Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roma Voice Missing From Dosta! Campaign


Roma voice missing from Dosta! campaign
The Council of Europe's method of tackling racism towards Roma with fetishisation misses the point.

Afua Hirsch
Wednesday 23 June 2010
Whenever the arrival of an African football team is prefaced by the words 'colourful', I cringe. Sport seems one of the last remaining places where racial and cultural stereotyping of 'exotic Africans' is still acceptable.

Similarly, I wonder how people of Roma origin feel every time they are described as 'mysterious' or 'non-conformist'. Even at the Council of Europe – Europe's oldest and most powerful human rights organisation – this romantic ideal of Roma escapism is alive and well.
As part of its campaign against Roma discrimination, named 'Dosta!' (which means 'enough' in the Romany language) the Council has just launched a film featuring French screen siren Fanny Ardant. Ardant plays a frustrated teacher at a repressed Italian school, who runs away in protest at its treatment of a Roma child and is seduced by Roma culture (and quite possibly her particular seduction by a man not unreminiscent of Johnny Depp's character in the film 'Chocolat'.) He imparts such pearls of wisdom as "Beware of people who shout", "don't let fear steal your dreams", and "become a bird again." Useful.
If this raises suspicions of the romanticisation of Roma culture, Ardant is quite happy to confirm them. "Roma are one of the last islands of freedom in our standardised world," she says. "Their desire and their efforts to integrate do not mean giving up their own identity." Ardant, who is acting as an ambassador on Roma rights for the Council, seems to feel that the Roma are a community with tradition and defiance of almost magical proportions.

I'm not sure how this would go down with Roma people in Macedonia, for example, who live in council housing and have been trying in vain to get identity papers and jobs. But I had a lot more sympathy for Ardant's film after the floor was opened for questions. A journalist from the Ukraine suggested that Roma children perform poorly in school, and wasn't it therefore reasonable for other parents to want to educate their children in segregated facilities. A journalist from Romania said "Roma culture is very charming... but in my country we pay taxes. Many of the Roma do not."

If you take out the word 'Roma' and replace it with 'black', this is easily recognisable as the UK forty years ago. People thought that black boys underperformed in school because they were 'not academic' rather than because they were living in deprived communities, being provided with substandard education and experiencing discrimination on a regular basis. And how many black people would be paying tax if they had, as the Roma do in some countries, 90% rates of unemployment?

If the Council of Europe is portraying the Roma more as superhuman, it's partly because many of its member states still treat them as subhuman. There is a logic to this, but it creates its own problems. Tackling racism with fetishisation misses the point; both are forms of prejudice, and neither are rooted in fact.

What's missing in all this, is the voice of the Roma themselves. Ardant said that one of her greatest regrets was not having a Roma person beside her at the Council of Europe, adding their own voice to the campaign. The Council of Europe says it is partly seeking to remedy this by partnering with the European Roma and Traveller's Forum, but both organisations acknowledge the challenge in mobilising members of Europe's biggest minority community and its disparate ethno-linguistic forms.

Just how the Council of Europe's drive in this area will fare under the UK's leadership is not entirely clear. Next year William Hague takes up Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, and he will have to reconcile the organisation's demand that European countries tackle discrimination against the Roma, with his own party's stated intention to make life harder for the UK's estimated 300,000 travellers, raising the bar for challenging planning disputes, and reviving criminal sanctions for trespass on privately owned land.

Ardant has stated her intention to persist on this campaign, so maybe all those sceptical of the whole celebrity-meets-human-rights concept will be mollified by the prospect of an Ardant-Hague confrontation, à la Joanna Lumley. But Strasbourg is not the kind of place one encounters heated confrontations. And despite the best efforts of Ardant's film, if she were to accost William Hague with an impassioned 'Dosta!', it's unlikely he'd know what it meant.
Thank you Afua Hirsch for this insightful article.


Just an update.  The Chamber of Commerce has given us a free and wonderful spot at the Vashon Island Strawberry Festival.  (This is a very well attended, two day affair).  We've been working on a brochure, displays...(Shon loaned us a Banjaran Vest which she got in India).  We've got the paint and a friend who's going to help paint the caravan as depicted in the sidebar picture, but we need a few sunny days in a row and that doesn't seem to be happening.  We were interviewed in the local paper and the article is set to come out tomorrow.
Many many people have been donating their labor, from printing to painting to carpentry and business advice.
We couldn't have designed such an effective brochure if not for the help of the women at The Washington State Holocaust Education and Resource Center.
Thanks everyone.

Saturday, June 26, 2010



Burned Girl a Symbol of Roma Hate and Hope
By Andrew Tkach   

Vitkov, Czech Republic (CNN) -- Natalka Kudrikova is a bright-eyed, three-year-old girl recovering from the severe burns she suffered when far-right extremists threw a Molotov cocktail into her home.

Her family and authorities say she was targeted because they are Roma, or gypsies. Natalka lost 80 percent of her skin, two fingers (a third was later amputated) and spent months lying in an induced coma following the attack last year in Vitkov, in the Czech Republic. She is still recuperating after 14 major surgeries.

In May, Natalka returned to Ostrava Hospital for rehabilitation sessions so that one day she may be able to get around without support. "I'd rather not take her back to the hospital," said her mother, Anna Sivakova, "but if she must return, my dream is that she learns how to walk without any help."

The very next day, four young men accused of attacking Natalka, filed into Ostrava District Court to hear the indictment: a racially motivated attempted murder.

According to the prosecutor, the attack was planned for the 120th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth. Court experts confirmed swastikas and other Nazi memorabilia were found in the defendants' homes.

 In court, Ivo Muller and Vaclav Cojocaru described their coordinated Molotov cocktail attack. Their only excuse -- they said they thought they were attacking an empty storehouse of stolen goods.

Under cross-examination, Muller and Cojocaru admitted attending anti-Roma demonstrations organized by right wing extremists.

The other defendants, Jaromir Lukes and David Vaculik, did not take the stand. Lukes is accused of being the ringleader, a claim his defense counsel strongly denies although he concedes Lukes drove the getaway car. His lawyer also vehemently denies there was any racial motivation to the attack.

An anti-fascist website published a photo of Lukes walking next to the leader of the far-right Workers' Party. Another photo showed Vaculik wearing the armband of the Workers' Party, the public face of the Czech far right.

The leader of the now banned Workers' Party, Tomas Vandas, denied any involvement.

"Yes, we may have used those people as organizers of our public meetings but how could we know they would commit a crime?" said Vandas. "I hope Natalka gets better soon," he added.

Miroslav Mares, from Masaryk University in Brno, is the leading academic specialist on Czech extremist groups.

He thinks it's unlikely that the Workers' Party was directly involved in the arson attack, but he says they were responsible "for inflaming anti-Roma sentiment."

"Maybe some youngsters from the neo-Nazi scene said to themselves, 'If the whole population is against Romas we are justified in carrying out such attacks,'" he said.

And surveys do show anti-Roma sentiment is widespread. The European Union EURoma website says Czech Romas endure extremely high unemployment rates, low educational standards, isolation, and the prejudices of the majority population.

"In regions with high unemployment and poor social conditions, the rise of extremism is popular with unemployed young men but we can see more and more women on the neo-Nazi scene," Marek said.

Lucie Slegrova, 20, is a flag-waving militant of the now renamed Workers' Social Justice Party. She denies her party is inspired by Hitler's Nazi ideology.

Instead, she says, they follow their own nationalist ideas. "The Czech Republic should be for people who know how to behave. If the gypsies don't want to follow the rules, they're free to leave," she said.

Only one percent of Czech voters supported the Workers' Social Justice Party in the last elections, but Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer worries that 7 percent of Czech students voted for the far-right party, according to an unofficial nationwide poll.

