Monday, May 31, 2010


Saturday was the fund raiser and opening of the Romani Traveling Museum and Education Center.

The yard sale received lots of support, both in donations and purchases. I was really excited by the number of people who came by to visit the museum. We had so many great conversations.

We made enough money to pay for the new tires and hopefully build book shelves and a a display case.

We're now open by appointment, or whenever I'm there working. (All the time!!)

We also received our first contribution through paypal. Thank you very much.

The museum is at 23912 100th Lane SW in Burton WA.



Amnesty International renews criticism of Bulgaria's treatment of Roma
Fri, May 28 2010 by The Sofia Echo staff

Amnesty International's report for 2010 continues to chastise Bulgaria for familiar breaches, citing in particular its treatment of the country's Roma and the community's discrimination in education, housing and health care.

"In September, almost 50 Romani homes were demolished and the families forcibly evicted in the town of Bourgas. The local council’s decision to demolish houses illegally built on municipal or private land left almost 200 people, who had lived in the area for several
years, without accommodation. The NGO the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee reported that police used disproportionate force during the demolitions. Despite claims by the Mayor of Burgas that the families would be provided with alternative low rent council accommodation, no alternative housing was provided; the evicted Roma were only advised to apply for municipal housing," says the report.

Amnesty also noted the Committee's criticism of an amendment to the Social Assistance Act which reduced the period in which unemployed people could obtain social assistance. "They stressed that the amendment would have a disparate and unjustified effect on Roma who had been over-represented among beneficiaries."

Bulgaria was again found in violation of the right to a public hearing within a reasonable time under the European Convention on Human Rights. "Criminal proceedings against Valentin Ivanov took more than eight years, commencing in May 1992 and ending in November 2000. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that this exceeded the 'reasonable time' requirement," notes Amnesty.

Amnesty also notes that asylum seekers continued to be detailed for excessive periods of time.
"The European Court of Justice in November ordered the immediate release of Said Kadzoev, an asylum seeker of Russian nationality and Chechen origin who would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment if forcibly returned to the Russian Federation. In a landmark ruling, the Court found that the exception to the 18-month limit on the detention of asylum-seekers, proposed by the Sofia City Administrative Court, would contravene the EU directive on standards and procedures for returning illegally staying third-country nationals. Kadzoev was detained in 2006, and had remained in custody in spite of his lawyers’ applications for less severe measures. The Court said that asylum seekers should not be detained as a punishment for not possessing valid documents or for aggressive

Friday, May 28, 2010


Tomorrow, Lolo Diklo is having its first fundraiser in support of the Traveling Museum and Education Center.
We're having a huge yard sale. So far support has been amazing with people coming by to drop off items for us to sell. We're also having a silent auction.

We've got mini displays set up in the caravan as well as notebooks full of information and lots of music.

If you're in the Seattle area, come see us.
Saturday 29 May 8:30 AM
23912 100th Lane SW
Burton WA on Vashon Island
(It's one block west of the Burton Loop/or one long block east of the Harbor Mercantile (Sandy's Burton Store)
There'll be lots of road signs.

And you don't have to come to the sale to make a donation. We've got a pay pal acc't or email
for more information.

So,tomorrow is the launching of the Museum Project. Anyone who wants to come by and tour the museum or see our progress can email me at the above address.

Thursday, May 27, 2010



Brussels, 11 May 2010

"Roma and Travellers - Victims of the Holocaust" Conference in the European Parliament

The conference hosted by Cornelia Ernst (MEP), Kinga Göncz (MEP), Catherine Grèze (MEP) was opened by the organizers and by Mr. Alexandros Tsolakis of DG Regio.

After a presentation by Mr. Romani Rose, Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Mrs. Ágnes Daróczi, founder of the Romedia Foundation testified about the state of recogntition of the Roma Holocaust in Hungary and across Europe.

The Suppressed Holocaust

Ágnes Daróczi

The memory of up to half a million Romani victims of the Holocaust dictates that we cannot forget the lessons to be learnt from this tragedy. We have to join forces with all those whose aims are respectable, with all humanist people, organisations and states so that the Nazi crimes of our history cannot be repeated. For this, we have to make our own sorrow a part of Europe ’s common sorrow. We cannot remain on our own.

The Holocaust Memorial Center (HMC) was opened in Budapest in April 2004, on the 60th anniversary of the deportations from Hungary . While we had the opportunity, several times, during the course of the preparatory consultation process, to point out that „concealment is also a form of oppression”, we have had to face the fact that the historians and exhibition organisers of the HMC were not planning on including the suffering of Roma during the Second World War into the Center’s work.

Despite our 1994 initiative for the 50th anniversary which resulted in the first ever Roma Day in the history of Hungarian television broadcasting on August 2nd, the anniversary of the Roma Holocaust. Despite the broadcasting, in 1995, of Miklos Jancso’s documentary about the suppression of information regarding the participation of many in the organised murder of Roma in Hungary . Despite all this, 52 years after the events, the town of Lakoskomárom still refused to speak out about the murder of the area’s Romani citizens.

Three weeks after the opening ceremony of the HMC, we pressurized the president of the Center’s board with the prospect of organising an alternative Roma Holocaust exhibition in the streets of Budapest . This is how we obtained a space in the exhibition, in the former synagogue’s female gallery, for the presentation of documentation about the sufferings of Roma during the Second World War.

However, despite the extensive amount of accumulated documentation and knowledge and despite the fact that it is their mission, the leadership of the Holocaust Documentation Center still failed to employ a researcher charged with tracking down and revealing the fate of Roma during the Holocaust.

And this can be said to be the most characteristic trait across Europe regarding this issue: we do not have our own institutions and the mainstream consistently fails to elevate Roma into their research focus.

The Jewish people were unquestionably the primary targets of Nazi genocidal policies. The murder of Roma was a „collateral front” in the same Holocaust history since they did not have assets, power, allies or territories. They were only defenceless, disorganised, and poor. They were to be murdered merely „on the margin” in this unprecedented series of crimes we call the Holocaust, for the purpose of creating racially pure states belonging to Germans, Croatians, Hungarians, Slovaks, French, Romanians, etc.

The Roma people were the only people alongside the Jews to have suffered the kind of racially based premeditated deadly terror organised on an industrial scale in the Nazis’ internal war for the empowerment of the „übermensch”. As a consequence, by qualifying the murder of Roma during that period merely as„genocide”, it is the common process and common criminal aim of the Holocaust which is being denied, or concealed.

After the Holocaust, the Roma have not been embraced by the protective arms of the rule of law, of liberty, equality and fraternity. Throughout decades, they have been at the mercy of a wide range of ordinances denying them their most basic rights as citizens.

