Lev Tcherenkov (Russia)
Stephane Laederich (Switzerland)
2 Volumes with together 1100 pages
Schwabe Verlag Basel
Fr. 98.- / Euro 68.50
Well, yes indeed, this is yet another book on the Rroma, one that again is trying to make all Romani Rroma, and one that is as useful as all the others so far written, in that it should be consigned to the dustbin right away.
Maybe I should clarify first of all, nay indeed I must, that this review is written from the viewpoint of a Sinto/Calo and I am not going to pull any punches nor am I going to make any excuses.
This book is yet another scholarly treatise (now here is a laugh) that is, I am afraid, not worth the paper that it is printed upon (shame about the poor trees that have been felled and turned to pulp and paper to produce all the copies of this book) and for 1100 or so pages in paperback for around US$ 70+ it is not worth the asking price either. It is not something for even the ordinary academic interested in the Romani People. No doubt, however, it will be snapped up by the libraries of the universities where Romani Studies are taking hold (and also others) and no doubt will be quoted from for decades to come regardless as to how flawed the material presented in the book may be. More...
The government has hit out at local authorities for pushing responsibility for gypsies and travellers on to departments dealing with 'rats and other pests'.
Michelle Banks, head of the gypsy and traveller unit at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, has slammed local authorities that have handed responsibility for gypsies and travellers over to environmental health departments.
Speaking at a Chartered Institute of Housing seminar on Tuesday, Ms Banks said: 'How many [councils] have got the responsibility in the environmental health department along with the rats and other pests? This is not where it should be.'
Councils must make sure housing and planning departments take the lead on developing strategies and ensuring there is adequate provision of sites, she said.
Ms Banks also blasted councils that failed to consult gypsies and travelers when putting together strategies to work with them. 'Is there any other area of public policy where you would not consult the client group?' she said.
The Housing Act 2004 contained new provisions for dealing with gypsies and travellers. The ODPM expects to issue delayed guidance on its implementation in January. It is expected to advise councils on how they should work together to ensure the travelling community is not pushed on a minority of authorities that are seen as taking a softer line.
Ms Banks' comments came as it emerged that a gypsy and traveller site managed by Novas is still without electricity almost a year after the supply to the site was cut off.
Residents of the Star Lane site in Orpington lost their electricity supply on Christmas eve last year following a fire at the substation feeding the site.
But 12 months on Novas has not yet reconnected the supply. Many residents have been rehoused, but some remain on the site.
A spokesperson for Bromley Council said it had lobbied Novas to ensure the site was fully functional. 'For quite a while now we have been concerned at the very least about the conditions at the Star Lane site and have written to Novas expressing our views that the conditions there are unacceptable,' he said.
Maria Donoghue-Mills, chief executive of Novas, confirmed that the Star Lane site was still lacking an electricity supply. She said it had not been restored because a new substation needed to be built.
Those residents who had chosen to remain at the site were supplied electricity through their own generators, she said.
Shame that the author of this piece cannot give the People the courtesy to put the name as if should be, i.e. Gypsy/Gypsies and not gypsy/gypsies. So much money is being spent by the state which is invariably tax payers money on training those writers and still, after years and years at university, they cannot write properly or is it, as I and the IRG assume, in fact a purpose snub to our People. I would like them see doing this with Jews, Moslems or even French or Germans. Maybe I could just call them english?
By Rosamond Hutt, Community Newswire
Representatives for Britain's Gypsy population were attending a summit in France today to discuss a range of issues with a newly created European body for Roma and Traveller communities.
The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), is holding a two-day conference hosted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg to thrash out new ways to tackle anti-Gypsy racism and the extreme poverty and high child mortality rates prevalent amongst Roma communities.
The Forum is made up of elected delegates from 42 countries with a total Roma population of l2 million.
The UK's representatives - Cliff Codona and Kay Beard - are calling for an end to the forced evictions of Roma communities.
Ms Beard, who chairs the UK Association of Gypsy Women, said she has documented evictions of Gypsies carried out by private security companies hired by local authorities and is appealing for help from the Forum in Strasbourg.
She said: "Some evictions have been conducted like police raids. We think private firms should not be used and police limited to peace-keeping."
Deportations and "move-on" orders encourage a climate of intolerance and racism, according to the chair of the ERTF, Rudko Kawczynski.
Mr Kawczynski said racial attacks on Roma across Europe are occurring at the rate of ten a week, and around 2,000 Gypsies have been killed and twice that number injured over the past decade.
The UK delegation is also urging the Forum to use next year's Roma Nation Day as a means of pressing for a better deal for Gypsies and Travellers on legal accommodation, education and medical care.
It is said above that "the UK's representatives - Cliff Codona and Kay Beard - are calling for an end to the forced evictions of Roma communities" but the question has to be asked where, in the UK, there are those Roma communities that are thus being forcibly evicted. If that reference is being made with regards to the Irish Travellers on the Dale Farm 'site' and other illegal encampments then it has to be stressed yet again, before this confusion continues - and it does indeed continue and it is indeed more than a confusion - that those Irish Travellers are NOT Roma; they are not even Romani, but Irish Trailer Trash, pure and simple. The majority of Irish Travellers in the UK (and elsewhere for that matter) are not even part of the 'old' Irish Travellers that may pre-date, as some think now, the Celts even. The amazing thing is that so many Romani organizations in the UK are trying to help the Irish Travellers (I nearly said the other word again) to be allowed to stay on land they have illegally occupied but when Romanichal families are under the same pressure, like Susan King and her family in Surrey, not a single organization of those so vociferous on behalf of the Irish ones stands up and makes a comment. The Irish Travellers will not thank them for it and it is only muddying the water and the results are already being seen from this muddying, namely that some authorities no decide that Romani-Gypsies who settle down, whether in a house or on a permanent site are no longer to be classed as ethnic Romani-Gypsies but are classed as "white" British.
