Sunday, March 31, 2013



Associated Press,March 18, 2013



BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary should withdraw a state journalism award given to a TV presenter whose station was fined in 2011 for making derogatory remarks about Gypsies and Jews, Israel’s ambassador said Monday.

Ambassador Ilan Mor said in a statement that Ferenc Szaniszlo’s award was given “to the wrong person for the very wrong reasons.”

“His ideas do not belong in a free and democratic society like the one in Hungary,” Mor said. “While Israel and Hungary are cooperating in fighting against anti-Semitism, such awards might cause (a) negative impression and lead us to the wrong direction.”

In comments made on his show on Echo TV in 2011, Szaniszlo said Gypsies — or Roma — are monkeys and implied that Jews and Roma have carried out anti-Hungarian activities.

Minister of Human Resources Zoltan Balog said he was unaware of Szaniszlo’s remarks and regretted giving him the Mihaly Tancsis award, but said he did not have the power to take it back.

Several earlier recipients of the Tancsis award said they would return the prize because they did not want to be associated with Szaniszlo, who was honored on Friday, even though a panel of journalists advising Balog had not supported the decision.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


This year, International Roma Day, Monday 8 April, is especially important because Romani groups throughout Europe have called for a show of solidarity.

We tried to pull something together but couldn't quite manage. But then we learned about a wonderful night of Flamenco to be presented at the Vashon Island Grange on Monday 8 April at 7:30 PM.

I urge anyone who can to come to Vashon Island and enjoy a wonderful evening of Flamenco. Please come and support these wonderful musicians and dancer.

I believe tickets can be purchased at

I really hope to see allies there to celebrate flamenco and INTERNATIONAL ROMANI DAY.


UPDATE: if anyone cannot attend the event but wants to contribute, they can buy a ticket or donate to the kickstarter campaign

These are good people who have taken on a monumental task in hopes of bringing authentic Flamenco to everyone.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013






Roma communities across Europe are organizing for celebrations of their culture that will include demonstrations and encampments in resistance to a rise in anti-Roma racism. A wide range of events are planned in early April in support of the 42nd Roma Nation Day on April 8.

The actions will include an encampment near the European Parliament, a film festival in Skopje, Macedonia, a media conference in Kosovo, and an exhibition in Strasbourg. The International Romani Union will also hold the Eighth World Romani Congress in Sipiu, Romania.

In London, Roma groups from six different countries will meet on April 7 to address racism and challenges facing their communities. The London events will include demonstrations at several embassies to focus attention on anti-Roma violence.

The planned activities honor Roma culture but also serve to unite Romani people and their supporters in the face of ongoing racism, including deliberate segregation of Romani children into poorly funded schools, forced deportations and hate crimes. Europe is home to an estimated 10 to 12 million Romani people.

Economic crisis fuels bigotry

The worsening economic situation workers face across the continent fuels bigotry against Roma communities, and also against immigrants, as politicians work a divide-and-conquer strategy to split the working class and direct public anger away from super-rich elites.

Politicians have often scapegoated the Roma people. An estimated 220,000 to 600,000 were murdered in the Nazi holocaust. Approximately 100,000 Roma people were expelled from their homes in Kosovo in a wave of violence and ethnic cleansing that began in 1999.

In a show of resilience and solidarity, Roma organizers have scheduled a conference, "Roma and the Public Service Media," in Pristina, which had been the site of ethnic cleansing.

Celebrations and demonstrations are not confined to Europe. San Francisco, Houston, Buenos Aires, and Rio De Janeiro are among the cities that will have events. European cities include Paris, Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Genoa and Barcelona.

Organizers in Germany will release thousands of balloons with the blue, green and red colors of the Romani national flag in cities across the country. Berlin, Hamburg and Koln are among the dozen cities that will see the releases.

Cultural celebrations and festivities complement the serious anti-racist nature of the April actions. As Malcolm X famously stated, “You can’t have capitalism without racism.” The Party for Socialism and Liberation stands with the Roma communities as they organize to resist the racist attacks that serve to divide workers.

Sunday, March 24, 2013




TV Nova, the Czech Republic's most-watched private television channel, has managed to acquire video footage of a controversial intervention by municipal police in the town of Rokycany during which a pram with an infant in it was overturned on the street. The 16-month-old boy escaped serious injury through sheer luck.

The video footage was recorded by a camera mounted on the policeman's chest. The footage broadcast on television shows several edits. The police were asking the woman to show them her identification because her dog was not on a leash. According to current law, it is not necessary for individuals to carry identification with them at all times.

The controversial intervention, which was unnecessarily brutal at certain points, has prompted a broad range of responses. A witness to the incident also recorded video footage of it on his mobile phone which has spread through the internet like an avalanche. The video footage recorded by the witness is available here:

Most of those discussing the incident online have not spared the municipal officers harsh criticism. However, once it became clear that the woman involved is Romani, opinions began to spread that she had deserved the intervention and that it should have been even harsher.

Openly racist opinions have been posted, for example, to the news server. User "Lukino" wrote the following: "I won't watch that, but I know one thing for sure - they should have given it to the whore even more!" Another user with the nickname "Tankard" writes: "The kid should be in an institution, the darkie should be in Pakistan and the dog should be given to the gooks." The ROMEA civic association is considering legal action against the operators of the news server and the discussants.

A call has circulated among Romani Facebook users to file complaints en masse against this police intervention and for the case to be objectively investigated. People are also demanding that the ombudsman get involved. Yesterday Romani activist Ivanka Mariposa Čonková wrote the following on her Facebook profile: "I disagree with this police intervention! I am writing a complaint and copying the ombudsman by email. If the reality of this police brutality makes you as outraged as I am, then you can write a complaint too!"

The incident began with the police asking the woman for identification because her small dog was not on a leash. She did not have identification on her, and because she lives near the place where she was stopped, she wanted the officers to accompany her home so she could retrieve it.

On the police video recording provided to TV Nova in edited form, it can be seen that the conflict escalated right at the start, at the moment the officer prevented the woman from going to her 16-month-old son. During the subsequent intervention against the woman, the pram and the officers are knocked over.

The officer claims the woman assaulted him. She admits she pushed him when he refused to allow her to comfort her crying, frightened child.

