Monday, October 31, 2011



PHOTO: Protesters throwing rocks in Varnsdorf (PHOTO: Lukáš Houdek)

The Czech Press Agency reports that the STEM polling agency conducted research during the month of October which shows that half of the population believes the main reason for the recent demonstrations in North Bohemia is concern over rising crime. One-fourth of respondents said the demonstrations were mainly against the state's backward approach to the issue.

Approximately two-fifths of those polled said they fear Romani people, while another two-fifths said they do not. More than half of the respondents are not sympathetic to movements promoting violence against Romani people.

Since August, many demonstrations over coexistence with the Romani minority have taken place in towns throughout the Šluknov foothills. Crime has risen in the area, local people no longer feel safe, and they are linking the situation to the arrival of new Romani residents in the region. The active protests by long-term residents were provoked by a brawl during which approximately 20 Romani people clashed with ethnic Czechs leaving a discotheque in the North Bohemian town of Rumburk. Ever since then, the citizens of Varnsdorf in particular have been demonstrating regularly. Police report that ultra-right extremist movements are exploiting this dissatisfaction for publicity.

The STEM poll found that according to 45 % of respondents, the demonstrators are expressing their concern over rising crime in particular, while 26 % said the aim was to draw attention to the state's backward approach to the issue of "inadaptable" residents. A total of 23 % believe the protesters primarily want to criticize welfare abuse, while 6 % believe the aim of the demonstrations is to terrorize Romani people.
The opinion that people want to draw attention to the state's backward approach to these issues was more often shared by left-oriented voters. People espousing clearly right-wing views more often claimed that the protests in North Bohemia were held mainly out of fear over rising crime.
The poll also looked for a relationship between the understanding of the motivations for the protests and general opinions about the Romani minority. When asked whether they fear Romani people, 44 % answered that they do, while 44 % answered they do not.

A total of 53 % of respondents said they have no sympathy for movements or people who use force against the Romani minority, but 23 % expressed encouragement for such movements or people. Approximately one-fourth of respondents chose the answer "I don't know" when responding to that question.
The poll was conducted between 7 and 15 October. The total number of respondents was 1 277 people.
ryz, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

I'm happy to say that we are finally back online.  I almost said settled and back online, but trust me, we are far from settled, or even unpacked.  But the computer and internet is connected.  Thanks for your patience and support.

Monday, October 24, 2011



The Holocaust of Roma in Moldova continue to remain unaddressed issue

On 20-21 October 2011 in Chisinau, at the Free University (ULIM) was held a two-day conference “Unknown Holocaust of Roma” – as a challenge of nowadays situation of Roma people. The conference have been followed with an exhibition of photos with Roma survivors made by Luminita Cioaba (from Romania).

The Conference have been attend by Swedish EU Affairs Minister, Birgitta Ohlsson, the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg, academics from various parts of Europe, representatives from different embassies and international organizations present in Moldova, Minister of Justice, vice-Ministers of Education and of Labour, Social Protection and Family, representatives of the Romani NGOs from Sweden and Moldova, etc.

On the first day the Roma National Center has presented a film named“Persecution” produced in collaboration with the E Romani Glinda (Sweden) as a documentary film on Roma survivors from Republic of Moldova and facts of roma deportation by Nazis to Transdnestrian region. The second day have been dedicated to contemporary forms of discrimination as well as their poverty, illiteracy, jobless, their migration to European states and portrayal of the negative prejudices by media in enforcing the anti-Roma sentiment in the whole society.

“The improvement of Roma cannot be done without considering ways to tackle their inclusion and combating discrimination” - said Mr. Nicolae RADITA, chair of Roma National Center at the conference.

“Roma are excluded at all levels of decision making process, there is a widespread violence against them and treated in mockery way when it comes to address their issues”.

As a conclusion participants have stressed that there is a need of public policies developed by the Moldovan Government where Roma should be considered equal partner in implementing it, education made available at all levels and to adopt antidiscrimination legal framework in order to secure rights for everyone.

The events were organized by Roma National Center in cooperation with Porojan Association and E Romani Glinda from Sweden supported financially by Swedish Institute, Sweden Embassy in Chisinau, UNDP, UN Women Moldova.

For more information, please contact Natalia Duminica, project assistant, Roma National Center
tel. +373 22 227099


Friday, October 21, 2011


The physical move of Lolo Diklo: Romani Against Racism is happening tomorrow, though it will take a bit longer to unpack and set ourselves back up.

There may be a disruption in postings, and I apologize for that.  We do not expect to be off line for more than a few days.

Thanks for your patience and support.


Dale Farm is far cry from the Gypsy lifestyle romanticised by the arts

Gypsy and Traveller culture is celebrated in songs and paintings, novels and films – yet real-life Gypsies are shunned by society



PHOTO  Carvan set on fire, Dale Farm.  Wed. 10/19/2011

Wednesday 19 October will be remembered as a bleak day by those who claim allegiance with the UK's Traveller and Romany Gypsy communities. If the Dale Farm eviction marked a brutal beginning to the day, the screening on BBC2 of Panorama's Britian's Child Beggars marked a chilly close.

Dale Farm's residents were Irish Travellers. The child beggars and their Fagins were Romanian Roma. Two very separate communities united only by a historic memory of roaming and a tendency to be described (and to describe themselves) as "Gypsies" – that catch-all term derived from "Egyptians", as Constantinople's citizens labelled the dark-skinned people who arrived at their city in 1068. These pioneers were, it is thought, fleeing the Islamic armies then invading north-west India. Admittedly, the Travellers and the Roma also share a common plight: whether in Ireland, Romania or their adopted UK home, they are perceived as outsiders, their communities ostracised and marginalised.

As the author of a book on travelling with Gypsy musicians, I'm often asked what I make of the showdown at Dale Farm or the virulent reactions east Europe's Roma stir up from the tabloids and rightwing politicians. There are no easy answers, but one thing is for certain: at the dawn of the 21st century, Gypsy culture is denigrated and celebrated in equal measure. In the West End, Johnny "Rooster" Byron, the protagonist of Jez Butterworth's much-praised play Jerusalem, is Romany.