In European states, Roma have to bear the burden of different forms of racist prejudices which can at any time feed the ground for their collective stigmatisation, their exclusion from society, from the nation, their scapegoating, especially in times of economic crisis. And these are such times.

A decade ago, national chauvinism sent the Balkan states up in flames. The houses of Roma, a minority in all those states, were set on fire, thousands of families, most of them well-off, had to flee their homes in Kosovo and elsewhere in the region. Those waging a war for their „ethnically clean” nation states will not tolerate a Romani minority in their midst. Just as the Nazis would not. And as the superficial image of Roma as nomads dominated in the minds of western peace keepers, the Roma people were left out of the political settlement process and of any plans for the future of the region. The direct consequence is that thousands of Roma still live, more than 10 years after the end of the conflict, in temporary refugee camps in Macedonia , Montenegro or Kosovska Mitrovica, where they struggle to survive on the polluted territory of the former lead mines, without hope for a solution. They have been left out of the peace process. Their lives, their health are insignificant to all.

When it comes to the fate and interests of Roma, many states of the European Union keep ignoring their obligations under international law. Governments and courts turn a blind eye and tolerate unlawful behaviour against Roma when it comes to a huge number of cases of discrimination in employment, education or the provision of basic health care. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination binds all its signatories, meaning that states party to it have a legal obligation to prohibit racial discrimination in all its forms within their jurisdictions. Parties are also required to criminalize the incitement of racial hatred, to ensure judicial remedies for acts of racial discrimination, to outlaw hate speech and criminalize membership in and the financing of racist organizations.

Where I come from, racial discrimination has not been considered illegal for decades. Nobody expects to be held responsible for putting Roma children at a disadvantage, for creating the conditions of consigning Roma children to separate educational establishments of inferior quality. Unemployment rates among Roma are up to eight times the national average. The situation is similar in public institutions. This is considered normal in the current environment. There is no consciousness of the dangers of racism and apartheid. And we experience the fact that there are parties in the Hungarian Parliament, and in fact here in the European Parliament, which propagate the collective guilt principle and the institution of apartheid when it comes to Roma, as a tragedy.

In Hungary , we are aware of several, still undisclosed, mass graves into which innocent fellow citizens were shot by the special forces of the fascist Hungarian state on account of their Roma origins. The names of Roma deported and killed in Nazi death camps still go unrecorded in Europe ’s historical consciousness. We are lacking the institutions whose role would include researching this past and obtaining that society finally comes face to face with the consequences for all Europeans of ideologies promoting theories of racial superiority targeting Roma. Despite demands from Roma, the Hungarian state is not keen on burying our common dead, on keeping track of the victims, on supporting our country coming face to face with the consequences of our past in order to keep our society from repeating those crimes. But other European countries do not fare much better.

I live in a mixed marriage. Many among my closer family became victims of the Holocaust and I can clearly see the difference between the weight given to the suffering of one people and the other. My grand-father was forcefully put into gypsy labour service as an „unreliable” soldier of the lowest rank. My widowed grand-mother and her five children could not count on any kind of support, compensation or orphan’s sustenance. All three of my uncles from my mother’s side of the family were deported to Muna, Buchenwald ’s side camp. Two died there, Uncle Gyuszi survived. For decades, Uncle Gyuszi was scared to talk even to his family about what had happened to them because after he came home, the same policeman who had arrested him threatened him: if he opened his mouth, he would arrange for him to be interned again. He only got a proof of his captivity and handed in his application for compensation when he was already in his seventies, when I myself pushed him to do so.

The Roma settlement where my parents used to live operated for months as a ghetto, surrounded by fences and guarded by soldiers, with name lists nailed to each and every door frame. Were it not for the arrival of the Russian troops, they would most probably have all been killed.

On the other side, my husband’s mother was sent to a concentration camp in Austria when she was barely 16 years old. His grand-mother was saved by Raoul Wallenberg from the death march towards Vienna . His other grand-mother was saved by the benevolence of some family acquaintances.

This is how I got to experience firsthand the discrimination Roma are facing when it comes to compensation for the Jewish and the Roma peoples’ common suffering. My mother-in-law benefits from a significant supplement on her pension from the Jewish compensation fund while deported Roma never received any such supplement. Even the amount of the compensation varied wildly, maybe because it was IOM who negotiated and acted on the behalf of Roma – under different conditions. Roma victims did not benefit from collective compensation and individual suffering was not taken into account in similar terms either. Even in this case, discrimination was left to prevail.

And if you ask me what it is that it is time to change, here it is:

- it is time to create a financial background for research, publication, anti-racist communication programmes, the earmarking of the graves of the unburied dead, looking for the identities of the victims in order to ensure that their memory stays alive and to open the door for the possibility of collective compensation

- it is time to create institutions and educational material for the teaching of our common past

- it is time to unite in a much more effective way in our struggle against racism

- it is time to abide by the international rules which prohibit racial discrimination

- it is time to place the teaching of the Holocaust on new foundations so that we can stop concepts of racial superiority from developing in our societies

- and yes, we have to make sure that discrimination against Roma does not taint the human dignity and compensation process of the victims of the Holocaust.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Wanted: Human Rights-Based Journalism


Posted By M.J.Jordan On May 25, 2010 @ 9:13 am In Minorities, Roma, media

BRATISLAVA – It started out this morning as a café breakfast with the press, for the European Roma Rights Center to introduce its range of litigation, advocacy and research to the handful of Slovak media even interested in Roma issues.

The chat, though, led inexorably to the role these reporters themselves – and especially, their less-empathetic colleagues – play in shaping harsh Slovak attitudes toward Roma, a.k.a. “the Gypsies.” For me, it also revealed the need here for what some call “human rights-based journalism.”

One reporter opened eyes with his calculation that of the 15 journalists in his office, “13 are racist.” Another admitted, “We live in a racist world, and my company is absolutely racist.”

This is no surprise to anyone living in Eastern Europe, where you’re hard-pressed to find any minority on the entire continent more harassed than the estimated 8 million to 12 million Roma.

Yet this is relevant today in Slovakia, on the eve of June 12 elections. Following in the footsteps of neighboring Hungary and its elections last month, the Roma question is once again an irresistible platform for parties pandering to a public ready to scapegoat minorities for their frustrations with the whole post-Communist transition. And oh, by the way, both countries are now members of the European Union — an exclusive club of European democracies.

Several Slovak parties, for example, are advocating the “voluntary” placement of Roma schoolchildren into new boarding schools – which smacks some as ethnic segregation.

