Friday, April 30, 2010


Tomorrow 1 May, there are MAY DAY MARCHES AND RALLIES FOR IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS scheduled in major cities all over the United States.
In Seattle, the 10th Annual May Day March will begin at 12:30 from Judkins Playfield, 2021 So. Weller. A rally will be held there at noon.

As you have read often on this blog, immigrants and refugees all over the world are being exploited and discriminated against. The Romani people are examples of the scapegoating and attacks that befall "the other".

In the United States, we must all demand fair and just immigration policies, an end to racial profiling and the repel of the cruel and heartless law passed in Arizona.
Who are the "illegals" or "immigrants" in the Southwestern United States anyway.
The Anglos of course.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


In the early morning hours of 27 April, Lolo Diklo received a phone message from a Romani refugee in England. He seemed very upset and worried about his family.

Though we are in the United States, there are some organizations in England we could refer him to.

Unfortunately, he did not leave any contact information and we were not even able to establish his name.

Please contact us again. We hope to hear from you.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


28 April 2010 is the 84th birthday of Harper "Nell" Lee, the author of "To Kill A Mockingbird", one of the great books.

Happy Birthday Nell.


King of the Gypsies Dies
Thoma Makeawagon Lovell
Don't cry for me I'm still singing
December 30, 1923 - April 21, 2010

We recently lost an outstanding Romani and friend, Thoma Makeawagon Lovell.
Anyone who has seen the movie OPRE ROMA knows Thoma. He was the father of Julia Lovell and performed her marriage ceremony in the documentary..
It's funny that the Vancouver, B.C. newspaper called him the King of the Gypsies. How he mocked such embellishments.
He was a good man.
Devlessa and Latcho Drom Thoma.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Our good news is that the caravan for the new museum project is wonderful and people are being very supportive. We are trying to get a grant and also pursue other fund raising. If anyone is interested in contributing to the museum fund or has any fund raising ideas please email, or leave a comment.

But there is so much sad news.
The new law passed in Arizona, USA should make us all cringe. It is easy to worry about and criticize Europe while avoiding what goes on here.
This law is an assault on all people of color and a cry out to those who are supportive of the concept of human rights.

Western European Countries, including, but not exclusively, Germany, are deporting refugees from Kosovo back to Kosovo, even though there are no plans for their arrival, and the horror of the lead mine continues.

Below is a correspondence between the United Kingdom Association of Gypsy Women based in England, and Paul Polansky, an ally and unfailing supporter of the Romani in Kosovo. It is about the deterioration of Ergin, a child suffering from lead poisoning. See more information about Ergin on an earlier post.

"I have copied Lord Avebury and ccd in High Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, Lucy Glyn Baroness Kinnocks Desk Assistant for Kosovo and Fiona Hall MEP so they may read your very sad message below and also in the hope that they can help bring about a solution. I am hard pushed to imagine the utter distress and heartbreak of having to watch your two little children die simply because you have no access to proper medical care that would save their life and worse still, there are people from the international community who have the power to help this unfortunate family but make no attempt to do so.

If the children are not taken out of the camp to a place abroad where they can receive proper medical attention then this family could very soon be facing a double tragedy.

Take care.

Kind regards

Rachel Francis-Ingham


Hi Rachel,

I am in touch most days with Ergin's family by phone. His mother is getting desperate about his condition and his brother's. Because of the lead poisoning they are also getting very aggressive despite their poor health and she is having great problems handling them. Can you think of any way we can get the whole family abroad for medical treatment? We just cannot get the UN or the Kosovo government to save these kids.

I saved one entire family from the camps by getting them to Germany sponsored by the country's biggest newspaper. But cant find a solution for this family. They are the most in need in the camp.

I really appreciate all you have done for us. Look forward to seeing you in England.

Best regards,


Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today Lolo Diklo: Romani Against Racism got a 14 foot trailer to launch the traveling museum project.
This has been a dream for quite awhile and today it's much closer to becoming reality.
The people selling the trailer could not have been kinder or more open about the trailer. They were really happy to hear about the museum.
We owe many people thanks for the launching of our project. I'd personally like to thank Kate and the sellers of the trailer.


Belgrade authorities urged to halt forced eviction of 300 Roma families
Residents of Belvil have not been offered any alternative adequate housing

The Belvil community is home to over 300 Romani families

23 April 2010

Amnesty International has urged authorities in the Serbian capital Belgrade not to carry out the planned forced eviction of a Romani settlement.

At least 300 households in an informal settlement known as Belvil are set to be demolished within days to make way for a new road, despite the Roma community living there not being offered any alternative adequate housing.

Instead, Belgrade's Deputy Mayor has said the families will be housed in metal "containers".

"This eviction is being conducted with no regard for the hundreds of families living in Belvil, who have not been consulted or even properly informed about the eviction. They are being treated like second-class citizens," said Sian Jones, Amnesty International's Serbia researcher.

"We do not consider the metal containers to be adequate alternative housing,. Other Roma families in Belgrade are currently living in similar containers after being evicted last year, and these homes are poorly ventilated, damp and overcrowded."

On 30 March, Belgrade's Deputy Mayor publicly announced that evictions would begin at the end of April to make way for an access road for a planned new bridge over the River Sava.

Over the past week, Amnesty International has been informed that Belgrade city employees visiting Belvil have threatened the Roma residents with imminent evictions. Four families have reportedly received an eviction notice. However, the majority have not received any information about the forthcoming eviction.

If evicted, many families will lose their only access to income. The most common occupation of Belvil residents is collecting and reselling scrap or recyclable materials, which they store under a nearby bridge.

Under international law, evictions may be carried out only as a last resort, once other alternatives have been explored in genuine consultation with the affected communities. However, the Roma in Belvil have not been consulted or given any information about post-eviction plans.

Amnesty International visited the Belvil community in February and March 2010. The Roma living there were already anxious about possible evictions but had not been provided with any information.

The city authorities denied that there were any plans to evict those living in Belvil when asked by Amnesty International in February. However, the Deputy Mayor then announced the eviction plans in March.

This announcement followed reports that the European Investment Bank had released funds for access roads to be built as part of the new Sava Bridge project.

Amnesty International is concerned that Belgrade city authorities will evict people from Belvil in a similar way to that used in another forced eviction carried out in August 2009 in a settlement known as Gazela.

In that eviction, 114 Roma families were relocated to various locations at the outskirts of the city. They now live in metal containers at the outskirts of the city, far from local public services. Amnesty International does believe these metal containers satisfy human rights criteria for adequate housing.

Last week, 35 families were evicted from another Roma settlement in the city, known as Vidikovac; they were not provided with any alterative accommodation. According to NGOs, there will be more forced evictions in this community in the next week.

Amnesty International has called on the Serbian government to ensure that safeguards are put in place to ensure all evictions are carried out lawfully and with respect for the rights of the Roma community.

"The authorities must ensure that no families are made homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights as a consequence of eviction," said Sian Jones.

"This includes providing them with legal remedies, including provision of compensation for the destruction of their homes and possessions.

"The Serbian government has a duty to ensure that the authorities in Belgrade abide by international human rights law."