"I didn't turn the pram over, she did it herself. I was holding her by one arm and she was holding the pram with the other. When I saw she was letting go, I grabbed her and drew her towards me, that was that yanking. She pushed the pram and overturned it," the intervening patrolman told news server

TV Nova contacted a security expert, Andor Šándor, who said the woman should have obeyed the patrolman's instructions. On the other hand, he unambiguously labeled the patrolman's behavior as unprofessional, primarily at the moment when he pushed the woman and refused to allow her to go to her child. The edited video footage recorded by police and provided to the media is available here:

ryz, Nova TV,, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Saturday, March 23, 2013





Minceirs Whiden, Ireland’s Traveller-only forum, is organising a protest as part of the International Roma and Traveller Day. The protest is an opportunity to celebrate Roma and Traveller culture and highlight the discrimination and persecution experienced by Travellers and Roma. Travellers and Roma in Ireland are calling on the Irish Government to develop a strong National Traveller Roma Integration Strategy in order to promote inclusion.

Join the 8th April movement and demand rights for Roma and Travellers.

Where: European Commission office, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2

When: 12 noon, 8 April, 2013

For more information contact Kathleen Sherlock at


International Roma and Traveller Day is a day to celebrate Roma culture and raise awareness of the human rights issues experienced by Roma.

Martin Collins, a board member of Minceirs Whidden and Co-Director of Pavee Point, reminds us about the reasons for celebrating this day;

“On the 8th April 1971 the first Roma Traveller World Congress took place in London. This was the first attempt at trying to unite and give one voice to the many groups working with and representing Roma and Travellers across Europe.”

This day in 1971 also witnessed the formal adoption of the Roma Traveller flag and anthem (Gelem Gelem).

Roma have been part of European societies for centuries. It is estimated that there are approximately 12–15 million Roma living in Europe. During the Second World War an estimated half a million Roma were killed by Nazis in concentration camps.

Roma and Travellers continue to experience widespread poverty, racism and discrimination across Europe. In this context, Roma throughout the world will mobilise on International Roma Day as part of a global protest to highlight and challenge anti-Roma and Traveller racism.

Thursday, March 21, 2013





04/05/2012 | Press release

International Roma Day on April 8 is an opportunity to celebrate Romani culture but also to highlight the persecution and discrimination that Roma people face in all areas of life.

"Stereotyping and negative perceptions of Roma people, embedded by some media and parts of the European public opinion feed discrimination in all spheres of life," said Jezerca Tigani, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.

"Governments must set the example and challenge social prejudices that foster discrimination against the Roma and ensure their equality. Instead, only too often governments neglect their responsibilities to their Roma citizens to the detriment of all."

Numbering between 10 and 12 million people, the Roma are one of Europe's largest and most disadvantaged minorities.

"International Roma Day means nothing if governments fail to guarantee basic rights to Roma" said Jezerca Tigani.

Even as events to mark this important annual event take place, Roma living in Belvil, an informal settlement in Belgrade, Serbia, will spend International Roma Day under the threat of forced eviction.

They were told two weeks ago about the eviction, but have no information about where they will go or what will happen to them.

Yet, a year ago on International Roma Day in 2011, the same Belvil residents were told by the City of Belgrade authorities that they would be resettled in prefabricated houses in settlements around the city. 12 months on, these promises have come to nothing

"This has been a really hard year for Roma in Belgrade, with more than eight forced evictions since last April " said Jezerca Tigani.

"The Serbian government continues to deny Roma the right to adequate housing - as they have done since April 2009, when Roma evicted from another informal settlement near Belvil, and spent International Roma Day, homeless on the side of the road."

In Romania, 76 families, the majority Roma, have to live with the consequences of eviction. They were forcibly evicted from Coastei Street in the centre of the city of Cluj-Napoca in December 2010, and relocated on the outskirts of the city, where they live in overcrowded rooms next to a garbage dump and a former dump for chemical waste. Some of the Romani families were left homeless in the middle of the winter. For over a year they have been fighting for justice.

"We were already socially integrated when living in Coastei Street, we used to have jobs, the children went to high school, we had decent living standards, we had access to the park, etc. Here, by the garbage dump, we feel like in a ghetto, we feel discriminated against from all points of view," evicted Roma people told Amnesty International.
Millions of other Roma live in informal settlements, without adequate housing and often without access to running water or electricity. They are at greater risk of illness, but less able to access the health care they need.

In some countries Romani children are often placed in special schools designed for pupils with "mild mental disabilities" or segregated in separate schools and classes that offer an inferior education. In turn, they are severely disadvantaged in the labour market.

Unable to find jobs millions of Roma cannot access better housing, afford medication, or pay the costs of their children's schooling.

Socially marginalized, the Roma are also politically excluded.

The cycle continues, aggravated by the discrimination that is routinely denying the Roma equal opportunity, equal treatment and the full enjoyment of all their human rights.

Racially motivated violence against Roma is becoming an alarming trend in recent years, with isolated assaults or vigilante attacks targeting Roma settlements or communities.

Following a march attended by up to 2,000 people in the village of Gyöngyöspata by the far-right party Jobbik on 6 March 2011 three vigilante groups patrolled the village for almost a month. During this time, they were threatening, intimidating and harassing Romani residents. The Hungarian authorities failed to react adequately and prevent the abuses.

Instead of counteracting stereotypes and prejudices that fuel intolerance and hatred towards Roma, some governments and public officials actually strengthen them in their public discourse.

"It is time for governments in Europe to honour their obligations and protect their Roma citizens by ending discriminatory policies and practices that violate the human rights of Roma and keep them in a cycle of poverty and marginalization," said Jezerca Tigani.

Romani are asking supporters to light candles on Sunday 8 April, speak to people about the Romani, and where possible, throw flowers into your nearest body of water.
Thank you.






April 8, 2012

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I want to send best wishes to all Roma as they mark International Roma Day. Today we celebrate the history, impact and culture of Romani people. From music and art to science and literature, Romani people have contributed in ways large and small to the fabric of countless societies.

But too often and in too many places, they are forced to live on the margins. They are segregated, beaten, and systematically discriminated against. They are denied access to an education and to jobs. Despite a decade of progress, during this global economic downturn incidents of anti-Roma rhetoric and violence are on the rise.

Romani people are on the frontlines of the struggle for greater human rights and dignity. That is why the United States is working to protect Roma minorities and end discrimination. We are helping improve opportunities for Roma to participate in the political, social, economic, and cultural lives of their communities. Roma everywhere deserve the opportunity to have a better and brighter future. As I said in Bulgaria at a meeting with young Roma professionals, the United States is committed to working with civil society groups and governments to make a real difference in the lives of Roma.