More notoriously, the ruling coalition’s far-right partner, the Slovak National Party, produced billboards featuring a bare-chested, obviously Romani man, heavily tattooed and gold chain draped around his neck. Underneath, the slogan: “So that we don’t feed those who don’t want to work.”

Defending the billboard, one SNP official creatively – but unconvincingly – accused critics of being the real racists: they were the ones who assumed the man was a Gypsy.

Beyond the campaign, the Slovak public is fed a steady diet of reports on Roma criminality, joblessness, violence and welfare abuse, not to mention seamier stories, like the trafficking of women.

Over breakfast, ERRC staff appealed for “fair” reporting.

“There’s some balanced reporting, but the really biased, sensational reporting is what gets most of the attention,” says Tara Bedard, the ERRC programs director. “Reporting should reflect both sides of an issue, a voice from the community itself, a rights-based perspective – to counter what’s out there.”

The assembled reporters, though, described how tough it can be to make the case to editors for why to approach stories with greater sensitivity, or also pursue positive Roma stories, or report more critically about far-right demonstrations. Or even why the majority should care about the state of its Roma minority – as a “litmus test” for Slovak democracy, values and respect for human rights.

This discussion had me thinking back to the first training I did in this region, almost four years ago: with the Romani journalists of the Roma Press Agency in Kosice, the postcard-perfect city in eastern Slovakia. The eastern half of the country is also where most of its half-a-million Roma reside – about 10 percent of the entire population.

At RPA, I watched a bare-bones staff work to get out coverage of their community, in Slovak, English and Romani. I also saw them do something that opened my mind to the Roma reality. It was their feature program on television, “So vakeres?” – or in Romani, What are you saying?

At first I thought it might be a “fair and balanced” program on Roma issues, to offer the public an alternative to the generally one-sided reporting that perpetuates some of the worst Roma stereotypes. Wrong. This was a half-hour program that portrayed Roma unfailingly in a positive light.

My very American take on this was: Wait, if you’re only showing the other side, isn’t that, um, nothing more than pro-Roma propaganda? I’ll never forget what the RPA chief, Kristína Magdolenová, told me. I don’t remember verbatim, so I’ll paraphrase:

You don’t understand. The hatred has been planted so deep, there’s no space for high-minded, Western-liberal, even-handedness in broadcasting. The Roma are so beaten down by society’s perception of them, many have themselves developed low esteem for their own identity and peoplehood.

With that in mind, said Magdolenová, the RPA target audience was primarily the Roma themselves: to remind them of their humanity. But the second target audience was equally striking: the ordinary Slovaks genuinely curious about Roma culture, and those who in fact have some warm feelings for the Roma – or, at least for their Roma neighbor or colleague, past or present.

In a battle for Slovak hearts and minds, it was hard to argue with her rationale. It made sense.

Back at the breakfast, everyone understood there is no “magic wand” to resolve any of these issues. However, I suggested the possibility of some sort of journalism training that would invite Slovak reporters and editors to a workshop, explain the need for historical context, region-wide context, exploration of root causes, fairness and balance, etc. – then show them how to produce all these things.

No, of course not every editor would show up. And there’s no way to force them to. But I had one possible response – name and shame: “Then you could also write about the training itself, including those publications that declined the invitation. That would say something about their values.”

- Michael J. Jordan ([9]


Article printed from Roma:

URL to article:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010



If Only Slovakia's Gay Pride Parade Had Corporate Sponsors

Slovakia's attempt at a first-ever gay pride parade didn't go so well this weekend. There were some skinheads involved as revelers marched in Bratislava. Eight were arrested, though it sounds like police were pretty overwhelmed with the whole thing. Now foreign governments are all upset, and it makes you wonder: This sort of thing never happens a gay pride parade that Absolut sponsors.

Monday, May 24, 2010


On this date in 1883, the Brookyn Bridge,, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, New York, was dedicated by President Chester Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland.

It's interesting that much of the engineering and almost all of the public relations work was done by Emily Roebling, wife and daughter-in-law of the two original architects (both men) and an architect/engineer in her own right. Her involvement was downplayed because of the prevalent sexism.

Even with all the sleight of hand exercised to minimize Emily's involvement, she was THE FIRST PERSON TO CROSS THE BRIDGE.

I love the Brooklyn Bridge and personally thank Emily for building it.
And the beat goes on........

Sunday, May 23, 2010


21/05/2010 / KOSOVO
The Romani in Mitrovica: A decade living in squalid camps
One of our Observers in Kosovo warns us about the sanitary conditions in the north of Mitrovica, home to communities of Romani people after the end of the conflict between Serbia and Albania..

BY Pierre Bonifassi, a student at the European Commission Liaison office to Kosovo.

According to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO), the collateral victims of the riots in 1999, the Romanis, are now exposed to one of the biggest public health disasters in the world. During the war, about 8,000 Romanis living in "Roma Mahalla", a neighbourhood in the outskirts of Mitrovica, were forced to leave the country. Only a thousand of them remained in the area and were relocated in three camps: Cesmin Lug, Žitkovac and Kablar.

The three camps are located next to the mining complex of Trepča where emissions of lead, arsenic and cadmium have polluted the environment. Lead is a poisonous metal that can damage nervous connections (especially in young children) and cause blood and brain disorders. The sites were built near the mining complex, despite the pollution problems and the potential risks. The exposure to the emissions has had dramatic consequences. In these camps the mortality rate is much higher than normal.

National authorities and the UN closed the sites in 2004, transferring the communities to a “more healthy” camp, Osterode. Located near the Cesmin Lug camp, the new site presents the same risks as the others. Without any help from the government, the Romanis are still exposed to lead, arsenic and cadmium.

"The government is finally paying attention to the alarming situation"

National and international associations have called for the help of the government. Finally the alarming situation has caught the attention of the local authorities. The EU and the US started a project to rebuild the city of “Roma Mahalla” and gradually close the camps.

Despite the public health problems, the Romanis are worried that, after the relocation, they will stop getting benefits from the Serbian government. Unofficially, the northern part of Mitrovica is administered by the Serbs, who still grant subsidies to the Romanis. But losing the allocations is not the only worry. The Romanis also fear the reaction of the Albanian communities and violence that might follow after they are relocated.

The Romani community hasn’t been properly integrated into Kosovan society. Their social and political rights are certainly recognised by the country's constitution of 2008, as a "national minority", but they are, in reality, largely marginalised and victims of severe discrimination at all levels of society (education, employment, etc.. )."


Pierre Bonifassi


Poison Lead Camps In Kosovo

Submitted by Rachel Francis on Sat, 22/05/2010 - 02:05.

