8 injured following Moroccan's murder

By Houda Filali-Ansary 5/30/2005

Eight people were injured last night in Perpignan in new clashes between the North African and the Gipsy communities following the murder of a North African, the second one in less than 10 days.

Hundreds of young North Africans took to the streets last night in the French city of Perpignan following the murder of a French-Moroccan. The man, whose last name is still unknown, had been shot four times outside his home in the Saint-Mathieu district around 7:30 p.m.

43-year-old Driss was the second North African to be murdered in the city in a single week. The previous Sunday, Mohamed Bey-Bachir, a 28-year-old French-Algerian, had been beaten to death by five Gypsies over a parking place. The murder had triggered clashes between the North African and the Gypsy communities for a whole week.

Last night's outbreak came as tempers were starting to calm down. Eight people were injured in yesterday's riots and 37 others arrested, announced local police sources. Two of the injured had been shot, the others suffered injuries from knives and broken glass bottles.

In addition, over 100 fires were started and 50 cars burned, leading most of the local police forces to spend the night in Perpignan's Cassanyes square to prevent both communities from clashing again.

Additionnal CRS anti riot police units were also called for reinforcement, from the cities of Toulouse, Marseille and Bordeaux. More…

Quote of the Week

"We are not made or unmade by the things that happen to us, but by our reaction to them." - Author unknown

Nazi row lawmaker refuses to quit

An Austrian legislator has retracted a promise to resign over remarks he made expressing sympathy to the Nazis.

Siegfried Kampl also said he would take up the rotating post of president of the upper house of parliament in July.

He had said he would relinquish his seat amid pressure from all sides after he deplored the "brutal persecution" of Austrian Nazis after World War II.

Last month, he said his father was a member of Adolf Hitler's Nazi party like "more than 99%" of Austrians.

He also referred to Austrian deserters of Nazi Germany's armed forces as "assassins of battle comrades".


Slovakia criticised by AI for action against Romanies

Bratislava, 25. 5. 2005 (CTK)

Slovakia is criticised for brutal suppression of Romany riots in its eastern part last February in the 2004 annual report of Amnesty International (AI), published today. "In February protests by members of the Roma minority in Eastern Slovakia, which were reportedly sparked off by changes in the social welfare policy, escalated in some instances into rioting and looting," AI writes.

"In some cases police officers resorted to excessive use of force, verbal racist abuse and other deliberate acts of ill- treatment. Many of those arrested were not allowed to contact their family, a lawyer or anyone else, and were denied access to a doctor of their choice. Three women held in pre-trial detention reportedly had their hair cut off against their wishes," AI writes.

"According to the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) and the Center for Roma Rights in Slovakia (CRRS), around 250 police officers went to the town in the early hours purportedly to arrest people suspected of theft, destruction of property and assaulting police in disturbances that had taken place in Trebisov the previous evening," it adds.

The disturbances broke out on February 24, 2004. Local Romanies, dissatisfied with some welfare cuts, plundered local shops and there were riots with the police.

AI points to the case of "Radoslav Puky whose body was found on 7 March in the Ondava river close to the Romani settlement. He had last been seen fleeing police officers on the day of the police action in Trebisov. An autopsy report reportedly established that he had died as a result of violence, not drowning. The results of an investigation had not been made public by the end of the year."


Ombudsman receives 68 complaints about sterilisation

Prague, 19. 5. 2005 (CTK)

The Czech Ombudmsan's office has received 68 complaints about sterilisation, mainly from Romany women, which are now being assessed by the Health Ministry's commission of experts, Ombudmsan Otakar Motejl said on BBC radio today.

The commission has checked more than a half of the cases. After the check is completed, Motejl will draw up a summary report. Its first version could appear in June, he said. The commission, whose establishment Motejl initiated, is also to say whether the cases of sterilisation were in harmony with law and medical ethics.

Motejl said he had expected hundreds of complaints. "Many women realise that at the moment I start dealing with it, the matter becomes public, more or less," Motejl said. Many women may have been discouraged by fear of their partners' reaction.

Sixty-four of the complainants are Romanies, Motejl said. "It can be judged that the affected women come from the intellectually worse-equipped part of society, which could have been somehow handicapped in communicating with the bodies involved," Motejl said.

"By no means can this low figure be used to draw any conclusions about the system, concept, or racial subtext aimed at a sort of almost genocidal solution to the Romany population problem," Motejl said.

According to him, it is impossible to solve similar cases with the aid of law only, since ethic is necessary as well. "The paternalist concept of medical services is outdated in a certain sense. We'll have to quickly realise the European civilisation standard where the doctor is not the absolute and only authority deciding on the life and death," Motejl said.

Suspicions concerning sterilisation of women in the Czech Republic surfaced last autumn when the European Centre for Romany Rights came up with them. The centre said that in some cases, the women either did not agreed with the sterilisation or did so in emergency or under the threat that they would be otherwise stripped of social allowances.


Prescott Gives Gypsies Another 18 Months

By Simon Evans, PA

John Prescott today allowed gypsies at least another 18 months at a site where they have been illegally camped for the past two years.

He announced this in a letter to North Wiltshire District Council which is trying to evict the group.

Sixteen families have been living in caravans at Minety, Wiltshire, since 2003 after they bought a three-acre plot there.

On moving to the site they laid concrete, dug trenches and installed power cables without planning permission. More...