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Lolo Diklo : Romani Against Racism is launching its new project
The Romani Education Center and Traveling Museum Project.

We're hoping someone will donate a trailer to us. If anyone has any ideas or leads please leave a comment or email

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



A far-right for the Facebook generation: The rise and rise of Jobbik


19.04.2010 @ 21:03 CET


Last week, Europeans woke up to the sinister news that in the heart of Europe a thoroughly far-right party, the Movement for a Better Hungary, or Jobbik, had won 17 percent of the vote in general elections, almost beating the governing Socialists into third place.

Most European nations have their share of far-right fringe groups. But Jobbik is openly anti-semitic and anti-gypsy. It is the founder of a rapidly growing, jackbooted and black-uniformed paramilitary, the Magyar Garda, and it is allied to pariahs such as the British National Party and France's Front National in the EU Parliament. How could such an out-and-out fascist outfit climb so vertiginously high up the greasy pole of politics in the modern era?

It is the clearest sign yet that the economic crisis has woken Europe's most frightening demons.

Or so runs the media narrative.

Long-time watchers of the far-right in Europe describe this version of the story as "lazy". Certainly, the crash, which hit Hungary harder than many European nations - it was the first EU member state to run to the IMF - played a role in last week's vote, but the tale is, they say, longer and more complicated.

"The frustration I have with the sudden burst of media coverage is that for most of the time, the far-right phenomenon is not treated seriously," complains Graeme Atkinson, the European editor of the UK's anti-fascist monthly, Searchlight. "They're treated as cranks, so papers don't write about them, don't notice them. And then suddenly something like this happens and they think the sky is falling."

"I don't go for either picture. It's not that the crisis has suddenly caused this. This is a phenomenon that goes back much further than the last two years ... Of course it exacerbates the situation - it would be surprising if the crisis did not result in some increased support for the far-right. But it's a long-term phenomenon that needs monitoring and countering. It's no reason to panic and then forget about it once the next big news item happens."

Mr Atkinson actually lays the bulk of the blame on the centre-left establishment in Europe: "Social democrats everywhere have abandoned their traditional constituency. This is the vacuum the far right are filling."

As socialist and labour parties have, pace Tony Blair, embraced business, backed privatisation and instituted social spending cuts, he argues, extremist ideas provide an easy answer to the thousands that feel disoriented by the slings and arrows of the free market.

The Perspective Institute, a Budapest polling firm, demographically backs this analyis, noting already in an analysis after last year's European elections in which the party scored 14.8 percent that left-wing voters were en masse turning toward Jobbik: "The Hungarian extreme right doesn't primarily recruit its supporters from the centre-right but instead from the leftist camp disappointed with the governmental performance of MSZP [the Socialists]. Jobbik, in certain cases, succeeded in doubling its nationwide share of the votes in cities that had been Socialist strongholds."

Support for far-right ideas doubles in ten years

Hungarian liberal think-tank Political Capital meanwhile has been measuring support for far-right ideas across Europe for a number of years. According to its latest Demand for Right-Wing Extremism (Derex) index, which gauges people's predisposition to far-right politics in 32 European countries, 21 percent of Hungarians are open to extreme right-wing ideas, the highest percentage of any European country other than Bulgaria, where 24.6 percent of the population is so predisposed.

Just seven years ago in 2003, only 10 percent of Hungarians had such a propensity, according to the think-tank's surveys. Poland at the same time also had a score of 10 percent. This has since fallen to 6.5 percent.

"But here it's doubled. The extreme right has profited from a massive growth in disaffection from the political elite. This feeling is not just anti-establishment. They oppose the entire system. They want to get rid of the whole thing," Political Capital analyst Alex Kuli says.

Jobbik's growth was unremarkable until the last four years, when it began its meteoric ascent. The key event was in autumn 2006, when street protests in which the party played a key role rampaged through Budapest following the leak of an audiotape revealing that the then Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany had lied in order to win elections.

But why such a response? There have been political scandals elsewhere.

"There was the expenses scandal in the UK, sure, but what happened?" asks Mr Kuli. "People are investigated by the police, they resign, expelled from the party. They are humiliated. In Hungary, there is a feeling that there is no recourse to the law. People are caught stealing from the public purse and not a single thing is done against them."

Radical youth

One of the most disturbing aspects of the Jobbik phenomenon is how young and educated many of its supporters are. Far-right supporters elsewhere are thought of as the rural uneducated or, in the urban context, to use an old term, 'lumpenproletarian'. But in Hungary so many of them are the Bright Young Things. They believe they are the radical ones, with a burning fire of injustice as self-righteous as any anti-G8 militant from Genoa to Gothenburg to Gleneagles.

Hungarian pollster Forsense noted that Jobbik and the country's small Green party, the LMP, together won 24 percent of all votes in the election, but a full 40 percent of votes cast by those under age 24. Almost half of the voters for the two parties are under 35 years of age and only 10 percent of them are over 55.

The 2006 events radicalised Hungarian youth. But rather than looking to the left, as disaffected youth have ever done in the West, and once again over the past decade, from the Seattle anti-WTO demonstrations to anti-Iraq war protests in Barcelona, Paris and London and beyond, in Hungary, those who described themselves as left, in the form of the corrupt Socialist party of wealthy businessman Ferenc Gyurcsany, were the ones they were demonstrating against.

"There's no attraction for angry young people to join something to the left of the [Socialists] because this politic is completely discredited after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, so you just don't get this," Mr Kuli says.

Zsolt Varkonyi, the group's presidential campaign chief, at 54 years old is one of the more senior members: "There is a big age-gap between me and them. Most of them could be my sons and daughters."

Jobbik's national spokeswoman Dora Duro, for example, he says, is just 22.

"They get out of school, university and they find themselves without a job. Everyone, even doctors, economists - there has been a huge wave of young people joining the party," he says.

Adam Schonburger, an anti-Jobbik campaigner and an organiser with the Budapest Jewish Youth Organisation, has tried to focus his activities on educating young people about Jewish and Gypsy culture, organising an annual festival in the hope they will learn from other sources than the slick Jobbik website and internet chatrooms.

"University student government is largely controlled by Jobbik, particularly the humanities faculty," he says. "You know that Jobbik was actually created by a student government?"

"There is very strong support for Jobbik in the universities," says Adam LeBor, the Hungary correspondent for the Times and the author of the Budapest Protocol, a political thriller that came out last year that focuses on anti-gypsy oppression in the country.

"Part of this is the economic situation. It is indeed very hard for young people to find a job, but the crucial element is that Jobbik has an extremely savvy web presence, enabling them to sidestep the traditional media and speak directly to youth, to the Facebook generation. It even has pages in English, well-written English that isn't garbled. The other parties haven't really done this."

"It's a lot more complex than just 'the nasties are marching'."


The Magyar Garda, the estimated 3,000-strong paramilitary group founded by Jobbik leader Gabor Vona, has taken to calling the capital "Judapest." Socialist Party election posters were defaced with Stars of David and the Jewish community mounted a thousand-strong demonstration the week before the election after a rabbi's windows were stoned during Passover. Orthodox Jews in the supermarket are saluted with a raised arm 'Heil Hitler'. But Mr LeBor says that as terrifying as this is, it is not anti-semitism that is really what he calls "the mobilising issue".