Memoirs such as Mikey Walsh's Gypsy Boy, Rosie McKinley's Gypsy Girl and Sam Skye Lee's Gypsy Bride have proved UK bestsellers. Romanian Gypsy bands Taraf de Haidouks and Fanfare Ciocarlia have lit up the world's greatest theatres and attracted voluble praise from all manner of critics.

Gypsy culture has moved in and out of fashion over the centuries: DH Lawrence described the Gypsies as noble savages while Jimi Hendrix wrote songs and named a band after them – and in my post today was a CD called Brass Noir, which finds Berlin-based DJs championing Fanfare Ciocarlia and other Balkan brass bands as club tunes. Indeed, Serbia's annual Guca brass festival – the Gypsy Glastonbury – is now on every adventurous backpacker's list. American rock bands Gogol Bordello and A Hawk and A Hacksaw both borrow elements of eastern Gypsy music to spice up their sound, with Gogol's vocalist seemingly sharing the same stylist as Mark Rylance in Jerusalem. Scruffy chic seemingly being the trademark Romany fashion.

History always repeats itself and this is nothing new: from Caravaggio's palm-reading, pick-pocketing hustler to Bizet's Carmen, the arts have loved the Roma. At least as inspiration. While the Nazis were intent on committing genocide upon Europe's Gypsies, their top officers flocked to see Django Reinhardt play in Parisian clubs. And Roma communities across eastern Europe are today more impoverished and threatened by rightwing groups than ever since the end of the second world war.

Slovakia, not a nation noted for its tolerance of the Roma populace, has entered Cigan (Gypsy) – a film that transports Hamlet's son-and-stepfather struggle to an impoverished rural Gypsy village – into the 2012 Academy Awards for best foreign film. The Gypsy cinema of Emir Kusturica (Serbia) and Tony Gatlif (France) has proved profitable on arthouse screens and Cigan (which screened at the London film festival last week) may follow suit. But those few who get ahead in music or film don't account for the multitude left behind. Some of whom, as the Panorama film suggests, end up being trafficked to the UK to beg on our streets. Many of Dale Farm's former residents might be forced to join them there this winter.

In spite of all this, Dale Farm's struggle has attracted almost no support from artistic voices beyond that of Vanessa Redgrave. The 2009 Belfast pogroms against Romanian Roma, likewise, were met with silence from the likes of Bono and Bob Geldof. Romanticised but despised, the life of the Gypsy as celebrated by so many songs and paintings, novels and films, looks less enticing on this freezing October morning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011



19 October 2011

Gypsies evicted from UK site by riot police

PHOTO Traveller's daughter swinging on scaffolding outside Dale Farm -
Source: Reuters
Police in riot gear began to clear Britain's biggest illegal travellers' site, heralding the end of a decade-long battle.
They broke down fences at the rear of the Dale Farm site in Essex while bailiffs began to smash low-rise brick walls with sledgehammers at its entrance, with diggers at the ready.
The eviction of about 400 travellers near Basildon marks the climax of one of Britain's most contentious and bitter planning rows in recent years.
Some residents and their supporters told the media they would resist eviction from the six-acre site "until the end".
A few protesters wearing balaclavas and hoods threw missiles, including rocks and liquids, at the police from behind flimsy wooden barricades and rubber rings while flames and thick smoke went up from a burning caravan.
Essex Police said taser guns had been used against two protesters and one person had been arrested so far.
Television footage showed one person being carried on a stretcher across a field by paramedics.
The site residents had won a temporary reprieve last month when the High Court issued an injunction stopping officials from clearing the land, but their battle came to an end when they lost a final legal hearing last week.
Travellers say the clearance is a breach of their human rights, targeting a vulnerable group whose choice of lifestyle does not fit in with the mainstream.
The local council argues it is a planning dispute, with the travellers breaking the law by illegally building on the green belt, the band of countryside around London intended to stop urban sprawl.
Among those who had supported the travellers had been actress Vanessa Redgrave and a United Nations' special rapporteur.
"The memory of Dale Farm will weigh heavily on Britain for generations - we are being dragged out of the only homes we have in this world," resident Kathleen McCarthy said in a statement from the Dale Farm Solidarity group.
Basildon council leader Tony Ball, told Sky News the council had tried to find the travellers alternative sites, but talks had been exhausted.
"I would much rather not be doing this," he said.
"But I am clear that by enforcing the law we are doing the right thing, and the majority of people in this country support what we are doing, and expect a public body to uphold the law."
Many locals had complained of litter and noise from the site

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


PHOTO - Elouise Cobell was the treasurer of the Blackfeet tribe who tenaciously pursued a lawsuit that accused the federal government of cheating Native Americans out of more than a century's worth of royalties. (Louis Sahagun / Los Angeles Times)

Elouise Cobell, the treasurer of the Blackfeet tribe who tenaciously pursued a lawsuit that accused the federal government of cheating Native Americans out of more than a century's worth of royalties, resulting in a record $3.4-billion settlement, has died. She was 65.

Cobell died Sunday at a hospital in Great Falls, Mont., of complications from cancer, her spokesman Bill McAllister announced.

Growing up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwest Montana, Cobell often heard her parents and neighbors wonder why they weren't being paid for allowing others to use their land, she later recalled.

When she took over as treasurer of the tribe in 1976 she found herself in charge of an accounting system "in total chaos," she told The Times in 2002.

As Cobell attempted to unravel the books, she could make neither "hide nor hair of the trust accounts," she later said, referring to trusts that had been set up as part of the 1887 Dawes Act.

The act tried to erode the tribal system by granting parcels of land to individual Native Americans, but not allowing them to control their new property. Instead, the land was placed in trust with the promise that owners would be paid royalties for oil and gas, grazing or recreational leases.

Yet the Indians received little or no payment, The Times reported in 2009.