The European Union, including the United Kingdom, knowing the full circumstances of the history and existing conditions in the camps and the dire plight of the children and pregnant mothers, advocate and support a long term resettlement (3/3.5 years) plan rather than an immediate evacuation, are aiding and abetting the continuous poisoning of children by the United Nations, the UN set up the camps and maintained them till 2008, and now by the Kosovo Government, are still under the higher authority of the UN.

The United Nations Human Rights Advisory Panel (HRAP) in Kosovo made a judgement accepting the admissibility of claims against the UN which detailed multiple infringements of the human rights of these families on numerous counts. In the last few days, the UN Mission In Kosovo (UNMIK) has issued a retrospective executive directive to HRAP to reverse its decision on the grounds that third party claims are not admissible. HRAP has declared that since it is under the jurisdiction of UNMIK, it must comply with that directive and it has therefore withdrawn its previous judgment.
The British Government is a senior member of the United Nations and as such should object to this disgraceful decision.
Rachel Francis

Saturday, May 22, 2010



Hungarian Roma fear violence and far-right
Fri, May 21 2010 09:58
By Stefan Bos
Organisations representing Hungary’s gypsies, or Roma, have expressed concerns about a new wave of violence against the minority in the country and the entry of a far-right party in parliament. Activists held a rare rally to express concern about these developments.

Hundreds of people braved heavy rain recently to attend a picnic at Budapest’s City Park for gypsies – also known as Roma – and non-Roma. The gathering, which also included music from mainly Roma performers, was aimed at easing tensions between the two communities.

Organisers say they are very concerned about the recent rise of the far-right elements in Hungary and violence against Roma. They referred to the Movement for a Better Hungary, or Jobbik, which officially entered parliament this week as the country’s third political force, after recent elections.

Jobbik has been criticised for verbal attacks against Roma. The party also supports the banned paramilitary group Magyar Garda, or Hungarian Guard, which marched through Roma villages.

The Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre says these and other groups are contributing to an atmosphere of hatred towards Hungary’s up to 800 000 Roma.
The organisation’s programmes director Tara Bedard said there have been fire bombings against Roma families in recent weeks. Nobody was injured but she said the violence resembled earlier deadly attacks.

"In the last two years, nine people, nine Roma, have been murdered in Hungary," said Bedard. "The persons believed to be responsible for those attacks have been taken into police custody. And the trial of those individuals have not yet started. But since those individuals were taken into police custody, numerous attacks have taken place in the meanwhile. Most recently, in March and April, there were a number of attacks targeting Roma in two different locations in the country."

Activists say Roma, who often lack adequate housing and basic facilities, are suffering from attacks and discrimination across Europe. Roma and non-Roma standing in line for traditional Hungarian Goulash soup, and bread, during Saturday’s picnic in Budapest, told VOA they want to help end tensions. The event’s chief organiser Eszter Eva Nagy agrees.

"There is a lot of hidden tension," she said. "And if we can speak about those things, or if we can just spend one nice afternoon together with another, different person, I think it’s something we want to reach."

Nagy says she was inspired to organise Saturday’s rare picnic by her previous experiences in the United States, where she worked as a volunteer for the election campaign of president Barack Obama.

Just as Obama became the first US African-American president, she hopes qualified Roma will one day be able to take a more prominent role in Hungary’s political life and help create a more peaceful future for the country.

This article first appeared on

Friday, May 21, 2010



Helsinki committee: Extremism on rise in ČR
ČTK | 21 May 2010
Prague, May 20 (CTK)

Extremism was on the rise in the Czech Republic and the rights of imprisoned parents' children, Romanies and foreigners were violated or seriously curtailed last year, the Czech Helsinki Committee (CHV) says in its annual report released Thursday.

The position of physically and mentally disabled people and prisoners is unsatisfactory and discrimination in the educational sector continue, the CHV said at its web page.

This is the 17th annual report released by the CHV.

The state's respect for international obligations is insufficient, writes the report that this time focused not only on political and civic, but also social rights.

There is a problematic approach to justice for the poor, the report said.

There is no law on the provision of legal aid. Although an anti-discrimination law was passed, many people are reluctant to stand up for their rights. This may relate to up to one-fourth of Czechs, the report said.

This benefits the perpetrators who apply their criminal practices to next victims, it added.

Xenophobia and intolerance was on the rise and unacceptable statements by public representatives are signs of institutional racism. Extremism was growing in the Czech Republic, the report said.

Neo-Nazis in particular radicalised themselves. The arson attack on a Romani family in Vitkov, north Moravia, was a symbol of extremism. However, there were similar acts as well but without the tragic consequences, the CHV writes about the incident in which four youths threw a Molotov cocktail into a Romani house, having injured a two-year-old girl. Nevertheless, they were only qualified as breach of the peace, not as attempted murder, the CHV writes.

The position of foreigners worsened due to the recession. In many cases, their employment went beyond state control.

Attempts at a bigger number of checks of the foreigners' employers foundered. Trafficking in cheap manpower can be called modern slavery, the report said.

Last year, not a single agency fraudulently employing foreigners was stripped of its licence, it added.

The migrants who have not used the programme of voluntary returns and stayed in the Czech Republic often do not know their rights. They only exact them with difficulties. This mainly relates to unskilled workers from Vietnam and Mongolia. The system of green cards has proved almost ineffectual, the report said.

The efforts to integrate foreigners into majority society are only formal and there is no desirable concept, it added.

The rights of foreigners' children, disabled children and Romani children to equal approach to education are violated, the report said.

Romani children are systematically placed in the schools for children with minor mental disorder. A disproportionately high number of children live in institutes. Help to the young people the institutional care is insufficient, it added.

Moreover, the Czech Republic lacks a law on social housing. Any, even "unuseful" person has the right to dignity and basic needs, the report said. Czech prisons are 130-percent overcrowded.

Children of some prisoners do not have ensured contact with their parents, the report said.

People with mental disorder are too often placed under restraint, the report said.

Attacks due to hatred or sexual orientation are almost ignored in the Czech Republic. It is an aggravating circumstance, but the perpetrator is not liable to a stiffer punishment as in the case of a racially motivated attack, the report said.

The law on registered partnership prevents homosexual couples from adopting children, although an individual who does not live in such a couple can adopt a child if he/she fulfils the conditions, it added.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010



Bulgarian Capital 'Deploys' Roma Ghetto Residents to Army Barracks
2010-05-13 19:24:50

Sofia Municipality is taking measures to remove the residents of two illegal Roma-populated ghettos close to the downtown of the Bulgarian capital.

The ghettos near the “Batalova Mahala” in the Serdika Quarter and the former dorms hosting Vietnamese workers before 1989 in the Krasna Polyana Quarter are supposed to be removed because of their illegal status,” according to the head of the Sofia Municipality committee on public order and security, Angel Dzhambazki.