I believe, as does the IRG, that it must be stressed again and again that Gypsy only can apply to Romani People and that the Irish Travellers are not Gypsy, not Romani and not Roma. Also, yet again, I would like to as the editor of this journal and as Speaker of the IRG to stress that while all Roma are Romani not all Romani are Roma, and that does include the Kaale of Finland who call themselves, in Finnish, Mustaleinen, meaning, Dark Folks, regardless of whether some Kalderash Roma woman in Sweden raved about the Kaale being quite happy to be called Finnish Roma. I doubt also that they would have elected a Vlax Roma woman as their spokesperson; well, then again they did not even - at a grassroots level - elect the person claiming to be their current representative. I doubt that the majority of Finnish Kaale, or Mustaleinen, would even know who that person is, either by name or by sight.
By Ed Bania
During the tourist season - from December through April - two burglary rings called Gypsies and Travelers invade Florida, stealing cash, merchandise and other valuables from local homes and stores.
Most members of the Gypsy group, whose heritage goes back to Europe, are based in Chicago. Most of the Travelers come down from North Carolina.
In the winter, the groups make an East Coast circuit and usually come into Collier County and Marco Island between February and April. However, this year is different.
"Apparently this year, we've seen a group in Lee County that is starting to come down already," said Paul Keys, information technology and crime prevention officer with the Marco Island Police Department.
The Collier County Sheriff's Office reported a home burglary on Nov. 23 on Sunset Street. The owners reported that their residence had been burglarized after a witness saw unknown people in their home. About $1,500 in cash was stolen.
More than $20,000 in jewelry was reported stolen from a nightstand in a home located on Tiger Lily Drive in the Lely Resort area during the daylight hours of Nov. 25. The owner of the house confronted an unknown woman in a hallway, but the burglar escaped to a waiting vehicle.
Having Gypsies and Travelers in the county so soon after Thanksgiving is unusual, according to Keys, because law enforcement "can almost time their arrival looking at past trends."
Both groups are highly organized, operate in a similar fashion, rehearse their techniques and blend in.
"They've got it down to a science," Keys noted. "Whatever society says is the norm, they know how to blend in."
Gypsies and Travelers burglarize most homes during the day. Lt. Jon Maines of the Naples Police Department said that's because it isn't unusual to see people walking up and down residential streets during daylight hours.
"When people are home during the day, they have more of a tendency to not lock their doors," he noted.
Most of the Gypsies and Travelers who do the stealing are women that sometimes use children as accomplices, according to MIPD Det. Linda Guerrero.
"The residents don't really suspect them because usually it's women in their mid 40's," she said. "It could be their own children, or it could be someone else's child that they are using."
The groups target upscale and gated communities. Maines said his agency usually gets burglary reports of two elderly women of Eastern European descent being seen outside or in a home.
"A man usually drops them off on a residential street," Maines added.
A woman and child will approach a house, tell the homeowner that their dog or cat is missing, and ask to look in the owner's yard. While the child distracts the homeowner by pretending to look for the animal, a second adult sneaks into the home to look for wallets or purses with cash and small, valuable jewelry in the master bedroom.
"It only takes a few seconds," Keys said. "They know exactly what to look for. I've seen them discriminate from real jewelry and costume jewelry."
Sometimes, female Gypsies or Travelers will approach a homeowner and ask to use a phone because their car broke down and they don't have a cell phone. When the owner goes to get a phone book, one of the females sneaks into the bedroom.
"If you don't see their car in front of your house, it's probably not there," Keys said. "Usually, they will park their car a block or two away."
"If the homeowner isn't home, they will go door to door pulling on doors until they find one left open and they go into the house," Maines said.
The women usually enter through a rear slider or glass door near a master bedroom.
If a homeowner confronts a Gypsy or Traveler in their home, the thief will say that they are looking for their dog that ran into the house.
"After the women leave, they give a signal to a male driver down the street who picks them up," Maines said.
Other times, the burglars pose as potential home buyers to gain access. Many pose as utility or pest control employees with a phony company logo painted on their vehicles.
Guerrero and Maines said homeowners should meet their neighbors, know when they will be away from home and know who to expect to see working on the home while the neighbors are gone.
Gypsies and Travelers will also pull into a homeowner's driveway in a large vehicle or truck and knock on the door. When the owner answers, one of the group will say that they have leftover materials from re-sealing someone else's driveway and ask if they can re-seal the homeowner's driveway for a nominal fee. When the homeowner goes out to the driveway to discuss a price, another member - waiting in the back yard - sneaks into the home and burglarizes it.
"Call 9-1-1 if it's not legitimate," Maines said.
Usually, the homeowner ponders the incident for several minutes before the police are called.
Gypsies and Travelers have recently added a new wrinkle to their techniques. Before they leave Chicago or North Carolina, they pay for a post office mail box and address labels for envelopes and small boxes. As soon as they steal valuables, they put them in the envelope or box, attach the label and drop the package into a mail box. If they are arrested, the stolen property is already in the U.S. Postal Service system.
Maines said many Gypsies and Travelers have multiple aliases and stolen or forged identifications.
"Our problem is, when we arrest someone, they give us a name of Jane Smith," Maines said. "When they bond out, they leave.
Bond for the burglars can be as low as $1,000. Members of the group will chip in and post the cash bond.
Keys, Guerrero and Maines all said that homeowners should keep their garage and house doors closed at all times and their vehicles locked to prevent burglaries.
"It's amazing how few people do that because they feel relatively safe," Keys said. "Marco Island is, comparatively speaking, relatively safe."