Cobell approached the Boulder, Colo.-based Native American Rights Fund about filing a class-action lawsuit against the Interior and Treasury departments, and she was named as lead plaintiff when the suit was filed in 1996. The suit contended that the Dawes Act arrangement allowed U.S. officials to systematically steal and squander royalties intended for Native Americans.

"It's just such a wrong that if I didn't do something about it I'm as criminal as the government," Cobell told the Associated Press in 1999.

Just this June, a federal judge approved the $3.4-billion settlement, the largest payment Native Americans have ever received from the U.S. government.

It provides a $1,000 cash payment to every individual who has a trust account and $2 billion for the federal government to buy back the land parcels, The Times reported when the settlement was reached in 2009. Cobell was to receive $2 million, according to the AP.

In deciding whether to accept the settlement, Cobell said she had to weigh the possibility of winning a greater sum against a harsh reality. The plaintiffs had estimated they were owed as much as $47 billion.

"Time takes a toll, especially on elders living in abject poverty," Cobell said in a 2009 Times interview. "Many of them died as we continued to struggle to settle this suit. Many more would not survive long to see a financial gain, if we had not settled now."

One of eight children, she was born Elouise Pepion on Nov. 5, 1945, on the Blackfeet reservation in Browning, Mont. Her parents owned a 200-acre ranch.

After high school, she attended Great Falls Commercial College and Montana State University in Bozeman but had to leave school after two years to care for her dying mother.

In 1968, Cobell moved to Seattle and worked in the accounting department of a television station. She also met her future husband, Alvin Cobell, a fisherman and fellow member of the Blackfeet tribe.

When her father asked her to come home to help run the struggling family ranch, she returned to the reservation. She had missed the community and the land, Cobell later said.

"Once we got on that ranch, there was no going back," Cobell told the AP. "We just wanted to make sure we held on to our land."

In 1987 Cobell helped found Blackfeet National Bank, the first bank established by a Native American tribe on a reservation.

A decade later she received a $300,000 "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation. Surprised by the windfall, she donated most of the money to the class-action suit's legal defense fund.

The cause also received a $4-million assist from businessman J. Patrick Lannan Jr. and his New Mexico-based Lannan Foundation.

"There was something about her that really impressed us," Lannan told The Times in 2002. "I guess it was her ability to describe what it's been like to be an Indian in this sort of thing."

In a 2000 tribal ritual, Cobell was declared a warrior of the Blackfeet Nation and presented with an eagle feather, an honor reserved in modern times almost exclusively for U.S. military veterans.

Cobell is survived by her husband, Alvin; son, Turk; brother Dale Pepion; sisters Julene Kennerly, Joy Ketah and Karen Powell; and two grandchildren.

Monday, October 17, 2011



Dale Farm camp residents are now braced for a physical battle against eviction after losing their legal fight in the courts.
Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images


The Court of Appeal has just rejected the residents' right to a judicial review, which means that Basildon Council will be able to come on to conduct an eviction from now onwards.

We need supporters to come down as soon as possible to help resist this eviction. We need people to come willing to engage in civil disobedience as well as support residents and activists in resisting the eviction through non-arrestable roles. It may seem like a scary thing to do, but coming down to Dale Farm is one of the most important things we can do for the community here, and to protest the injustice that even the United Nations and Amnesty International have unreservedly condemned. This is a historic moment of resistance - let's do something.

The residents have nowhere to go.  They are united in resisting the eviction, andwe have been working with them to develop plans and strategies.  Travellers in the UK are at the receiving end of state violence.  The way the Dale Farm community is being treated is a form of ethnic cleansing which criminalized a oeople and a culture, and it is vital that we come together in solidarity to resist it.  We are ready to resist the eviction, and we need more people to join us and the residents as soon as you can come down.  Bring a sleeping bag, food and resistance paraphernalia.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Lolo Diklo is moving.  It's being a very long, arduous and time consuming enterprise.  We are expecting internet disruption.

Please bear with us.  We will make every effort in the next few weeks to keep the blog current.

By November 1st, we should be totally resettled, on line and active.

Thanks for your support.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Esma Redzepova, the Queen of Gypsy Music


 October 12, 2011

Matthew Brunwasser

People everywhere are moved by the power of Esma Redzepova’s voice.

But now the queen of gypsy music has taken on power of another kind. She was elected to the city council of her hometown Skopje, Macedonia, in 2005. She is currently serving her second four-year term.

“I’m most active on the council in matters concerning physical improvements to the city, for it to be cleaner and more beautiful, “Redzepova said. “I support the construction of public monuments.”

A member of the governing nationalist political party, Redzepova says she is mainly involved in the city’s cultural affairs. She has a long history of working for humanitarian causes, helping orphans, women and Roma war refugees among others.

She has sung more than 2000 charitable concerts. She says working on the city council is an opportunity to serve the public in much the same way.

“I said as a city counselor that we should not have such high salaries and that we should lower them,” she said. “I stood up and said that it is a very beautiful thing that we are able to work for the citizens and make their lives better, for young people and old people, and for pensioners and children. The city has opened playgrounds and many sports centers.”

Her political career hasn’t really affected her music she says. But her music and some 15, 000 performances around the world, she says, have given her a global perspective, which she brings to the council. She also wants to serve her country. Ethnic Roma minorities face severe discrimination in most countries, and Redzepova says Macedonia is one of the few places were they are not forced to assimilate.

“I think everyone should consider Macedonia as a model for how countries deal with their Roma populations,” she said. “When I travel abroad to perform, people say, ‘oh, you are very lucky, you are born in Macedonia where Roma have a lot of rights.’ They are not mistreated. A roma can go anywhere, without any limits. no one will ever say to you ‘hey, you Gypsy, what are you doing here?’ People here live in the most normal way.”

Redzepova’s smile radiates much like her voice. She wears big gold earrings and each finger and toe nail is painted in a different bright color. A star since childhood, Esma, as she is known, was a favorite of the socialist-era dictator Marshal Tito. She represented Yugoslavia at official high-profile state events around the world.