Majority of Czechs have negative relation to Romanies - poll

Prague, 25. 5. 2005 (CTK)

Some 63 percent of Czech citizens have a negative relation to Romanies, while only about 5 percent have a positive relation to them, according to an April STEM opinion poll released today. One-third of people said they have a slightly negative relation to Romanies and one-fifth said their relation to them is definitely negative. One in ten respondents admitted he feels aversion to Romanies.

The poll showed that people under 29 and those more educated have a more positive attitude to Romanies. On the other hand, the most critical of them were inhabitants of small municipalities. The society's relation to Romanies has been improving in the long term, however. The number of people who reject Romanies has decreased by 10 percent as compared with a poll carried out 10 years ago. The number of those who have the same relation to them as to other citizens increased from 19 to 23 percent in the past 10 years.

About 23 percent said that the rights of the Romany minority should be observed more closely. People with a university degree pronounce this opinion most often.
According to official statistics, 12,000 people, or 0.1 percent of the population, declared they are of Romany nationality. But the government council for minorities estimates the number of Romanies in the country at 150,000 to 200,000.



Surprise, surprise...NOT. And does anyone think that it is different in the West, even in those countries where it is illegal to be a racist? It is not. And I believe that that is one of the very reasons, amongst others, to rearrange the "ethnicity" status of Romani-Gypsies in the UK (and elsewhere) by, especially, including the Irish Travellers under the header "Gypsies".


Joy as gypsies are told they must move on

May 26 2005

By Rebecca Haylings

GYPSIES who bought a tranquil beauty spot at Pangbourne Hill and turned it into a permanent caravan site have been told they must leave.

Villagers were rejoicing yesterday (Wednesday) after Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott backed his planning inspector's decision to reject the travellers' bid to stay.

There was fury last May when the travellers secretly bought the field and laid enough concrete hard standing to take 16 caravans without applying for planning permission.
West Berkshire Council's eastern area planning committee refused a retrospective application in August when villagers protested the site was in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and breached local plans. More...

Conference aimed at improving Romany situation begins in Prague

Prague 26. 5. 2005 CTK

Integration of Romanies in central and eastern Europe with societies and improvement of the quality of their lives is the topic of a two-day international conference which began in Prague today. It is attended by representatives of the governments of eight countries which have joined the Decade of Romany Integration international project, as well as representatives of international non-governmental organisations and Romany organisations.

The project will put an emphasis on the effectivity of earmarked financial means, coordinator of its Czech part, Deputy Justice Minister Ivo Hartmann, said.

The Decade of Romany Integration project has been developed by the World Bank and the Open Society Institute. The countries which have joined it pledged to improve the conditions of Romanies in 2005-2015.The Czech government decided in January to join the project. It has also been joined by Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia and Montenegro.

The Czech Republic has set the goal of improving the position of Romanies as regards education, employment, housing and health. Hartmann said that the government annually earmarked about 100 million crowns to support Romanies. This sum could considerably grow in the future thanks to the subsidy from the European Union preparatory funds. The Czech Republic will be able to draw up to 140 billion crowns a year from these funds in 2007- 2013.

"Only part of these means, however, can be used for the integration of the Romany community, especially for their social integration, their employment and inclusion in the economy," Hartmann told CTK.

The EU has not yet decided how much money the Czech Republic will receive and it is therefore impossible to say how much money the government will set aside for Romany needs.

The quality of concepts presented by individual governments is decisive for the integration of Romanies, Hartmann said, but added that their cooperation was useful.

"These international activities provide the possibility for us to learn experience in other countries to share our successful experience with out colleagues in other countries," he said. The Romany association Dzeno has demanded that Romany representatives have a bigger say in the project than so far. "Romanies must receive a chance of electing their representatives in charge of measures implemented as part of the Decade by themselves," Dzeno chairman Ivan Vesely told CTK. "We want to participate in the decision-making on the filling of posts connected with the Decade and not to learn about these civil servants from media reports," he said.

However, the government Council for Romany Issues is negotiating with Romany representatives, its director Czeslaw Walek told CTK."I don't know Dzeno's precise vision regarding the Decade since I have not received any proposal from it," he said.



Oh well, another talking shop that is going to deal, yet again, only with the situation of the Roma in Eastern Europe. It would appear that the Sinti and Cale (Kale) and even the Roma in Western Europe do not exist, especially as far as the "Decade of ROMA Inclusion" is concerned.


Quote of the Week

"A good friend will sharpen your character, draw your soul into the light,
and challenge your heart to love in a greater way." - Author Unknown

German Criminal Police continues to keep tabs on Sinti & Roma

Welcome to the Fourth Reich

The German Criminal Police Agency, the BKA, continues to keep a register of Sinti & Roma in its database, along the ethnic lines, and even lied to the special agent appointed with overseeing the Data Protection Act in Germany by denying that such records were being kept. It would appear, from what could be disseminated from the information, that the "Office for the Combating of the Gypsy Menace" that was run by the predecessor of the BKA, the Reichsicherheitshauptamt, is being continued to this very day. Rumor has it that the recording of Sinti & Roma under an ethnic header does not just happen when those commit a crime but, apparently, already when they, for instance, apply for a "Gewerbeschein", a "traders license", to follow whatever itinerant trade they may wish to follow and, so again rumor has it, that such records do not just stop at the individual person but extend to his entire family. Nothing new in that either, it would appear, if that is the case. More...


May 15 2005

GYPSIES facing eviction yesterday vowed to pitch camp on the M25 if they are forced to quit.

They were ordered off the Crays Hill greenfield site in Basildon, Essex - thought to be the biggest in Britain - on Friday but are refusing to go. More...