MIPD officers see many garage doors open and front doors unlocked while residents are either inside their homes or working in their back yards. Keys recalled a case he worked years ago on South Barfield Drive. The homeowner was working on his sprinkler system while his wife was in the home. The front door was unlocked and the Gypsies walked in.
Homeowners should think before they reach for a weapon and confront a burglar inside their home, according to Maines.
"You'll have to explain that you felt in fear of your life or the life of another before you can use deadly force," he said. "If you shoot these people, you're going to have to ask yourself why you shot them."
He added that a homeowner could restrain a Gypsy or Traveler that entered their home, but he doesn't recommend it.
"If you're not a police officer, we don't recommend that you hold them because they may have a pistol or knife," Maines said. "See if you can identify them or an escape vehicle and call 9-1-1 instead."
Gypsies also burglarize convenience stores by using a small group of adults and young teens or children. While the adults distract a store employee by starting a conversation or knocking over a display, the kids do the stealing.
While Keys was an investigator in another city, he was inside a store at the same time members of a Gypsy group were. While some of the Gypsies kept the store employees distracted, others walked into a store's safe, stole cash and gave the rehearsed signal to leave.
"Before the attendants even knew what happened, it was over and done with," Keys said.
Most law enforcement agencies offer crime prevention classes to store employees. They are warned not to leave cash registers and the store's office unattended when they see a group of people enter.
Oh well, here we go again. Yet another one of those articles. Obviously, there are good and bad in every group of people but I wonder whether, even in the USA, they would get away with saying, "Jewish burglars return for season" or "Black burglars return for season" or whatever other ethnic group. The truth is that neither the media nor the police would get away with that let alone dare to do it. But, as Gypsies do not have a great lobby and are, generally, disliked by the general public our People are fair game, it seems. Maybe a nice boycott of the paper and some nice emails to them and letters, if anyone can find the address, and also to the various police departments and especially also the relevant town and county, as well as state, politicians, might be a good idea.
Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue, speaking on behalf of all the Bishops of the Department for Christian Responsibility & Citizenship of the Bishops Conference, has called on Catholics to reach out to Gypsies and Travellers in their neighbourhoods.
The Bishops' call follows Pope Benedict XVI's address last week (7 December) in St Peter's Square in which, commenting on Psalm 137, he said that all leaders, governments and citizens must use their power to come to the aid of the poor and oppressed.
"God makes the choice to align himself in defense of the weak, the victims. We, too, must know which side to choose… that of the humble, the last, the poor and the weak," said the Pope.
Bishop O'Donoghue, backing the work of the Department for Christian Responsibility & Citizenship within the Bishops Conference, said the plight of Gypsies and travellers was worse than most other groups in our society. "It is the Church's responsibility to be the voice of the poor. If we do not, who will?" he said. "Among gypsies and travellers there is even greater poverty now than before. The more sophisticated society becomes, the more vulnerable travellers become. There are vulnerable people across the world, but we must also be conscious of those in our midst."
The Bishops endorse the view of the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) that issues relating to adequate site provision must be urgently addressed.
A Report from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (July 2003) estimated that there would be a need for between 1,000 and 2,000 new residential pitches and between 2,000 and 2,500 pitches on transit sites or stopping places by 2007.
The ODPM Report recognises that Gypsies and Travellers currently have licences and that many argue that they should have tenancies. However, the Report suggests a third option, comparable to the rights enjoyed by mobile home owners who are protected by the Mobile Homes Act 1983 which gives them, among other things, the right to sell, gift or will their mobile homes on site.
The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has pointed out that Gypsies and Travellers experience disadvantage and discrimination in almost every walk of life. They single out lack of suitable accommodation, due to a shortage of public sites and difficulties obtaining planning permission for private sites, as the most critical problem they face.
The Bishops consider it a priority for themselves to provide more support for those in the Church who are already working with Gypsies and Travellers. They call on every Catholic parish and school to find ways of reaching out to Gypsies and Travellers in their area. It is also appropriate for Catholics to stand in solidarity with them in their struggle to obtain adequate accommodation and a decent life for their families, the Bishops say.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia
I would just like to congratulate the journalist with the Ekklesia newspaper/magazine/online publication to his/her spelling. He/she appears to be one of the few journalists that are aware of the fact that Gypsy is a term for an ethnic group, that of the Romani, and not a lifestyle, and should, therefore, as he/she has done, be written with an uppercase "G". Many thanks! There aren't many that seem to know this.
On the subject of the "outreach": please, Church people, leave the Romani People alone as regards to their beliefs and do not try to evangelize and proselytize them. So of us have their own belief system as the Romani do, despite of what the experts claim, have a Religion of their own and a very ancient one at that. Our People do not need saving for the Lord and such. So please go away! Folks, I am trying to be polite here…
PRAGUE, Dec 2005
The number of Slovak Romanies who are asking for asylum in the Czech Republic is growing, the daily Pravo writes.
While 137 asylum applications were registered last year, the figure was 631 for the first nine months of this year, according to an Interior Ministry report drafted for the government, the paper says.
The ministry warns in the report that Czech Romany families who accept their relatives from Slovakia have found themselves in a difficult financial situation. The migration also has a negative income on crime rate and could lead to social instability in certain localities, according to the report.
"There can soon happen that the Czech environment will no longer be able to absorb the migration," Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan said.
He based his remarks on the findings of the system of early warming that was established for the event of a sudden increase in the numbers of migrants from Slovakia to the Czech Republic, Pravo says.