We believe governments have a special responsibility to ensure that members of the Roma community – and all minority communities – have the tools to succeed as productive members of society. So let us continue to forge new partnerships, discover new areas of understanding and respect, and redouble our efforts to address the plight of Roma on behalf of a freer, fairer and more inclusive Europe.
We are grateful to Hillary Clinton for her consistent support of the Romani of Europe.
We do wish she would acknowledge the issues Romani face in the United States.



Ezra Levant apologizes for Roma comments, and faces his boss, on air

18/03/2013 - It’s been six months since Canadian journalist Ezra Levant launched into a nine-minute rant about Roma people on his Sun News Network TV show, The Source. After the segment aired, in which Ezra was reporting on an ethnic crime ring in Toronto, the Canadian Roma community characterized his comments as an “on-air racist hate speech targeting our community.”

Levant referred to Roma people as “a culture synonymous with swindlers … one of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging.”

While the broadcaster, Sun News, apologized at the time and attempted to distance itself from the remarks, Levant has remained quiet - until today.

Levant’s apology on his television show was not requested by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, but rather a voluntary one in which he said regretting using the words “gypsies” and “gypped” and that his rant “will serve as an example of what not to do when commenting on social issues.” He further said, “as someone who seeks to influence the public debate, I have to think about the words I choose. It’s just wrong to slur a group of people. I made the moral mistake of judging people collectively.”

That said, the apology does serve a secondary purpose, as Sun News Network is currently seeking a placement on basic cable from Canada’s broadcast regulator. And the fact that they’ve been dogged by ethics groups over content, and views voiced by Levant, has made that goal more difficult.

After apologizing, Levant interviewed his boss, Sun News Network vice-president Kory Teneycke, who said the network should have never aired the segment in which Levant, “crossed the line.”

Protecting Canada's Roma from Hate speech and Hate propaganda

Statement from Gina Csanyi-Robah, complainant in the Ezra Levant hate propaganda investigation

Re: Sun News host Ezra Levant issues rare apology for Roma ‘slurs’ – March 18, 2013

On Thursday October 11, 2012, I reported a hate crime to the Toronto Police Services and an investigation commenced. This was in response to a nine minute diatribe containing a number of hate inciting statements made by Sun News Network commentator, Ezra Levant, which were broadcast live on public television throughout Canada. Mr. Levant demonstrated a high-degree of deliberate intent aimed at vilifying our community through racist vitriol.

Transcript of Ezra Levant’s broadcast, “The Jew vs. The Gypsies”, broadcast on Sun News Network on September 5, 2012:

“Gypsies aren't a race, they aren't a religion, they aren't a linguistic group. They're the medieval prototype of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a shiftless group of hobos that doesn't believe in property rights for themselves - they're nomads - or for others, they rob people blind! (00:00:09.60)

"Let me stop before you start blowing your hate crime whistle at me for saying Gypsy or gypped. See, political correctness and euphemisms like calling them 'Roma' instead of Gypsy or as the BBC calls them 'Travelers,' well the point of that is to obscure the truth. They're Gypsies and one of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging." (00:58-01:19).

“Being Gypsy isn't like being Black, or being gay, or being a woman, or even Romanian, where many Gypsies come from - just like being from Sicily doesn't make you part of the Mafia. Being Gypsy is a positive choice. Like being a Blood or a Crip. Like joining the Cosa Nostra. For centuries these roving highway gangs have mocked the law and robbed their way across Europe.” (00:07:43.41)

“Yeah. No thanks. I'm not interested in calling them Roma, or Travellers, or having a Human Rights Commission investigate what we as a society have done them wrong and maybe dispatching social workers to them. Hah! The social workers will just have their wallets stolen.” (00:08:14.58)

Although I am thankful, I fear that Ezra Levant's apology this past Monday was not genuine, that he does not sincerely regret his actions, nor does he understand the hurt he caused to me, my family, and my community. It is my belief that the sole purpose of Mr. Levant’s apology was due to the criminal investigation into his public and willful statements made on September 5, 2012. Why didn’t he apologize at the time when the Sun Media Network aired an ‘apology to the Roma people’ on September 17, 2012. Rather, he has remained uncharacteristically silent for the past six months during which time the criminal investigation has been ongoing.

Nothing in life is coincidental. As it happens to be, Toronto Police Service’s Hate Crimes Unit called me on March 7, 2013 and requested an in person meeting at the Roma Community Centre (RCC) on the following Monday, March 11, 2013. I was informed at that meeting that despite them finding enough evidence to move forward, and despite the fact the regional crown attorney had recommended the complaint for prosecution, the Attorney General’s office had decided not to proceed. I was told by both detectives that in their years of experience in this particular role they had ever witnessed a recommendation be rejected. They then informed me that we were all invited to the Attorney General’s office on March 14, 2013 for a sit down explanation at how they had arrived at their decision. This too was a first for these hate crime investigators / detectives.

I was accompanied to the meeting by Human Rights lawyer Mark Freiman, a long time Human Rights Activist, and a member of the RCC Board of Directors. Present at the meeting were the two detectives, their colleague at the Attorney Generals office, the head prosecutor for Ontario, and the Deputy Attorney General. It was an excellent meeting because by the end, despite the concerns of it being a very challenging case that could likely turn into “a bit of a circus”, what I had to say made an impact to such an extend that the Deputy Attorney General, Patrick Monahan, agreed that he would reserve his final decision until after he and his colleagues had more time for “reflection” on this difficult matter.

Ezra Levant made his apology by saying “I attacked a particular group, and painted them all with the same brush. And to those I hurt, I’m sorry.” Following this statement, Sun News vice-president Kory Teneycke who also appeared on Monday’s show, made the following remark to Levant “you crossed the line on this one, but I don’t think it was done for reasons of malice or any ill motivation.”

The careful remarks made by these two men made me realize that someone from the March 14, 2013 meeting may possibility have shared information with them. Other than the terribly poor message that not prosecuting due to a perceived challenge of holding a media personality such as Levant responsible, I had expressed that I was particularly concerned that he had not exemplified any remorse and that I was fearful that he would again attack us Romani people with the same hateful, verbal and psychological aggression. Shockingly, two days later Levant made his public apology, and his boss helped build a defense for “willful promotion of hatred” by declaring that it was likely unintentional. Is his apology due to his fear of prosecution, or are the pebbles being laid for a massive disappointment for me and my community? Has political interference caused another miscarriage of justice for the Canadian Romani community? I guess we will all find out in the coming days ahead.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013



Dear Friends,

It would make us very happy if you could join us for a film screening of an award winning documentary film, Our School, taking place on March 21, the United Nations Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Mona Nicoara, the producer and director, will be present to answer questions at both our free daytime screening for Toronto District School Board staff and students (made possible by Humber Cinemas, the Toronto Police Services Division 11, and the TDSB Equitable and Inclusive Schools Department), and the evening public screening at the Al Green Theatre.