Minister to decide on gypsy camp

North Somerset Times

RESIDENTS and a parish council have joined forces to fight against an illegal gypsy camp.

An application by the gypsies to keep caravans on a field off Kenn Moor Road, in Yatton, has been refused by North Somerset Council.

They have appealed against the decision and a Government planning inspector will now have the final say on the camp's future. More...

Romany female assistants of Ostrava police succeed in competition

Ostrava, 18. 5. 2005, 22:23 (CTK)

A project of police Romany female assistants, which has been implemented for several years, ended second in an international competition of social projects, one of its authors Kumar Vishwanathan told CTK today. The competition was organised by the Austrian foundation Unruhe Stiftung and was participated in by 267 projects. "We have won 10,000 euros," said Vishwanathan, from Mutual Coexistence association who has helped solve the problems of the Ostrava Romany community for several years.

Ostrava Romany female assistants help police mainly in fighting usury. They have proved themselves and further Czech towns have started to introduce them as well.
"A similar project already functions in Cheb (west Bohemia) where it focuses more on child prostitution problems. Cooperation between NGOs and police seems to have good prospects in Brno (south Moravia) and Usti nad Labem (north Bohemia)," Katerina Pospisilova from the Interior Ministry told CTK.

Ostrava police director Rostislav Pavliska said that the Romany assistants' task is "to mediate contacts between usurers' victims and the police" and that 15 cases have been solved this way.

Police officers and Romany activists say that usurers use mafia-like methods and intimidate their victims. "They do not hesitate to use violence and threaten with violence against children. The interests they demand are horrible. I know a family who borrowed 30,000 crowns and returned more than 160,000 to the usurer," Vishwanathan said.


Internet Source

Skeletons in the Closet of German Science

Enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath is a commitment to "treading with care in matters of life and death." During the Third Reich, science jettisoned these principles in a bid to advance the perfection of the German race.

Researchers recently stumbled across two extensively documented projects co-conducted during the Third Reich by the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi's Auschwitz Angel of Death, and the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin.

Best known for his unspeakably horrific medical experiments using twins, Mengele's first project with the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute was an investigation into how specific proteins can help identify racial origin. The second project, overseen by biologist Karin Magnusson, was a look at pigmentation in human iris color. More...

Germany is accused of racism as 50,000 Roma are deported

By Daniel Howden and Eva Kuehnen

19 May 2005

Germany is deporting tens of thousands of Roma refugees to Kosovo despite clear threats to their safety and dire warnings from human rights groups that they will face "massive discrimination" on arrival.

The first of hundreds of planeloads of deportees will arrive at the Slatina airport in Kosovo today, blazing a trail for up to 50,000 people who are to be sent back.
Leaked documents obtained by The Independent reveal that the German government took the controversial decision to eject thousands of Roma refugees and other minorities in November of last year, regardless of the risks they may face on returning home. More...

Also related to this:
Germany returns Kosovo refugees

Quote of the Week

Learn something new every day. As long as you are learning, you are living. When you stop learning, you start dying. - Unkown

Travellers enjoy last day in the sun

By Finlo Rohrer BBC News

The Irish traveller settlement at Crays Hill near Wickford in Essex is a human dilemma.

Up to 500 travellers are said to live there but the temporary planning permission for the site, granted by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott two years ago, expired at midnight on Friday.

Now the travellers are fighting for the survival of their community in the face of a council that will evict them if they refuse to leave.

They say all they want is a place to live, education for their children and an end to living by roadsides and constant moving.

But local residents in the "settled" community complain of noise, dangerous driving, vandalism, litter, and intimidation. More...

At least, finally, the truth has come out and the BBC calls a spade a spade by calling it "the Irish traveller settlement", as there are NO Romani People on that particular settlement but only Irish. And those also, it would appear, are not those Irish Travellers that have been in the UK for donkeys year but rather those that came here in the last couple of years when the Republic of Eire changed its rules about the stationing of caravans on one's own land. So, the truth is out and that is good so. This way the "battle" there should not be confused with those fought by the Romani ethnic minority in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. While we, the Romani People, are a proper ethnic group the majority of Irish Travellers are nothing but Irish Gohjas in trailers, let's face it. I know the truth hurts but that's a fact.

Shame the BBC still has not realized, unlike David Altheer from The Times newspaper, that there are very few Roma in the UK and that those, resident legally at the Cray's Hill area, next door to the illegal Irish settlement, are Romanichal. I do know that the BBC likes to be very politically correct nowadays but it is not good to try to be thus when that is plainly wrong and upsets the People concerned. The notion that the BBC follows of all Romani People being Roma is that purpertrated by certain self-acclaimed experts in Romani Studies in the UK and elsewhere but those notions are plainly wrong. The Romanichal are NOT Roma but Sinti and therefore should be classed as Romanichal or, simply, Romani because "while all Roma are Romani not all Romani are Roma" therefore please, dear BBC and others, address us properly as Romanichal, Romani or, if you have to Romanies in the plural but NOT as Roma.


Gypsies arrested in Tampa

By: Bill McGinty

Tampa, Florida -

Gerda Bresnahan, Ripped off by gyspies:
"I'll tell you they were pretty slick talkers, very charming and very personable people."

And that's why Gerda Bresnahan says she let her guard down when the couple approached her in the front yard of the home she's lived in for 48 years. Police say the young couple smoothed talked their way into the home, distracted the couple, then quickly robbed them. At police district one detective displayed the wealth of stolen goods these gypsies had with them, things like 100 thousand in cash, antique jewelry, coin collections and almost 11 thousand in savings bonds.