“I have been composing since I was 9 years old when i made “chaje shukarije,” the most famous Romani song in the world,” Redzepova said. “There is no wedding or joyful occasion anywhere in the Balkans where they do not sing it. Many musicians from all over the world want to record cover versions.”

“Chaje Shukarija” means “beautiful girl” in Romani language and tells a story of unrequited love. After more than five decades of singing, she’s still getting rave reviews.
“I haven’t changed my style,” she said. “I’ve used the same ornaments since I was little, and continue to do so now; the only difference is that now my voice is more mature, my voice is more beautiful.
Because I’m getting older, I know better what to do with my voice.”

Despite the collapse of her beloved Yugoslavia and the coming of the free market to the Balkan music business, Esma has stuck with her trademark sound. She said she hopes the Balkans becomes better known for the beauty of its music than for the bitterness of its wars.

Dale Farm Travellers lose eviction battle in high court

Judge rules Basildon council has right to clear land and says residents took too long to challenge decision to take direct action
Dale Farm supporter outside the high court in London.
12/10/2011 -

Residents of the Dale Farm Travellers' site in Essex lost their long-running legal battle against Basildon council when the high court ruled that their eviction from the plot could go ahead.
But the Travellers, who have been locked in a dispute over the former scrapyard with Basildon council for more than a decade, immediately said they would appeal. If they are granted permission to appeal, the planned eviction may be delayed.

Residents had asked the judge to stop the eviction under the European convention of human rights, in three judicial reviews; the court dismissed their applications, and said the council's decision of 17 May to evict was lawful.

After 10 years of legal battles the judge said it was "astonishing" that residents had delayed making their legal bid to almost the day of eviction.

Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, ruled that the Travellers delayed too long in challenging Basildon's decision to take direct action against them, and said the council's actions were not disproportionate.

"The conclusion has been reached time and again that this is just the wrong site for Travellers," he said.

Lawyers for the Travellers argued that the council had failed to offer suitable alternative accommodation and to consider those vulnerable residents and children whose education would be disrupted by the eviction. But the judge said the planning system had always included a fair consideration of personal circumstances and that the residents must now leave voluntarily. If distress and upset were caused by forcible eviction "it would be because of decisions made by the residents not to comply", he said.

The Dale Farm inhabitants were breaking criminal law each day they stayed on site; their removal was needed to stop "the criminal law and planning system being brought into serious disrepute," he added.
The eviction would cause "considerable distress and disruption" but must go ahead "In my judgment the time has manifestly come for steps to enforce the law to be taken."

Candy Sheridan, vice-chair of the Gypsy Council, said: "We are disappointed. We are not surprised, but the fight goes on. We will be seeking permission to appeal."

The council will not restart the eviction before Monday, giving the Travellers a small window of opportunity to launch their appeal. The court of appeal previously ruled against the Travellers on a human rights application in 2009. Dale Farm residents obtained an emergency injunction on 19 September after a different high court judge decided that there were grounds to believe the council might "go further" in clearing the site than its eviction notices allowed.

Three further judicial reviews were lodged after a high court judge ruled on 3 October that the council could remove caravans from 49 of 54 plots and most of the concrete pitches, but that walls, fences and gates could not be removed, despite the council's repeated assertions that the site had to be cleared.
Speaking outside the court, Tony Ball, leader of Basildon council, who struggled to be heard over residents' chants of "we will not be moved", said the council had acted lawfully at all times.

"Having engaged with the legal system [the Travellers] must now abide by the law. I would like to reflect on what the judge said – that the criminal law applies equally to all, Travellers and others alike. They have reached the end of the road," he said.

The council would pursue its legal costs, he added.

At the Dale Farm site Jake Fulton, a member of Dale Farm Solidarity, a group of activists supporting the residents' opposition to eviction, said the Travellers were prepared to resist.

"People are already flooding back, Travellers and supporters. We're expecting a big swell over the next couple of days," Fulton said. "At the end of the day we will be here for them, and we'll have to rely on the physical defences now that the legal ones have failed us."
The following is a statement from DALE FARM SOLIDARITY
13 October 2011 - Dale Farm Solidarity - Call 07583621312 for info about coming down

Calling out to all activists and legal observers – we need you to come to Dale Farm to support the families facing homelessness
Please forward to groups and supporters!
After weeks of wrangling in the High Court over various rulings on the legality of the eviction operation, today the residents of Dale Farm were refused the right to a judicial review of the eviction. This means that Basildon Council is able to legally evict the community. There is no longer an injunction to stop the eviction, but Basildon Council have said in court that they will not evict until Monday at the earliest.

The residents plan to lodge an appeal on Friday, and will find out on that day whether their request for an appeal is granted. If the appeal is not granted, Basildon Council could begin the eviction. If the appeal is granted, then legal proceedings could continue for anything from a day to several. If the appeal is heard on Monday, but rejected, the eviction can begin at any point from then.

Of course we are hoping that the appeal will be heard and decided in the Dale Farm community’s favour- but experience shows that judges, the legal system and planning regulations are weighed against Travellers. This is why the Dale Farm community are asking you to come down to Dale Farm this weekend to be ready to resist an eviction on Monday. (If you can, come down before the weekend, as there is loads to be done on site, and the more people are here, the safer the
residents feel.)

We know that this isn’t this first call out you have read from Dale Farm. We have had a lot of close calls, and the fact that the eviction hasn’t started yet is a testament to the power of protest. However, we are genuinely heading towards the end of the legal process, and it is really important that people are prepared to come down to resist the eviction and stand with the Dale Farm community at a time when they are at the receiving end of state violence and need our solidarity on a personal and political level.

If you can’t make it you can support in another way, we are in desperate need of funds. Please donate!

Activists are supporting the Travellers in defending their homes and community. There’s many different ways of getting involved – we need medics, legal observers, site defenders, cooks, etc.. More people are needed on all fronts.