Please see below for more information.

I am really looking forward to see our friends (old and new) at this landmark day for the Roma community. We have never had this type of event in our Canadian Romani history - it truly exemplifies the value of coming together as Canadians (schools, police, and community) to genuinely support anti-discrimination, education, inclusion, equity, anti-racism, and healthy communities.


Thank you my sisters and brothers in Toronto. Morgan

United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – film screening


IN RECOGNITION of the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – The Roma Community Centre presents OUR SCHOOL, a documentary film screening, as an initiative of the Roma Rising/Opre Roma project encouraging Romani youth to defy negative Gypsy stereotypes and break through the barriers of racism.

OUR SCHOOL is an award-winning documentary about four Romanian Roma ("Gypsy") children who participate in a project to desegregate the local school in their small Transylvanian town, struggling against tradition and bigotry with humor, optimism and sass. Shot over four years, the film tells a captivating, bitter-sweet and often funny story about hope, race and discrimination.

6:30 PM – Thursday

Monday, March 18, 2013


Imagine that one day you received notice that you and your whole family must be ready to move within 48 hours. You could take only the possessions you could carry and no one would tell you when you would be permitted to return home. Sound like a bad dream? This happened to over 100,000 United States citizens and legal residents during World War II. Your job is to find out why." ~ Martha Daly

On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed an order "Establishing the War Relocation Authority in the Executive Office of the President and Defining its Functions and Duties." Also known as Order 9066, this order started plans of 10 internment camps where more that 110,000 Japanese Americans would be relocated to. Click here to see the document.

Life in Japanese Internment camps was not a pretty picture. When the United States of America decided to take all Japanese-Americans and put them in internment camps, people were taken away from the places, things, and people that they loved in life. These camps were called America's Concentration Camps, and the U.S. did not realize that they were doing the exact same thing as the nazis.

The camps were fenced, and in each fenced camp there were block arrangements. Each block contained 14 barracks, 1 mess hall, and 1 recreational hall on the outside. On the inside was the ironing, laundry, and men and women's lavatories. Other places in the camp included: dry and cold warehouses, a car and equipment repair and storage, an administration, schools, canteens, a library, religious services, hospitals, and a post office.

Anonymous Poem
Circulated at the Poston Camp


They've sunk the posts deep into the ground
They've strung out wires all the way around.
With machine gun nests just over there,
And sentries and soldiers everywhere.
We're trapped like rats in a wired cage,
To fret and fume with impotent rage;
Yonder whispers the lure of the night,
But that DAMNED FENCE assails our sight.

We seek the softness of the midnight air,
But that DAMNED FENCE in the floodlight glare
Awakens unrest in our nocturnal quest,
And mockingly laughs with vicious jest.

With nowhere to go and nothing to do,
We feed terrible, lonesome, and blue:
That DAMNED FENCE is driving us crazy,
Destroying our youth and making us lazy.

Imprisoned in here for a long, long time,
We know we're punished--though we've committed no crime,
Our thoughts are gloomy and enthusiasm damp,
To be locked up in a concentration camp.

Loyalty we know, and patriotism we feel,
To sacrifice our utmost was our ideal,
To fight for our country, and die, perhaps;
But we're here because we happen to be Japs.

We all love life, and our country best,
Our misfortune to be here in the west,
To keep us penned behind that DAMNED FENCE,
Is someone's notion of NATIONAL DEFENCE!

Poem from University of Arizona Library

The people in the camps had to face other hardships. Many of the camps were located in the desert, and faced unbearable temperatures. The average summer temperatures were over 100 degrees and winter was no better with winter temperatures falling to minus 30 degrees in one of the camps.

Meals in the camps, contained meager portions. Fruit and vegetables were cultivated on the land. They used these to feed the people in the camp. They also used this for commercial consumption. The had livestock that was bred and raised on the land. This was used for food, also.

Sue Tokushige was a young mother of 20, with a 10-day-old baby, when she was sent to a camp in Arizona with her husband. She said the government did not supply milk for her baby. Because she was unable to breastfeed, she fed her daughter only water for 10 days. She recalls with glassy eyes how a doctor told her that, for a person who seemed well-educated, she did not take good care of her baby. 'My daughter still pays for it today, health-wise, for the way our government treated us.'

Some Japanese Americans died in the camps due to inadequate medical care and the emotional stresses they encountered. Several were killed by military guards posted for allegedly resisting orders.

But life did go on in the camps. Children had to be educated, yet the government did not supply teachers. Instead, they looked to the camp members to fill these types of positions and paid them at extremely low wages. If you had two or more years of college you might become an "assistant teacher" who in some cases assumed a full teaching load.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Bernadette Devlin is one of my heroes. She has been for many years.
So, to honor the Irish on St. Patrick's Day, here's to Bernadette Devlin


Bernadette Devlin, a radical feminist and Catholic activist in Northern Ireland, was a founder of People's Democracy. After one failed attempt to be elected, she became the youngest woman ever elected to Parliament in 1969, running as a socialist.

Devlin was part of the August, 1969, "Battle of the Bogside," which attempted to exclude police from the Catholic section of Bogside. Devlin then traveled to the United States and met with the Secretary General of the United Nations. She was given the keys to the city of New York -- and handed them over to the Black Panther Party. When she returned, she was sentenced to six months for her role in the Bogside battle. She served her term after being reelected to Parliament.

She published her autobiography, The Price of My Soul, in 1969, to show the roots of her activism in the social conditions in which she was raised.

In 1972, Bernadette Devlin assaulted the home secretary, Reginald Maudling, after "Bloody Sunday" when 13 people were killed in Derry when British forces broke up a meeting.

Devlin married Michael McAliskey in 1973, and lost her seat in Parliament in 1974. They were among the founders of the Irish Republican Socialist Party in 1974. Devlin ran unsuccessfully in later years for the European Parliament and the Irish legislature, the Dail Eireann. In 1981, she and her husband were victims of an attempted assassination by the Unionist Ulster Defense Association, despite British Army protection of their home.

In more recent years, Devlin was in the news for her support for gays and lesbians who wanted to march in New York's Saint Patrick's Day Parade. In 1996, her daughter Róisín McAliskey was arrested in Germany in connection with an IRA bombing of a British Army barracks; Devlin protested her pregnant daughter's innocence and demanded her release.