Officer Susan Cannon, Tampa Police:
"Unfortunately you don't have to be elderly to be a victim, or to be scammed by gypsies, it happens all the time."

Police tell us these people use fake id's, they have as many as 3 to 5 names, phony credit cards, and use cars that aren't registered. And the gypsy lifestyle makes them very difficult to catch much less prosecute. Of the two arrested, one has already paid cash to bond out, so police say be wary of strangers offering good deals.

I wonder whether anyone could immagine what would happen if the police and the media would refer to other ethnic folks in that way; say, for instance, by replacing Gypsies with Jews, and what would happen then, regardless of whether the fact that, maybe, in a particular instance a criminal may be a Jew or a group of them being Jewish. It just could not be done but, when it is Gyppsies then there is no problem with it whatsoever, whether the the USA, the UK, Germany, or elsewhere.


Nationalism Retains Grip on Bulgaria's Youth


The younger generation seems more susceptible to nationalism than those who grew up under Socialism.

By Albena Shkodrova in Sofia (BCR No 555, 11-May-05)

Bulgarian youngsters are falling prey to a new kind of nationalism that is far more visceral and intolerant than anything espoused by those who grew up under communism.

Influenced by the media and by school textbooks that claim to be liberal but often are not, new nationalist sentiments are gripping the nation's youth.

The former regime of Todor Zhivkov espoused internationalist Socialism, while championing nationalism at the same time.

It expelled almost 300,000 ethnic Turks and Muslim Slavs, known as Pomaks, segregated Roma and subdued all expressions of ethnic diversity.

But under the surface, other processes shaped Bulgarian attitudes. In rejecting the regime's totalitarian politics, many Bulgarians also opposed its nationalist propaganda.

Living under a totalitarian regime, where all decisions and responsibilities were appropriated by a handful of communist officials, most people in any case did not feel irritated financially, socially, or in any other way, by minorities.

It was only after the fall of communism in the 1990s that ordinary Bulgarians started looking on minorities as a burden.

Divisions between groups increased as people openly displayed their religious beliefs and ethnic origins, which the old regime had forbidden.

The media began to use hate speech towards minorities, as publishers hid behind the new freedom of speech to disseminate anti-Semitism.

Liberal values were slower to take advantage of the new freedoms and develop in society. More than a decade passed before school textbooks were purged of their most radical nationalist claims and before the media began to moderate its tone.

In the meantime, a new generation grew up, developing a kind of nationalism that is more deeply rooted than that held by its predecessors. Many young people now demonstrate negative and aggressive attitudes towards ethnic minorities.

A recent survey by the political scientist Petar-Emil Mitev revealed negative feelings towards Roma in particular.

Some 86 per cent said they defined Roma as "lazy and irresponsible", while 92 per cent said the minority had criminal tendencies.

Some 62 per cent in the poll also said they viewed ethnic Turks as "religious fanatics".

Such convictions are even more evident on Internet sites and in chat-rooms, where forums overflow with hatred towards minorities, especially Roma.

Under the cover of anonymity, the youngsters mainly use these sites to express their loathing in radical, even neo-Nazi, style.

Slogans urging gypsies to be turned into soap bars or locked in mine shafts can often be found on the web.

One recent example was an Internet forum on Roma. While the discussion drew a few sympathetic opinions, it was swamped by viciously negative comments.

"You had better disappear and take your tribe with you!" one participant told a Roma woman on the site.

"Go back to your ghetto," another correspondent wrote in.

"Everyone knows you have no state or culture and that you gypsies are dirty, lazy liars," a third participant opined.

While openly proclaiming their racial hatred on the net, these young nationalists tend to hide their convictions when confronted directly.

"Many young people I know express negative attitudes," said Boryana Yordanova, a student at Sofia University. But most would not spell them out in public, she added.

Zornitsa Lateva, another student, says she feels tolerant towards minorities, but insists "the low life quality of gypsies" is their own fault.

"It is grounded in their different value system," she said. "They don't want to study, they prefer to marry at 13 or 14 and not to work."

Other students agreed. "We wouldn't mind gypsies so much if they accepted our culture and weren't such lazy robbers," one said.

Maria Neykova, professor at the Faculty of Journalism at Sofia University, agrees most of her students dislike Roma, and often ethnic Turks as well. She says this is because wider society has been slow to develop liberal values.

The country's media and its school textbooks remain far from politically correct when it comes to minority issues.

Although the media this year signed a code of conduct, pledging not to divulge a person's racial, ethnic or sexual orientation if it was not key to the story, in practice they still disseminate anti-minority ideas.

Many cable channels broadcast nationalistic programmes. A well-known one is Ataka, on SKAT TV, whose host, Volen Siderov, routinely denounces the programmes in Turkish carried by Bulgarian National Television broadcasts.

Research by the Market Test agency from 2001-2002 shows some improvement in the media from the 1990s, when hate speech was common, but not much.

It found that about 60 per cent of stories on Roma still concern crime and social problems, so hardening the public's negative stereotypes.

"The media keeps on mentioning people's ethnic origins even when it has no importance to the story," said Neykova.

Educated on textbooks full of historical myths, they think they are responding to public expectations, she adds.

One of the main activities of Bulgaria's communist intellectuals was rewriting the country's history.

Under Zhivkov, history was rewritten to stress the antiquity of the Bulgarian nation and state and its superiority over Balkan and western rivals.

To compensate for missing out on the Renaissance under Ottoman rule from the 15th to the 20th century, the books were loaded with anti-Turkish propaganda.