Please sign up for txt alerts ( in case urgent information needs to get relayed or follow us on twitter (@letdalefarmlive) for
updates. You can send information to the legal hotline 07928669515

Getting to the site

Dale Farm is about 30-40 minutes from London by train, you can find directions here. (
From Wickford Station (30 minutes journey from London), it’s a 15 minute cycle/45 minute walk from the station.

To arrange a lift call the site phone: 07583621312
Please see map (
for more info on access to the site. As of Thursday 13th October, there are no restrictions on entering Dale Farm.

Be Prepared

Things to bring:
- warm clothes
- food
- water bottle
- sleeping bag and roll mat
- notepads, pencils
- torches
- cameras for taking photo evidence
- clean phone
- D-locks

Things not to bring:
- offensive weapons
- Things you would not like the police to take off you

A vegan kitchen is running. We will be asking for donations to cover our costs, but it may be an early target of the Bailiffs, so please bring extra food.

Sleeping arrangements
Sleeping space is available in caravans and residents’ homes but we encourage you to bring a tent, and you are welcome to sleep over anytime. Please bring a sleeping bag if you can, and a roll mat is highly recommended especially since most of the tent space is on hard ground.

Legal info
Write on your arm before you get here:
Dale Farm Legal Hotline: 07928 669 515
Birds Solicitors: 07966 234 994
Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors: 07659 111 192

Other info
Camp Constant site phone: 07583621312
The welcome pack is available here The welcome packs contain information on Dale Farm and the political context of the current eviction, Camp Constant and what to bring, Traveller history, and legal advice for activists.

People coming organised as affinity groups are very welcome.

Please promote our facebook group
( through social networking sites, and call up friends and groups to get a minibus down to Dale Farm.

See you here!

Camp Constant

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


PRESS RELEASE - 11th October 2011

Call for the UN to Recognise the Romani Flag

The Gypsy Council has written to United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay requesting that the Romani Flag be officially recognised by the UN.

Although the Romani people don’t have their own state or country, the Romani people do have their own language, culture and own flag.

During the II World War more than 500,000 Romani people perished, as victims of a multiple genocide, and now it would be a little thing for the United Nations to afford this act of recognition and respect, which would give some small status, and support for Romani communities across the World.

This issue of recognition has particularly been brought into focus by recent events in the UK, when recently Aberystwyth Town Council in Wales voted to fly the Romani flag amongst the flags of other nations.

It has been reported, that our flag is being objected to on the grounds that Romani Gypsies don’t have a nation.

Romani people are the largest minority in Europe, and just because we don’t have our own country, it does not mean that our existence shouldn’t be acknowledged.

The Romani flag was adopted in 1971 at the 1st World Romani Congress which was held in London and organised by the Gypsy Council together with other Romani organisations.

Joseph G. Jones

Gypsy Council Spokesman
Please contact
United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay

If you have any international or high level contacts they can help by writing a letter of support also,
whether they are from the Romani Community or not.

Actually the more people from outside the Romani community that support our request the better.

Joseph G. Jones
Lolo Diklo is in the process of composing a letter to the U.N., to the State Department,
We're encouraging other groups and individuals to spread the word.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


A decision is expected tomorrow (Wed 10/12/2001) on the pending evictions at Dale Farm.

The following is a trailer for the film


"A powerful new film comparing the racist eviction of Dale Farm with human
rights abuses in Hawaii and Palestine, and much wider social struggles
against the entire system of injustice."

I really recommend you watch this 6 minute film

Monday, October 10, 2011


I am very pleased to tell that Elizabeth Shepherd, the woman who wrote the article about Lolo Diklo and the Traveling Museum project for the Vashon Beachcomber, won first place for Best Arts Article in 2010 for that  article.
It was awarded by the Washington State Newspaper Association.

It is an excellent article, and Elizabeth and her entire family are consistently supportive of the Romani.

Congratulations and thanks Elizabeth


Here's a direct link to the blog post of the original article




PHOTO Lilliah Walker, 5, Omaha/Winnebago/Lakota joined in the protest of Columbus Day. (Carol Berry)

Smoldering and flaming, copies of two documents that initiated the destruction of Native culturesres went up in smoke to loud cheers October 8, as opponents of the Columbus Day Parade in Denver widened their attack to include Wall Street, the Keystone XL pipeline, sacred sites desecration, and other manifestations of the Columbian legacy.

Burned were a Papal Bull approving the subjugation of Natives and the theft of their lands, as well as a copy of Johnson v. McIntosh, which in 1823 concocted a legal basis for the seizure of Indian lands.

It was street theater worthy of Denver’s earlier Columbus Day Parade protests, which have included the pouring of ceremonial blood in the streets, dolls representing infants killed by invading Spaniards, burnt tipis and other creative expressions of outrage.

The parade protest is almost a Denver tradition. Beginning in 1989 with about 50 dissenters, only three years later the number had swelled to more than 1,000 who, following the red banner of the American Indian Movement (AIM), shouted at parade participants for honoring Columbus, a man they called a mass murderer and slave trader.

This year, parade opponents took Wall Street to task for its human rights failures and, to a lesser extent, charged the local Occupy Wall Street group with failing to acknowledge tribal lands, including Denver, as already occupied and indigenous people as disproportionately afflicted by the fallout from the Columbus-initiated invasion of present-day North America.

Although icy rain diminished parade spectators to a handful, about 100 shouting dissenters held up posters and signs in front of barricades and a line of silent police armed with tear gas and rubber bullets. The parade opponents condemned the Columbian legacy of brutality and inequality, sacred sites desecration, and the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, expected to be approved by President Barack Obama, who “will be held accountable” about it when he visits Denver October 24.

The Native dissenters in Denver are among the first who are telling the growing anti-Wall Street protest movement, including Occupy Denver, that indigenous issues should be foremost when they castigate the financial sector for corporate malfeasance and greed.

The Native critics also said they would “stand in solidarity with the Cree nations,” whose territories are located in occupied northern Alberta, Canada, in their opposition to the tar sands development, “the largest industrial project on earth.” They are requesting that Obama prohibit domestic transportation or use of tar sands-derived oil.