"The mobilising issue is racism against gypsies, which is much more widespread."

He blames previous administrations for doing nothing to tackle the problems of the Roma community: "No government of any stripe has managed to deal with the situation of the Roma, who live in utter squalor, with high levels of unemployment. It's the classic strategy: in times of crisis, you seek a scapegoat."

Roma homes and individuals have been repeatedly shot at and firebombed with Molotov cocktails. In 2009, eight gypsies were killed in incidents police believe to be deliberately targetted against the community.

'Gypsy Crime' and 'Israeli companies'

Roberto Fiore, leader of Italy's neo-Nazi Forza Nuova addressed a Jobbik rally in Budapest in November last year, but the Jobbik youngsters do not think of themselves as fascists at all. "They view themselves as part of a generational change in Hungary," the Political Capital think-tank's Mr Kuli adds.

The rest of the world may not be able to speak Hungarian, but the hyper-educated Hungarian youth can read English and know what the rest of the world is saying about them. The Jobbik kids are not big fans.

Jobbik are not Nazis, they insist, with the party's English-language website contrasting a relatively gentle picture of Jobbik voters in military "traditional dress" with a German skinhead with a large swastika tattoo on his neck, whom the caption describes as a "Nazi imbecile."

On the day of the election, the Jobbik website published an rejoinder raging against the international coverage of the party and in particular an article in The Scotsman newspaper entitled 'Anti-Roma rhetoric pays off for far right in Hungary' explaining why so many people were voting for the party: "The scenario is classic. Hungary's economy is in crisis, its large Roma minority is an easy scapegoat, and a far-right party blaming 'gypsy crooks' and ‘welfare spongers' is set to be the big winner."

Responding to what a Jobbik web-writer viewed in the Scottish report as vicious slander, the party's missive reads: "What is this 'classic scenario?' Quite simple really. Central Europeans + Economic Downturn = (or rather, must and can only equal) Hateful Extremists and persecution of minorities ... Take a few pennies out of a Hungarian's pocket, and he turns almost immediately into a slavering ultra-nationalist who on the way back from clubbing a local gypsy, will pause only to hurl yet another brick through the windows of his nearest synagogue."

Mr Varkonyi, the Jobbik spokesman, says the party is only reminding Hungarians "of what Israeli President Shimon Peres himself admitted."

He refers to the boast by Mr Peres of how well his country's real estate sector had been doing at a gathering of businessmen in Tel Aviv in October 2007. "The economic situation in Israel is excellent. We are buying up Manhattan, Romania, Hungary and Poland, all due to Israeli business acumen and connections."

When EUobserver proposes that Mr Varkonyi perhaps might be misinterpreting the Israeli president's speech, Mr Varkonyi says: "Look, 70 percent of Budapest property development belongs to Israeli companies. These were not empty words - there was something behind it."

Krisztina Morvai, an MEP for the party and Jobbik's presidential candidate in the country's upcoming June elections for head of state, once spat: "So-called proud Hungarian Jews should go back to playing with their tiny little circumcised tails."

But even she, a mother of three and practising human rights lawyer who once worked for the United Nations, styles her anti-Jewish rhetoric not with the bile of a Der Sturmer polemic, but couched in a pro-Palestinian discourse, albeit one that Palestinian solidarity groups elsewhere distance themselves from. In February, 2009, following Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip that killed 1400 Palestinians, she wrote in a letter to the Jewish state's ambassador to Hungary: "The only way to talk to people like you is by assuming the style of Hamas. I wish all of you lice-infested, dirty murderers will receive Hamas' 'kisses.'"

Mr Varkonyi also insists that the party's strategy for dealing with the "gypsy problem" is "no different to what is being done in Italy or Slovakia."

"And there is a reality to what we say about gypsy crime. There were 118 case of gypsies committing crimes against Hungarians from 1993 to 2009."

"We don't need sociological explanations" when it is suggested to him that crime rates may grow amongst economically dislocated, racially oppressed communities. "How does a sociological explanation feel to an old lady who has had her head cut off by an 18-year-old gypsy, or a girl who is tied to a tree and raped and then set on fire?"

Political magpies

"We are not even a right-wing party," declares Mr Varkonyi. "We do not believe in the division between left and right. The true division is between those who want globalisation and those who do not. We are a patriotic party."

He goes on to approvingly quote the left-wing Franco-American Tobin-Tax and anti-Lisbon-Treaty campaigner Susan George, criticising the privatisation of energy and water companies. "There is some cross-over with the anti-globalisation protests [at the turn of the millenium]. But the difference is that we respect private property. We are different from the Seattle protestors in that we want local private property but not a global version of private property."

Indeed, the Jobbik website article goes on to try to deliver as proof that the party are not your average Nazi boneheads a laundry-list of policies, which, in all fairness, no one would be surprised to hear coming out of the mouths of the likes of leftist figures such as a Jose Bove, Oscar Lafontaine or Olivier Besancenot: rejecting IMF austerity measures, the influence of agribusiness and "unrestricted cowboy-capitalism."

However, Jobbik, like any classic far-right formation, are political magpies, picking and choosing from the left and the right. Its website article that is supposed to explode "myths" about the party goes on to explain, without giving evidence, how gypsies increase crime in whichever country they go to, promotes Greater Hungary chauvinism - aiming to restore Hungary to its pre-World-War-One borders - and demands the return of the Csendorseg, the Hungarian Gendarmerie, the country's chief agents of Jewish deportations during the Holocaust, notorious for robberies, acts of torture and a viciousness which startled even the Germans.

"When the Gendarmerie walked down the street and gypsies saw them, they would run away. They knew someone was watching them," warns Mr Varkonyi.

2006 riots

Vilmos Hanti, the president of the Hungarian Federation of Resistance Fighters and Anti-fascists (Measz), which dates back to 1945, blames the youthful attraction to the far-right on a gap in the school curriculum after 1990.

"History books used in the schools are without a word of criticism regarding the role of Hungary in the Second World War. The young people of today know very little about Hungarian anti-fascist resistance," he says. "In spite of our efforts, a museum presenting Hungarian resistance to young people was never realised."

In the six months that followed the 2006 anti-Gyurcsany riots in Budapest, Jobbik boosted its profile with a militant campaign against "Gypsy crime." Then, further building on its notoriety, the following year, the party launched the paramilitary Magyar Garda, or Hungarian Guard.

The Magyar Garda, attired in black boots, black trousers, white shirt and black vest, take their oaths under the red-and-white striped flag of Arpad, the banner of the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian fascists who murdered between 10,000 and 15,000 Jews and together with the Gendarmes sent 80,000 to their deaths in Auschwitz.

The Budapest Jewish Youth Organisation's Mr Schonburger says that the police in many cases are leaving the Hungarian Guard to solve problems: "'They say 'We can't help. Go ask the Hungarian Guard.'"

Still, even two years after the riots, as late as December 2008, the party could not claim more than roughly three percent of voters. Over the following five months, it started to climb sharply as the economic crisis began to pinch, winning 14.8 percent or 428,000 votes cast in the June 2009 European Parliamentary elections, making it for the first time a serious political force.