"A lot of people are frustrated with politicians, and have troubles due to the crisis and recession. My message to them is please think it over and don't believe these very bad prophets," Fischer said.

The far-right movement has made bigger gains in neighboring Hungary where 17 percent of voters chose the Jobbik party in the last elections.

Violence has been much worse as well. In the last two years, nine Roma have been killed in Hungary in unprovoked night-time attacks, according to the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC).

Roma bashing also became an issue in the Slovakian election campaign. The far right Slovak National Party commissioned billboards showing a dark-skinned man with tattoos and an inflammatory message: "Vote SNS so we don't feed those who don't want to work."

In eastern Slovakia many Roma live in segregated communities like the village of Ostrovany where municipal authorities spent some $16,000 to build a wall separating the Roma from their white neighbors, because of fears of "alleged Roma crime," said Stanislav Daniel from ERRC.

"To me the wall is a symbol of segregation because public finances were used to target a stereotype, not what's real," Daniel said.

The wall separates a tidy town from a rural slum. Roma, living right next to the wall, have no sewage or garbage collection and there's just one tap with drinking water for dozens of families.

Back in the Czech Republic, Natalka's father, Pavel Kudrik, has chosen to stay in the region and rebuild a comfortable home for his wife and four daughters.

After police asserted that Natalka's family were victims of a racist attack, many Czechs opened their wallets and their hearts.

Prime Minister Fischer's wife and son spearheaded a nationwide campaign to help them -- a move that led to the Fischer family having full-time police protection after they received anonymous death threats.

But the current climate is not the only reason Fischer wants to clamp down on right wing extremism.

Everyone in his family died in the Holocaust except for his father and grandmother. "Sixty-five years after WWII, the societal memory is getting weak," he said.

And Roma activists complain that recognition of their sacrifices under the Nazis has never been properly acknowledged.

Half-a-million Roma perished in what they call the "Devouring" -- Hitler's campaign to eliminate them as a people.

Last May, several hundred Czech Roma gathered at a memorial for the victims of the Lety concentration camp. Hundreds of Czech Roma children died there and are buried nearby in a mass grave.

Jan Vrba is one of the camp's last survivors. He was born there. His sister perished there.

"What happened in Vitkov made me cry", said Jan. "Little Natalka reminded me of my sister who died in this camp."

This story was forwarded to us by Gypsy News.

To see some disturbing photos, please visit:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


                                                                                     FROM LIGHTHOUSE
This exhibition presents Roma as a people whose story is not written within one country’s borders. It is about a culture, a way of life across a continent. The pictures portray the Roma’s diaspora throughout Europe; a story of migration, persecution, and suffering. They are the object of racism, refugees of war and, in too many places, live in abject poverty.

Most Roma live in insular communities; they are proud, fiercely private, and distrustful of outsiders. They define their own cultural boundaries, they are extravagant and ostentatious, deeply religious, and keep strict codes of social etiquette. While Roma relate to their national origin, they identify most closely with the idea of family, tradition, and of a people.

Strong emotional bonds draw Nigel back to visit and live with Roma year after year. He has worked to expose the systems that keep them down, and explain the circumstances of their departure. While each image tells a story, together, the photographs are a testimony to European Romani life experience, their vibrant culture, and identity.

Roma Beyond Borders: Exhibition Opening & Talk

Thu 17 Jun, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Admission free

Nigel will be making a special visit from his home in Paris to give an illustrated talk about Roma and other work from his 30 year career in photojournalism and documentary filmmaking. The talk will take place from 7 – 8pm, then join us in the gallery for a glass of wine and a chance to preview Nigel’s work. For info on Nigel Dickinson visit www.nigeldickinson.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2010



Finnish Roma Oppose Begging Ban

 Finnish Roma organisations have spoken out against a proposed ban on begging. The groups say the views of the Roma have not been heard in the debate–as recommended by both the EU and the Council of Europe.

A panel set up by the Interior Ministry is looking into a legislative change to ban begging.

On Monday, representatives of 21 Roma groups, including the Finnish Confederation of Roma Organisations, presented a statement on the issue to committee chair Antti Pelttari, the Interior Ministry's Director General.

The statement argues that panhandling is motivated by extreme poverty, and that such a ban would in effect criminalise such poverty.

The panel's initial report is to be prepared by Thursday, while a final report is expected by the end of September.


WWII document reveals: General Franco handed Nazis list of Spanish Jews

After the Nazis' defeat in 1945, the Spanish government tried to destroy all evidence of its cooperation with the Germans.

By Ofer Aderet

Tags: Spain Holocaust Nazi Israel news BERLIN - Francisco Franco, the former fascist dictator of Spain, gave the Nazis a list of every Jew in his country in order to facilitate efforts to locate, deport and destroy them, according to a document found recently in a Spanish archive and reported on Sunday by the Spanish daily El Pais.

The paper said that in 1941, Spain prepared a list of all 6,000 Jews in its territory and gave it to the architect of the Nazis' Final Solution, Heinrich Himmler. At the time, Spain and Germany were negotiating over Spain's entry into the Axis alliance.

In the end, however, no alliance was signed, and Spain remained neutral throughout World War II.

After the Nazis' defeat in 1945, the Spanish government tried to destroy all evidence of its cooperation with the Germans. But the document recently found in an archive in the city of Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain, sheds light on what Franco sought to hide.

The document is an official order, dated May 13, 1941, issued by Franco's chief of security, Jose Maria Finat y Escriva de Romani, to all provincial governors. It instructs them to prepare a list of every Jew in their district, both local residents and foreigners, along with details about "their personal and political leanings, their means of supporting themselves, their commercial activity, the level of threat they constitute and their security classification."

Himmler also requested that the list include Jews who had converted to Christianity. And provincial governors were asked to make special efforts to locate Sephardi Jews, descendants of those who were expelled in 1492, since they were able to conceal themselves among the local populace due to their ability to speak Ladino, a Jewish dialect that is largely based on Spanish.

"Their adaptation to our environment and their similar temperament allow them to hide their origin more easily," the order explained. "These people do not stand out, and therefore it is especially hard to foil their efforts at subversion."

The order refers to the Jews as "that infamous race."

Shortly before the list was prepared, Romani and Himmler attended a bullfight in Madrid together. After it was finalized, Romani was appointed Spain's ambassador to Germany, enabling him to deliver it personally to Himmler.

Franco ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975. After World War II, he tried to claim that he actually strove to save the Jews of Spain. But historians say that fascist Spain did not stay neutral due to any ideological opposition to joining the Axis, but only because the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9 had left the country in such a bad economic shape.

It is true that Franco built no concentration camps on Spanish territory, nor did he voluntarily hand Jews over to Germany. However, neither did he make the kind of efforts to save Jews that Spain's neutrality would have allowed - and he did send 18,000 Spanish volunteers to fight alongside the Germans on the eastern front from 1941 to 1943.

In contrast, Spanish diplomats throughout Europe did save thousands of Jews. But they were working on their own, at great personal risk, in defiance of Franco's official policy. These diplomats gave transit visas to Jewish refugees - most of them of Spanish descent - and also sheltered many Jews in Spanish consulates and embassies in Hungary, France, Greece, Germany, Bulgaria and Romania.
While there is no mention of the Romano Kali (Gypsies in Spain) in this paper, their treatment, and that of Jewish people were historically the same.
To this day, the Romani of Spain are oppressed.  It is an historical truth that where Gypsies have been oppressed, so have Jews, and vice versa.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Please remember to visit our offshot blog

The museum project is coming along.  We now have a spot at the Vashon Strawberry Festival, which is quite a big event in these parts. The wonderful part is that the spot has been donated to Lolo Diklo by the Vashon Island Chamber of Commerce  We have been getting amazing support from the Vashon/Burton/Seattle community.
Thanks to everyone.
Nais tukai


Aung San Suu Kyi's Supporters Mark Her 65th Birthday

VOA News19 June 2010

Members of the National League for Democracy Party pray for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, their detained pro-democracy leader, in front of her portrait as they celebrate her 65th birthday at the home of a member of the party, 19 Jun 2010, in Rangoon, Burma

Supporters of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi around the world celebrated her 65th birthday, amid renewed calls for her release from house arrest.