The total of 2 100 Roma residents of the two ghettos are going to be relocated to former barracks of the Bulgarian country outside of Sofia which are currently not being utilized.

Dzhambazki, who is a city councilor from the ruling GERB party, has refused to reveal the locations of the “4-5 barracks.”

He did stress, however, that the former military buildings have all necessary infrastructure including electricity, water supply, and sewerage.

“We don’t want to see the Helsinki Committee intervene and start rallying people to protest. The last attempt to solve the problem with the illegal buildings in Batalova Mahala failed because of unaccetable pressure on the former government by second-class eurocrats,” Dzhambazki stated.

He pointed out that the Sofia Municipality was going to prepare its legal reasons for the relocation of the Roma in order to fend off all possible attacks.

“The former government did not help us to remove the illegal shantytowns but this time we are in touch with the Cabinet, and we will get help,” declared another GERB councilor, Andrey Ivanov.

Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova has said that every time the municipality had tried to resolve the issue with the illegal ghettos, legal rights activists interfere leading to court orders blocking its attempts.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Ah, I just learned that not only did Sarah Palin receive thousands of dollars for talking at the same institution I spoke at for a few hundred, but now her daughter Bristol has signed a contract to receive between 10 and 15 thousand for a presentation.

What to do with this information. The beat really does go on and on and on.......

Today I received a message from a woman who was a student demonstrating at Kent State, Ohio the day of the massacre. There is definitive new evidence that the Ohio National Guard was given instructions to fire on the students that fateful day.

Did I already say
the beat goes on...?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Call for resistance against neo-nazi and neo-fascist events in Milan,Italy
Sunday, May 16, 2010 1:26 PM
From: "Roma Virtual Network"

Urgent request for help from Milan, Italy:
we are experiencing an incredible presence of neo-nazi and neo-fascist organisations in our city from the past weeks throughout all May 2010.

Please take voice against this attempt, help us to ask for the immediate cancellation of the neo-nazi and neo-fascist events and demos, from the 2nd of May to the "European Hammerfest" scheduled in Milan on May 29, 2010. From your country and from Europe help us to ask for a stop to this dangerous initiatives, and help us to ask to the local and national italian politicians of Berlusconi's coalition to stop immediately to support this extreme right wings organisations.

We ask to european organisation, ngos, movements and european institutions to take voice and take action:

> Spread this call for help

Our contacts: milanoamalaliberta@, phone +390236511380, http://www.cantiere .org

------------ --------- --------- -----

European institutions, Italian government, Municipality of Milan: From all Europe we all say no to the neo-nazi and neo-fascist italian and europe an events and demos scheduled from May 2nd to May 29th in Milan, Italy.

Many italian and european neo-nazi and neo-fascist groups are organising several conventions/ events/demos in Milan, Italy for all this month May 2010. The local coalition of Berlusconi it is absolutely majority on the local government of the municipality and county of Milan, those institutions are giving political and economical support to those organisations, despite many democrats and anti-racist and anti-fascist organisations
The italian extreme right wing organisations involved are different groups, all have been recently officially admitted to be part or partner of the Berlusconi's party called PDL/Partito delle Liberta? so called "freedom's party". The italian national and local government of Berlusconi is doing nothing against those groups, their ideas and symbols and celtic crosses are spreading more and more and so their violence. In the last 2 years Italy is experiencing many dangerous attacks to the freedom and growing and growing escalation of historic rehabilitation of fascism and xenophobic violence against minorities: migrants, romas people, GLBTQ communities.

On our days, both for economical and political reasons, Berlusconi's government is more and more evolving like an authoritarian government which represents a growing alarm for the italian democracy and for all Europe. We all ask to italian Berlusconi's national and local government of Milan to stop the coalition with this extreme right-wing groups.

During the whole last week, from 24th April 2nd May they were scheduled a big neo-nazis and neo-fascists convention in Milan. Thanks to several initiatives, demos and actions made in Milan by many democratic, antifascist and antiracist organizations, some of their events have been blocked or posticipied, but fascists could do a demonstration in the streets of Milan with celtic crosses and fascist slogan, and even with support and participation of Berlusconi's PDL councilors. They also could do a day full of events form the morning of 2nd May untill the night. All this happened in Milan under the complete silence of insitutions, because of their connivance with neofascist movement, and neither the majority of mass-media took explicity part against it.

In the next weeks of May there are still other events organized by extreme right wing, in particularly we ask to stop immediately the support of following conventions:

- the 2nd tattos conventions with groups from Italy, France, Portugal, Spain and Belgium scheduled in Milan on May 8 and 9 organised from the Hammerskin
- the national italian neo-fascist demonstration scheduled in Milan on 22nd May organized by Forza Nuova and its leader Roberto Fiore in which will take part also european delegations from spanish and french neonazis, but expecially from Hungary: in fact Laszlo Toroczkai will come to Milan, he's th leader of HVIM and of the Jobbik party from the Hungarian nazi-extreme- right-wing

- the european neo-nazi convention, so-called "European Hammerfest 1990-2010, 20 years of European Brotherhood" scheduled in Milan on 29th May, 2010 (http://www.skinhous htm).

Expecially about this we ask european organization to take voice and denounce with us the danger that extreme right wing groups represent: in all europe right wing is growing stronger and in Italy this is happening with the complete support and connivance of goverment parties and institutions.
We all united ask to european organisation, ngos and european institutions to take voice and take action in order to stop those events and generally this alliance extremely dangerous for democracy and freedom, not just for Italy but for all Europe.

Spread this information. Contact us directly if you think you can do something more from your country and/or by giving pressure on european institutions and european parliament | to send us press release or documents/dossier

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Review: Liberté
FROM The Gazette May 7, 2010

Tony Gatlif's Liberté is nothing if not ambitious. The Algerian-born, France-based filmmaker has spent much of his career chronicling the Gypsy peoples of the world -most notably with Latcho Drom in 1993 - and, for his latest picture, he has taken a shot at capturing one of the darkest moments in their history.

In the written coda at the end of this beautiful, moving piece, Gatlif reminds us of this oft-forgotten tragedy: between 250,000 and 500,000 of the nearly 2 million Gypsies in Europe were exterminated by the Nazis in concentration camps during the Second World War.

The sheer horror of that statistic makes for a daunting challenge for a filmmaker. How do you craft a film that's not simply oppressive in its bleakness? Well, Liberté works because Gatlif somehow manages to create a story full of joy, vibrancy and, yes, darkness. But in the end, this is a tribute to a community that cannot be kept down.