And then onn 10 April 2010, the party won 16.7 percent or 844,000 ballots, doubling its number of voters in less than a year.

While Jobbik, led by 32-year-old Gabor Vona, a history teacher and founder of the Hungarian Guard - who has said he will wear his Magyar Garda uniform when sworn in as an MP - has won over thousands of young people, it is not true to say that they form the majority of the party's voters. The bulk of Jobbik's support actually comes from the east of the country, where there is enormous economic dislocation. There, one finds a strong correlation between such poverty and support for Jobbik.

It should also be remembered that in Budapest, the LMP, from its Hungarian acronym for Politics Can Be Different, which is affiliated to the European Green Party, is also a party of the young, and that it beat Jobbik into fourth place inside the capital.

The Times' Mr Lebor thinks there may be some hope here: "And this is a party that barely existed six months ago. All people really know about them is that they are sort of green and progressive. They don't know much more."

Mr Kuli, for his part, is dismissive of the upstart LMP, a left-wing group but untarnished by any link to the Communist Party. "Their leader, Andras Schiffer, a lawyer, in the 1990s defended a bar that refused entry to two gypsies and the husband of the party's number six on their list is a legal advisor to Jobbik, so is there a real human rights commitment there or is it opportunism?"

Searchlight's Mr Atkinson is quite pessimistic about the chances for a movement against the growth of the far right in the country: "Measz [the official Hungarian anti-fascist organisation] are very elderly, and maybe a bit old Stalinist, so there is that mark against them," he concedes. "But they were very heroic people in their time, although they are not really up for a fight now. There are no young anti-racist or anti-fascist groups that I know of, at least not on the scale that exist in most Western countries, even in eastern countries, Russia."

"There is no real opposition in Hungary. It would be nice to see if something happens with the [LMP], although I worry they don't have much of a base."

Will Fidesz take them on?

And what of Fidesz, the socially conservative party of family values and law and order that won the election? After winning a whopping 52.8 percent of the vote and heading for an even better result in the second round that should give it a two-thirds majority in the parliament, it has no need to build a coalition with the far-right. Many are thankful that this at least this puts something of a break on and perhaps reverses Jobbik's advance, which according to some polls, had reached 25 percent support ahead of the voting.

After the first round of voting, Fidesz' charismatic leader, Victor Orban, said he would take on Jobbik: "No radical party will be allowed to get rid of law and order in this country," he told reporters. "Democracy in this country is strong enough to defend itself."

However, Mr Atkinson believes Fidesz is a worry in itself: "I cringe when I see some in the press refer to Fidesz as 'centre-right.' They're not. They're nationalist populist, what in German is sometimes referred to as a 'Volkisch' right."

Fidesz, itself once a party of youth - the name is an acronym of Fiatal Demokratak Szovetsege, or Alliance of Young Democrats - was founded in 1988 as a libertarian anti-Communist party, joining the Liberal International in 1992. After a poor showing in the 1994 elections, it switched allegiance from liberalism to conservatism.

The British anti-fascist editor says Mr Orban is a political chameleon, shifting ideology to whatever will keep him in power. He notes that the party has been in coalition with Jobbik at the local level in "around 100 municipalities."

In 2008, Fidesz MP Oszkar Molnar, who was also mayor of Edeleny, a town in eastern Hungary, famously claimed that pregnant Roma women take medication to give birth to "fools to receive higher family subsidies. I have checked this and it's true; they hit their bellies with a rubber hammer so that they'll give birth to handicapped kids."

Responding to Mr Molnar's statement, Mr Orban said only that his speech was "embarrassing," although the MP was later dropped from national lists and quit the party.

But Mr Kuli, from the Poltical Capital think-tank, thinks the conservative party should be given the benefit of the doubt for now.

"Fidesz has dealt with these issues very gingerly, it is true. But it's a political calculation. They do not want to alienate their rural support by taking decisive action against Molnar and send them into the arms of Jobbik. I don't necessarily support this strategy, but this is why they acted this way," he said.

The Times' Mr LeBor believes that to call Fidesz "Jobbik lite" is "a complete nonsense. During the election campaign it made great efforts to distance itself from Jobbik. Like all parties, they include a wide range of views. Some of their MPs are more right-wing than others."

The Budapest Jewish Youth Organisation's Mr Schonburger also does not think Fidesz are wolves in centre-right sheep's clothing, but he does wish the party was more forthright in countering Jobbik: "We are hoping for the incoming government to make a clear statement on the issue in the next two weeks, Orban needs to make more public statements about what has happened. But I don't know if they are willing to. We certainly don't see any clear statement coming from them yet."

He is however furious at the post-Hungarian election triumphalism of other conservative parties across Europe: "How can they call this a victory? How can they celebrate when so many people have voted for Jobbik?"

"This is the most important issue facing Hungary, maybe even more important than the economic crisis. Something is going on here. How in the middle of Europe, in this new part of the EU, can we have such radical voters, Jobbik, the Hungarian Guard?"

Analyst Mr Kuli is more optimistic: "What will Hungary look like in two years? Orban says he will be able to renegotiate the terms of the IMF deal. But he has very little room to manoeuvre. At the same time, the stability that a supermajority gives Fidesz - it will be the most stable government since 1990 - shouldn't be forgotten. And the economic gurus around him are very intelligent men."

But even he issues a warning: "The trick is if Orban goes further with austerity measures. If his voters see that he doesn't have their dreams in mind, I think you'd see protests against him as well.

"And Jobbik will be ready and waiting in the wings."

Monday, April 19, 2010


On 19 April, 1943, Jewish people forcibly living in the Warsaw Ghetto began a brave battle against nazi forces.
The Warsaw Uprising was eventually brutally surpressed but not before a valiant and inspiring struggle.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Roma in the News

“Gypsy child thieves”. No end in sight – Call for support

Mr. Valery Novoselsky, Editor, Roma Virtual Network.

Dear friends and colleagues,

This is to inform you that we have just filed a complaint with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), where the British TV documentary “Gypsy child thieves” was broadcasted on 29 and replayed on 30 March 2010.

Like in other countries, the presentation of this documentary has given raise to numerous media articles suggesting that Europe is flooded by Roma children who assault innocent tourists and locals.
In its advertisement of the documentary, ABC says: “If you’ve travelled in Europe you will know the dangers of the Roma, or Gypsy, children who stake out the major tourist centres and swarm around visitors aiming to stealing their money, credit cards and other valuables.

Now Producer Liviu Tipurita, using hidden cameras and some remarkable detective skills, shows how these children operate. Far from acting alone he reveals how many of them are involved in a system of organised crime that stretches right across the continent, a system the police say they cannot stop.” (emphasis added)
With the producer of the documentary, ABC concludes: “There’s little doubt this is now a major problem across Europe. But will the authorities confront it and create alternatives for the children involved, or will the upsurge in crime simply lead to violence and vilification of the Roma people?”

