eastern Europe is deteriorating daily.

Monday, February 8, 2010



Tony Gatlif explores the persecution of the Romani people in his latest movie, Korkoro.
Algerian-born French film-maker Tony Gatlif has focused on the lives of the Romani (gypsy) people from whom he is in part descended. In films like the swirling, enchanting Latcho Drom (1993), Gadjo Dilo (1997) and more recently Vengo and Swing, he has created a showcase of Romani music and culture in films whose ethnographic richness compensates for occasionally flimsy narrative structure.

But there's nothing flimsy about his new film, Korkoro - it's the Romani word for Freedom - which tells a story of persecution in Nazi-occupied France.

Not since 1983's The Princes, about the official hassling of fringe-dwelling gypsies in the Paris suburbs, has Gatlif made a film so drenched in sadness and rage. The screening of Korkoro which will open the annual French Film Festival on Wednesday is being billed by festival organisers as an "avant-premiere" (advance premiere), since the film doesn't open in France until February 24.

The film was inspired by a true story: the mayor and the schoolteacher in a small village in the occupied zone come to the help of a band of gypsies when the identity controls imposed by the Vichy regime impinge on the their nomadic lifestyle. Their intervention ushers in a brief interlude of cross-cultural understanding before an inevitable and tragic clash between gypsy non-conformity and Nazi authority.

The part of the mayor, Theodore, is taken by Marc Lavoine, a giant in the world of French pop music. He says that the fate of the gypsies in World War II is one of France's dirty secrets.

"There are not many films made about the gypsies because they are the forgotten people," he says in a deep growl that belies his handsome tenor singing voice. "Nothing was ever written in the paper. There was just no trace. It's a hole in the memory."

The French people have been lax about admitting the atrocities in their history, he says: "Even after the war in Algeria we didn't do the job. Sometimes we feel guilty but that is not the solution - to feel guilt about things we didn't do. But we need to face up to it: it is part of our history because it's what our people did."

The experience of being in the film plainly agreed with Lavoine, who sings the praises of the Romani.

"They remind me of the freedom we have only as children," he says. "Gypsies are disturbing people to mainstream society because they don't live in lines. They show us the world in a different way. We live in a small box. We are not comfortable with gay people, autistic people, people with personality disorders, people in wheelchairs - we are not able to live together and this film shows there is some hope."

His choice of words is apt. Along with gypsies, homosexuals and the mentally and physically disabled were among many groups earmarked for extermination by the Nazis and gypsies felt the wrath of persecution well before the war began.

Gatlif did enormous amounts of research before writing the film, talking to eyewitnesses, including the schoolteacher, Mademoiselle Lundi, who is in her 90s, and cobbling together a story out of her history and many fragments of eyewitness testimony.

"We have a lot of documentary evidence of people who took a lot of risks to help and shelter Jews during the war," says Lavoine, "but in the case of the gypsies the stories are all orally transmitted and evidence is more difficult to find."


We are trying to raise awareness in the United States to the plight of the Roma of Kosovo forced to live on an abandoned lead mine.

Anyone who lives in the US please contact Hilary Clinton at the State Dept and ask her to take up this cause. In recent days Ms Clinton has expressed support for the Roma/Sinti people.

Friday, February 5, 2010



February 1, 2010 at 2:32am

Paul Polansky sounded weary and sad he has just returned from a week in the camps, he told me nine-year-old Ergin who is suffering kidney failure was taken off his special diet last September by KAAD, the camp administrator appointed by the Kosovo government
Because, they cannot afford the cost of 7 Euros a day. His seven year old brother, who shares Ergin’s special diet, is in an even worse condition. Although Ergin has been hospitalised six or seven times during the past year, he will not survive without his special diet. Neither will his brother. So theirs will probably be the next two deaths in camp Osterode. Paul said, we have already lost an entire generation of Romani children to irreversible brain damage’, his contention is that it is doubtful, that they will be able to father another generation and we cannot but agree.

The goodwill ambassador for the UN Angelina Jolie visited the camps in December 2002. Photos of her standing in front of the destroyed Roma community of South Mitrovica documented her visit. She donated money for Sewage System at Osterode, thus contributing to keeping the Roma on the source of poisoning.

Paul is writing a new book on the camps, and is publishing Anti-Hero awards to those who have contributed to the plight of the Roma in these death camps. AJ is to be a recipient.

Our question is the same as Paul’s. Angelina Jolie visited the Roma refugee camps in Kosovo in December 2002 as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, how could she not see the 100 million tons of toxic slag heaps hovering over the camps? How could she stand across from the ruins of their old neighborhood and not ask what happened to these people? Why are their homes in ruin? Why can’t they go back? What is the UN doing to help them; she already knew the answer to that question.