“If this (Occupy Denver) movement is serious about confronting the foundational assumptions of the current U.S. system, then it must begin by addressing the original crimes of the U.S. colonizing system against indigenous nations,” stated a position paper issued by local AIM. “Without addressing justice for Indigenous Peoples, there can never be a genuine movement for justice and equality in the United States.”

The Native dissidents called on Occupy Denver to adopt a number of positions that included repudiating the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, endorsing indigenous self-determination, and requiring the “free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous Peoples before potentially adverse actions are taken affecting their lands or resources.

Make no mistake, one protester said, an end is still sought to Columbus Day—which began in Denver in 1907—and a farewell to the parade, sponsored by the Sons of Italy New Generation. But this year’s protestors emphasized that they don’t “hate Italians” and that the Wall Street, pipeline, and other issues are an outgrowth of the Columbian legacy of greed, excess, exploitation and materialism.

In the AIM tradition, a young girl carrying the canupa led the group confronting the parade: she was Shyela Cross, 11, Oglala Lakota.

Among coordinators of the Native youth protesting the parade were Sky Roosevelt-Morris, Shawnee/White Mountain Apache, 20; Tessa McLean, Ojibwe, 23; Scott Jacket, Ute Mountain Ute/Dine’, 24, and Glenn Morris, Shawnee, a leader of Colorado AIM and a professor of political science at the University of Colorado-Denver, all of whom addressed the demonstrators.

“We are the youth and we are here to step up to the plate,” Jacket said. Morris termed Columbus “a poster boy for imperialism and colonialism” and “the first white guy who showed up.”
One comment I have to make is that the annual AntiColumbus Day activities in Denver began years ealier than 1989.  I lived in Denver from 1974-1981 and attended the march and rally every one of those years, small though they were.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


‘We'll save Lansdowne from proposed travellers' site’


10:00am Friday 7th October 2011
By Steven Smith

A CAMPAIGN group has been formed against a proposed travellers’ site in Bournemouth.
The land off Park Road, Lansdowne, is the only one in Bournemouth to be “shortlisted” – three others have been marked for ‘possible further investigation’.

A wooded area bordered by two main roads to the north and east and a car park to the south, it is proposed that it would house 10 transit pitches.

On Wednesday, a meeting was held in Lansdowne to discuss the plans.

Alex De Freitas held the meeting at her restaurant in Lansdowne Road.

She said: “We had a great attendance from both the business side and residents of Lansdowne.”

The group will now work under the banner of Save Lansdowne and is setting up a website and online petition. They will meet again next Wednesday at 6.30pm.

Alex added: “All the residents have offered their time and support to do campaign flyers. It’s unbelievable support.

“Everyone had a story to tell about previous experiences of travellers’ sites.

“Some people were very emotional, in tears, especially the older residents. Some had concerns that they would not be able to get to Asda through Park Road.

“Everyone’s message was the same, we’re not against the travellers, what we are against is the travellers’ site at Lansdowne, that message came across time and time again.”

But Basil Burton, chairman of the National Romani Rights Association, said protesters were showing prejudice in their attitude.

“How do they know that travellers would cause trouble?

“There are gypsy and traveller families living in my road and they cause no trouble at all.”

The site would only be available as a short-term solution as it is part of a proposed Wessex Way junction improvement.

Councils have been asked by the government to find potential travellers’ sites in their districts.
I encourage readers to go to this website to view the comments.  They are very interesting.
Also, a decision is expected on Wednesday 12 October on the evictions at Dale Farm.
And the beat goes on.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Gypsy flag to fly above town promenade

A gypsy flag is to be flown on the promenade at Aberystwyth after it was supported by councillors


The town prides itself on the 52 flagpoles which grace its seafront, all flying European or other national flags.

Town councillors have now provoked a row by agreeing to include the Romany Gypsy flag.
Supporters of the move say they want to mark the area's "long tradition of gypsies".

But opponents say they'll either have to remove a national flag to make room for it - or put up an extra pole.

Aled Davies, who represents Aberystwyth on the town council and is a member of Ceredigion County Council, said: "I was wondering why they supported it, as those flags are supposed to be for small nations, and the gypsies don't have a nation as such.

Should we really spend money on a flag and flag pole during the current economic climate? In my view no we shouldn't.

"And I don't believe we should get rid of another flag to make way for this one."

Town councillors in Aberystwyth agreed to display the Romany Gypsy flag - a blue and green flag with a red cartwheel - despite the concerns of some members.

It was officially adopted as the Romany flag in 1971.

After receiving a letter asking for their backing, town councillors agreed it was something they would support, although the final decision will rest with Ceredigion County Council.

Plaid Cymru councillor Mark Strong said at Aberystwyth Town Council's meeting: "There's a long tradition of gypsies in mid and north Wales and they've done quite a bit for the culture over the centuries, so I think this is something we should strongly support."

However, with no empty flagpoles, the county council will now have to decide whether to replace an existing flag or erect another flag pole.

The flags along the promenade are based on three categories: flags of the minority nations of Europe; flags of other EU member countries and flags of countries which are the origins of significant numbers of visitors to Ceredigion.

A Ceredigion County Council said: "The display of flags on Aberystwyth promenade has attracted a great deal of interest over the years and is viewed as a popular attraction for visitors from all over the world.

"We receive many suggestions with regard to the display of new flags, however, the display is dictated by the limited space available and adherence to the guidelines is therefore necessary."

The Aberystwyth promenade has 52 flagpoles, including the flagstaff adjacent to the paddling pool on the north promenade: 30 flags south from the pier, 22 flags north from the pier.
We are in the process of moving so there may be some gaps in posting.  We will make sure we don't miss many days.  When we get the computer service moved it may require a few days without internet service. That is not scheduled until late October/early November.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Granada, Spain, 23-25 October 2011

The Third International Conference of Roma Women organised by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Instituto de Cultura Gitana of the Ministry of Culture, the Spanish Government and the International Network of Roma Women (IRWN) will take place in Granada , Spain , in October this year.