Like in other countries, the presentation of this documentary has given raise to heinous comments on internet sites:
“Came across plenty while backpacking across Europe last year. They’re scum.”, writes “MattJ” on whirlpool.
“metalstorm” says: “they enslave and traffick their own children, turning them into beggars/thieves, send their women out to whore while they play cards and drink vino all day, they have no legitimate skills.”
“davmel” concludes: “Their society and upbringing is corrupted at every level. Continuing to excuse it after more than half a century is not going to improve the situation.”

On the programme’s website, one contributor, “SophisticatedTorpedo” compares “gypsies” with “other rogues and gnats”.
He says: “I was watching that Matrioshki show, about a Belgian men’s club engaged in human trafficking from East Europe and Thailand, they were low on funds and needed some quick staff at one point, they could only afford a VW bus full of gypsies.”
Australia is only one stop on the journey of this documentary. Originally a BBC production, it has already travelled to Belgium and Switzerland and has probably also been broadcasted in Italy and Spain. But according to the Belgian TV station RTL TVI, the documentary has been sold to 26 TV stations, including public ABC and the Japanese NHK.

The documentary has been granted several media awards including the Best TV Feature Story of the Year award of the Foreign Press Association, for which the documentary is “an example of truly excellent TV story- telling, brilliant camera work & fabulous visuals resulting in a film that unfolds and develops beautifully to shine a powerful light on a gripping story” and the Current Affairs – International award of the Royal Television Society, which sees it as “A fantastic achievement. A powerful eye-witness account and an outstanding example of story-telling.”
Chachipe’s protests against this documentary have nevertheless yielded some success.

In reaction to Chachipe’s complaint, the Council of Europe Migration and Roma Department wrote to the Editorial Complaint Unit of the BBC, setting out that the word Gypsy, which is used throughout the documentary, is indeed considered as offensive by most Roma. It refuted the vision that begging and stealing have become common practice among East European Roma and concluded that the documentary “ends up fueling the growing anti-Gypsyism in Europe”. (10 March 2010)

In its advice to the Belgian Media Supervisory Authority, CSA, the Belgian Centre for Equal Opportunities wrote: “the report covers real facts and situation, which all pertain to the sphere of organised crime: organised begging, pickpocketing, human trafficking, forced marriages of minors,…. Through its cursory reference to other topics such as the situation of vulnerability and precarity, which a large majority of Roma is facing, this report may lead to the conclusion that the majority of Roma from Romania are criminals, or even, as it is said by one of the contributors, that the fundament of Roma culture is theft and the exploitation of young children and in particular girls .” (18 March 2010)
Amnesty International also issued a statement to the BBC.
While the BBC has persisted on its conviction that “the allegations of the programme were supported by facts and there was clear editorial purpose in reporting serious and widespread criminal behaviour” so that “any offence which was caused was justified in the public interest” (Colin Tregear, Director, Editorial Complaints Unit, 29 Januar 2010, emphasis added), it seems nevertheless have realised the validity of our arguments.

For instance, the faces of children, which appeared uncovered in the documentary, have been obscured (see: BBC: How Gypsy gangs use child thieves, 2 September 2009).
The documentary has also been removed again from Youtube, where it was displayed over weeks.

However, our request remains to the BBC:
- to recognize its mistake and issue a public apology to all the Roma whose image has been insulted by this documentary,
- to broadcast another programme on the tremendous negative impact of anti-Gypsyism on Roma communities throughout Europe,
- and, finally, to withdraw the documentary from circulation before its causing even more damage to the Roma community.
In order for this campaign to succeed, we need your support:
Don’t wait before the documentary is brought to your country!
Stop it now by writing to the BBC Worldwide (for addresses click here) and asking it to stop distributing a documentary which does no more than to perpetuate century old stereotypes about Roma and fuels anti-Roma ressentment.
We would appreciate receiving a copy of your letter!

For further information about our activities against this documentary, please visit our website! We are looking forward receiving your suggestions!
Murat Haliti and Karin Waringo
Chachipe a.s.b.l.

Saturday, April 17, 2010



Italy. Roma people still persecuted in MilanBy Roberto MaliniMilan (Italy) -

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 will be installed over the entrances to the settlements in Via Triboniano, Via Idro, Via Chiesa Rossa and Via Martirano. The 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, EveryOne Group 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”.

April 15th, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010



'Roma Queen' Esma Redzepova receives Macedonia's Order of Merit

Tuesday, 06 April 2010

I would like everyone to see Macedonia through my eyes, because my vision is cosmopolitan. Let this small, but beautiful country live for all times, said singer Esma Redzepova-Teodosievska, who was decorated Tuesday by President Gjorge Ivanov with Order of Merit for Macedonia, an award long overdue.

"Through her authenticity and perfect vocal performance, Esma has promoted Macedonian and Roma music worldwide, becoming a striking international name in music", said President Ivanov.

According to him, the order is presented to Redzepova-Teodosievska for the affirmation of Macedonia, her musical grandeur and charity work.

"Today's ceremony is held only two days prior to April 8-World Roma Day. The Roma community is an integral part of Macedonian society. Esma is one of the leading individuals in the efforts for improvement of the social and economic situation of Roma. Esma is an example of toppling barriers when it comes to talent, will and perseverance", stressed Ivanov.

Dubbed by many as 'Roma Queen', Esma Redzepova-Teodosievska said the order belonged to the people, because she would not have achieved the success if it hadn't been for them.

"This is a recognition for all citizens, all nationalities living in the Republic of Macedonia", she added.

Esma Redzepova-Teodosievska (1943) was born in Skopje. She won the first award at a Radio Skopje singing contest at the age of 11. Afterwards, she began to work with the orchestra of Stevo Teodosievski, performing for nearly 30 years.

Following their marriage, Esma and Stevo raised 47 children and held more than 2,000 humanitarian concerts. Esma and Teodosievski ensemble released 108 singles, 20 albums, 15 CDs etc. At the 1976 inaugural edition of "Festival of Roma Music and Song" in Chandigarh, India, she was officially proclaimed queen of Roma music. She is a laureate of a number of other awards and recognitions



"If You Are Roma, You Can Be Shot Down Like a Dog"

Szilvia Varró, winner of the 2010 Joseph Pulitzer Memorial Prize for investigative journalism, recently spoke about the rise of the far right and anti-Gypsyism in Hungary with Bernard Rorke of the Open Society Institute.

Szilvia Varró, a journalist with the Hungarian weekly Magyar Narancs and an OSI Roma Initiatives Fellow, was recently awarded the 2010 Joseph Pulitzer Memorial Prize for investigative journalism. (1) Szilvia published a series of in-depth articles about the wave of gun and bomb attacks on Roma settlements that left six dead and many wounded. She has also extensively covered the rise of the right-wing extremist Jobbik party. The award citation said that while Szilvia holds “a definite worldview,” her conclusions are always grounded in fact; and described her as a writer ever prepared to challenge majority opinion, whatever the issue. She spoke recently with Bernard Rorke.

Bernard Rorke: Jobbik is trying to remold itself as a radical rather than fascist party. How would you categorize Jobbik?