But, according to the European Union, who accepted the Slovak Republic in the same way as the Czech Republic, all in hunky-dory as regards to Human Rights and Gypsies in those two countries, because, let's face it, there are also many problems for Gypsies in the Czech lands. So, why doe they all flee the Slovak Republic if all is well, as the EU agreed when letting Slovakia become a member state?
Blank Face, Private Strength - Romani Identity as Represented in the Public and Private Sphere (Macedonia)
"Since the fall of Socialism, "the Romani plight" and therefore the necessity to understand "Romani identity" has become a common theme on the international (especially European) level… Roma throughout the world have needed to face presumed "lack of identity" in order to combat centuries of attempted cultural, ethnic and - at times physical - erasure. The question remains, to whom must Roma prove their identity and by what standards?..."
When Roma appear in research or policy, both by international and domestic (Romani and non-Romani) actors, it is often either in the role of "social problem" or "cultural production" -in other words: a "public face" or "private face" but rarely as a complete, and heterogeneous, population. In fact, when Romani political mobilization is mentioned in academia it is often as, "divisive" or "incoherent," with a "weak identity."
This paper, "Blank Face, Public Strength: Romani Identity as Represented
in the Public and Private Sphere," researched and written by Azbija Memedova (Macedonia) and Shayna Plaut (United States of America) argues that the search for a singular identity begins with the wrong premise - it is not whether Roma have a "weak" or "strong" identity but rather, who they should be "proving" this identity to, and under what standards.
The researchers, "operate under the notion that Romani society is not homogenous" however they state that "this is not unique to Romani society; rather, no ethnic group has a singular, monolithic identity." What makes this fluidity in identity problematic however is the social and economic currency that comes from "marketing" and "solidifying" a public ethnicity particularly in the political sphere.
What makes the situation of Roma in Macedonia unique, with the legacy of socialist Yugoslavia, is the historical lack of access to this "public face" and thus, "upon independence Roma, who were historically economically, socially and politically marginalized and disenfranchised were given the 'space' to be politically recognized in the framework of ethno-politics..." The paper continues, "because the majority of the Romani population is alienated from the formal world of party politics and power... they have not crafted a unified (domestic) public image." This can become problematic when researchers come to study "the" Roma of Macedonia.
Through personal interviews and theoretical analysis, this paper explores how this split of a "public" and "private" affects how Roma in Macedonia recognize themselves in the larger society, in the Romani communities and in their families and how Roma are represented in the social, political and cultural tapestry of Macedonia.
The report was commissioned by Ethnobarometer, International Research Network on interethnic politics and migration, and was prepared by Shayna Plaut, Instructor on Human Rights at the Columbia College, the U.S., and Azbija Memedova, Coordinator with the Roma Centre of Skopje, Macedonia.
The full report (PDF Document, 39 p.) is available for download here
Dr. Karin Waringo - 12/14/2005
Do not even bother to ignore this. This typically Austrian expression, meaning that an issue should be given the lowest possible attention, could very well summarise the 'international community's' attitude towards the fate and destiny of the Kosovo Roma. Provided the so-called standards are fulfilled, discussions over the final status of the UN-administrated province may well begin by the mid of this year. These standards refer to a set of conditions encompassing almost any area of social life such as the freedom of media or the implementation of free market reforms. They also involve the fulfilment of the rights of the minorities including the right to return in safety which is generally seen as the litmus test for the degree of preparation of the Kosovo society or better, of the Albanian-speaking majority, to take in hand the future of the province.
But today, more than five years after the end of the war, there seems to be an ever greater latitude in the way how this condition is set out. This is particularly true as regards to the non-Serb minorities and in particular the Roma and other groups decried as "gypsies" and persecuted as such. Eventually, one may talk about a simple omission. The reality however is that this is the result of a crude Realpolitik which does not count those who do not have a voice to speak for themselves.
Kosovo was once regarded as an example of successful integration of Roma. Kosovo Roma had achieved a notable degree of welfare. Educational achievements were comparatively high. With this went their social recognition as fully-fledged members of the society. Of this, which, if related, sometimes appears as the vision of a Roma paradise, nothing is left today. Most symbolic is the destruction of the Roma Mahala in Southern Mitrovica which once hosted one of the biggest Roma communities in the region.
Since there is no exact information about the number of the Roma, who once lived in the Kosovo - the 1991 census registered 44,307 people who declared themselves as being of Romani origin with NGO estimates varying between 60,000 and 200,000 people - it is very difficult to quantify the human misery which has emerged from reversed ethnic cleansing. On the spot, exact figures are not needed, as the reality speaks for itself: Kosovo Roma are today the last inhabitants of the refugee camps in the Former Yugoslavia. Several tens of thousands live in illegal settlements, with often no or only limited access to water, electricity and waste removal. Their livelihood is made out of donations, occasional jobs in the informal economy, from begging and from selling of findings from the garbage.
Kosovo Roma today are reproducing the stereotypes of what people commonly consider as 'gypsies', a Roma activist pointed out to me. It is indeed hard to ignore the reverse process which has taken place, pushing once integrated and economically independent people to the fringes of the society, a society which has itself reached the bottom of what can be reached by European standards. Last Summer, I visited refugee camps or collective centres as they are euphemistically called in Montenegro and spoke to their inhabitants. I spoke to those who are rummaging through garbage cans and who are begging in the streets. The most enduring impression I was left with from my visits is the ability of these people to preserve their human dignity in the face of their hardships.
They were quite outspoken about the fact that they do not have any illusion about ever returning to Kosovo. Their dream is to go to Western Europe to have a better life. If the camps have emptied throughout the years it is probably in first place because of those hundreds or thousands who have somehow managed to make their way to Western Europe. In Summer 1999, a boat sunk while crossing the Adriatic leaving more than hundred dead. "I have lost a daughter-in-law and a grandchild," a man told me in the Northern Montenegrin town of Berane.