In 2003, she was barred from entering the United States and deported on grounds of posing a "serious threat to the security of the United States," though she had been permitted entry many other times.

Friday, March 15, 2013





PHOTO Accused of racism: Manuel Valls (Beta/AP, file)


The Roma living in France say they wish to initiate legal action against Interior Minister Interior Manuel Valls, and accuse him of inciting racial hatred.

They resolved to this step because the minister promised to continue a controversial program of dismantling of illegal Roma camps.

The announcement came after Valls was quoted as telling right-wing newspaper Le Figaro that 20,000 Roma immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania are not interested in integrating into the French society.

According to the minister, this is the case "because of cultural reasons, or because they are part of networks of beggars or prostitution."

Activist group Roma Voice pointed out that the comments were a "pack of lies" aimed at erasing the entire Roma community, AFP reported.

"This interview is a very bad sign," the organization said in a statement, adding that it signaled a tougher policy than the one established in 2003.

The group also announced that it would report Valls' comments to the European Union, which is constantly reviewing the legality of the French policy of systematic dismantling of illegal Roma camps and their return to Bulgaria and Romania.

Last year nearly 12,000 Roma were evicted from camps across France.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013



We would like to invite you to attend a music fundraiser to support the work we are doing to help the Roma community. Our goal is to raise $6,000 to cover our fundraising expenses, organize an International Roma Day Celebration in April, and to provide a small salary for our one full-time office staff member.
• Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
• Time: 7:00 - 11:30 PM*
• Location: Lula Lounge – located at 1585 Dundas St. W. (near Dufferin).
• Admission: $25.00 – RCC Members $12.00

Enjoy the outstanding music of four Romani bands:
• The Gypsy Rebels
• Julius Csoka & Robert Lakatos
• Romani Rota
• UngroDrom

At 8:00 PM there will be an Silent Art Auction of paintings by Romani artists.

*Doors open at 6:00 PM for those who would like to have dinner
– call Lula Lounge (416) 588-0307 for reservations.

We really hope that you will be able to join us to enjoy some fabulous music, perhaps purchase a one-of-a-kind painting, and help strengthen the capacity of the Roma Community Centre.

— Gina Csanyi-Robah and the Roma Community Centre Board of Directors
This is a wonderful group. I'm amazed by the work they do. They seem tireless.
If anyone can support them, please do.

Monday, March 11, 2013


If any of you spammers haven't noticed, I'll say it once again.
I will not publish any anonymous messages anymore, especially those whose comments are totally irrelevant to the post and especially if they have a business website at the end.
These posts always end, and please visit my website..........


This is worth watching.

Celia Stoika is featured.

Friday, March 8, 2013



No Good Deed Goes Unpunished in Guatemala
Tecpán, Guatemala, February 2013

By Alfredo Zarazúa, Guatemala City

Sandra Paredes Rojas, organizer of the Joranda Médica Internacional in Tecpán,

Guatemala, is a Guatemalan health care worker who brought a group of North American
doctors through Helps International to the Centro de Urgencias Médicas, the clinic where she has worked for many years. For her selfless labor, the newly appointed clinic director, Miguel Ángel Calel, banned her from working on the event she had spent a month and a half organizing through her international contacts and which she had
planned and executed in years past.

Director Calel had never met Ms. Paredes Rojas but that did not stop him from deciding that she was an abrasive woman because she tends to say things the way they are. He branded her a troublemaker--which is not surprising coming from one who was recently given his new job by the patriarchal and fascist-like Guatemalan government bureaucracy.

Sr. Calel was appointed Director of the Centro de Urgencias Médicas one year ago
by the rightwing, heavy-handed party in power in Guatemala. Apparently, being the
organizer of an event for the poor and indigenous people of Tecpán and environs was
reason enough for Ms. Paredes Rojas to be treated with vicious discrimination and
machismo by Sr. Calel. It is further proof of the poor treatment that health workers,
especially women, are subject to in Guatemala, where reprisals from official party
bureaucrats is common.

Guerry Hoddersen, speaking on behalf of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) in the US,
called on Director Calel and the Guatemalan government to open the doors of the clinic
to Ms. Paredes Rojas and held them responsible for threats of violence or intimidation
against her. “No worker, whether he or she is a volunteer or not, should be mistreated
for organizing an event to serve the local indigenous people,” she said, “especially an
event that helps them to be healthy and able to live and work with dignity.”


From February 10-17, Ms. Paredes Rojas organized the International Medical Program
2013, which served patients from Totonicapán, San Marcos, Chichicastenango, Sololá
and Sacatepéquez.

This is the second year that she has organized the International Medical Program for the
Centro de Urgencias Médicas in Tecpán. In February 2012, Ms. Paredes Rojas put on a
similar International Medical Program at the same clinic with the help of her international

During the 2012 event, Ms. Paredes Rojas was responsible for doing laundry at the
local Centro de Urgencia Médicas. Her work during the full duration of the International
Medical Program was to wash hospital linens for patients that had surgery for hernias,
gall bladders, breast cysts, harelips, split palates, clubfeet, bunions and hysterectomies,
among others. Her shift started at 7:00am and did not end until midnight. She had to
wash laundry by hand since the machines could not wash all the linens used for 60
surgeries per day. (The doctors had thought to bring medical supplies and equipment
but not washing machines for their visit!)

This year medical services were offered in general medicine, pediatrics, gynecology
and dental work. There were so many patients that it was impossible to accommodate
everyone, so requests for hernia and gall bladder surgeries were denied and no help
was available for the many people with strabismus (weakness in eye muscles or crossed

When the Clinic Director denied Ms. Paredes Rojas access to the event she had
organized, she set up an “office” outside the clinic where she saw patients, registered
them, and gave them a number for a medical consultation with the international

All of Ms. Paredes Rojas’ work is on a volunteer basis and fortunately, the international
specialists supported her, even sharing their food with her. These North American
workers acknowledge that she is the organizer for the Helps International event, whose
purpose is to create an orderly program to assist the legions of people in desperate need
of medical attention. She plays an important role by answering questions posed by the
local people day and night. The doctors know that not just anyone can do that!