After more than a decade of freedom, efforts to liberalise Bulgarian historical interpretation have yielded only partial results.

Late 19th century books in which Turks are demonised or satirised remain part of the school curriculum.

"Children study so-called history from textbooks in which an openly nationalist ideology and air of patriotic pathos overshadow any real discussion of the benefits and harms of Ottoman rule," the political scientist, Evgeniy Daynov, wrote recently.

He told IWPR that he even detected a backlash towards growing nationalism in schools.

The process of reviewing textbooks is underway, however, driven by a political will to affirm the idea of reconciliation with the country's ethnic Turks in the post-Socialist era.

But it remains unsystematic. Mumun Isov, a researcher, who recently assessed the image of Turks in Bulgarian history books, says efforts to remove myths and stereotypes have been insufficient.

The reality is that the problem of nationalism can only be faced when politicians start openly to admit its existence.

One solution would be to work towards changing ideas about the nation, highlighting it as a civic, rather than an ethnic, unit.

But at the moment this seems an unrealistic expectation. Most of the politicians find the exploitation of nationalism too rewarding.

Albena Shkodrova is the Bulgaria director of the Balkans Investigative Reporting Network - a localised IWPR project.

Source: IWPR, 11 May 2005

The suit filed by representatives of Sinti and Roma against IBM is rejected

For many years, GIRCA has been pressing charges against IBM, but the special interest group representing Sinti and Roma has now suffered a defeat. GIRCA charges that the IBM Group supplied machines and card punchers to the National Socialist régime in Germany from 1933 to 1945 from the production of its subsidiary Hollerith-Maschinen-Gesellschaft (DEHOMAG) for the planning and execution of the Holocaust, thus contributing to the persecution of Sinti and Roma in the concentration camps. The organization thus demanded damages from IBM due to its "involvement in crimes against humanity." More...

Czechs Won't Want Roma as Neighbours until 2084

10. 5. 2005

The Centre on Empirical Research (STEM) has published the results of their latest research which shows that for Czechs, Romany is the least popular nationality out of sixteen possible choices. The results of STEM's research shows that only 13% of Czechs would feel perfectly happy living next to Roma. One third of Czechs find the idea of living next to Roma as totally unacceptable, while 28% would find it very difficult, and 27% expect it would be unpleasant. More...

Court confirms sentences to ex-policemen who attacked Romanies

Hradec Kralove, 9. 5. 2005, 13:45 (CTK)

The regional court in Hradec Kralove today confirmed suspended sentences for former policemen Marek Vrastil and Karel Berousek who attacked a family of Romanies in 2003. The court confirmed a district court's verdict which imposed a 20-month suspended sentence with a four-year probation on Vrastil and a one-year suspended sentence with a three-year probation on Berousek.

Vrastil and Berousek denied their guilt and did not comment on the verdict.

According to the court, the former policemen broke into the flat of the Romany Danis family during a birthday party in Popovice, east Bohemia, in May 2003 and attacked several of the guests.

Jan Kratochvil from the Human Rights League, which defended the Danises, said he does not agree with the verdict. Kratochvil said he believes that it could have been proved that the attack was racially motivated. This was evident from the way the perpetrators verbally abused the Romanies, he added. The court nevertheless declared that this cannot be proved due to lack of evidence.


Hungarian City Plans to Send Roma Children Away From Local School

10. 5. 2005

According to reports from the Roma Press Centre in Budapest, the Szõd city council in Hungary is now seeking to relocate 90 Romany school children from their local school in the village of Csörög to schools in the town of Vác. The municipal government says that the building where the students study is in such a bad condition that it is not suitable as a school building, but the Csörög Roma Self-Government says it believes this is a case of local ethnic cleansing. More...

Quote of the Week

"We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right."

Nelson Mandela

Gypsies 'at risk' from politicians and persecution

POLITICIANS and the media are putting gypsies and travellers at risk by inflaming people's prejudices, say delegates at a national conference.

Organisers said Tuesday's event, at the National Holocaust Centre, Newark, Nottinghamshire, highlighted 60 years of persecution against the nomadic communities.

But a Cottenham residents' campaigner has called on travellers' groups to get to grips with the rogue element in their midst.

Dr James Smith, Holocaust centre chief executive, said gypsies and travellers had been "a greatly misunderstood and misrepresented minority" for decades.

The academic said nearly half a million gypsies were killed in the Holocaust.

He said: "We understand there are legal issues and there are local community tensions, but we wanted to highlight what has happened to the communities since the Holocaust, when nearly half a million were killed.

"People are getting hurt because of inflammatory press reports.

"My message to the politicians is they have to be very careful with how they use populist situations because when they open their mouths one day, the next day people can get hurt.

"They build on fears and prejudices. To build on that and inflame the situation further is asking for people to get hurt. "Politicians must bear a responsibility."

Rick Bristow, from the Cottenham Residents' Association, said travellers were demonised, but there was an anti-social element in the community and they needed to come to terms with that.

He said: "There are elements of the media which do tend to go a bit overboard when it comes to demonising travellers and the Government and local authorities have let the travelling community down very badly.

"But I think the travelling community should acknowledge the fact that they do have a rogue element that doesn't respect the settled community or the travelling community.
"We all abhor the anti-social behaviour which still persists from a minority of visiting travellers to the Fen."

Smithy Fen traveller Roger Slattery, a member of the Gypsy Council, said that travellers across Europe were living the same lives as they were during the time of the Second World War.