The camps and settlements are also the place where those end up, for whom the dream of a more bearable life has ended in failure and who have been repatriated from Western Europe. Again there are no precise numbers of the Roma who have been repatriated from Western Europe to Serbia and Montenegro and West European states such as Germany insist that they do not repatriate Kosovo Roma to other regions of Serbia and Montenegro. However, there are recurring rumours that Roma from Kosovo are being sent back to Serbia and Montenegro. I met two Kosovo Roma families, who had been repatriated from Germany and Switzerland, in the Podgorica suburb camp of Konik in Montenegro. One returnee from Germany explained to me that he had actually hoped to return to Kosovo. This was in 1999, before the bombing.
The return process to Kosovo has proceeded sluggishly. By the end of 2003, the UNHCR had registered merely 10,000 so-called minority returns. The process has considerably slowed down after the March pogroms in 2004 which led to 4,100 new IDPs with the number of returns in 2004 being significantly inferior to that of the two years before.
On the top of it, several hundreds of people have reportedly left Kosovo for Serbia and Montenegro or other destinations in the immediate aftermath the unrests and in the months to follow.
Listening to the recent statements made by such influential voices as the International Crisis Group (ICG), the independence of Kosovo is merely a question of time. While the first reactions to the March pogroms seemed to be that the protection of the rights of the minorities also as a prerequisite for any discussions surrounding the status would be given greater attention, the foot seems to be today in the other shoe. It has indeed argued that the local authorities cannot be hold accountable for the security situation of the minorities as long as their political responsibilities are curtailed. Moreover, the ICG and others have warned that the frustrations of the Kosovo Albanian population over the current stalemate could trigger new violence.
Independence now or barbarity, this is how the equation is now put. At the same time the advocators of independence, be it conditional, strongly rebuke any proposal by the Serbian government for a partition of Kosovo according to which Kosovo's Northern parts where the majority of the Kosovo Serbs live according to the government which has been contested by the ICG as well as by the European Stability Initiative would enjoy a substantial autonomy. Interestingly they use the same arguments to refute the Serbian governments proposal, i.e., the wish not to support an ethnic division of the province, which are put forward to legitimate an independent status of Kosovo. If it is certainly true that it cannot be expected that the Kosovo Albanians return under the authority of Belgrade, it is also true that nobody can "honestly imagine the non-Albanians integrating into an independent Kosovo any time soon" as Transitions Online (TOL) put in a rhetoric question.
The question that emerges here is what will happen with the Kosovo minorities. This has been raised with regard to the Kosovo Serbs and everybody agrees that their rights need to be protected, but the proponents of independence fail to consider the situation of the other ethnic minorities and in particular of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians. One is even tempted to believe that the Serb minority would not receive the attention it receives, if the Serbian government would not use it to underline its legitimate interests in Kosovo. As a matter of fact the Serbian government has also included the Roma and other non-Serb minorities it its proposal for a partition, but this is probably rather a tactical move. What the Roma miss is somebody who would advocate their rights for their own sake.
In a situation where their only chance would indeed be to speak with one voice, the Roma appear divided. In addition to the distinction in Roma, Ashkali and Kosovo Egyptian which some consider as legitimate and based on real differences such as language, origin and culture, but others as a mere betrayal of the common Romani origin, there are also differences of interests, which make it impossible for anyone to speak in the name of the whole community. A situation where four quarters or more of the concerned live in Diaspora is certainly not very conducive for a clarification and eventual settlement of the differences.
Under these circumstances and given the fact that the situation is already complicated enough, it is certainly very tempting to simply pass over the Roma and eventually, at a later stage, call in those who will just nod their heads in acquiescence. The result will however be an ever greater alienation of the Roma which already in past has provided the basis for instrumentalisations of all kinds. More important, a discussion over the final status of Kosovo on these premises and under the preliminaries set out above risks to entrench forever the status quo.
Looking at post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina could be highly instructive and indeed act as a warning: Almost ten years after the end of the war only a small number of Roma have been able to return to their place of origin, others remaining displaced within the country where they live under destitute conditions or staying abroad. Roma are not represented at the political institutions. The fact that they have not been recognised as a constituent people bans them from having access to the highest political offices including the Presidency. Only in 2003 have the Roma been returned the status of a national minority, which they had had in the Former Yugoslavia, and, on this basis, been granted some protection of their rights.
If the 'international community' does not want to repeat these mistakes and endorse the results of reverse ethnic cleansing it needs to include the Roma in its talks, not just as people to be protected, but indeed as legitimate and equal partners.
Dr. Karin Waringo holds a Ph.D. in Political Science. She is a freelance journalist and researcher specialising in Southeast Europe and minority issues. In the past, she served as an adviser of the European Roma Information Office in Brussels.
By Gzim Baxhaku
(This article has been written within a reporting programme launched by the London-based Media Diversity Institute and the BETA news agency, titled "Seeing the Roma Without Prejudice" a part of the Decade of Roma Inclusion.)
International organizations and local authorities in Kosovo do not have any reliable information on the number of Roma living in the province and do not know how many of them moved out during and following the 1999 conflict. According to census figures dating back to 1991, there were 42,806 Roma living in Kosovo. Today, however, 60 to 70 percent are believed to have left.
"No aspect of their lives offers adequate data for basing a strategy for dealing with the Roma problem in Kosovo. Roma are the biggest `collateral damage` of what happened in the former Yugoslavia, especially Kosovo," says Luan Koka, political scientist, reporter, and Roma leader in Serbia-Montenegro.