Giving a voice to the voiceless was the theme of earlier Council of Europe Roma women conferences and this latest event will again aim to ensure that the voices of the Roma women remain heard and, more importantly, listened to. The importance of providing a platform for Roma women to express the plight of their communities, whilst striving for social justice and the protection of their human rights, cannot be over-emphasised. Through first-hand accounts, Roma women have been given the opportunity at previous conferences to express their vulnerability both within and outside of their communities and to network and, in doing so, have become valuable interlocutors for governments and international organisations.

International organisations such as the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (FRA), the OSCE/ODIHR and the Governments of Sweden and Greece joined forces with the Council of Europe for the first two international conferences of Roma women. At the 2007 conference in Stockholm , the Roma women present expressed the wish to see future meetings organised by different governments. In this respect, Greece hosted the second conference in Athens in 2009, which focused on the responses to different challenges such as changing the negative perception of Romnia in the media, the elimination of harmful practices such as early marriages and forced sterilisation, and the promotion of entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

After Stockholm and Greece , it is the turn of Granada to welcome the world’s Roma women.

This third international gathering will take the form of a World Congress bringing together Romnia from different continents (Europe, Asia, America and Africa ) who will contribute their ideas and share their experiences. It will address further the priority issues identified at the last meeting in Athens , such as the participation of Roma women in the planning, implementation and evaluation of policies developed with Roma women, access to education for girls, sexual diversity in the Roma woman and harmful practices in the media. Other topics to be explored include cultural issues such as the contribution of Roma to the 21st century, cultural currents embedded in society, internal and external cultural values ​​and identity.

The Council of Europe will cover the travel expenses of one Roma woman representative per Member State . Hotel and meal expenses will be covered by the Spanish organisers.

If you are a Roma women who would like to participate in this unique event, you should firstly express your interest by sending your letter of motivation to before 7th October 2011.

Council of Europe Contact:





Reaction on the occasion of violence against Roma in Bulgaria

Posted on October 4 2011
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
Director Morten Kjaerum
Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
Nils Muiznieks, Chair, ECRI
Independent Expert on minority issues, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Rita Izsák
ODIHR Director Ambassador Janez Lenarcic
ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Andrzej Mirga


This reaction expresses particular concern over the rise of violence and hatred toward Roma in Bulgaria, having in mind that Roma as citizens in EU Member state suffer great damage, loss of human dignity and represent innocent victims. The reality is that we have expansion of extreme violence, hatred and endangered fundamental rights in Bulgaria, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. If 6 out of 27 Member states have violent riots and incidents toward Roma citizens, how do they respect, protect and fulfill basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The situation is more than alarming; I hope urgent actions will be from European institutions and dialogue at the highest level, and Roma officially elected representatives – expressed his concerns Mr. Asmet Elezovski.

Roma are no threat to public security and state order, and generalised assumptions of certain groups that Roma represent threat to public security are not enough convincible. Even worse is the fact that ethnic criteria are being used to explain criminal tendencies.

The mission of FRA “Helping to make fundamental rights a reality for everyone in EU” is not achieved in 6 countries.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in September 2011 issued guidelines – contained in its thirteenth General Policy Recommendation – to the Council of Europe’s 47 member States to fight a rising tide of anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma. All recommendations apply to Bulgaria as well, and should be seriously advocated to be implemented and monitored.

OSCE/ODIHR is not addresses emerging challenges or crisis situations affecting Roma and Sinti, e.g.,by conducting field visits in the wake of crises .

Security must be priority, and now security of European citizens Roma has been endangered Bulgaria as part of European Union. Urgent measures to eliminate and reduce the number of incidents must be applied and international institutions must condemn and publicly urge to stop all forms of violence and to act to support fundamental human rights. Racially motivated extremism is not the way to integration as we all are aware.

But we should be aware that out of 27 in 6 EU Member states Roma citizens are subject to cruel victimization, extremist violence and hatred. Our aim is not to repeat the same questions, but to demand urgent response and solutions!


Monday, October 3, 2011




Wales has launched the first national Gypsy and Traveller Framework in the UK with the aim that whatever people's race, faith or family background, they should have the same opportunities as everyone else

"Travelling to a better future," together with an accompanying Delivery Plan, aims to ensure equality of opportunity for Gypsies and Travellers in Wales and to set out the practical ways the Welsh Government can achieve this.

Minister for Finance and Leader of the House, Jane Hutt, said:" Wales as a nation has always prided itself as a diverse society with a rich mix of cultures and traditions. Gypsy and Traveller culture and heritage forms a part of this diversity.

"We place a high value on people living together in strong and cohesive communities, working together not just for economic benefits, but working together to benefit Wales as a diverse country that embraces difference.

"I am delighted to launch Travelling to a better future today, and hope that the changes that come from this document make a real difference to people's lives."

The purpose of the Framework is to develop an informed direction for the development of policies and initiatives across Welsh Government departments and local authorities with a view to addressing the inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers in Wales.

The documents sets out how the Welsh Government will ensure that Gypsy and Traveller communities have fair and equal access to the key priorities of accommodation, health and education.
Ms Hutt said: "It is particularly important to me that we deliver equality and improve the quality of life for every person living in Wales. Whatever people's race, faith or family background, they should have the same opportunities as everyone else."

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Roma Pride: Marches take place in European cities


Europe, 2.10.2011 09:59, (ROMEA)

Roma Pride marches took place yesterday in several European countries. Several hundred persons convened in the afternoon in Paris for a celebratory assembly to demonstrate the dignity of the Romani people as well as the migratory nations of Europe. A similar event in the center of the Romanian capital of Bucharest was attended by about 300 people.

Agence-France Presse reports that the historic Roma Pride demonstrations also took place in Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, Norway, and Turkey. In Sofia, Romani boys and girls distributed flowers to passers-by in order to reduce the current tensions between ethnic Bulgarians and Romani people there.