He said: "Racism exists all over the country, it isn't just gypsies, but other minorities have got rights that we haven't got. We don't have a place to live and vote so the politicians don't have any thing to gain from us.

"There is good and bad in every community and there are always youngsters who will break the law, but if you want to stop something like this then you have to get them interested in talking and sorting something out."

Original Internet Source

A small editorial comment is called for as well, I think. It regards the number of Gypsies killed in the Holocaust. While some academics may say as may as 500,000 there are other that say at least one million while others even go as far as to say 1.5 million and maybe even more. The fact is, whatever the actual number, the Romani People lost three quarters of our population in Germany and occupied countries compared to the one third of the Jews.

Often Shunted Into Special Schools, Gypsies Fight Back


OSTRAVA, Czech Republic - Iveta Bihariova recalls how she nervously watched her 9-year-old son, Ivan, while a psychiatrist in a white lab coat threw colored candies on the floor.

"I rushed to pick up the candy because I didn't know that it was a test," said Mrs. Bihariova, taking a break from picking up garbage strewn across a Roma, or Gypsy, housing project in the Czech city of Ostrava, close to the Polish border.

"After that, the psychiatrist told me that since Ivan didn't pick up the candy, he was too slow and should go to a special school."

Czech Republic officials estimate that up to 75 percent of the Roma children in the country are like Ivan - attending schools intended for the mentally disabled and receiving what human rights groups contend is a substandard education that can lead to a lifetime of unemployment, dependence on welfare and even crime. Now, advocates for Roma rights have begun legal action to change the situation.

The country's 120 "special" schools, the term traditionally used to describe the combined elementary and middle schools for the mentally disabled in the Czech Republic, were created by the Communist government in the 1960's. Their graduates are largely ineligible to apply to college or to obtain a job beyond the most basic manual labor.

According to the State Department's annual human rights report issued in March, 90 percent of the children in Czech special schools are Roma. Critics of the government's education policy charge that this is the result of bias, and lawyers representing Roma children have filed the first systematic legal challenge against school discrimination in Europe.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, is considering whether to hear the case of 18 teenagers from Ostrava who argue that their placement in special schools in the late 1990's violated their right to protection against discrimination granted under Czech and European law.

Their lawyer, James A. Goldston, senior counsel for the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest, compared the Ostrava case to Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 United States Supreme Court decision that moved a nation toward desegregation.

"What you have in the Czech Republic, and to some extent Eastern Europe, is de facto segregation. The majority of Roma children in the Czech Republic get a second-class education and never get past the eighth grade, by the Czech government's own admission," Mr. Goldston said.

Jiri Pilar, director of the Department of Special Needs Education for the Czech Republic, denies any systematic discrimination against Roma and, instead, blames parents for their children's poor educational results.

"We simply have not been successful in getting Roma parents to take sufficient interest in their children's education," he said. "I worked in a diagnostic institute for 15 years, and even in the case where a Roma child could potentially make it in a normal school, the parents simply didn't care enough. They didn't push."

A panel of judges at the Strasbourg court held preliminary hearings in March. A court decision on whether to accept the case is due within a few weeks. If the Ostrava plaintiffs win, experts say, the case could have consequences across Europe, particularly in countries like Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia.

"As Europe continues to grow increasingly diverse, this case is of great significance for all minorities because it makes clear that racial discrimination has no place in Europe," said Rachel Denber, director of the Europe and Central Asia division at Human Rights Watch.

The Roma, dark in complexion, are thought to have migrated to Europe from India centuries ago. Their nomadic life set them apart from other groups, and their history has been one of poverty and persecution. They are the poorest and largest minority group in Europe, with large numbers concentrated in former Communist countries.
Under communism, they received generous state subsidies; today, both Roma and government representatives say that assistance has led to a cycle of dependence.

Making up about 2.5 percent of the Czech population, the country's 300,000 Roma have a 70 percent unemployment rate. They also have significantly higher crime rates than the non-Roma population, Roma leaders concede. Few Roma finish high school.

"We have to convince the Roma that to live like regular decent people, if I can put it like that, is a lot better for them than to live from hand to mouth on the edge of society just because they don't want to go to school and work," Mr. Pilar said.

Kumar Vishwanathan, an Ostrava activist and a teacher from India credited with first exposing the inequity in Roma education, argued that the cultural bias of Czech officials relegates Roma children to the special schools, a path that continues the cycle of dependency and social pathology.

"First, the tests that evaluate mental ability and determine what school these kids were sent to were always in Czech," he said. "Roma kids speak a Roma dialect or ghetto Czech, so they were doomed to fail."

But Mr. Vishwanathan acknowledged that Roma parents, who must approve their children's placement, often want the youngsters to be in special schools because they are more comfortable there.

Ms. Bihariova, mother of Ivan, now 14, said he is faring well in special school. "It's easier for him; the teachers are nicer to Roma there," she said. Jan Ziga, a Roma teenager who is also from Ostrava, said he sought a transfer to a special school "because the teachers in the normal school called Roma nasty names."

The government has taken several steps to improve Roma education.

Tests were standardized in 1998, based on a British model that Mr. Pilar said removed cultural bias. Children attending special schools were given the chance to take an extra year of coursework and apply to regular high schools, although only a tiny percentage have done so.

The state is also continuing to increase the number of Roma teaching assistants, who have proven successful in bridging the gap between Roma students and teachers in regular classrooms. A new education law that went into effect in January requires standard schools to accommodate children with behavioral or learning problems. Officials say they hope this change will mean more Roma children will attend regular schools.