Gatlif also deserves props for not shying away from underlining the French Vichy regime's collaboration with the Gestapo in the rounding up of the Roma Gypsies. Two of the main characters are a French man and woman actively aiding and abetting the Gypsies, but the film also shows plenty of gendarmes only too happy to do the dirty work for the Germans.

This is one powerful flick - which is why it came as no great surprise that it won the Grand Prix des Amériques at last year's Montreal World Film Festival, along with the public-vote award and the Ecumenical Prize.

Set in rural France in 1943 and inspired by real-life people, the film begins with the arrival of a group of Gypsies in a village. The village mayor and veterinarian Théodore (Marc Lavoine) and the town schoolteacher Mademoiselle Lundi (Marie-Josée Croze) are keen to help these new visitors, both by providing them with the paperwork necessary to keep them out of jail and, in Lundi's case, by letting the kids come and be part of her class.

A young orphan boy, P'tit Claude (Mathias Laliberté), is fascinated by these strange characters and wants to be part of the Gypsy family, and he becomes particularly friendly with a goofy, spaced-out violin-playing guy named Taloche (James Thiérrée). For a while, the Gypsies are able to survive in this fragile environment thanks to the help of Théodore and Mademoiselle Lundi, but the French and German authorities keep tightening the noose and it becomes clear that they're just never going to let the Gypsies live in peace.

This is really an ensemble piece with no one character taking the lead and all three main actors - Croze, Lavoine and Thiérrée - are terrific. There is plenty of inspirational Gypsy music here, as usual with Gatlif's films, and the writer-director does a great job of focusing on the details and nuance of everyday life.

Sadly, Seville Pictures has decided to open this award-winning flick on only one lonely screen, at the Beaubien in Rosemont. Nor can you see a copy with English sub-titles.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


We are very upset that the European Union is not speaking out against this latest proposal from Slovakia. We are also curious as to what "top Roma officials" supposedly approve this plan. Since when are any Romani tricked by words like voluntarily.

Boarding schools for Roma kids?
May 12, 2010 by Claire Ward

Photo by Elvis Barukcic/AFP/Getty Images

In an attempt to integrate future generations of Roma into European society, the Slovakian government has controversially proposed to send children of Roma families to state-run boarding schools. Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico made the announcement in March following a damning report by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay during her annual address. Pillay slammed Slovakia for the “deteriorating” situation of its impoverished, widely unemployed Roma citizens, who represent around 10 per cent of Slovakia’s overall population of 5.4 million.

“The [next] government’s agenda must include a program designed to gradually put as many Roma children as possible into boarding schools and gradually separate them from the life they live in their settlements,” said Fico, whose left-wing Smer party is facing a June election. “It seems that there is no other system. Many things have been tried. If we don’t do it, we will raise another generation of Roma which will not be able to integrate.”

A recent EU summit in Spain focusing on the Roma situation in Europe concluded that tens of thousands of Roma children are currently sent to schools for the mentally disabled, and suffer from a widely adopted systemic racism that perpetuates the segregation problem. Fico’s solution hasn’t been rejected by the EU, on the condition that the schools are voluntary and temporary. The Slovak government has confirmed preliminary approval of the plan by top Roma officials, and that the schooling would be indeed offered on a voluntary basis.

But human rights organizations have decried Fico’s solution. “[The Canadian Roma community] are very upset about it,” says Ronald Lee, a Hamilton-based Roma-Canadian author and activist. “It’s like native children in Canada being sent to residential schools. It destroys the ethnicity, the culture, the language, the sense of identity. How are they going to be treated in these boarding schools? Prejudice over there is rampant.”

THIS ARTICLE IS FROM MACLEANS.CA printed on May 13, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010



Memorial service at Lety to take place on Thursday, 13 May

by Písek, 10.5.2010, 20:08, (ROMEA)

On Thursday, 13 May at 11 AM the annual commemoration of the Romani victims of the Holocaust will take place at the site of the former concentration camp at Lety. The ceremony is being organized by the Lidice Memorial in collaboration with the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust and Lety municipality.

The grounds around the memorial are being spruced up at the instigation of Czech Human Rights Commissioner Michael Kocáb and should be more dignified than they have been to date. However, an industrial pig farm still remains in place in one part of the former concentration camp site. “I welcome the work that is being done there, but the pig farm must go. The survivors definitely do not agree with it staying there. In this respect it is important to us that the state has purchased the recreation center in Hodonín, the site of another Nazi concentration camp where Roma were imprisoned,” Čeněk Růžička, chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust, told news server

A Czech Government resolution of 4 May 2009 transferred care for the memorial grounds of the former concentration camp at Lety to the Lidice Monument. The mission of the Lidice Monument now includes “care for the preservation in perpetuity of the memory of the suffering of the Roma interned at the former Gypsy camp at Lety by Písek, including the care and maintenance of the memorial site”.

The Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust is organizing bus transportation from Prague for those attending the commemoration. The bus will leave Prague at 8:30 AM; it will be parked in front of the main gate to the Florenc bus station, under the highway overpass, next to the final stop for the no. 133 bus. The bus will have a sign in the back window reading LETY.

František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Monday, May 10, 2010

10 MAY

On this date in 1933 the Nazis staged massive public book burnings throughout Germany.

We mourn the passing of our friend Lena Horn. Ms Horn was a talented beautiful and courageous woman. She fought against racism and oppression where ever she saw it, at whatever the price.
Though I love Judy Garland, "Stormy Weather" will always belong to Lena Horn.

Latcho Drom Lena.

Sunday, May 9, 2010



The Center for Languages and International Collaboration is proud to announce the arrival of the painting "Die Mama" by Ceija Stojka (pronounced Chaya Stoika).
Stojka is an Austrian Romani artist and holocaust survivor whose work was displayed in the Kathrin Cawein Gallery last spring. The work “Mama” is a colorful display of Romani life and depicts Ceija Stojka’s mother in the foreground carrying a bouquet of sunflowers and wearing a red dress glistening with specks of gold. The sunflower, which appears in many of Ceija’s paintings, is her favorite flower because when she was eight years old her father made her a skirt out of five actual sunflowers so that she could go to a Romani dance festival. In the background is a Romani caravan of wagons paused to celebrate a wedding. Ceija pays a tribute to her mother in this painting, as in many others, for her mother’s fortitude in saving five of the six children from death in the camps. Her mother always insisted that the children eat anything they could find, including leather from shoes and belts, dirt, and grass. Ceija claims that the bark and sap from trees saved them. For that reason, she paints a tree branch in almost all of her works. In “Mama,” the tree branch is visible in the lower right-hand corner next to her signature.