About 400 of her supporters gathered at one of their houses in Burma's main city of Rangoon Saturday. They symbolically freed caged birds and lit a birthday cake at their assembly.

British prime Minister David Cameron Saturday joined other world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. chief ban Ki-moon, in marking the event with a personal tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a letter released by his office Saturday, Mr. Cameron criticized what he called the injustice that the military regime has inflicted on Burma and its people.

He praised Aung San Suu Kyi for standing firm at enormous personal cost for the principles of liberty and justice.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama and British Foreign Secretary William Hague called on Burma's military rulers to free the Nobel Laureate, who has been detained for close to 15 of the past 20 years.

Hague said her continued detention, along with about 2,000 other political prisoners in Burma, violates international human rights law.

Her supporters around the world have staged rallies demanding her release.

Aung San Suu Kyi is currently under a strict house arrest. Her party, the National League for Democracy, won the last election held in Burma in 1990. But the military leaders refused to hand over power. A new electoral law bans her from running in Burma's next election, expected later this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.
I celebrated Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday last year on this blog.  And still she is a prisoner "under house arrest" in Burma.
How long unjustice goes on.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


On this date in 1885, The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor aboard a ship from France.
I have always loved the Statue of Liberty because of her history; a gift from France, unable to be placed because there was "no money for the base".  It was the working class, mostly immigrant, population of the United States, particularly New York, who raised the money, one penny at a time, to build a base for this gift.  And, together with Lazarus' wonderful poem, it welcomed legions of immigrants to this country.  Growing up, Liberty was the only icon I had and I love her still.

How much we continue to owe to 'immigrants'.


Threats Against Roma Continue in Serbian Village

Bojana Barlovac

16 June 2010 For the past five days groups of non-Roma residents in the village of Jabuka, north of Belgrade, have been threatening and verbally abusing the local Roma population.

The unrest began after 17-year-old Dejan S. was allegedly murdered by a Roma teenager last week over threats related to stolen sneakers which were made on the social networking Web site Facebook.

The man suspected of stabbing Dejan S. with a knife, also 17, is being held in police custody.

Every night since the incident several hundred non-Roma villagers have gathered for what they call peaceful protests in the areas were Roma residents live. The authorities and Roma villagers have described the demonstrations as racist and threatening, and there have been reports that protesters were throwing stones at the houses of Roma villagers.

The village, home to some 7,000 people, is located next to the town of Pancevo. It is currently under police protection and five persons suspected of spreading racial, religious and ethnic hate have been arrested.

Pancevo police Chief Zvezdav Radojkovic said that police were in front of every Roma household offering protection as the number of villagers gathering for the protests is increasing.

"We now have a situation where the incident [the murder] is being forgotten and the protesters are now trying solve local communal problems," he noted.

Radojkovic went on to explain what the police was doing in order to resolve the problem: "We are trying to talk to these people and to tell them that police are here not only to investigate, but also to stop further incidents from occurring.”

Serbia authorities and NGOs have strongly condemned the situation in Jabuka and called on those involved to stop their protests.

Petar Antic, deputy minister for Human and Minority Rights, told Balkan Insight that the ministry has shown its support to the Roma.

"Events calling for violence against any community cannot be tolerated since they represent an incitement of racial and religious hatred and intolerance," Antic said.

He went on to say it would take some time for the situation to calm down and for Roma residents to feel safe.

The Association of Roma Youth in Serbia said today that it was frightened by the events in Jabuka and warned that an entire group of people cannot be blamed for crimes committed by individuals.

"With deep compassion for the tragic loss, the Association of Roma Youth in Serbia invites young residents of the village of Jabuka to break the vicious circle of violence and be reminded that an entire people cannot bear responsibility for individual crimes," a statement from the group read.

Meanwhile, the NGO Belgrade Centre for Human Rights said in a statement that the state authorities must not allow the villagers of Jabuka to become hostages of the anger of their fellow citizens.

"It is necessary to allow Roma people to continue leading normal lives in the village of Jabuka and to effectively prosecute persons responsible for the attacks.

"This incident also points to the need for greater engagement on the part of the state in order to create an environment of mutual respect and understanding between different ethnic groups," the statement continued.

When asked how such cases should be prevented in future, Deputy Minister Antic said that raising levels of tolerance among youth is the main task.

"The ministry is working with the mayor of Pancevo on implementing programmes in primary and secondary schools that encourage the peaceful resolution of conflicts," Antic told Balkan Insight.

According to the 2002 census in Serbia, there are about 110,000 Roma in the country, but experts estimate that the actual number is between 400,000 and 700,000.

In 2002 Serbia adopted a law that recognised the status of national minorities in the country. This improved the position of the Roma institutionally and formally, but in reality the situation on the ground has not improved significantly.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


End of the road for Gypsy stereotypes
Jake Bowers calls himself a modern Gypsy. After growing up on the road as one of 17 children, increasingly hostile public attitudes and the impending arrival of the first of his three children pushed him into a more settled life. He now runs the Gypsy Media Company, providing education about Gypsies and travellers through media, and presents Rokker Radio, a BBC programme for the travelling community

Wednesday April 2 2008

Guardian Weekly


Being a Gypsy is an ethnic identity in the same way as being Jewish or English. It's something that you take with you no matter how or where you live. I'm a modern Gypsy in that I don't make clothes pegs for a living any more ? instead I sell words as a journalist. I'm a Gypsy in the information age.

Under the Race Relations Act, Gypsy people are recognised as an ethnic minority, but in the 1968 Caravans Act it says that people of a nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin, are Gypsies. Here you see enshrined in law the entire problem of Gypsies being viewed as just a lifestyle. It's something that is reinforced by the bizarre word "traveller". Travelling just refers to a lifestyle, and it's about as useful to describe most Romany people as travellers as it is to describe them as smokers or cyclists. It's a stupid word that I reject.

Although it doesn't define us, the connection between Gypsies and travelling comes from a nomadic history that goes back well over 1,000 years, so it's definitely part of our identity and culture. Most Gypsies in the world are now sedentary, particularly in eastern Europe, where some people haven't travelled for generations. Probably half of the Gypsies in Britain haven't travelled.

My family goes back generations and generations into the mists of time in terms of travelling. Ironically, I'm probably the one in my family who travels most because of my job. I travel within the Romany community in the way that most journalists would travel, except that I often take a caravan with me. The community I work in lives that way, so there's space for it.

Life in a travelling family is based on extremely close-knit ties. I'm one of 17 brothers and sisters ? I know my first, second, third, fourth and fifth cousins and they're spread right across the country. I came from quite a stable family; we travelled in the summer and had places to stop in the winter. When we stopped I went to school and we were well integrated in the community. But when we travelled I didn't go to school.

In many ways prejudice was all around us, but we didn't experience it directly. People get bricks thrown through their window, and suffer intense bullying at school, but it isn't a uniform experience.

Most of my family is now either living on gypsy sites where the nomadic way of life is outlawed or they've been forced into housing, so I've managed to retain an element of the culture that is denied other members of my family.