Szilvia Varró: Jobbik is an openly anti-Semitic and racist party which uses populist ideas borrowed from left and right, covered with a strong hatred of Jews and Roma. They successfully manipulated a widespread and growing fear of crime, which Jobbik links to the Roma.

But Jobbik’s success cannot be described adequately in ethnic terms. During the European Parliamentary elections many young people voted for the party. A substantial section of the Hungarian population is fed up with mainstream political parties, wants law and order, and no Gypsies. Jobbik became a protest party which could attract the votes of people disenchanted with politics, who view the political class as distant and incompetent. Society was sensitive to corruption before the global financial crisis, but the meltdown made ordinary people particularly sensitive. Under these conditions the extreme right has been and is able to exploit the political vacuum with its quasi- fascist demagogy.

Jobbik is the Wunderkind of the European extreme-right scene. With its combination of successful use of new media and communications, its radical fresh and forthright language, and the conscious grassroots mobilization and structure of the party, it was able to connect with the younger generation. In part, Jobbik owes its success to the impotentsocialist-liberal government which has been in power for eight years, but failed to dissolve the Roma ghettos; failed to address poverty; and did nothing to help the multiply disadvantaged impoverished micro-regions.

Bernard Rorke: Attention to anti-Gypsyism in Hungary has abated since the wave of serial killings ended. How high is the level of prejudice against Roma now? Based on your direct contact with Roma communities, is there still a climate of fear and intimidation?

Szilvia Varró: Due to the overall decline in living standards, Roma became one of the main targets of increasing intolerance. Although the banned Hungarian Guard, the paramilitary wing of Jobbik, is no longer marching through Roma ghettoes, Roma still expect them at any time. Even if there are no more deadly attack against Roma in Hungary, no-one can wipe what has happened over the last two years from the collective memory of the Hungarian Roma. The message was clear, and clearly understood: even if you’re a hard-working student, even if you hold a high position, and have become an integral part of the Hungarian society—if you are Roma you can be shot down in your bed like a dog. Roma remain traumatized in Hungary; not even the relatives of those Roma who were attacked and murdered receive any assistance from the Hungarian state to cope with their trauma and tragedy.

(1) The Pulitzer Memorial Prize, which has been awarded since 1989 in memory of the Hungarian-born Joseph Pulitzer, recognizes outstanding achievement among Hungarian journalists working in print media or online.

A version of this article will appear in the coming days on the Open Society Institute blog.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I just added an internet site for the Open Society blog. If you visit it scroll down a bit to the video named I AM A EUROPEAN ROMA WOMAN.



Hungarian extremists win record 15 percent in parliamentary elections
12 April 2010

The center-right party Fidesz has won a resounding victory over the ruling Socialist Party in the first round of Hungary’s parliamentary elections, and Fidesz leader Viktor Orban is set to become prime minister. The anti-Semitic and racist Jobbik party, which set up the paramilitary Hungarian Guard in 2007, secured a record 15 percent of the vote, trailing the Socialists by only four percent. Jobbik’s surge represents the greatest political shake-up of the election and moves the political balance of power strongly to the right. Fidesz's landslide victory had been expected by pollsters and its result of 52.8 percent in the first round translated into 206 seats for now in the 386-seat legislature, giving Orban an absolute majority even ahead of the second round of voting on 25 April.

Jobbik secured 26 seats, more than three times as many as any other far-right party since the country's return to democracy from Communism in 1990. Jobbik ran on a platform blaming Gypsies and Jews for many of the country's economic and social problems. "Despite the strong headwinds, Jobbik has managed to double its voters over the past year," party leader Gabor Vona (pictured above) said. "I still feel, however, that two-thirds of Hungarians are Jobbik supporters but don't know it yet."

The Hungarian Guard, an extremist group whose uniforms are reminiscent of those worn in the 1940s by members of Hungary's pro-Nazi party, was set up by Jobbik in 2007. Last year, it was disbanded by the courts for breaking laws, but it continues to exist under a new name. The guard’s most confrontational actions have been a series of marches through small towns and villages meant to intimidate local Gypsy populations and stop what Jobbik calls "Gypsy crimes".

The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, the umbrella body of Hungarian Jewry, said in a first reaction that it expected the Fidesz majority "to restrain the extremists". The statement added: "We do hope that the three democratic parties having a clear majority in the Hungarian Parliament will do their best to isolate the enemies of democracy, the ones who fan the fire of hatred and to secure Hungary standing out for the European values and human rights."

The remaining 111 seats in Hungary’s parliament will be decided on 25 April in run-off elections for the 57 constituencies where no candidate received an outright majority. Fidesz is widely expected to secure a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, which would allow it to change the Constitution.

"I can see that there is complete joy ... but at the same time I know deep in my heart that I stand before the biggest task of my life," Orban – who was prime minister between 1998 and 2002, told his supporters in a central Budapest square. "People voted for unity, order and security."

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Lolo Diklo: Roma/Sinti Against Racism is going to be presenting a series of educational programs in Eugene, Oregon.
There maybe no new blog postings until Thursday evening 4/15/2010.

Tues 4/13 2-4 PM at Lane Community College
Wed 4/14 7:30-9 PM at the University of Oregon Knight Library.



Brno to erect Holocaust memorial
April 8, 2010

(JTA) -- A commission has been set up to erect a memorial to Jewish and Roma Holocaust victims from the city of Brno, in the Czech Republic.

Some 12,000 Jews and Roma, or Gypsies, from the city were killed in Nazi-run concentration camps during World War II.

The commission is currently being established by representatives of the Jewish and Roma communities, according to the Czech Press Agency. The city plans to receive designs for the memorial by the end of September, Brno Deputy Mayor Daniel Rychnovský told the Czech Press Agency.

The memorial will be erected in 28 October Square, according to the report. There is currently no memorial to victims of the Holocaust in Brno.



The “Trio” of EU presidencies, made up of Spain, Belgium and Hungary, pledged Friday to ensure the European Union's financial instruments, in particular the Structural Funds, are made accessible to gypsies in order to improve their living conditions and ensure they are fully socially integrated.

This is the main commitment of the “Trio” in the so-called Córdoba Declaration, adopted at the Second European Summit on Actions and Policies in Favour of the Gypsy Population, held in Córdoba, Spain and attended by more than 400 Gypsy delegates.

The “Trio” warned that the "discrimination" and "social rejection" suffered by a “significant” number of European gypsies is worsening their situation, especially that of women and children.

In order to ensure that current EU financial instruments have an "effective impact" on gypsies' living conditions, the “Trio” is suggesting that the awarding of funds by the Union include minimum requirements, and is calling for funding award procedures to be "simplified" in order to guarantee equal opportunities.

Modifying the regulations of the European Social Fund and the Regional Development Fund would put into practice the three principles the Union is working towards: promotion of equality in access to resources, eradication of segregation and guaranteed overall development.

The “Trio” is also committed to improving the design of the European platform's gypsy integration "roadmap", setting out a medium-term framework for action and defining the objectives and results to be achieved.

It is also calling for strengthened horizontal cooperation between the member states and civil society, and says there is a need to take specific actions that will bring about social inclusion.