Professor Lorely French's scholarship, advocacy and fundraising efforts were instrumental in bringing Stojka's work to Pacific University's permanent art collection. French, as a Berglund Center for Internet Studies Research Fellow in 2009/10, was able to develop a website on Romani Arts, which features Ceija Stojka’s work and life. While on sabbatical next year she will be working on finishing a book on Romani writers in the German-speaking countries. French will also be working with Michaela Grobbel at Sonoma State University on a comprehensive catalogue of Ceija Stojka’s life and works.

The public is welcome to attend the unveiling of "Die Mama" at 10:00 on Thursday, May 13th, in the Center for Languages and International Collaboration, Scott Hall.

Posted by Erica Andree (

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Presentation of Romani culture part of 2010 Book World Prague

(the photo is of a painting by Ceija Stojka)


6 May 2010
Prague, May 5 (CTK) -

Romanies will have their representation at the fair Book World Prague 2010 where the Museum of Romany Culture along with the department of Romany studies of Faculty of Arts of Charles University will have its own bookstall, Lucie Matejkova, from the museum, told CTK Wednesday.

Romanies and experts in Romany studies will unveil the books by Romany authors, on Romanies and expert Romany literature, Matejkova said.

The book fair will be attended by some Romany authors such as writer Ilona Ferkova or poet Jan Horvath, Matejkova said.

The Museum of Romany Culture will present its own bookstall for the first time.

Along with books, the bookstall will offer video spots on the activities of the museum as well as recordings of authorship readings by Romany authors.

The Romany authors were invited to the fair by Romany studies experts from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University and the Austrian Institute.

Finnish Romany writer, playwright and script writer Veijo Baltzar will appear at 14:00 on May 15. Two hours later, Ceija Stojka, a Holocaust survivor, Austrian Romany painter and author of the book We Live in Seclusion, will have a performance

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The latest bill on the desk of Arizona governor Jan Brewer would outlaw a Mexican-American studies program in the Tucson Unified School District because it "promotes ethnic solidarity". Whoa.

State Representative Steve Montenegro, Republican from Phoenix, says that the programs teach children "resentment or hatred for whites". He believes that students will become anti-American when they learn that the U.S. invaded Mexico City.


The governor has until 11 May to act on the bill or it automatically becomes law.

And the beat goes on..........

Tuesday, May 4, 2010



Roberto Malini's Point of View Italy
Florence's actions against the Roma people

By Roberto MaliniFlorence (Italy) -

This morning Police Headquarters and the local authorities decided to step up the measures against the Roma people as part of a security plan created after two murders took place in the city during criminal activities. Despite Roma citizens being extraneous to these two episodes, the authorities have singled them out as the prime subjects for their repressive measures, which include camp clearances with no offer of alternative housing.

The Roma families who live in unauthorized camps in the Florence area are a marginalized majority, whose protection should be guaranteed by European law. They have a right to social assistance programmes, insertion in the world of labour, schooling and access to subsidized housing, as requested over and over again by our own association and other NGOs who are in contact with the heads of these communities. We are talking about people living in conditions of extreme hardship who are in Italy in search of work, and who do not pose a threat to public safety. On the contrary, they are subjected to social exclusion and constant threats for racist and ethnic reasons.

The City of Florence is in the grip of unjustified prejudice, and is clearly violating the directives of the European Parliament and Council, 2004/38/CE concerning free movement within the EU and 2003/43CE on non-discrimination.

The local authorities are violating the Resolutions of the European Parliament dated April 28, 2005 on the situation of the Roma people within the European Union; the resolution dated June 1, 2006 on the situation of the Roma women in the EU; November 15, 2007 concerning the application of directive 2004/38/CE; January 31, 2008 on a European strategy for the Roma people; July 10, 2008 on the ethnic profiling in Italy; March 11, 2009 on the social situation of the Roma people in the EU; and March 25, 2010 concerning the Second European Summit on Roma inclusion. We are talking about serious violations that may well lead to Florence and Italy facing heavy penalties and sanctions on an international level, as well as placing them in a position that will arouse indignation and criticism from civilized countries.

The decisions taken on May 1st by the Florentine authorities have forced us to notify the European Commission, the European Council and the Council for Human Rights as to what is happening in Florence in the hope that they will take action against Italy for its violations of human rights.

Our press release has been censored by all the Italian newspapers and TV channels: by those of the Right, because the Roma people are being targeted by the ethnic policies of the majority; and those of the Left, because Florence is a city administered by the Democratic Party and its allies. The fact that the Italian media has decided not to stop informing people of the abuses committed against the Roma and “illegal” immigrants poses a threat to the future of our democracy and freedom of expression. There is no mention in the media of the ethnic purges taking place, or the warnings given to Italy by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Council and humanitarian organizations because of its ethnic policies”.

May 3, 2010


Lolo Diklo is having a garage sale as a fund raising event for the traveling museum.
Anyone in the Seattle area who is interested in donating things to sell please contact us at
or leave a comment on this blog.

If anyone has anything to donate to the library please contact us also.

Garage sale is Sat. 29 May on Vashon Island.


Today is the 40th anniversary of the attack on student demonstrators at Kent State University. They were protesting the Vietnam War (which Vietnamese people call the American War). Protests escalated after Richard Nixon announced the bombing of Cambodia.

The Ohio National Guard opened fire on students, killing 4 and injurying many more, some of whom were just walking on campus.

Still today we engage in war. "When will we ever learn...."

Monday, May 3, 2010



Monday, May 3, 2010
Hungary's Gypsies fear violence after election

Pablo Gorondi and George Jahn ASSOCIATED PRESS


Robert Csorba and his son were killed a year ago for being Gypsies. Now his relatives are using the bricks from his burned-out house to wall off their home as they brace for what they fear is more violence ahead.

The Csorba slayings were part of an unprecedented string of serial killings of Gypsies that stopped after claiming six victims with arrests in August. But Gypsies fear that big gains made by an extreme-right party in national elections last month could further feed the climate of hatred that spawned the slayings.

The Jobbik party exploited anti-Semitic and anti-Gypsy sentiment to surge from almost nowhere to 16.7 percent of the voting. That makes Jobbik — which is linked to combat-booted paramilitaries that staged an anti-Gypsy march in this village three years ago — the third strongest party in parliament.

Compounding Gypsy fears is the fact that Fidesz, the center-right party that won the election, has linked its "law and order" pledge to keeping a closer eye on Hungary's estimated 500,000 to 800,000 Gypsies or Roma.

In postelection comments, Fidesz leader Viktor Orban, who is set to be the country's next prime minister, promised a crackdown on petty crime in language clearly alluding to the Roma.