Ms. Paredes Rojas’ efforts have borne fruit thanks to the support from the Casa de
la Cultura in Chimaltenango and Tecpán whose members protect her 24 hours a day
so she can remain safe. Otherwise, she could become one more victim of the police
state regime. (If this were to happen, the FSP would mount a public campaign to alert
the medical volunteers and the US government to this abuse of power by the Perez

Ms. Paredes Rojas was interviewed by a Mexican news outlet and asked how much
she had spent on publicizing this event. She replied she did not spend one penny
because she asked “chimalteco” journalists at the Casa de la Cultura in Chimaltenango
for support. One day they all got together and she was interviewed, thus creating free
publicity for the program. She also visited “chimalteco” radio stations and community
radio in Tecpán to get the word out.

In spite of adversity, Ms. Paredes Rojas is deeply thankful to the volunteer doctors for
coming to this community on the Guatemalan high plateau and expressed her gratitude
to the people that attended the event. She also thanked the Freedom Socialist Party for
donating towels, sheets and pillow cases for hospital beds which the clinic desperately
needed. In February, a member of the FSP visited Ms. Paredes Rojas to show solidarity
with her work and gave her encouraging words to help her face the difficulties brought
on by the rightwing, heartless, self-serving Guatemalan regime.

As she pointed out, the only thing the current regime intends to do regarding health care
is to provide its sympathizers with jobs, even though they do not have the necessary
training to work at a medical facility. This can be seen at the Centro de Urgencias
Médicas in Tecpán where the new director has fired 150 workers and put 100 new ones
in their place. These new workers are not familiar with the correct medical practices
necessary to provide quality care for patients at the Centro de Urgencias Médicas
because they lack the necessary experience.



Press Release

It’s time to address the increasing gender inequality faced by Roma women and ensure their active participation in society

8 March 2013

On the International Women’s Day ERIO and Drom Kotar Mestipen call for a focus on the position of Roma women as they suffer from multiple discriminations and social exclusion, both as women and as members of the Roma community. Their lack of education1 due to school absenteeism, segregated schooling, low expectations and racism towards Roma children and the non-inclusion of the Roma culture and contributions in school curricula are some of the factors causing Roma women to be socially and economically excluded and deprived of future employment opportunities.

As the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 states, there is a need to strengthen links with communities, churches and associations through active participation of Roma parents, to improve the intercultural competences of teachers, to reduce segregation and to ensure compliance with the duty to primary school attendance.

Ivan Ivanov, ERIO’s Executive Director notes that “the low educational level of many Roma women is one of the main factors for their social exclusion and poverty. Education is an effective tool to empower Roma women, promote their economic development and active participation in society.

This should be coupled with actions to tackle anti-Roma discrimination to have an effect on the diminished opportunities and poverty that Roma women face”.

Roma women face an increased risk of poverty. We call on the European Commission to ensure that member states implement sufficient measures to address the problems faced by Roma women. We also call on member states to ensure the participation of Roma women in the implementation and monitoring of the National Roma Integration Strategies.

Ana Contreras Fernandez, President of Romani Association of Women Drom Kotar Mestipen states that “In the last years, despite the multiples inequalities we encountered, Romani women have created associations, have actively participated in seminars and conferences where we have claimed our rights and made our voices heard which are many times silenced. Roma are changing mainly thanks to Romani women (grandmothers, mothers and daughters) who have taken a step forward, without leaving aside their most rooted customs, in order to vindicate our most basic rights as full citizens with differences to be respected and dreams to be fulfilled: the dream that our children live in equal terms as the rest of society. It is the responsibility of all of us that this dream becomes a reality.”

Thursday, March 7, 2013


“Nothing About Us Without Us”

“Khanchi Pa Amende Bi-amengo”

Dear Ms Klein:

We are writing to you as supporters, members and members of the Board of Directors of Roma Community Centre, Toronto. As an active and highly-regarded organization at the forefront of the Romani human rights struggle in Canada, RCC is usually contacted or consulted when organizations and institutions plan to hold events about our people. We were therefore surprised to discover – not from conference planners, but from a third party – that a conference on Roma was being organized at the Munk School for Global Affairs. Even though RCC volunteer, Professor Cynthia Levine-Rasky contacted you, offering assistance and a list of prominent Romani academics/ activists as speakers, we had no response to our suggestions.

It is not unusual – but highly egregious – that Roma have been, and continue to be, interpreted and studied by outsiders without our active participation. Although the grad students at Munk School may have had the best of intentions, it is unfortunate that they did not understand the seriousness of excluding the very people about whom they were planning to present (and represent).

Any work with a vulnerable group or one positioned differently in relation to the academics must be done collaboratively: the grad students should have taken the initiative to approach Executive Director Gina Csanyi-Robah and RCC at the outset, inviting her to help shape the program in order to ensure the kind of inclusion that is consistent with social justice principles. The Tri-Council Policy Statement for Research Involving Human Subjects calls this process 'community engagement' when it comes to working with Aboriginal groups to whom one could argue that a refugee group may be compared. Even if this policy may not strictly apply to organization of conferences, the principle is nonetheless essential in dealing with those who have systemically been under-represented and marginalized. The grad students should have consulted with Ms Csanyi-Robah about the program, asking her how she wanted to be integrated into it rather than imposing that on her, at the end, in a limited role. Imposing her role on her is inconsistent with the principles of equity and power-sharing in the spirit of social justice work.

The exclusion of Roma participants seems to be linked to the decision “to keep to an academic focus” (from a letter by Ms Jenna Hay to Gina Csanyi-Robah). Roma and the groves of academe are not mutually exclusive. As you know, we have academics in many fields, some of whom have been excluded from the conference. In her letter to Ms Csanyi-Robah, Ms Hay continued: “the organizers are committed to the original vision …… that is primarily focused on the Roma in Europe” without learning that many of our academics share this focus, and from a Romani perspective. In fact, the Roma academic perspective is critical to the three areas outlined in your call for papers. (Romani scholar Dr. Ethel Brooks presented in January at the UN on the Roma Holocaust – culminating years of persistent effort by Roma to have a Romani speaker included for the first time.)

We fail to see how the inclusion of Roma would in any way interfere with students’ work in the conference’s organization and goals. Indeed, they could have gained valuable experience and insights from RCC. Clearly the organizers did not heed Cynthia Levine-Rasky’s point in her September 25th letter that “it would be unfortunate if there were to be yet another conference about a group of people (be they Indigenous, refugees, Roma, or other groups) who were excluded from the discussion.”