Spain's Minister of Equality, Bibiana Aído, bringing the summit to a close, condemned outbreaks of racism and the "all-too-frequent disagreements" between the EU and this minority, who have been treated as "objects rather than subjects" in social policies.

The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, also spoke out against discrimination against gypsies, pointing out that, due to the economic crisis, their situation has deteriorated because there is "great pressure on the finances of social policies".

Coinciding with the closure of the summit meeting, the Spanish Government approved an Action Plan to promote development among the gypsy population, with 107 million euros to be invested by 2012 to devise strategies against discrimination in Spain.

Friday, April 9, 2010


International Roma Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

April 8, 2010


On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I offer warm wishes to all Roma as they mark International Roma Day. This is an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions of Roma to the historical and cultural development of Europe. Romani influences on the fields of music, theater, literature, and dance have added to the richness of European culture, from the music of Brahms to the novels of Cervantes. Today we also remember and honor the brave acts of resistance by Romani men and women who refused to remain silent in the face of extermination by the Nazi regime.

Most importantly, International Roma Day is an opportunity to call attention to the challenges that continue to face Europe’s ten million Roma. Protecting and promoting the human rights of Roma everywhere has long been a personal commitment for me, and under the Obama Administration it is a priority of the United States. Like all citizens, Roma should have the opportunity to live free from discrimination, enjoy equal access to education, healthcare and employment, and pursue their full God-given potential.

Through a range of initiatives, including development assistance, international visitor programs, and constructive interaction between law enforcement and minority communities, the United States is working with our partners to make respect for the rights of Roma the norm across Europe. Working with governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and individual citizens, we seek to help Roma chart their own destinies, with opportunity, dignity and prosperity.


Thursday, April 8, 2010



Roma celebrate International Day of the Roma worldwide

Prague, 7.4.2010, 21:09, (ROMEA)

The International Day of the Roma is commemorated on 8 April. When and how did this day come about, and who celebrates it? Do you know other attributes of Romipen that connect Roma all over the world? If not, read on.

In 1971, the first-ever World Roma Congress took place near London thanks to the initiative of Grattan Puxon and Donald Kenrick of Great Britain; Matéo Maximoff, a representative of the Manouche in France; Jarko Jovanović of the former Yugoslavia; other Romani individuals and students of Romani studies who officially formed the basis of what is today the International Romani Union (IRU). The congress was attended by not quite 30 participants who approved the design of the Roma flag and the international Roma anthem. Delegates also officially established the first international Romani organization, initially called the World Romani Union. They also officially approved the use of the term “Rom” instead of “Gypsy”.

Two more IRU congresses followed, and during the fourth congress in Warsaw in 1990, the 8th of April was recognized as an international holiday. The day was selected because it was the day on which international Roma cooperation was given the official seal of approval and the Romani movement achieved an international, sociopolitical dimension. On this day, celebrants are meant to remember their common cooperation, culture, language, origin, unity, and primarily, their Romipen.

International Roma Day has been celebrated in the Czech Republic since the 1990s. Czech organizers of this holiday do their best to participate in the unified symbolism that applies to each different year. In 2002, for example, the holiday began with the lighting of candles. In 2003, Roma symbolically threw flowers into the rivers of the Amazon, the Nile, the Vltava and many others. In 2004 a young linden tree was planted in Prague’s “Letenské sady” public garden to symbolize national minorities planting their roots here.

The tradition of celebrating 8 April is strongest in the Balkans and the former Yugoslavia. The tradition is not as strong in the Czech Republic because awareness of the holiday only began in the mid-1990s. The International Day of the Roma enjoyed its greatest moment of popularization (mainly in Christian countries) in the year 2000, thanks to Pope John Paul II, who made use of a general address to popularize the day and call on the faithful to behave toward the Roma with greater respect.

The Roma flag

One of the designers of the flag was Dr W. R. Rischi, a linguist and Roma scholar from Chandigarh, India who founded the Romani Studies Centre in that country. Dr Rischi passed away on 1 December 2002.

The Roma flag is comprised of two horizontal bands, the lower green band symbolizing the Roma connection with nature and the upper blue band the Roma connection with heaven, philosophy, spirituality, etc. The wheel in the middle, which covers both bands, symbolizes life on the road and wandering. It is based on the ancient Indian wheel of fate. Originally it had 16 spokes and its bright red color corresponds to the first chakra, the earth element.

The Roma national anthem

Lyrics for the international Roma anthem “Gelem, Gelem” were set to a traditional melody by the Romani musician and politician Jarko Jovanović of Belgrade, who has lived in Paris for many years now. Czech and Slovak Roma have their own anthem, “Čhajori Romani”, which was composed in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. The international hymn was not adopted here until the 1990s.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


8 April is World Romani Day.

On this occasion we join with the European Roma Rights Center in urging all relevant parties and public authorities to create the social/political/legal climate wherein the rights and the culture of Roma are respected and celebrated at all times.

Light a candle in your window. Tell someone about the reality of the lives of Romani people worldwide.


This week, progressive people lost two allies.
Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee Chief from 1985 to 1995, died this week. She was 64.
Mankiller was a tireless advocate for the rights of Native Americans and all oppressed people her entire life. One of the first actions in which she participated was in support of a group of young American Indian demonstrators who had taken over Alcatraz Island to call attention to the treatment of Indians.
Rest in Peace Wilma Mankiller.

We also lost Corin Redgrave, brother of Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave. Besides being a brilliant actor, Corin was also an advocate of human rights. He protested the Iraq War and demonstrated for the closure of Guantanamo Bay. He was a member of the Workers' Revolutionary Party, and he and Vanessa founded the Peace and Progressive Party.
Corin was an unwavering supporter of the Gypsy/Travellers in England. In 2005, he experienced a serious heart attack while addressing a public meeting, speaking in support of a travelers' site in Billericay, England.
One of his last performances was in a 2008 play about Dalton Trumbo, a writer blacklisted during the McCarthy purge.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010



Press Release

Cordoba, April 6th, 2010


While the Spanish EU Presidency invites hundreds of politicians and Roma activists for the Second European Roma Summit in Cordoba, more than sixty Roma youngsters from all over Europe organize the first European Roma YOUTH Summit on April 7th-9th2010. In a base camp in a public square in Cordoba there will be a point for discussions, presentations, market of organizations, film screening, music, arts and media conference.

Our activities take place in the framework of the international youth network –“ternYpe’’. We are a network of youth and youth associations which create space for young people to become active citizens through empowerment, mobilization, self-organization and participation. We believe in the common efforts by creating trust, and mutual respect between Roma and non-Roma youth. The actions are organized in cooperation with the campaign “Typical Roma?” of the “ERGO Network”.

Special thematic workshops are organized by and for youngsters to discuss their issues and to share experiences. Although we young people do not participate in the official Summit, we want to show that we are actively engaged in constructive discussions and that we can contribute with our own ideas and visions.

The program of the First European Roma YOUTH Summit under the slogan “Be young, be Roma” includes street actions in Cordoba, and an artistic performance on stage of an international youth group from 12 countries prepared during a 7-day training on creative campaigning.