"The new government will have a new way of thinking about public security," he told reporters in Budapest, the capital 31 miles northwest of Tatarszentgyorgy. "Small crimes are also crimes."

"It's not possible that thefts of chickens are not even investigated anymore," Mr. Orban told reporters in comments — evoking the widespread Hungarian stereotype of the Gypsy as a chicken thief.

Roma representatives do not deny that some of their community are often guilty of petty crime but said the phenomenon is linked to chronic poverty rooted in age-old discrimination against Gypsies.

"Thefts of firewood, of chickens, are quite frequent," said Angela Zsigar, head of the local Roma self-government, which is struggling to improve the fate of the town's roughly 700 Roma. "There are many poor here."

While unemployment in Hungary stood at a record 11.4 percent in March, it was more than 20 percent in some parts of northeastern Hungary, where many Roma live. Additionally, Ms. Zsigar said, many Roma have never had an official job so they aren't included in the labor figures.

Mr. Orban also acknowledged that creating more jobs is also essential for reducing crime.

While state-owned industries — shut down as communism collapsed — once supplied plentiful low-skilled jobs, many Roma have since depended on welfare payments to survive.

Mr. Csorba, 27, and his 5-year-old son were fatally shot just after midnight on Feb. 23, 2009, part of a series of slayings carried out mainly in small countryside villages predominantly settled by Roma.

His village already had gained notoriety 15 months before that, when several hundred black uniformed members of the Hungarian Guard, founded by Jobbik, held their first march there against "Gypsy criminality."

The Guard came back shortly before the elections to participate in a Jobbik election rally leading to heated exchanges between Roma attending the town hall meeting and Jobbik politicians.

Erzsebet Csorba, Mr. Csorba's mother, still feels aggrieved.

"They came here, they upset the Gypsies and had the gall to come in their uniforms," she said indignantly.

The Guard still operates despite a court order to disband last year, and Mr. Orban pledged to "do away" with such organizations.

Fidesz has described the Guard as the "wrong answer to existing problems." Still, Mr. Orban indicated that the Guard's existence had some legitimacy, suggesting that they were filling a security vacuum left by the lack of adequate police forces.

Reflecting the strength of anti-Gypsy sentiment in Tatarszentgyorgy, Jobbik got more than twice as many votes here as the second-place Socialists — but half as many as Fidesz.

Incoming Fidesz government leaders downplay Jobbik's significance.

Janos Martony, Hungary's next foreign minister, told the Associated Press that the focus of the outside world on that party is "slightly surprising," adding that if the Hungarian Guard continues defying the order to disband, "the rule of law will be fully implemented."

For the village's Gypsies, however, the return of the Guard just before the election has raised trepidation of the times ahead.

"They could have showed some respect and not hold the meeting in uniform," Erzsebet Csorba said of the Guard's recent pre-election appearance. "What kind of Gypsy crimes are they talking about if it is the Gypsies who are being murdered?"

Sunday, May 2, 2010



Romani People in Italy – Milan in 2010, Warsaw in 1940

Posted: 02 May 2010 12:33 PM PDT

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In spite of the recent resolution issued by the European Parliament reasserting the illegality of the camp clearances without alternative lodgings; despite the warning from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that Roma settlements must be protected and the forced evictions stopped, the Milanese local authorities, undaunted, are still persecuting the Roma and Sinti communities present on its territory.

On April 9th, a deployment of 30 local police officers cleared the three settlements in Via Siccoli, Via Guglielmo Pepe and Ponte delle Milizie. More than 100 Roma citizens living in conditions of extreme hardship (among them sick and handicapped people, pregnant women and children) were charged with illegally occupying private land and forced to leave their makeshift shelters despite having nowhere else to go, or being offered any social assistance.

The huts the families were living in were bulldozed, while the areas will soon be “secured” to prevent the Roma or homeless returning to the site. While Riccardo De Corato, the deputy-mayor, gives interviews to newspapers and TV channels boasting about the operation that has led to the umpteenth humanitarian crisis, Milan has also adopted repressive measures against the Roma who live in “authorized camps”.

Before next summer, in fact, twenty surveillance cameras are due be installed over the entrances to the settlements in Via Triboniano, Via Idro, Via Chiesa Rossa and Via Martirano.

Those cameras will be linked up to police and Carabinieri stations to control the families living in the camp around the clock; families who have already suffered the humiliation of having to adhere to “a sociality pact”, which are special laws very similar to the rules in force in the ghettoes during the Nazi period. The project, initiated by the local authorities, has been approved by the City Police Chief, Gian Valerio Lombardi.

The cost of installing these cameras amounts to 479,000 Euros - an astronomical sum, 24,000 Euros per camera ! “With this amount, added to the other 12 million Euros that Milan spends every year on clearing Roma settlements,” say EveryOne Group's co-presidents, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, “our organization could have funded thirty factories in the “Romasia Project”, and this would have provided a home and work for all the Roma families present in Milan today. Instead, these policies, which are prompted by racial hatred, have led to a huge waste in public money; offered a terrible image to the world of a city that claims to be a European metropolis - and caused a disastrous situation of hardship and marginalization for more than one thousand human beings”.

Let us not forget that Gypsy children in Italy – those from those special new camps particularly – have to wear badges on their clothing identifying as Gypsies. If that is not a rerun of the Nazi era then I do not know what is.

Britain 2010

In addition to that may I issue a warning to the Romani and Travellers in Britain for many of the local authorities intend to also place CCTV cameras on and near the official Gypsy Caravan Sites that they manage, with the cameras pointing into the sites in order “to monitor for acts of anti-social behavior. This is not part of a Tory manifesto, folks, but one that Labor has on its books.

Recently we were treated here to a publication by the government aimed at local authorities which is a guide on how to tackle anti-social behavior amongst Gypsies and Travellers. Could anyone imagine such a document to read as to tackling anti-social behavior amongst Blacks or Asians or Jews? No, and rightly so. But when it comes to the Gypsy then that all is OK under the British government and in the EU too.

Human rights for all unless they are Gypsy, it would seem to be the case.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Wow, I thought that I'd heard it all concerning the Catholic Church, but wonders never cease.

Today I learned that the Vatican is launching an investigation in the United States. Well, it's obvious what I thought that would be about. But I was wrong.

The Vatican is launching an investigation, called an Apostolic Visitation, into three convents in the Pacific Northwestern United States.

The nuns at these convents have been accused of
feminism and
social and human rights activism.

Oh my. They have been engaged in such activities as
Women's Transitional Housing for victims of domestic violence, and
working to stop the trafficking of humans.

"Catholics come home" indeed.