Roma Pride events in Paris and other European metropolises demonstrated pride in the Romani nation primarily through Romani music performances. The events also condemned "the racism and discrimination suffered by individuals considered Romani". The co-organizers of the pro-Roma demonstration in Paris, such as the SOS Racisme organization and the French Union of Romani Associations (Ufat), took advantage of the opportunity to express their demands that freedom of movement be respected for all Europeans and that caravans be legally recognized as housing units.

Human Rights Watch expressed outrage at the end of September over the French authorities' practices toward Romani migrants living at campsites. Paris is said to have deported Romani people "en masse" back to their countries of origin in Eastern Europe.

In Romania, the country from which many Romani people have headed to France, the Roma Pride demonstration brought 300 people to the center of the capital. The 2011 census will take place in Romania several weeks from now. NGOs defending the interests of the Romani minority called on the Roma to enter their ethnicity in the census forms.

During the 2002 census, approximately 530 000 Romanian Roma declared their ethnicity. However, according to NGO estimates, as many as 2.5 million members of this minority actually live in the Balkan country.

"Many Roma are afraid or ashamed to openly recognize their ethnicity because they are concerned about discrimination," Marian Mandache of the Romani Criss organization told Agence-France Presse. The demonstrators in Bucharest wore t-shirts that said "I am Romani" in the Romani language.

In Bulgaria, Romani demonstrators took advantage of the long-awaited Roma Pride event to reduce the tensions which have arisen between ethnic Bulgarians and the Roma after a fatal car accident in the town Katunitsa. Bulgarian National Radio reported that ethnic Bulgarians also participated in the pro-Roma demonstration.

ryz, Czech Press Agency, Novinite, AFP, translated by Gwendolyn Albert


Saturday, October 1, 2011



Head for south-eastern Europe now for the Geo Quiz: Roma or Gypsies are spread out in many countries across Europe. They’re often treated as second class citizens and face discrimination. But we’re looking for a European country that’s home to one of the the world’s biggest self-governing Roma communities.

That community is called Shutka, located near the border of Kosovo. It has more than 25,000 residents, its own Roma mayor, TV and radio stations.

So, name this former Yugoslav republic on the Balkan peninsula.

The answer is Macedonia.

In most Roma communities, people live in poverty and have little political power but in Macedonia, Roma participate in a range of public institutions.

And they own and operate one of the only private Roma-language television stations in Europe. Matthew Brunwasser visited the lively neighborhood of Shutka and sent us this report:

When people think of Roma communities, they usually think of scenes like this one: a wedding procession passing through Shutka’s dirty streets.

The small shabby buildings have a rough, do-it-yourself feel. But it makes the place much more homey than many East European neighborhoods, with their endless rows of identical apartment blocks. Another special quality of Shutka is the Roma’s love of music. It is an ethnic stereotype but its also a major component of Roma culture.

One of Shutka’s most famous daughters is Esma Redzhepova. Known around the world as the Queen of Gypsy music. She’s famous for her voice and her lifelong dedication to music and humanitarian causes. She says that Shutka is special because Roma are treated better in Macedonia than elsewhere.

Unlike other countries, Macedonia doesn’t force Roma to accept the majority culture and language.
“We are not assimilated and this is a very beautiful thing,”Redzhepova said. “Macedonia has done us a great favor by not assimilating us. They let us speak Romani normally, everywhere, wherever you want. You can study in Romani. Nobody gets in your way and tells you what to do. I don’t think there is any other country which is more democratic. Look, we have two Romani TV stations, we report our own news, we have a daily newspaper, and they do whatever they want.”

At Shutel television, it’s a quiet news day. News director Ramush Muarem is reading the news headlines in Romani language. Shutel is one of the few private Roma-owned and operated Romani language television channels in Europe. It broadcasts on national cable systems – and the Internet – and produces news and feature programs. While almost all Roma here speak Macedonian, director Muarem says its important for Shutel to broadcast in Romani language.

“We are the protagonists,” said Muarem. “The television itself aims to promote within the Roma people their own culture, ethnic identity, traditions, moral values and their own self-worth.”
A staff member reads “dedications” sent by family members to a relative to congratulate them on getting married. The camera films a photograph of the wedding couple taped to the wall. Its a pretty low-tech operation.

Muarem edits the newscast, including his own, as well as managing reporters, the production team and updating the website.

Muarem says Roma in Shutka and Macedonia are more politically organized than in other countries so they have managed to do many things on their own. In addition to TV stations, many Roma are in high positions, including deputies in parliament and a government minister.

Shutka might well be better off than most Roma communities, but it’s still very poor and undeveloped. In one of Shutka’s many simple cafes, Deputy Mayor Adnan Memed tells me that Roma communities lag far behind others in terms of education, income and infrastructure. And there’s still a long way to go.

“We can’t just wait for the state to help us, here in the Balkans or anywhere else in Europe,” says Memed. “Roma are too dependent on the government, in terms of social welfare or humanitarian activities. We have to enter more deeply into more public institutions in order to manage and finance our own development.”

As an example of Roma exclusion, he mentions the Macedonian government’s current nationalist statue-building craze, raising public monuments to a cast of heroes from Alexander the Great to 19th Century Balkan rebels. Memed says the Shutka authorities had to come up with their own plan, to honor the brothers Ramzi and Hamid, Roma who died fighting with the Partisans in World War II.

“We are going to make a bust where the brothers Razmi and Hamid will be,” said Memed. “Now this might not sound good, but we are waiting for the first Roma MP in the Macedonian parliament, Mr. Abdi Faik to die, and then we are going to place a bust of him here too. We dont have have that many people about whom we can say: ‘hey everyone, here is one of our people, let’s make a bust of him.’”

Macedonia recently took over the rotating leadership of the Roma Decade of Inclusion, a commitment by 12 European governments to improve Roma living conditions and social status.

Roma hope Macedonia’s policy will provide an example to europe to give Roma more say in running their own affairs.