I was travelling until I was about 25. I lived in an old wagon down in Dorset and was getting loads of abuse. I didn't have anywhere to stop, and often people would refuse to give me water. I had a horse and wagon, but even when I was living a picture postcard life people didn't want me near them. My wife got pregnant with my first child and we decided that we didn't want to live like rejects any more, because that's the way society viewed us.

I remember one time we were travelling through a part of Dorset with the horse and wagon, and we found that all the verges on which our ancestors used to stop had been religiously blocked off with rocks and ditches. We couldn't find a single bit of grass to pull over on. I went to a farm and asked for some water, and the fellow wouldn't give me any. He said: "I wouldn't piss on people like you if you were on fire. You're wrecking the country."

It struck me that he couldn't have had any direct experience of Gypsy people. His perceptions were built up through a hostile media. I thought that if I was going to settle down, I might as well use the security that came with it to do something about these perceptions, so that those who were still travelling could live in a kinder environment.

My radio show is broadcast across the east of England; it helps the travelling community to keep in touch with each other, since Gypsies are now more settled than ever before. I hope it also helps to educate the wider community about who we are, because a lot of media coverage is still hostile. When you look at the tabloids and local newspaper coverage you can see every rule of journalism being broken: they never speak to the Gypsies or travellers themselves, and the tone is usually inflammatory.

I've just set up a website called savvychavvy.com, which is an engine for generating new writing by Gypsy journalists. We have funding to train 50 young journalists from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

I travel all over the country working with organisations that are dedicated to improving understanding of the Gypsy and traveller community. I've just returned from Wales, where the Croeso (meaning "welcome" in Welsh) project, which is part of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is campaigning for the Gypsy and traveller community to be accepted in Wales ? some 500 years after we first arrived there.

It's a complex issue: the settled community looks at us through a prism of stereotypes. The two main Gypsy stereotypes are the thief (or degenerate) who contributes nothing, or the romantic Gypsy, unmaterialistic and carefree, who wanders down country lanes with a tambourine.

The only real hallmark of a nomadic culture is that it teaches you to stand on your own two feet. Hard times are definitely going to come, but so are good times. When things no longer suit you, move on. Our flexibility and self-reliance means that we have little to fear from a changing world and economy.

Many people only recognise Gypsies by their caravans ? or traditionally horses and caravans. Before that it was tents. We've always changed the way we live and that will continue to happen. The fact that it's largely outlawed in this country and in eastern Europe means you don't see caravans on the road like you used to. But you can still see Gypsy people.

If you go to Romania, where there are 2 million Gypsies, you can see them on every street corner. They have lived in the Gypsy quarters of most towns and cities for up to 600 years, and no longer have any folk memory of travelling. Because when the travelling ceases, the community still goes on.

Jake Bowers was talking to Charlotte Baxter.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The British Government has apologized for the massacre of  Irish demonstrators in Londonderry in 1972.  Bloody Sunday was a watershed moment in my life as a political person.  Many attended the rally that day to hear Bernadette Devlin, one of my heros, speak.
For whatever an apology is worth, the British Government owes one to all the Irish people for hundreds of years of occupation.  It owes an apology to the people everywhere who were "colonized" by the British imperialists.  It owes an apology to my father and his ancestors for deporting them from Ireland to America as slaves......
Every country which has or is occupying another owes much more than an apology, including the United States who should be apologizing to "immigrants", especially people from Mexico who were occupied in their own land and then "conquered".  And today, they are called illegal.
And the beat goes on.........
But all my cynicsim aside, I did get pleasure from this costly "apology".
Bloody Sunday report blames British soldiers fully

 Bloody Sunday report likely to reopen wounds in N. Ireland

, Associated Press Writers Peter Morrison, David Stringer And Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press Writers – Tue Jun 15, 6:11 pm ET

LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland –
Northern Ireland's Bloody Sunday cried tears of joy Tuesday as an epic fact-finding probe ruled that their loved ones were innocent and the soldiers entirely to blame for the 1972 slaughter.

The investigation took 12 years and nearly 200 million pounds ($290 million), but the victims' families and the British, Irish and U.S. governments welcomed the findings as priceless to heal one of the gaping wounds left from Northern Ireland's four-decade conflict that left 3,700 dead.

Thousands of residents of Londonderry — a predominantly Catholic city long synonymous with Britain's major mass killing from the Northern Ireland conflict — gathered outside the city hall to watch the verdict come in, followed by a lengthy apology from Prime Minister David Cameron in London that moved many locals long distrustful of British leaders.
The probe found that soldiers opened fire without justification at unarmed, fleeing civilians and lied about it for decades, refuting an initial
British investigation that branded the demonstrators as Irish Republican Army bombers and gunmen.

Cameron, who was just 5 years old when the attack occurred, said it was "both unjustified and unjustifiable."

"I couldn't believe it, I was so overjoyed," said Kay Duddy, clutching the handkerchief used to swab blood from her 17-year-old brother's body that day. Jackie Duddy, the first of the 13 killed, was shot in the back.
"Never in my wildest dreams would I ever envisage a British prime minister would stand up in Parliament and tell the truth of what happened on Bloody Sunday," Duddy said.

David Cameron told the world and its mother that Jackie Duddy and the rest of the deceased and injured were innocent people. They were totally exonerated today," she said.

One by one, relatives of the 13 dead and 15 wounded went to a podium, huge black-and-white pictures of their dead or wounded relative displayed on a massive television screen. Each declared their relief that the demonstrators were found innocent and the elite soldiers of the Parachute Regiment solely to blame.

"Thirty-eight years ago a story went around the world ... that there was gunmen and bombers on our streets, and they were shot and killed. Today that lie has been uncovered," said Kate Nash, whose 19-year-old brother William was shot fatally once through the chest.

"Unjustified and unjustifiable. Those are the words we've been waiting to hear since January the 30th of 1972," said Tony Doherty, whose father, Patrick, was fatally shot as he crawled away from gunfire. The fact-finders rejected soldiers' claims that Doherty had been carrying a gun by digging up photos of Doherty seconds before he was hit and showing he was unarmed.

"The victims of Bloody Sunday have been vindicated, and the soldiers of the Parachute Regiment have been disgraced. Their medals of honor have to be removed!" Doherty declared to cheers.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry, authorized by then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998 in the run-up to the negotiation of the Good Friday peace accord that year, was led by English judge Lord Saville. He gave the ex-paratroopers, now in their 60s and 70s, broad protections from criminal charges as well as anonymity in the witness box, citing the risk that IRA dissidents might target them in retaliation.

Some legal experts, however, said wiggle room remains for prosecutions and, more likely, civil lawsuits against retired soldiers, particularly because some of the them were found to have lied to Saville.

The 5,000-page report is based on evidence from 921 witnesses, 2,500 written statements and 60 volumes of written evidence.

Cameron apologized on behalf of the British government and summarized its findings: The soldiers never should have been ordered to confront the protesters, they fired the first shots and targeted unarmed people who were clearly fleeing or aiding the helpless wounded. None of those killed or wounded that day in Londonderry had posed a threat to the soldiers, Saville concluded.

Saville's conclusions included damning new findings, including that soldiers fired twice at 22-year-old James Wray — once as he ran away, a second fatally after he was on the ground. "As he lay there, defenseless and dying, he was deliberately shot again. The Saville report stated clearly that there was no justification for either of these two shots," said his brother Liam.

The demonstrators were protesting the internment without trial of IRA suspects. The report said some soldiers fired knowing their victims were unarmed, and may have concluded all protesters were tied to IRA factions and therefore legitimate targets.

"It is at least possible that they did so in the indefensible belief that all the civilians they fired at were probably either members of the Provisional or Official IRA or were supporters of one or other of these paramilitary organizations, and so deserved to be shot," the report said.