Why did the Goodwill Ambassador at least not question the UN and ask the reason all food aid to the camps had stopped, forcing the families to find their only meals in the city garbage containers? And why did she donate money to the UN to build a sewage system and Turkish toilets to keep the refugees on Toxic wasteland. AJ saw with her own eyes, she will have had UN interpreters which allowed her to speak directly to the people, of that there is no doubt, therefore, she will have heard about the mothers self-aborting not wanting anymore children with irreversible brain damage.

Moreover, what of the children surly to god, she must have at least noticed that the children were not acting normally; they carry the highest levels of poison in their blood ever recorded in history as revealed in November 2000. The woman professes to love and mother children indeed, she is travelling world adopting little motherless orphans. It defies belief then that this person’s conscience was easily soothed and eased by making a donation to the UN which, ensured their stay on the toxic wasteland would not be a short one.

If UKAGW were giving out hero awards, a celebrity who ranks alongside the actor Corin Redgrave, who spoke up for the Dale Farm Travelling Community in Essex and was also active in their campaign to halt the threat of eviction, would have to be Madonna, truly deserves an award for bravery for speaking out against the treatment and racial discrimination of the Roma people in Romania in 2009, she did not wait until she had left the country to do so, she spoke out during her tour, she would probably already have anticipated the response of her fans (and probably been advised against it) which was to boo her, but, her compassion for her fellow man could not be suppressed. Therefore, Madonna would receive our award, for being a true Ambassador for Human Rights.

Rachel Francis

Wednesday, February 3, 2010



UK Association of Gypsy Women

2 February 2010

Dear Colleagues

The UK Association of Gypsy Women has embarked on a campaign that will call on the UN for immediate evacuation and re-settlement of the Roma community residing on lead contaminated camps in Kosovo. We are appealing for the support of Romany/Roma/ Traveller NGO’s, individuals and all human rights organisations that will use their influence to lobby European and US Governments, not least Antonio Guterres UN High Commission for Refugees and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon regarding the plight of the Roma community residing on the Osterode and Cesmin-Lug refugee camps in Northern Kosovo.

The families’ original homes were at the “Roma Mahalla”, on the southern shore of the Ibar River, part of the oldest Mahalla in the Balkans, having thrived for almost 150 years. The homes here were burned by Kosovan Albanians in an attempt of ethnic cleansing as the conflict for Kosovo was ending: The families were packed into the contaminated camps by the UNHCR with an assurance their stay would be for just 45 days until a safer place could be found, however that was more than a decade ago.

The Roma refugee camps were built close to the Trepca lead mine and smelting works. The factory was closed by order of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UMIK) in 2000, but the slag heaps were never cleaned up.

Osterode camp is overlooked by a 200 metre high mountain of 100 million tons of toxic lead waste. Deadly grey dust blows continually down on the camp below, subjecting the families on a daily basis to toxic lead poisoning on an unprecedented scale.

There are some 650 families, with around 400 children, 200 of which are under the age of ten, residing on Osterode. So far 77 deaths to date in the camp, their organs have simply packed up. Furthermore, even if an immediate evacuation-re- settlement is orchestrated, it will take up to 10 years of intensive medical treatment to rid their blood of the poison. Meanwhile, as many as 200 children are forgotten and abandoned by the UNHCR.

The lead blackens the children’s teeth, blanks out their memory and stunts their growth: mood swings from nervous hyperactivity to something akin to coma; epileptic fits etc, every child conceived on the camps will be born with irreversible brain damage. Armed with this knowledge then and the evidence of the highest levels of poison in the blood ever recorded in history on humans, self affected abortion is preferable.

Dorit Nitzan of World Health Organisation (WHO) regional office, Belgrade, warned this is the worst lead poisoning that they know of in Europe. Lead in the blood is measured in micrograms per deciliter, measured in tens. More than 100 mg/dl in the blood is considered a catastrophically high level. (WHO tests showed the children had so much lead in their blood that medical equipment could not measure it accurately. It should be noted allegedly, that the Kosovo Force (KFOR) soldiers working in the contaminated areas were frequently tested for lead poisoning and were relocated to other parts of the province if the results were above acceptable limits.

Medical treatment, known as “Chelation”; was given to some of the children to clear the blood of the lead- sponsored by WHO but, the success of the treatment assumes that the children have been removed from the source of the pollution. Only one family is known to have left the camp, they were taken to Germany for their child to receive treatment and re-settled there.