Before the 1999 conflict, there were Roma in every town and municipality in Kosovo, except for Dragas. Their settlements in Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica, Vucitrn and other towns were razed to the ground after the pullout of Serbian security forces and are deserted today.
"The Roma who stayed in Kosovo live in fear. They are often accused, mostly without good reason, of collaboration with the Serbian authorities and atrocities against Albanians. Fear causes them to hesitate in reporting violations of their basic rights and discrimination," says Bashkim Hisari from the Belgrade Humanitarian Law Fund. Hisari has been involved with minority issues for a long time.
More than half of Kosovo`s Roma population left precisely because of accusations of "collaboration." During the war, Serb units used some Roma in their campaign against Kosovo`s Albanians, giving them jobs such as torching houses or even removing Albanian corpses. This caused the Albanian majority to develop a disliking for Roma.
Before the outbreak of the Kosovo conflict, Belgrade also encouraged the creation of new ethnic communities, most of which were made up of Roma. They made the Ashkali and Egyptian communities official, and both continue to enjoy minority status to date. Representatives of these communities acted as de facto puppets of the Slobodan Milosevic regime in the negotiations that were held before the war.
Publicist and writer Kujtim Pacaku, editor of the Roma-language division of Radio Yeni Donem in Prizren, says that it is true that Roma are partly to blame for their position on the sidelines of Kosovo society, adding that "the blame is also shared by the majority nation in Kosovo, which is encouraging stereotypes about Roma."
The town of Prizren is unique in Kosovo in its treatment of the local Roma community. Most of the community stayed in their settlement during the war and after the Serb pullout. They say this is because they did not cooperate with the Serbian authorities before the conflict.
Today, Roma have the biggest financial and social problems of any ethnic community in Kosovo. They live in isolation, on the outskirts of towns in settlements built of flimsy materials. Their homes and businesses are illegal, and most of their populated areas lack sewers, water supplies, electricity, and the hygienic conditions required to lead a normal life. About 90 percent of adult Roma are believed to be unemployed. Most live on state welfare or donations of food and clothing from the international community.
The Decade of Roma Inclusion is still not being marked in Kosovo. Neither the interim government nor the international administration, which has the greater say in matters of minorities, has yet drawn up a program dealing with this. However, both the government and UNMIK have been paying more attention to Roma lately.
Government sources say they are working on a program for the Decade or Roma Inclusion. The government has secured about EUR2 million for building housing for 114 families, 550 people in all, currently located at the Plemetina camp near Pristina. The foundations have been laid for an apartment building with 37 apartments in Obilic, as well as an identical block in Magura in Lipljan municipality, about 20 kilometers southwest of Pristina.
Kosovo`s Roma have called on the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology to introduce additional classes to teach Romany, Roma culture, and history. The ministry has not replied even though the call was first made two years ago.
Only Radio-Television Kosova, the public broadcaster, features broadcasts in Romany simply because it is required by law to do so. The station has two Romany shows per week. Radio broadcasts are in the works and will also be made twice weekly.
The Constitutional Framework guarantees at least one seat in the Kosovo Assembly for a Roma representative. In the first assembly and the one that is currently in office, the Roma representative has been Hadzi Zulfi Merdza, president of the Democratic Party of Roma.
Pacaku says that Roma have accepted the new reality of Kosovo, and that now Kosovo has to accept Roma. Representatives of the Roma community are saying that the Albanian majority and they need to embrace the same values. Merdza, the Assembly member, says that resolving the final status of Kosovo will improve the standing of the Roma community.
ORLOVA, North Moravia, Dec 3 (CTK) - About twenty right-wing extremists from the National Resistance Silesia movement today established patrols to monitor security in the streets of Orlova- Poruba, a neighbourhood where a large number of thefts and robberies occurred recently.
The self-named guards want to monitor the observance of public peace and hand the possible culprits over to the police.
A higher number of police officers are to monitor the extremists' action aimed against Romanies, in order to prevent possible violence.
"We want to express our disagreement with the work of the city management and of the state and municipal police in the neighbourhood," the movement's representative who would not give his name, told journalists today.
He said that elderly people were attacked in Orlova-Poruba streets and metal objects were regularly stolen.
"Permanent pressure has been exerted on younger fellow citizens by Romany inhabitants," the representative said.
He said the patrols will remain in the streets throughout December at least.
Orlova Mayor Vladimir Farana said he disagrees with the extremists' plan.
No attack occurred here since the perpetrators were placed in custody three weeks ago, he said, citing police statistics.
Jirina Kubatova, a Romany adviser at the Orlova Town Hall, called the planned action unnecessary.
"It only foments unpleasant reactions. We are often in contact with Romanies. The local Romanies are not the perpetrators," Kubatova told CTK.
Romanies would not comment on the situation.
And what are the EU ministers doing in this matter? Kek, obviously, as per usual, while they will quite happily and swiftly intervene when it has to do with Muslims in Kosovo and the like. But, as I keep saying, we are but "Dirty Gyppos" and are just seen as a "menace" by all of them.
If you live in Williston, then beware of the "linoleum gypsies."
According to Williston Police, two men knocked at the door of the home of an elderly couple in the 300 block of SE 2nd Street and offered them a linoleum floor covering. Once the salesmen got inside the house, they asked to go into the kitchen to better display the linoleum. One of the men held the covering across the doorway to conceal the entry of a third person who stole a "substantial" sum of money from a purse and a wallet, police reported.
The elderly are frequently targets of such "gypsy scams" and rarely report such crimes because of embarrassment, said Lt. Clay Connolly, spokesman for the department.
Anyone with information about this or similar incidents is asked to call the Williston Police Department at (352) 528-4991 or Crime Stoppers at (877) 349-8477.
Now it is 'linoleum gypsies' that the police in this part of the US is warning people about.