The report did find that one demonstrator killed, 17-year-old Gerald Donaghey, was a junior Provisional IRA member who was carrying four homemade grenades, called nail bombs, in his pockets. But it said Donaghey was running away when shot and posed no risk to soldiers.

Bloody Sunday justice campaigners long had claimed that the nail bombs, photographed inside the pockets of Donaghey's jacket at an army morgue, had been planted by soldiers trying to justify their shooting.

Saville also concluded that former IRA commander Martin McGuinness, now the senior Catholic in Northern Ireland's power-sharing government, probably was carrying a submachine gun during Bloody Sunday, based on other witnesses' testimony. The judge said, however, that no evidence existed to suggest that McGuinness had used the gun in a manner "that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire."
McGuinness, who in sworn testimony said he was unarmed, rejected Saville's charge. "I am absolutely denying that," he said.
Analysts said Saville's finding appeared likely to stir tensions between McGuinness and Protestants in the 3-year-old coalition, the centerpiece of the Good Friday peace deal.

The inquiry was originally budgeted to cost 11 million pounds and report findings by 2002. Instead, the final bill was estimated at nearly 200 million pounds — making it the longest and most expensive inquiry in British legal history. Cameron said Britain would never attempt anything like it again.

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen praised the report. "From this day forth, history will record what the families have always known to be true. ... They were innocent," he said in Dublin.

"It is our hope that the scale of the inquiry, the quantity of material available, and its findings will contribute to greater understanding and reconciliation of what happened on that tragic day," U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in Washington.

Saville said Bloody Sunday represented a watershed event in the decades-old Catholic-Protestant conflict over Northern Ireland, a British territory now governed by a power-sharing coalition. It drove 1972 to be the conflict's deadliest year with more than 470 dead.

"What happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional IRA, increased (Irish) nationalist resentment and hostility towards the army, and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed. Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded, and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland," Saville said.

The judge took evidence from former British government officials, the soldiers who opened fire that day and IRA members involved in the protest. He ruled that a few IRA men did come armed to the demonstration, but the soldiers fired the shots that started the one-sided bloodbath.

The No. 2 army officer on the scene on Bloody Sunday, retired Gen. Sir Mike Jackson, offered what he called a "fulsome apology" — but described the killings as an exceptional aberration.

"Over the 38 years of the army's operational deployment in the province, the vast majority of the some 250,000 soldiers who served there behaved admirably, often in the face of severe provocation, and with the loss of several hundred lives and over 6,000 wounded," said Jackson, who was a captain and second in command of the Parachute Regiment's 1st Battalion in 1972. He fired no shots that day.

Saville's findings declared that several soldiers who opened fire concocted cover stories to justify shooting unarmed people in the back. But he cautioned that each soldier's testimony to the inquiry could not be used "to incriminate that witness in any later criminal proceedings."

"This does not rule out the possibility of future criminal proceedings against an individual, but only means that their own evidence to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry cannot be used against them," Saville wrote.

All families of the dead said it was too early to predict whether they would file lawsuits against any of the former soldiers.

The original 1972 investigation by another English judge, Lord Widgery, took barely two months to produce a brief report that chided soldiers for gunfire that "bordered on the reckless." But Widgery accepted soldiers' claims that they had been responding to IRA attacks, and said he suspected — despite any solid forensic or witness evidence beyond the soldiers' claims — that some of those killed "had been firing weapons or handling bombs in the course of the afternoon."

David Stringer reported from London. Shawn Pogatchnik reported from Dublin.

Bloody Sunday Inquiry report, http://report.bloody-sunday-inquiry.org/

Sunday, June 13, 2010


The other day someone suggested I check out urbandictionary.com and their postings under Gypsy.
What I found was entry after entry of ignorant, racist diatribes against Gypsies, who are in reality, the Romani people.
Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to publish it on urbandictionary.com.
It should appear on this page in the next few days:
Urban Dictionary


The Romani people, commonly called Gypsies are an ethnic group of people originally from India.
They have faced persecution discrimination and genocidal policies since entering Europe in the early 1100's or so.
They have been denied their traditional means of livelihood and then are condemned for surviving.
Even today they are subjected to pograms across Eastern Europe and forced deportations from Western Europe.

I am appalled by the virulent racism evidenced on this site.
It's interesting that the site rejects inside jokes yet allows this murderous slander of an entire group of people.
I am appalled and outraged by the virulent racism shown in most of these submissions.



Dear Ms Jones

Bernard has copied me in so I would like make to comment. The UK Association of Gypsy Women strongly feel that Amnesty should fully support the people in question, a statement from Amnesty, who is known as an organisation who have considerable international influence, would I feel be of great significance in our efforts to secure the evacuation of the Roma people on the Toxic Waste Camps in Kosovo.

Evictions of my people are widespread across Europe with very little challenge from the international community but as bad as they are, they are not equitable to the situation of the Roma people residing on the Toxic Waste Camps in Kosovo.

Many displaced Roma from the Mahalla have now spent a decade living in the lead contaminated camps. And now many hundreds are being forcibly sent back from Countries across Europe to Kosovo and inevitably end up on the toxic waste camps.

Furthermore, it is of no credit to the international community that it has accepted this inhumanity and chose to ignore and abandon the children on the camps in Kosovo. I would go as far as to say, there is nowhere on earth that human being's are subjected to the inhumane conditions of the camps.

There are 200 children on the camps and for two young brothers Ergin and Robert, who are presently in a life or death situation due entirely to growing up in the shadow of a 200 hundred metre high 100 hundred million tons mountain of Toxic lead Waste, they are brain damaged (as is all the children born on the camps), Ergin suffers from Kidney failure, the boys will have no chance of ever fathering a family of their own in the future.

There is a little girl named Sara 4 years old, who has multiple heart problems, Sara has had four major heart attacks and is unlikely to survive much longer. These three children are in desperate need to be taken from the source that is killing them and given prolonged medical treatment to get rid of the many toxic poisons that exist in their blood. The children mentioned are typical of all the children on the camps.

I have attached a picture of the mountain of lead waste and of Ergin, Robert and Sara, if you can imagine having to live day after day, year in year out in the shadow of that mountain knowing how lethal it is to your family's, your unborn child's health, it doe's not bear thinking about.

This not a case of one person or a group of people who's human rights are being violated, it is a case of hundreds of people being poisoned for more than a decade. It is a case of nothing less than Genocide of a people, who it seems international organisations find great difficulty in supporting.

There are international organisations with offices in Kosovo that are supposed to support children and who have not even responded to the call for them to fund one child's special diet at a cost of 7 euro a day that is shared by two siblings. They are standing by and doing absolutely nothing to help these poor vulnerable children and families. Moreover, it is surly making a mockery of all they stand for.

We would respectfully ask Amnesty to speak out and show it's revulsion for the situation of people on the Toxic Waste Camps in Kosovo. As it has done for the Roma people who are being evicted in Belgrade.

Kind regards
Rachel Francis-Ingham
Inclusion office
UK Association of Gypsy Women


Serbia must end forced evictions of Roma
10 June 2010

"[They told me], 'Get on the bus if you want, but if you're against it, you're in the street'. Everything was flying from all sides, in came the trucks. My children were there, gathered around my legs, screaming; what could I tell them?" Maya, evicted from the Gazela Bridge settlement

Amnesty International on Thursday called on the Serbian government and Belgrade authorities to stop the forced eviction of Roma from informal settlements in the Serbian capital.

Amnesty International's briefing paper, Serbia: Stop the forced evictions of Roma settlements, documents the forced eviction of 178 families from a settlement under the Gazela Bridge, in Belgrade in 2009.