It is imperative that any conference in which a marginalized and persecuted ethnic group is discussed or studied must have fair consultation and representation (especially when a representative body already organized by this group actually and actively exists). Under whose guidance was it deemed fit to exclude us? For too long we have been studied, written about, filmed, and discussed; for too long we have been isolated from academic discourse, and your conference is continuing this practice. In your intention to study Roma as “Europe’s Outsiders: The Persecution, Isolation, and Integration of the Roma (1945–the Present)” you have unfortunately cast Roma in a similar position here in Canada: we have been relegated to the margins, excluded, isolated, and have been made the outsiders – once again – at this conference.


Roma Community Centre Board of Directors
Michael T. Butch President, Roma Community Centre

Ronald Lee
Vice President, Roma Community Centre
Former Instructor
The Romani Diaspora in Canada
NEW 343 H1S, 2003-2008
New College
University of Toronto

Jen Plyler Danch
Secretary, Roma Community Centre

Kole Kilibarda

Caitlin Hewitt-White

DAVID s Beleznay

Amarna Moscote

Michael Griesz

RCC Executive Director
Gina Csanyi-Robah

RCC Supporters and Members
Ian Hancock, Ph.D.
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics
College of Liberal Arts
University of Texas at Austin
Romani Archives and Documentation Centre

Debbie Folaron
Associate Professor
Translation Studies
Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Arielle Dylan, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Social Work
St. Thomas University
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
E3B 5G3

Cynthia Levine-Rasky, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Mackintosh-Corry Hall
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario
Canada K7L 3N6

Ethel Brooks
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Women's and Gender Studies
Associate Professor
Departments of Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology
Rutgers University
162 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

William L. Bila
Former Vice President, Roma Community Centre
Paris, France

Lynn Hutchinson Lee
Multidisciplinary artist, co-founder of chirikli collective
Chair, RCC Social Justice Committee
Toronto, Ontario
and many others.



Originally called International Working Women's Day.

Here's the statement from IWD Seattle

Into the Streets for International Women's Day!

Together, we’ll SPEAK the truth about the global war on women and MARCH to politically confront Seattle institutions that promote and reinforce the enslavement and degradation of women.

See their facebook page for more information.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013



Socialist organizer and union hell-raiser shares the secrets of his success


February 2013


PHOTO 1980s: Noble being interviewed by the press on an information picket line at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Photo: FS archives

Henry Noble served as National Secretary of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) for 15 years, from 1995 to 2010, and is currently the party’s National Labor Coordinator. Born in 1939 in the Bronx, New York City, Noble has organized and supported scores of unions and strikes and social justice struggles, always keenly aware that the most militant fighters come from the ranks of the most afflicted.

Noble has traveled to Australia to speak to a Socialist Alliance convention and to Belfast, Ireland during the deadly British occupation. His consistent solidarity with workers of the world, from Iraqi oil workers to South African miners to Palestinians’ right of return, is characteristic of the FSP’s commitment to international socialism.

This selection is from an interview of Noble by Lois Danks on Dec. 10, 2012 in Seattle, Wash. Danks worked with Noble at the University of Washington in the 1970s.

FS – How did you get started as a labor rabble-rouser?

HN – My brothers and sister are rabble-rousers too, so I think it was our upbringing. Our parents were Jewish — Dad was an immigrant who came from Poland at age 10 and Mom was raised in an orphanage. They taught us working-class consciousness, and we became more political when the family lived in Florida during the Civil Rights era.

I got started in labor as an extension of my politics. In Boston I was involved with the anti-Vietnam War fight in 1968, and I talked about it with people at the mental health center where I worked as a computer programmer. They drafted me to be secretary-treasurer of AFSCME Local 1718 because of my politics.

FS – You’ve taken part in many unions and helped form independent unions?

HN – When I moved to Seattle in 1971 my job was at the University of Washington Computing Center. A campus fight against a lowered wage scale came about, because the state tried to compress the job classifications from all of the universities and colleges into one. So clerical workers began organizing the Staff Rights Organizing Committee (SROC) and I joined them.

One of the concepts that came out of that struggle was the idea of comparable worth, which SROC initiated because of our emphasis on racist and sexist discrimination. With the help of the party and Radical Women, SROC called the first strike in Washington State’s higher education history, and then formed United Workers Union-Independent, which was focused on the needs of lowest paid workers. If you raise up those at the bottom, we figured, you raise everybody up — not that trickle down bullshit.

Later I worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and was a leader in the struggle to form a union that included most everybody, from janitors through researchers. “Hutch” management fired me. But the employees and I fought it and won my job back. After I retired from 10 years at Boeing, I and a few other pensioners led thousands of retirees in support of the Aero Machinists strike in 1995.

FS – What’s your assessment of the labor movement today and what’s to be done?

HN – The labor movement has had to change because the work force is now a majority women, people of color, immigrants and other beleaguered folks. And they’re the best fighters! But the walls of discrimination still exist.

The party has played a dynamic role in the effort to change the movement. We’ve been in the forefront of every fight for union democracy. We help our members get union jobs and become loyal unionists who fight for workers everywhere, here and across the seas. We have fought hard for labor solidarity, affirmative action, civil rights, equal pay for equal work, and against sell-out contracts, on campuses and work sites.

That’s our role in unions, to speak up for the most oppressed. Through it all, we point out how the Democrats fail every time to represent the workers’ interest — just the opposite! — and don’t deserve the millions and millions of dollars they get from unions every time there is an election.

Today, the movement is in a crisis. Unions are losing legal protections and membership, partly because of very high unemployment. But it is also a product of the labor leadership repeatedly telling the rank and file to go slow, like one-day symbolic strikes that accomplish next to nothing.

Masses of Wisconsin public workers could have shut down state government to protect their right to organize, but their leaders channeled all that union power into a recall effort against the Republican governor and a failed effort to elect a Democrat in his place — a candidate who promised in the campaign he would not be accountable to the unions. That is no way to win a war!

Well-organized rank-and-file longshore workers on the West Coast militantly defended the union with solidarity from other unions and community groups, but their national leaders stepped back. The same thing happened to Chicago teachers recently. But a change is coming. I can feel it. U.S. workers aren’t going to take these assaults endlessly and passively. And then look out!

The U.S. working class must look beyond its own borders, because capitalism is a global menace. Several unions attempt to organize internationally, but much of officialdom prefers China-bashing and chanting “Buy American,” instead of organizing with workers — including the Chinese! — who are plagued by the same multinational corporations.

Unions came into existence to defend workers from capitalism. But the best way to defend our class is to end capitalism, and a great many unionists have come to the same revolutionary conclusion.

FS – You’ve been a socialist and a party member and leader for a long time. Why?