Leading toxicologist Professor Alistair Hay, UK Government advisor, said he had never encountered a situation in all the years he had been looking at lead where the situation is as catastrophic as it is for these children.

In 2008 the UNHCR and its sister organisation, UNMIK, abandoned the people on the camps and handed responsibility of them over to the Kosovan Government. The WHO, International Committee Red Cross (ICRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have called for immediate evacuation and proper medical treatment for the people on the camps.

Roma families are being ‘voluntarily’ and forcibly returned from European Countries back to Kosovo steadily, it seems with utter disregard to the lifethreatening situation in which they may find themselves. Widespread discrimination against Roma people in Kosovo and the political, security and economic situation is not conducive to their return, moreover, one would imagine, that obtaining documentation and the repossession of property would prove to be extremely difficult for them.

We believe, the Dutch and Norwegian Governments have funded the rebuilding of the Roma Mahalla in Southern Mitrovica, the US Government have also launched a new project to re-house 50 families from Cesmin Lug where children go barefoot even in the winter on the polluted earth, however, the Roma people cannot be expected to feel safe going back to live in the Kosovan Albanian majority south after what happened in 1999, nor should they be encouraged or forced to do so.

Paul Polansky: Author, Historian, Poet, and Former Advisor to the UN on Roma in 1999 and Human Rights Activist, has tried in vain to get the refugees human rights recognised, has recently returned from a week in the camps.

He told me of nine year old Ergin who is suffering from Kidney Failure and his seven year old brother, who shares Ergin’s special diet, he is five years old and is in an even worse condition than Ergin. Although, Ergin has been hospitalised six or seven times during the past year, he will not survive without his special diet. Neither will his brother.

Ergin was taken off the special diet last September by the Kosovo Agency for Advocacy & Development, who are a Pristina-based Albanian NGO that has a contract with the Minister of Communities and returns to administer the Romani camps in north Mitrovica, KAAD said: the government could no longer meet the cost of the 7 euro’s a day for the special diet. Theirs will be probably be, the next two deaths in Osterode. It appears then, that the Kosvo government can find a better use for that 7 euro’s a day, other than to spend it on rescuing two little children from the jaws of death.

As Paul Polansky said, we have already lost an entire generation of Romani children to irreversible brain damage’, his contention is that it is doubtful, that they will be able to father another generation We strongly feel that the situation of the Romany/Roma/ Traveller people across the whole of Europe today, especially that of Ostrode and Cesmin Lug camps are frighteningly reminiscent of events preceding the holocaust and can no longer be ignored. An article in 1996 in the Observer, by Nick Cohen, stated ‘Gypsies have become the Jews of Europe’. It drew comparisons with the attitudes towards the Jews of the 1930s and the Gypsies of the 90s, comparisons that in UKAGW view remain unchanged today. The situation in Kosovo needs intervention as a matter of urgency.

In 2000, the EU leaders pledged to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by 2010, mindful of this then, the time is now for all human rights activists to lobby for the immediate evacuation and re-location, of the Roma community from the living hell that they are forced to endure on a daily basis on the toxic waste camps in Kosovo.

Rachel Francis-Ingham

ukagw@ymail. com
The following address connects to a petition before 10 Downing St. in England. Please, any readers of this blog who are residents in England, please sign this petition. We are hoping to start one in the United States as soon as we figure out the technology.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


On 2 February, 1848, Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, ending the Mexican War.

In Mexico, this war is referred to as the War of North American Invasion (La Intervención Norteamericana).
(In Vietnam, the "Vietnam War" is referred to as the "American War".)

The cession of land that the treaty demanded from Mexico included parts of the modern-day U.S. states of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming, as well as the whole of California, Nevada, and Utah, and, depending on one's point of view, Texas. The remaining parts of what are today the states of Arizona and New Mexico were later peacefully ceded under the 1853 Gadsden Purchase.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Voice of Roma, a wonderful, activist group in California is conducting a fund raising drive.
They do great work both in the United States and in Kosovo.
Every year VOR sponsors cultural events to teach people about the culture and history of the Roma. These are always big hits. In the US, VOR devotes its time and energy to educate non Roma about the condition of Roma in Europe and the world.

The work they do in Kosovo is absolutely incredible. In a few short years they have established educational projects, micro lending, women's literacy programs as well as employment and income projects.

I urge anyone who can to make a donation to Voice of Roma to do so. They are nonprofit and donations can be claimed on income tax (US)
The address is
Voice of Roma
PO 514
Sebastopol CA 95473

For more information, please check out the website

ps---they bring incredible music to the states. Like Esma