"Massive building programmes in Belgrade have put hundreds of Roma families under the threat of forced evictions where they will be forced to leave their homes without proper consultation or notice and without the provision of adequate alternative housing," Sian Jones, Amnesty International's expert on Serbia said.

"As a result of forced evictions, livelihoods may be lost, property damaged, access to health and education made impossible. In carrying out these forced evictions the Serbian authorities are violating their obligations under international law, including ensuring the right to adequate housing."

On 31 August 2009, Romani families living under the Gazela Bridge were surrounded by police as trucks and bulldozers appeared. Journalists were prevented from coming near the site.

In less than three hours around 114 families were bussed to six sites on the outskirts of Belgrade and given accommodation in metal containers. Another 64 families were transported to parts of southern Serbia. Few of them had enough time to rescue their belongings before the bulldozers moved in.

The eviction took place in advance of repair works on the dilapidated Gazela Bridge, which is being partly paid for with a â?¬77 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The EBRD and EIB loaned the money on condition that the Romani families were offered adequate alternative housing. However, the eviction was carried out without the safeguards required under international law, and those evicted were not provided with adequate alternative housing.

Tomica, who had lived in Belgrade for 20 years, told Amnesty International: "They came with trucks and police and vans. We all had to leave in 20 minutes. I lost my house, TV, DVD, new beds, mirrors, fridge, everything."

Many of the families evicted from Gazela now live in metal containers far from local amenities and access to work, in six sites on the outskirts of Belgrade. The containers failed to meet international standards for adequate housing and are often overcrowded, cold and damp.

"They put 40 containers one next to the other, and it's worse than it was beforeâ?¦ There's not enough space to sleep, let alone live. What can you do if you have one room for cooking, sitting, kids playing. It's even smaller than it was at Gazela," testified Maya to a local non-governmental organization.

Two hundred and forty people were returned to the poorest parts of southern Serbia and were also not provided with adequate housing.

"The Serbian government should provide effective remedies to all those who have been forcibly evicted. They and the Belgrade authorities must also ensure that no further evictions are carried out unless the safeguards required under international law are in place," said Sian Jones.

"For their part, regional financial institutions such as the EBRD and EIB and states which are members of these institutions should ensure that the projects they support do not contribute to human rights violations."

From the 1950s, the Roma population of Belgrade grew as Roma from the economically deprived south of Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia, came in search of work.

Between 450,000 to 800,000 Roma live in Serbia, 30 per cent of whom live on less than â?¬2.15 per day. An estimated 100,000 Roma live in Belgrade: a third of them live in around 147 informal settlements.

While almost all Roma in Serbia experience discrimination, those living in informal settlements such as Gazela are not only denied the right to adequate housing, but are often denied other human rights as well.

Without a legal address, they are unable to obtain a residence permit. Without a residence permit, they are denied access to health care.. Only children whose parents have residency are able to attend school. Few complete their elementary education, and few are eligible to register to seek employment.
This work is part of Amnesty International's Demand Dignity campaign which aims to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty. The campaign will mobilise people all over the world to demand that governments, corporations and others who have power listen to the voices of those living in poverty and recognise and protect their rights. For more information visit the Demand Dignity page.

As part of the Demand Dignity Campaign, Amnesty International is calling on governments globally to take all necessary measures, including the adoption of laws and policies that comply with international human rights law, to prohibit and prevent forced evictions.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Just a reminder to visit www. Lolodikloreviews.blogspot.com

You can click to it directly from Internet section on sidebar

Friday, June 11, 2010



Protesters at Eaves Green Lane Meriden

UKAGW have written a letter to the Minister Caroline Spelman and MP for Meriden to register serious concerns on the issue above, however, after watching her contribution on the politics show Sunday 30th May we were deeply saddened by the fact that she made no effort to appeal to the protesters to return to their homes and leave the planning law to take its course, of which she will be aware is currently going through proper legal and lawful channels. Quite frankly, in our view the message given out on that show, by not addressing villagers actions was one of condoning such measures, moreover, UKAGW are fearful that due to the actions of the protestors that there will be a serious incident possibly at this location that could endanger life.

Shay Clipson of UKAGW had previously received many distressing telephone calls from the residents at the site and while visiting Meriden on Sunday 30th May she observed just why they are so distressed. Shay informed a Police Inspector of several serious concerns but, unbelievably and incredibly was all to no avail.

I would like to draw attention to some of our concerns.

At the entrance to the site protestors had lit a fire in an oil drum; this fire burns day and night and has done so from the outset. The fire is not used as a source of heat but is kept going with damp wood that smokes continually. It became apparent to my colleague during a conversation with a spokesman for the protestors that he is aware that there are residents on the site that suffer with Asthma, this was information he volunteered to her that he had gleaned from the planning application. As the weather has now turned, the fire is clearly not needed for heat the obvious conclusion arrived at is that the fire is kept alight for no other reason but to cause harassment to the residents of the site.

The fire is in the gateway to the site it is located just a few inches from the highway which, one would conclude that fact alone to be a clear breach of the law.

The fire causes inconvenience to residents on the site when they are entering or leaving their property, vehicles struggle to pass this very dangerous hazard, photographs are attached of one residents van struggling to bypass the fire with probably no more than an inch to spare, while two police officers look on but do nothing in relation to the hazard.

There are videos of a farmer dumping a lorry load of manure in the lane purely to cause obstruction to residents, and also dumping hardcore in the road, this action in itself is against the law and considering people are fined for dropping a cigarette nowadays yet, these people can flout and violate the law in plain view of ‘Law Enforcement Officers’ who it seems offer no challenge whatsoever. There is also a video of a protestor challenging one of the male residents to a fight... But these people are just seen and championed as nice, everyday ordinary ‘Middle England’ villagers! However, many, right thinking people would strongly dispute this view.

There is a large pile of wood in order to fuel the fire, spilling off the grass verge and onto the road causing obstruction to passing traffic and to the residents of the site (photographic evidence). The fire and the wood have the added bonus of causing residents to have to slow down to maneuver inch by inch past this very dangerous obstruction allowing some of the protestor’s to take full advantage and bang on the vehicles whilst shouting abuse, even on occasions when the residents are ferrying their children to and from school, this senseless action by these nice village folks serves only to terrify the young children on board, many of the residents have told us that they are also too frightened to sleep after observing alcohol being consumed by some protestors, we cannot wonder at their concerns especially, after they informed us of an individual being arrested for ‘Drunk & Disorderly’ behavior after entering the site and terrifying the people therein.

An elderly resident on the site was horrified to hear a protestor loudly proclaiming that the site was land mined, whilst this sick individual no doubt thought this highly amusing to unnerve and frighten an elderly lady. We would like to point out that on yet another “facebook” site “landmines” are mentioned by a female poster. A protestor has posted an article on his “Meridenraid” website, this comes from the Sunday Mercury and is dated June 2nd, the comments therein are clearly racist and the protestor endorses this by republishing them on his website. Shay Clipson contacted the reporter who wrote the article and he informed her that these were the milder of the comments.

If the above does not cause enough concern to Minister Spelman, by far the most sinister aspect is that protestor’s (probably one of those nice Middle Englanders) stroll back and forth menacingly carrying a large axe (photos available). There have been threats made via the social network “facebook”, these have been printed and given to CID officers. When you consider that these threats refer to guns and attacks on the site using fireworks it is alarming that no arrests have been made. Incident after incident could be cited but we feel that this letter should cause Minister significant concern, and hopefully should at the very least agree some well overdue police action.