HN – The party and Radical Women played leading roles in organizing against discrimination at the University of Washington. I was interested in the political theory party members studied and developed. And I greatly respected its socialist feminist, anti-racist politics. So it was an easy decision to join and it’s been a defining part of my life for many decades.

I’m convinced that if you want to contribute to a better world, you can be the most effective if you join a revolutionary organization. It extends your abilities and impact many times over. In the party I have absorbed some critical life tools: the theoretical wealth of works by Marx and Lenin and Trotsky and Clara Fraser; a rational world view — dialectical materialism; and the lessons of a successful revolution in 1917 Russia.

This party is a rare organization — multi-generational and multi-racial — and I predict that more and more young women and men are going to make the same decision to join that I did, not that long ago.

FS – As a retiree, you’re still organizing. What are you up to?

HN – I am a member of IAM Local 751 and work on many campaigns. I helped immigrant workers organize an AFSCME interpreters union, assisted UFCW with grocery contract fights and many others. It’s been a privilege to meet and work with a new crop of young, dedicated union organizers in these struggles.

As you can tell, I relish organizing. I think everybody ought to be in a union — it’s a vital tool for working people.

Another reason I keep fighting is my grandkids. How can I leave them a more difficult life than I’ve had? That would be all wrong!
I've had the privledge of working with Freedom Socialist Party/Radical Women and Henry Noble for many years. They are consistent allies in the struggles of all oppressed and impoverished peoples.

Monday, March 4, 2013



Spanish flamenco star Israel Galván shows support for community facing eviction



PHOTO A Gypsy woman dances at an event organized by flamenco star Israel Galván (right, wearing orange pants) in the outskirts of Paris. / M. FEDOUACH (AFP)

During his presidential campaign, François Hollande promised a different immigration policy from that of his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. "There will be no mass deportations, just on a case-by-case basis," said the Socialist candidate to the French presidency. "No minority will be stigmatized or used as a scapegoat."

Yet nine months after coming to power, this promise has melted away. Interior Minister Manuel Valls has even broken the deportation record held by his predecessor, the ultra-conservative Claude Guéant. Last year, 36,822 foreigners were sent back to their countries, an 11-percent rise from the 33,000 deportations of 2011, according to official figures.

A third of these deportees were European citizens: Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsies

Several episodes of discrimination in recent weeks suggest that Hollande and Valls' immigration policy is identical to that of Sarkozy and Guéant, as human rights associations claim. In Marseille, pregnant women and children were illegally deported. In Paris's 15th district, Gypsy children were barred from admission to school. In Val-d'Oise, Roma pupils were denied access to the school cafeteria.

Stéphane Maugendre, leader of an immigrant support group called GISTI, has complained about "the brutality and abuse" of the authorities against Gypsies, emphasizing that this persecution is used as "a bargaining chip in an increasingly critical economic and social context."

Persecution is used as a bargaining chip in an increasingly critical context"

The most disturbing case of discrimination is currently taking place in Ris-Orangis, a dormitory town 23 kilometers from downtown Paris, south of Orly airport and very near Evry, the municipality where Interior Minister Manuel Valls -- who is originally from Barcelona --- built his legend as a politician/gendarme.

The mayor of Ris-Orangis -- a desolate place with buildings dating back to the 1960s and hardly a white face in view -- is Stéphane Raffalli, a Socialist politician from the province of Essone, where Valls and the party's main voter base is. Raffalli declared war on the illegal Gypsy shantytowns, and in August of last year he targeted a bidonville (shantytown) built by several Romanian families on an empty lot under a freeway.

His goal of razing the shacks, however, met with opposition from the actual owner of the land, the Conseil Général (provincial authority). Far from backing down, the mayor made his next move: in September, he refused to let 13 children from the shantytown attend the local school.

"It is an obvious case of apartheid," says Sébastien Thiéry, founder of an association named Perou, which has built an "embassy" at the makeshift town: a great big pinewood cabin that doubles as a church and a drawing workshop.

Raffalli claims that the classrooms are already full, that the children's paperwork is incomplete and that he has no resources to manage "so much poverty." For now, all he has agreed to is to place the Gypsy children, aged between four and 12, in a special classroom, which is actually a gym annex.

Galván is in Paris with his stage show about Nazi persecution of the Roma

It still seems better than the solution they came up with in Saint-Fons, in the outskirts of Lyon, where Roma children are going to class inside a police station. Non-profit groups have defined this new concept with the expression "ethnic classes," and both the Education Ministry and the ombudsman, Dominique Baudis, continue to demand that the children be admitted into regular school.

Anne, a young volunteer at the camp, notes that "mayors know that if the children are enrolled in school, it is much harder to throw out their families."

Back at the shantytown, last Friday was a day of celebration. The Spanish flamenco star Israel Galván, whose mother is Gypsy, had come to learn about the situation first-hand and to perform for its inhabitants. Galván is currently in Paris with his stage show Lo Real , a personal interpretation of Nazi persecution and the Gypsy holocaust, known as the Porajmos, which took the lives of 600,000 Roma and Sinti Gypsies.

There are around 30 shacks in this particular bidonville, each more precarious than the next. The earth is dark and damp, and there is no electricity or running water. It is home to 130 adults and 40 minors. Many of the children were born in France because their families arrived here 10 years ago, explains Dragomir, a young father of three. Dragomir says that he arrived in Paris in 2004, that he has been evicted "16 times" since then, that all the residents of this shantytown are from the same village, Bius, and that 80 percent of them are Roma.

The hosts of the party have set up a wooden platform covered with blue canvas so Galván can perform for them, and a sign over the entrance reads one of his own thoughts: "I am using up now the energy I won't have one day."

Wearing running shoes, orange pants and an anorak, Galván dances bulerías and tonás (one of the oldest flamenco genres), and when he ends he looks happy and even moved: "I have seen many faces like my grandmother's," he says. "It's incredible that the pictures from the 1940s that we used to prepare the show look a lot like this. Now the piece has more meaning. Lo Real is a personal look, not a political one, at the Gypsy genocide, about death. It's about the notion that despite all the troubles, what saves us Gypsies is our cheerfulness, our energy, our joie de vivre. Seeing the joy of these people makes me think we got it right; it's like closing the circle. But the best gift would be to know that the performance served to help them."

"What the mayor's office is doing is illegal," insists the activist Sébastien Thiéry. "It was already happening when Sarkozy was in power. It is done by many leftwing and rightwing mayors. It's not a party thing, it is French society that is sick of and obsessed with the Gypsies."