I sincerely wonder whether the PD in that town would know a Gypsy from an Albanian or whatever else. Also thy it remains possible in the USA, the country that claims to be such a bastion of liberty and all that jazz, to defame an ethnic group in such a manner beats me. I bet they could not say "linoleum Jews" even if it would have been a group of unscrupulous Jewish men. Why then do this to the ethnic People called "Gypsies" amongst the general public but who might call themselves Romanies? Mind you, the USA is not alone in this and we shall have a few articles on the German counterpart of this blog that show this. Even the police authorities in Germany still break EU laws on discrimination by actually saying that some perpetrator was of the "of the group of Sinti & Roma".
OSTRAVA, North Moravia, Dec 5 (CTK) - An unknown man recently refused to let a group of Romanies in a club in Ostrava, advised them to seek Gypsy entertainment instead and grossly offended them over their colour of skin, the local police told CTK today, adding that the case is being investigated.
A group of Romanies aged between 16 and 23 wanted to visit the Ta Magica club on Saturday shortly before midnight. At the entrance, however, they faced a man who refused to let them in and offended them.
He called them "Gypsy dirt" and other swearwords with a racial subtext. The man later disappeared and the police are searching for him.
The police are investigating the incident on suspicion of defamation of a nation, ethnic group, race and conviction and of breach of the peace.
The perpetrator faces up to two years if identified and found guilty.
If it turned out that the man worked for the club, the club's owner could face troubles as well.
The Ostrava regional court discussed a similar case last week. Three Romanies complained about the staff in the local wine bar Rubin having refused to attend to them in 2001. The court verdict granted a compensation of 50,000 crowns and a written apology to each.
In another case, the owner of the now defunct Diablo club had to apologise to three Romanies whom the club staff refused to serve in March 2004. The club owner also has to pay 30,000 crowns to each of the complainants and cover their court costs.
In January 2003, the Ostrava regional court ruled that the owner of the Club Vegas restaurant must apologise in the press to a Romany whom a local waiter refused to serve. The court, however, did not qualify the incident as racially-motivated and turned down the Romany's claim for 50,000 crowns in compensation.
"The court, however, did not qualify the incident as racially-motivated, etc". Aha, so what is it then when someone gets refused service on racial grounds for being Gypsy? It seems to only be racial grounds, whether in the Czech Republic or elsewhere in the EU, if one happens to be Black or Asian and ideally still Muslin or Jewish… but if you happen to be Gypsy; well, forget it. They can say and do what they like and a court may accept that what they did was wrong but it will not be classed as a "racially-motivated attack" or such. Amazing is it not?
PRAGUE- The government approved a plan for Romany integration for the next four years, cabinet spokeswoman Lucie Orgonikova said.
The plan is to improve the position of the Romany minority and wants to prevent its seclusion in ghettoes.
It focuses on a system of social housing, more investments in the programmes and the measures to help employment within the Romany communities, Orgonikova said.
The plan also wants to increase the participation of Romany children in pre-school educational facilities from three years of age. The plans wants to help local authorities socially integrate Romanies, she added.
The Czech Republic has not much advanced in the effort to integrate the Romany minority in society. Romanies chiefly suffer from lack of higher education, high unemployment, living on welfare payments and within poverty ghettoes.
I must have a problem with my eyes when I am reading this because I do not read "integration" as it is written but "forced assimilation". I guess I really must go to the optician and get new specs.
BOULDER, Colorado - December 7 - In northern Kosovo, 500 people live in camps maintained by the United Nations, where they are continually exposed to severe lead poisoning. Five years ago, Bernard Kouchner, a physician and the first Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo, said it would be negligent to keep children and pregnant women in the camps "even for one more day."
The most recent (2005) World Health Organization study in these camps found that 88 percent of children under age 6 had blood lead levels in the highest category, described as "acute medical emergency."
Even the lowest measured blood lead level was three times higher than the permissible level for children (10 ug/dL). Health impacts of lead poisoning in children are irreversible. They include brain damage, mental retardation, behavior problems, anemia, liver and kidney damage, hearing loss and death. Blood lead levels in the Kosovo children may have already lowered their IQs by 20 points or more. At least one child's death is attributed to lead poisoning; there may be many others.
In 1999 the UN established the camps for Internally Displaced Persons near the Trepca mine and smelter, known for producing both valuable metals and high volumes of lead-contaminated waste. Experts (then and now) urged immediate evacuation of the children and pregnant women, who are most vulnerable to lead poisoning.
In 2004, WHO found soil contamination in the camps "above safe levels for gardening, children playing and human habitation," and urged that the population be removed from the camps on an emergency basis. In 2005, a WHO expert described the camps as "one of the most serious lead-related environmental health disasters in the world and in history." The International Committee of the Red Cross also demanded that the camps be evacuated.
"Let's call this injustice by its name -- environmental racism -- and demand that the United Nations immediately relocate the Roma victims and provide the medical care they need," says Paula Palmer, Executive Director of Global Response, a Boulder-based organization that organizes letter-writing campaigns to help communities prevent many kinds of environmental destruction. "Why has the United Nations taken no action based on these reports and demands? Why are 500 people still living on lead-contaminated soils and breathing lead-contaminated dust from huge tailings piles?"
The European Roma Rights Centre says there is only one explanation for keeping 500 people on these huge contaminated tailings piles: racism. The displaced persons at the Kablare, Zitkovac and Cesmin Lug camps are Roma-an ethnic group commonly called "Gypsies."