Shay Clipson was told by a leading protestor that this action had “brought the village together”; this would appear in the eyes of the protesters’ that communal racial hatred, racial harassment, racial discrimination and intimidation are a good thing and an enjoyable social community activity. However, curiously we are also informed that this leading protestor has a huge construction on his own property; therefore, if so, how has this protestor secured planning permission in the first instance? Moreover, if our information is correct then surely a construction of such huge proportions, clearly exceed planning rules.

We, strongly feel and can only conclude from comments publically made by residents of the village that all incidences outlined above is blatantly racially motivated by discrimination against our community of Romany Gypsies and nothing at all to do with planning. All of the above are clearly criminal offences, all of which have been allowed to continue totally unchallenged and have done so for an entire month. It seems a doctors surgery in the area have also jumped on the bandwagon by de-registering an elderly lady and a family with a 5 month old baby, the family concerned had been registered with the doctor for 12 years. There appears to be a number of reasons for this shameful decision:
Moved out of area? (approx 3 Miles down the road),
Health authority would not accept the postcode (yet is accepted by HA on own website)

Administrator reported to the Health Authority that Patients Have Not Got Planning Permission

It is without doubt, that the HA are teetering on the periphery of the law but, nevertheless it has to be agreed the action to de-register an elderly lady and a family with a 5 month old baby that have been patients of that particular surgery for many years is ‘Morally Wrong’, especially, as it is well documented that our community significantly, has the highest child mortality rate and with adult mortality of 10/12 years earlier than any other ethnic minority within the UK.

We can only conclude that the events that have been so blatantly and publically played out for an entire month in Minister Spelman’s constituency is without prejudice, the very worst and exceedingly dangerous case of racial discrimination, racial harassment, racial intimidation and racial hatred perpetrated against the oldest ethnic minority in this country, that UKAGW have ever known and one which, has been allowed to unfold without appeal for calm from either one of the constituent government MP’s, which, is of no credit to the democracy that the coalition government is keen to be seen to promote.

Furthermore, had the shoe been on the other foot we have no doubt whatsoever that, our people would not have got away with half of the unlawful activity that is still taking place but, we are equally certain that they would have been jailed and the key thrown away! UKAGW would like to remind the Minister one of the two constituent MP’s in the area) and their village constituents that the people on the site at Meriden are British citizens, furthermore, they are not ‘Newcomers’ and they too are also the Minister’s constituents who have lived and worked around that particular area for 20 years without ever being guilty of harassing villagers as they themselves are intent on doing to their Romany Gypsy neighbors.

The residents are not a bunch of drug taking, thieving lay-a-bouts who drain the economy of benefits, they are just ordinary hardworking, quiet and unassuming people who only seek to live in peace, and at the end of the day, the only crime of which they are guilty is trying to provide for themselves, considering the coalition’s so called 'Freedom', 'Fairness' and Civil liberties, the first wave of 'efficiency savings' has wiped out £30 million already offered to local authorities and housing associations to support the development of Gypsy and Traveller sites, it is also reported that the Minister Caroline Spelman intends to create more green belt so, in all ‘Fairness’ what exactly would she advise our people to do?

The month of June is ‘Gypsy Traveller History Month’ with many events and exhibitions held to mark the Holocaust across the country, however we do not seek to be sensationalistic but, when we observed, the behavior so publically displayed by villagers in the Ministers and constituency, theoretically, to us it is a chilling reminder and astonishingly similar behavior to that of certain German people against the Jews on ‘Kristallnacht’ which even to this day is viewed by many historians as the beginning of the ‘Final Solution’ leading to the genocide of the holocaust.

We are used to reading reports of whole communities across the country going to meetings sometimes, 600/1000 strong to voice their protest against the prospect of a Gypsy Traveller site in their area but, what those villager’s have done has been to take this issue to a whole new alarmingly and very dangerous level.
UKAGW respectfully suggested, to Minister Spelman that she and her colleague Lorely Burt MP seriously and urgently concern themselves with this situation over the coming days especially, in the light of the extremely tragic events that have recently unfolded in Cumbria, moreover, considering the level of support that has been accorded to villagers in making their protest, we are deeply concerned and mindful that predictions cannot be made of just what the villagers are capable of or even how far they are prepared to go.

Therefore, we further suggested to the Minister that she treat this situation with the urgency that it deserves and use her good office to ensure that this intolerable situation that the site residents have been very publically and forcibly exposed, is ended forthwith and protestors strongly advised to go back to their homes and leave the planning application to go through the correct legal channels which is now in progress.

UKAGW policy is to advocate for our community’s basic human rights and we regularly challenge the indignities and many violations of those rights, however, we would not support such protests/demonstrat ions that would disrupt the wider society lives so Why, we ask, has the Minister, Caroline Spelman not implemented a similar policy with her Meriden constituents.

Latest report from residents last night were of the protestors ‘burning window frames with paint on’ creating a dense black smoke and horrific smell. UKAGW strongly feel that Minister Spelman, by not addressing the issues at Meriden that she is so well aware of, clearly shows solidarity with people who are happy to break, flout, violate and show total disrespect for the law of the land. It is our contention that Minister Spelman should, beyond a shadow of a doubt put an end to this outrageous flouting of the law and blatant violations of the human rights, discrimination and harassment forthwith.

Rachel Francis
Inclusion office
UK Association of Gypsy Women.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Well, after years of waiting, the review section of this blog is up and running.
Our first review is of a very good book
Please visit www.lolodikloreviews.blogspot.com, or you can click on the address listed on internet resources on the sidebar of this blog.


Don’t give Roma beggars money says Finn PM
Posted on 06 June 2010.
Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has urged people to participate in a blanket ban of handing out money to Roma beggars on the street.
Vanhanen said that this was the simplest and most effective means of addressing the issue concerning the recent wave of beggars arriving in Finland, predominantly from Bulgaria and Romania.

“It would not take many weeks, and this phenomenon would end in Finland. This would require a decision by everyone not to give money,” said the Prime Minister, who was speaking to political journalists at a lunch to discuss the issue. Prolific begging first began to appear in Finland around two years ago, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The National Coalition Party’s Juha Hakola has already proposed a parliamentary bill to use a public order ban to stop panhandling. The document has so far been signed by 51 of the 200-member Finnish parliament. Vanhanen, however, is making no promises of swift legislation change, citing that the definition of begging itself is difficult.

“In Finland, thousands and thousands of associations beg for money; parents’ committees beg for money, and political parties beg for money. The entire civic society is based on begging for money,” Vanhanen claimed. “Where do we draw the line? Is it when someone wearing a pinstripe suit asks for donations for a hockey team, or is it someone dressed like a beggar asking for money from ordinary people?”

Vanhanen, who stated that evidence to suggest that street panhandling could be influenced by organised crime made the offence even more repulsive, said the best solution would be for to improve home conditions for the Roma.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


With so much going on in this world today, combating antiGypsy sentiment everywhere, from libelous shows like Criminal Minds to bulldozing of camps in Italy, it's easy to forget the ongoing genocide in Kosovo.

The following is a letter from Rachel of the United Kingdom Gypsy Women's Association.

"Here is a poem written and read at the Roma Sinte Holocaust exhibition in London yesterday by Paul Polansky, even though I have written and fought with the same words as Paul read out, listening to it made me feel physically sick as it was and is reminicent of the expulsions from Germany as holocaust began.

If we do not fight against this outrage that is the toxic waste camps in Kosovo with all our might now then, how are we to know that similar fates and final solutions are not in place across the world for our people, our children because, to my sense of logic, this is a testing of what could well be the final solution to what is often termed the 'Gypsy problem'.

The UN and european governments have had 10 years to test the mood of the wider european and international community, and now it has shown not one iota's worth of concern, pre 90s the wider community would have cried shame and it would not have been allowed to happen, it was very rare we were ever in the news but, we have had relentless negative media reporting, people have believed the reports and are now are in no mood to protest they have been brainwashed and like sheep they follow and condone.