The Roma youngsters want to raise the awareness for active citizenship of ALL in ONE society. On behalf of “ternYpe” we appeal to politicians and MEP’s to put the youth issue on the agenda and to include young people in the decision making process, to promote a positive image of Roma and to strengthen the voice of Roma youth in order to stand up against discrimination and stigmatization.

The training-course and the European Roma Youth Summit is an independent initiative of ternYpe and is sponsored by the “Youth in Action” program of the European Union, OSCE, ERGO Network, “Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future” and Consell de la Joventut de Barcelona

Monday, April 5, 2010


I'm going to be doing several presentations on Eugenics and the Romani in Eugene Oregon the week of 12 April 2010. If anyone would like information please leave a comment or email


On 29 March 1951, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage.
Conspiracy is such an interesting concept. Even though you haven't actually done anything, you thought about it, or talked revolution and that is enough.

On 5 April 1951, Ethel and Julius were sentenced to death. The sentence was later carried out.

Interestingly, on this same date in 1895, Oscar Wilde lost his criminal libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry.

Mumia Abu-Jamal sits in prison still, with a death sentence on his head.

And the beat goes on......

Sunday, April 4, 2010


On April 4, 1968, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, 39, was shot to death at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.

Amy Goodman wrote (another) great article this week.
Below is an excerpt from that article:

"Tavis Smiley has a PBS special this week on one of the most powerful, and overlooked, speeches given by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Given on April 4 1967 exactly one year to the day before he was assassinated, King titled his speech "Beyond Vietnam" and controversially called the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

"The press vilified King. Time magazine called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi."

"Smiley told me: "Most Americans, I think, know the "I have Dream" speech. Some Americans know the "Mountaintop" speech given the night before he was assassinated in Memphis. But most Americans do not know this "Beyond Vietnam" speech.
"Smily added, "If you replace the words "Iraq" for "Vietnam", "Afghanistan" for "Vietnam", this speech is so very relevant today".

Friday, April 2, 2010


From The Times April 2, 2010

Plans to teach Roma in Czech classrooms have resurrected prejudices

By Adam LeBor, Central Europe Correspondent

Proposals by Czech authorities to offer lessons in Romani, the language of the country’s Roma minority, in schools have triggered a Facebook campaign against the plan.

More than 85,000 people have signed up to a page on the social networking website called “Petition against the teaching of Romani in Czech Schools”, even though the ministry has emphasised that the lessons will be voluntary and started only with the consent of parents.

The campaign has highlighted the endemic racism against the country’s 300,000-strong Roma minority that belies the Czech Republic’s image as a beacon of liberalism and human rights. Romany people have a shorter life expectancy, are more likely to live in extreme poverty, be unemployed and have a higher infant mortality rate. Racism against Roma is openly expressed, even by the educated, and is widely accepted.

The protest comes as the European Union prepares for the second EU Roma Summit in Cordoba, Spain, next week. The Ministry of Education and Roma activists have been taken by surprise by the speed and strength of the nationwide opposition to the plan. A ministry spokesman, Tomas Bouska, told Czech Radio that the Facebook campaign was proof of the need for more multicultural education in schools, not less.

“It’s a sensitive topic in general, and the only thing that the Education Ministry can do is introduce more integrated forms of education that would put both sides together and hopefully explain and declare that there is no need to fight, there is just a need to speak. And what else can help than language?”

Czech authorities continue to place Romany children in schools for pupils with “mild mental disabilities”, thus providing a substandard education, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. The practice contravenes a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in 2007, which found that the Czech Republic discriminated against Roma children by placing them in special schools.

Michal Kocab, the Human Rights Minister, told The Times: “The Ministry of Education knows that the Roma children have potential for education but the municipalities often have no will to implement the laws because they are still influenced by prejudices and stereotypes.”

A new schools Act, passed in 2005, simply renamed special schools as “practical elementary schools” but the selection procedure and limited curriculum remained the same.

“The real issue is to ensure quality education in Czech for Romany children learning side by side with their Czech peers,” said Rob Kushen, director of the European Roma Rights Centre.

Thursday, April 1, 2010



Wednesday 31 March 2010
By Paul Donovan.

Tories have never liked the travelling community. At the last general election in 2005, then Tory leader Michael Howard made a point of attacking Irish travellers and Gypsies.

Now the party has issued a green paper which looks to reverse the limited gains that have been made over the last decade or so.

Many of today's problems were caused by the last Tory government's repeal of the Caravans Act 1968, which imposed a statutory obligation on local authorities to provide sites.

As a result, the travelling community was put into a state of perpetual motion, moving from one local authority to the next. There was no incentive for any local authority to provide sites.

There are estimated to be between 200,000 and 300,000 Gypsies and travellers in the UK.

To put the accommodation needs in perspective, the Equality and Human Rights Commission estimates that one square mile of land across England would provide enough authorised sites.

The Labour government has since called on local authorities to identify land suitable for sites and to build suitable accommodation for travellers.

This process has slowly been taking root across the country, accompanied by a number of scare stories in the tabloid press about compulsory purchase orders and travellers moving in on middle England.

Conservative-controlled authorities' reluctance to act in the spirit of this guidance was best illustrated by London Mayor Boris Johnson, who recently reduced the provision of sites in the London Plan from 538 to 238.

Originally travellers' groups had been pushing for 807 sites, the boroughs for 238.

In October Johnson accepted 538, but now the lower figure has been adopted.

The Tories' new green paper illustrates their desire to return to their early 1990s position on the travelling community.

The paper stresses a criminal justice approach, seeking to strengthen local authorities' powers to move travellers on, while removing any obligation to provide sites.

In a letter to The Conservative communities spokeswoman Caroline Spellman, Lord Eric Avebury warns: "If this document is used by Conservatives in local or national election campaigns, it will provoke community tensions, as occurred at the last general election when negative Conservative policies, less extreme than the present green paper, aroused great concern among Gypsies and travellers and an increase in racism in schools and the wider community."

But the Labour government, rather than standing its ground over this threat, has issued guidance on anti-social behaviour within the Gypsy and travelling community.

The guidance points to the use of Asbos, acceptable behaviour contracts and injunctions. It specifies particular offending behaviour such as fly-tipping, noise, straying livestock and untaxed vehicles.

The fact is that the travelling community is one of the most discriminated-against groups in British society.

Statistics show the community receiving second-class health care, limited educational opportunities and it has an over-representation among the prison population.

Some of the official data makes for shocking reading, with life expectancy among travellers 10 years less than for the settled population and self-reported mental illness standing at 19 per cent, compared with 9 per cent in the general population.

The travelling population also has the highest number of miscarriages among Britain's ethnic groups, with a rate of 29 per cent compared with 16 per cent for the general population.

Premature deaths of older offspring are 18 per cent, compared with 1 per cent for the general population.

There has been some progress over recent years to address some of the travelling community's problems, most notably over site provision and health care.

Slowly but surely the world of Gypsies and travellers is becoming better known to the wider community. It must be hoped that greater tolerance will follow.

What is not needed now is a gutter-based election campaign with political parties competing to see who can be toughest on one of the most marginalised groups in society. Pandering to prejudice and the desire of some to scapegoat minorities in order to win cheap votes will help no-one.