The effort may come too late for Katrin Dzurkova, one of the 18 teenagers in the Ostrava lawsuit.

Now 13, she was 6 when she was told that she belonged in a special school, although she has not given up hope.

After hesitating and then fighting embarrassment, she explained in an almost inaudible voice why she is going to court.

"I want a better education; I want a job. I want to be normal," she said.

Original Internet Source

Editorial Comment: Not only is this segregation of Romani children into Special Schools done in the former Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries but also in places such as Germany and, I believe France and Spain. It is routine in Germany for Sinti (and Roma) children to be sent to the Sonderschule (Special School) near immediately after Einschulung (enrolment into school) at age six and the children barely ever stand a chance to get into mainstream schooling once they have been sent to such special schools and also stand no chance to get anywhere decent as regards to further education, should they wish so. It has been done as a matter of routine ever since the end of the Nazi era in Germany and is still being done. Often, it would appear, as soon as the school becomes aware of the ethnic background of the child, e.g. him or her being Romani they are shunted out of the ordinary elementary school, against parents' wishes, into the special schools and that is it.

Cemetery is 'desecrated by travellers'

May 5 2005

By Rebecca Haylings

TRAVELLERS who gatecrashed an illegal Pangbourne caravan site after being booted out of Reading are being blamed for desecrating a nearby cemetery.

The site in Pangbourne Hill was home to a small group of travellers who legitimately bought the field but then set up a permanent camp without getting planning permission.

But last month a dozen more caravans - believed to belong to a group of travellers evicted from Battle Hospital grounds in Portman Road - moved onto the field without warning.

And since their arrival neighbours claim part of the village's cemetery is being used as a communal toilet.

One 51-year-old man, who wants to remain anonymous, regularly visits his son's grave in Pangbourne Hill and is revolted at the mess he claims travellers have left in one corner of the cemetery.

He said: "I am absolutely dumb-founded they have actually done this in the cemetery. I am from a family of Romany gypsies and my father would have killed us if he caught us doing that sort of thing - even animals cover their faeces up afterwards.

"If you confront them about anything they just abuse you and threaten you.

"They seem to have no respect for anybody visiting dead relatives. It's terrible."

Pangbourne parish chairwoman Pamela Bale claims many neighbours are becoming extremely distressed by the travellers' actions.

She said: "Villagers and councillors are appalled at the way the cemetery is being used and we all realise we need to take some serious action to do something about that."

The final verdict on whether the original Pangbourne Hill travellers are entitled to stay is expected in the next couple of months, and sources close to them say landowner and fellow gypsy Jonothan Harvey is furious at his uninvited guests.

But Mr Harvey this week denied the accusations, and refused to comment other than to say the newcomers were "welcome to stay".

* rebeccahaylings@readingchronicle.co.uk

Original Internet Source

Editorial Comment: This is one perfect example why the Romanichals in the UK have a particular name (at least the Nidis here down south) for the Irish Travellers.

Anti-Roma sentiment in EU needs tackling, says watchdog


A European human rights watchdog fears there is a lack of political will in some European Union countries to counter what it terms a new wave of anti-Roma feeling, a report on the Roma situation said on Wednesday.

"A new wave of anti-Roma sentiment seems to have emerged in certain Western European countries with media speculation on migration of Roma into Western Europe after the EU enlargement," said Alvaro Gil-Robles, commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe.

"Roma populations face considerable obstacles to the full enjoyment of their fundamental rights," said the report written after a tour of inspection conducted to investigate human rights for Roma, Sinti and Travellers in Europe.

"It is specifically disturbing to see that concrete development at the local level has been insufficient," said Gil-Robles, adding "a real lack of political will" was the root cause of the current situation.

The report suggested active partnerships to overcome discrimination against the ten million strong Roma community in Europe so as to improve healthcare, housing, education and employment prospects.

Eight European countries -- the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakiamembers since 2004), Bulgaria and Romania (EU candidates) and Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro (who want to join the EU) launched a Roma integration initiative in February with the help of the World Bank.

Many of those countries are considered the worst places for discrimination against Roma, otherwise known as gypsies.

Original Internet Source

Residents Buy Wood to Stop Travellers

By Emily Dennis, PA

Householders have clubbed together to buy a wood at nearly four times its market value to keep out travellers.

Around 100 residents paid £75,000 for the four-acre plot which would normally sell for around £20,000 after the owner put it up for auction.

Residents in Billericay, Essex, said they felt they had to act because they live only a few miles from an illegal camp from which travellers will be evicted on May 13 after a long legal battle.

Householders have bought £500 shares in a company, Linksland, which is now the registered owner of the site.

Retired publisher, Francis McCafferty, 85, who contributed £5,000, said: "We had heard the gypsies were going to move in, so that was it. We felt we had to act to keep the land safe for the future.

"We were very worried about what was going to happen and this has given us peace of mind. Now the land will be used for the community to enjoy."

Link to source

A Happy Mother's Day to all mothers amongst the readers

When Mommy's Your Name
by Jacey Reynolds

The telephone's ringing, the TV is blaring.
Sister is crying' cause Brother's not sharing.
There's a spill on the carpet that no one will claim.
There's no time for sitting when Mommy's your name.

The laundry is folded but not put away.
The dishes you just washed are from yesterday.
Without any warning your relatives came.
There's no getting caught up when Mommy's your name.

You drive to the market, you drive to the school
You drive to the cleaners, you drive the carpool
You drive yourself crazy, it's really a shame.
There's no time for resting when Mommy's your name.