Whether our people live in houses or trailers it is no use denying who they are because, they are marked as sure as if they are wearing the 'brown star' that Hitler fashioned for us, we have to stand up we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Churchill said 'Create a net that none will fall beneath but one that everyone will be able to rise above. All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy and hope'.

I think the greatest of these words is 'Hope' because hope is what we wake up with everyday of our lives, without hope everyone in the world would be lost we would have nothing. My hope is that god will give us all the strength to go on fighting for our people's rights because, we do have the right to live a peaceful and happy life and to bring our children up in a safe environment.

The emphasis is on the 'right to life' and the international community and the european governments are denying the Roma people's on the toxic waste camps in Kosovo this basic fundamental right. The people in Kosovo are our people who have no hope and but for the grace of god could be us. Paul Polansky said the people in the camps are hopeful of getting out of the camps to live a better life, we have to fight to ensure their hopes are realised."

Poem by Paul Polansky 8th June 2010

In the 21st century has the German government invested
½ million Euros in a Gypsy camp built on toxic wasteland
Where everyone is being poisoned?

In the 21st century has the German government deported from Deutschland Kosovo Gypsies who end up in this camp where every child is born with irreversible brain damage…? If they live.

in the 21st century has the German government and their implementing partner the United Nations ignored pleas---yes, pleas for ten years---from the World Health Organization to immediately evacuate and medically treat the children and the pregnant women
The most vulnerable who have the highest lead levels in medical literature?

In the 21st century has the German government become involved in a camp where almost 90 Gypsies have died where the lead poisoning has caused hundreds of miscarriages?

in the 21st century has the German government ignored the pleas--- yes, the pleas----of the European Council’s Commissioner for Human Rights begging Germany and only Germany not to deport anymore Gypsies back to Kosovo where they might end up in this lead-poisoned camp?

In the 21st century has the German government turned a blind eye?
To the documentary films made about this deadly camp by the BBC,
Norwegian TV, French TV, Australian TV and even German TV?

In the 21st century is the German government---this time an elected
And supposedly democratic government---targeting Gypsies
Threatening Gypsies transporting Gypsies once again in large numbers against their will to a camp that more than 100 media outlets world-wide have called a death camp?


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


My dear phral Casimire has set up a facebook page documenting the progress of the Lolo Diklo Traveling Museum.
He is the same man who designed and created the beautiful wheel pendant which has been displayed on this blog.

Casimire has been involved in the museum project since it was just a dream and he has always been unflinchingly supportive.
He gave us our first cash and book donation as well as tremendous energy.

Please check out the facebook of
Romani Rights. Just click on Romani Rights in the Internet resources on the sidebar.



To prevent a humanitarian tragedy taking place the institutions have to stop the evictions and abuse, and guarantee the 100 families living in the camp alternative housing, social assistance and a serious integration programme.

The anti-Roma campaign being carried out by the Italian politicians with the backing of the media must also be stigmatized. The United Nations and the European Union have a duty to watch over the events unfolding in the Triboniano camp, to ensure yet another camp clearance does not take place without the offer of alternative housing. Police officers in riot-gear have charged and beaten up people with truncheons, used rough treatment against women and children, summary arrests, threats, limitation of freedom, special laws, expulsions based on racial discrimination, anti-Roma propaganda

An appeal for urgent intervention,
The European Parliament, The European Commission, The Council of Europe, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Milan, May 24th 2010. Serious violations of human rights are taking place at the Roma camp in Via Triboniano, in Milan, where a community of Roma families (about 600 people, with a high percentage of children) are living in conditions of extreme hardship without any rights, and with a special pact to be respected (like in a ghetto) punishable by the expulsion of entire families.

The city institutions had planned the camp clearance some time ago: the land the camp is situated on is needed for the urban planning of Expo 2015. Over the last few months numerous families with small children and sick members have been kicked out of the camp (without an offer of alternative housing) for “breaking” the special law - for example, for giving shelter to unauthorized family members.

The local authorities are also installing 20 surveillance cameras to keep an eye on the community. On May 20th, a group of Roma, after informing the authorities of their intentions, set off for Piazza Scala, in the centre of Milan (far away from the camp) for a peaceful sit-in in front of the Town Hall - during which they intended to appeal for decent housing, schooling for their children and dignity for all Roma families.

However, a large police turnout prevented the group of 300 Roma (many of them women and children) from leaving the camp, and when they protested (the Constitution guarantees freedom of movement and the right to demonstrate peacefully) the police charged, hitting out wildly with their truncheons.

The Roma – men, women and children - responded by picking up stones and throwing them at the violent officers who were in anti-riot gear. In the meantime, a delegation of qualified humanitarian operators (including the co-presidents of EveryOne Group) went to the Town Hall and asked to speak to the mayor or the deputy mayor, in order to call for an end to the violence and for talks to take place, but no appointment was fixed.

The human rights defenders were not allowed to witness the police operations and were kept at a distance of a kilometre from the camp. Many Roma were wounded or bruised, but they were unable to get to hospital for treatment fearing arrest for “resisting a police officer”. An elderly Roma man (who was caught unawares and hit by a truncheon) was arrested and his family have no idea of his whereabouts. Two young children received several truncheon blows.

EveryOne Group, which already back in 2007 found itself having to protect with “Gandhian resistance” some families with small children from a violent attack by the police (and have on several occasion reported the violations in the Triboniano camp to the international authorities) considers the human rights situation in the Milanese camp extremely dramatic. On the one hand, because the camp is subjected to special laws (like in a ghetto) and on the other because no integration programmes have been set up (the Italian government and local authorities have failed to make use of European funds put aside for this purpose).

There have been several cases of families being kicked out of the camp, leading to serious humanitarian disasters (for example, the rights of the child are constantly being violated) and the authorities have carried out brutal and pointless actions as well as routine threats.

“Anyone who supports them, will end up in jail”: said De Corato, the deputy mayor, threatening the humanitarian operators and the defenders of human rights. On Sunday May 23rd an assembly was organized for three o'clock in the afternoon at the camp despite intimidation towards the Roma and activists from the authorities. Several human rights associations were present at the meeting. However, the constant presence of riot police is discouraging most of the humanitarian workers from taking part in these democratic reunions, and the human rights defenders are being kept at a distance during police operations.

Anyone entering the camp - even if only to help the children and the sick - are immediately joined by the police and questioned. EveryOne Group, which was present at the assembly with some of its members, report a situation of inhuman and total marginalization, and a camp clearance project without sufficient alternative housing and integration programmes. There is no form of welfare in the camp. The fact that some children go to school is just an illusion: soon they too will be kicked out of the camp and the city along with their families. The position taken by the media is one of racist propaganda: the national TV news and newspapers offer only the politicians' side to the problem, while human rights activists are often interviewed but their statements are never made public - apart from through anti-racist websites and blogs., Subjected to one-sided information, every day the Italian people's hatred for the Roma grows.

EveryOne Group wishes to express its deep preoccupation and ask the European Parliament; the European Council; the Council of Europe; the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to closely monitor the humanitarian situation at the Via Tribonio camp in order to discourage the institutions and the police force from continuing with these intolerant and repressive measures. Measures that are in violation of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights and against the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Group asks that suitable measures be taken, seeing that the Italian Government and local authorities have shown time and time again a public mockery for the resolutions, warnings and recommendations issued by the EU institutions and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
May 23, 2010.
We await an urgent and supportive response to our appeal, and take the opportunity to send you our best regards.

For EveryOne Group: Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Glenys Robinson