To your bedroom you sneak to find peace for a minute,
but your minute is over before you begin it.
Your little one finds you and thinks it's a game.
There's no time for hiding when Mommy's your name.

At night as you kneel to thank heaven above you,
An angel creeps in and says, "Mommy, I love you."
You may not know glory or fortune or fame,
but what does it matter when Mommy's your name?

Romany constable blows the whistle on police prejudice towards travellers

By Katy Guest

01 May 2005

One of Britain's few Romany police officers has spoken out against racism in the force, complaining that he has suffered "awful" treatment at the hands of the police.

PC Steve Dean said that the police hostility he has experienced when out of uniform explains the difficulty the police have in winning over hostile traveller communities.

"I have seen it from both sides," PC Dean said. "At the Gypsy Appleby Fair four years ago I was treated awfully by a serving police officer who thought I was a member of the travelling community."

PC Dean was with his family, who are Gypsies, and was waiting in the back of a pick-up truck. "Two officers came over and became extremely aggressive," he said. "They told me to move the truck and I explained that I wasn't the driver. Prior to us being there, there had been a car with two girls in it in exactly the same spot. The same two officers had made no effort to move them. Gypsies are the only ethnic minority it is still acceptable to be racist about."

He was also racially abused during another incident. "My father and I were breaking a horse into harness. A police car drove by as close as possible, which was very likely to spook the horse, and they started shouting abuse. It was plainly just police officers being prejudiced. I didn't tell them I am a police officer too. I didn't see what it could achieve for me."

PC Dean would like the Home Office to conduct a recruitment drive among travelling communities. He claims that some in the force still refuse to accept that Gypsies are a racial minority.

He voiced his criticisms as the Cambridgeshire force, which covers one of the country's largest concentrations of Gypsies, launched a £10,000 community relations initiative called Del Gavvers Pukker Cheerus - Romany for "give the police a chance". Free CDs tell Gypsies and travellers what steps to take if they are feeling harassed. Relations between the authorities and travellers have been particularly tense in recent months.

PC Dean, a breeding manager at Keston dog training centre in Kent, is a proud member of a Romany family. PC Dean's mother was born into a large Gypsy family that, like many, settled during the Second World War. As a child he would help his travelling relations crop picking.

"At family weddings and funerals I get a bit of teasing about my job, but nobody took it badly," he says. "I went to visit my great granddad just after I joined the police. I showed him my brand new, shiny helmet. He put it on his head and his face took on this really stern look. He pointed at the floor and said: 'Put the fire out and move on!' That's what a police officer was to him."

It is this attitude that PC Dean aims to change. But he realises it will be a slow journey. "Anyone currently living the life of a traveller will probably be very reluctant [to join the police]," he admits. "They'll have very negative experiences of their contact with the police whether they were in the right or the wrong. But if you're settled and you're not involved in crime there's no reason to have that negative view. I hope they will try to let people know that."

He does add that, since he was interviewed in the police newspaper The Job, he has had several emails from officers in the Met with similar backgrounds. "They said they'd mentioned it to colleagues and the reaction was so hostile they'd clammed up about it."
The Met, like many police forces, is proud of its efforts to build relationships with the Gypsy community. But the message is confused. One spokeswoman said there are no figures for the number of Gypsy officers because: "Race is black, white, Asian ...

There is no category for Romany." But according to Nick Williams, the Met's Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officer: "Romany Gypsies and Irish travellers are minority groups in terms of the Race Relations Act, and Met policy states clearly that the service is aware of that."

Hughie Smith, the president of the Gypsy Council, is not optimistic. "There's more than just suspicion, there's downright enmity," he says. "A lot of police are decent people but they're the people who move us on. I've dealt with women who have lost babies during evictions, or been left to walk the streets. Gypsies have long memories."

Original Source

Revelation! 666 is not the number of the beast (it's a devilish 616)

Even though this does not really have anything to do with Romani matters I post this article from today's Independent (UK newspaper) as a matter of information.


Revelation! 666 is not the number of the beast (it's a devilish 616)

By Tom Anderson

01 May 2005

A newly discovered fragment of the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament indicates that, as far as the Antichrist goes, theologians, scholars, heavy metal groups, and television evangelists have got the wrong number. Instead of 666, it's actually the far less ominous 616.

The new fragment from the Book of Revelation, written in ancient Greek and dating from the late third century, is part of a hoard of previously unintelligible manuscripts discovered in historic dumps outside Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Now a team of expert classicists, using new photographic techniques, are finally deciphering the original writing.

Professor David Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, thinks that 616, although less memorable than 666, is the original. He said: "This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on the numerical values of letters in people's names. Early Christians would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula*."

The Book of Revelation is traditionally considered to be written by John, a disciple of Jesus; it identifies 666 as the mark of the Antichrist. In America, the fundamentalist Christian right often use the number in sermons about the coming Apocalypse.

They and satanists responded coolly to the new "Revelation". Peter Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan, based in New York, said: "By using 666 we're using something that the Christians fear. Mind you, if they do switch to 616 being the number of the beast then we'll start using that."

* This is a fact that many books on the subject have mentioned many times already but, alas, the blind ones that allow themselves to be lead by "eggspurts" (same as what happens amongst our Fohki) do not see this and refuse to see this "because the great ones say that that is not so". - Veshengro (Editor)


Quote of the Week

Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.

Noam Chomsky (b. 1928), U.S. linguist, political analyst.

Lecture, January 1970, delivered at Loyola University, Chicago. “Language and Freedom,” published in For Reasons of State (1973).