Since the 12th century, when the Romani people migrated eastward from India to Europe, they have been met everywhere with mistrust, rejection, persecution, banishment, enslavement and attempted extermination. A third of Europe's Roma population was murdered in the Holocaust, but that is not the most recent pogrom against them. In 1999, when NATO action against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ended, ethnic Albanians returned from abroad and violently expelled approximately four-fifths of Kosovo's resident Romani population. Romani people were kidnapped, abused, murdered and raped. Whole Romani settlements were burned to the ground, and NATO forces did not interfere to stop this "ethnic cleansing."
Palmer says that racist sentiment against the Roma is so pervasive that the UN has been able to keep the Roma in lead-contaminated camps for six years without risking a huge public outcry. "It is time now for that outcry to come from every corner of the globe."
Global Response is urging citizens from all around the world to write polite letters to United Nations officials demanding immediate action to evacuate the lead-contaminated camps in Kosovo and to provide safe housing and health care to the affected Romani people. For more information visit www.globalresponse.org.
Environmental Racism -- Environmental racism is the unequal protection against toxic and hazardous waste exposure and the systematic exclusion of people of color from environmental decisions affecting their communities (including urban planning and zoning, and natural resource extractive activities). The movement for environmental justice has emerged in the last 30 years to articulate a vision of a society in which no community is unfairly burdened with pollution or other environmental harms and where social justice and ecological sustainability prevail.
The Roma - In spite of the relentless discrimination they have experienced, the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe maintain rich and diverse cultural, legal, and economic traditions. For example: Roma in many countries enforce their own bodies of law based on oral traditions; they have been considered the best metal workers in many European countries for centuries; and they have had a major influence on literature, theater, and music and other art forms in throughout Europe and Russia. In the post-Soviet Union era in Eastern Europe, economic instability that comes with free markets breeds resentment against Roma whenever people's financial fortunes take a turn for the worst. Fortunately, during the last three decades there has been a resurgence in Romani civil society organizations that are demanding recognition of the Romani people's contributions to the world, acknowledgement of their distinct ethnic heritage, and human rights protections. At the 1971 First World Romani Congress, the wheel-shaped 16-spoked chakra was adopted as the international Romani symbol.
Roma driven from their homes during the bloodletting in Kosovo have been left to eke out an existence in severely contaminated camps for the past six years.
The three sites now inhabited by the Roma are in the shadow of derelict heavy industry sites and are seriously polluted with lead and other heavy metals.
The World Health Authority (WHO) and United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) have accepted that the situation constitutes and urgent health emergency and urgent action is needed but so far little has been done to help the displaced.
The majority of the 600 Roma living in the three camps were driven out of South Mitrovica in 1999 when their homes were razed by Kosovo Albanians intent on ethnic cleansing.
Since then they have been exposed to lead poisoning well above WHO's recommended safe levels.
In many cases the children of the camp have over four times the acceptable levels of lead in their blood, leading to irreversible brain damage as well as a host of other health problems including loss of appetite, lethargy, high blood pressure, fertility problems, stunted growth, hearing damage, seizures, pain or paralysis in the legs, dropping in and out of consciousness, anaemia, increased aggression, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
Adults in the camp have described the children as appearing drunk and woozy.
Lead can enter the body through a number of routes - inhalation, ingestion of the soil itself or food grown on contaminated land and a foetus can absorb lead from a poisoned mother while still in the womb.
Poor nutrition and hygiene speed up the rate at which the body absorbs lead.
The problem of the contaminated site is exacerbated by the fact that one of the few sources of income for the Roma is smelting lead from salvaged ore, adding harmful fumes to the already badly contaminated sites.
The only long-term solution to the crisis is relocating the people in the camps, but there are a number of impediments to the process.
There seems little political will to move the Roma, with the local authorities offering to build blocks of flats which do not suit their lifestyle or traditions.
Aid agency Refugees International has recommended that all pregnant women and young children, as well as those with very high levels of lead poisoning, be immediately evacuated to rented flats while a permanent solution is worked out.
But even this has lead to some difficulties, as the Roma feel they have been forgotten and are suspicious that they might have to wait another six years for a permanent home if they accept another 'temporary' solution.
Meanwhile, they just wait with little to look forward to but a token effort from a Danish aid agency which is providing milk and other calcium rich foods in an ultimately vain effort to drive down the rate at which lead is absorbed into the children's bodies.
By Sam Bond
A new report by the European Roma Rights Centre finds that France's Gypsy and Romani population lives in a pervasive climate of racism and discrimination.
Hard on the heels of the riots in France, the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has published a detailed report on the human rights situation of Gypsies, Travellers and Romani migrants in France. Entitled Always somewhere else: Anti-Gypsyism in France, the report sums up the findings of the ERRC's relevant research and monitoring activities since 2003.
According to the report, the settled Gypsy population in France is officially estimated at around 500,000, although other estimates say that the actual figure is much closer to 1.2 million. The report says that the vast majority of Gypsies and Travellers in France are French nationals. Travellers (Gens du voyage) are understood to be mobile home dwellers.
In the report, the ERRC says that "France is renowned as the source and guardian of modern democracy and of individual rights and freedoms; yet, hundreds of thousands of French citizens are subject to severe violations of the most basic civil and political rights without this seeming to cause even a ripple of protest, let alone public outcry, at the challenge posed to the very foundations of the French Republic. A large part of those affected by these violations are Gypsies and Travellers, indicating that these violations are in fact racist in character".
Roma minorities are widely considered the most vulnerable to racism and discrimination in the new EU member states as well, especially in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
France's Gypsy population is NOT, despite what the ERRC tried to make the reader of this piece believe, Roma but Romani as most are Manouche and the Manouche or Manush are NOT Roma but are Sinti. Other Gypsies in France are Spanich Gitanos or Cale and then, yes, there are "native" Kalderash and Lovara Roma and then there are the foreign Kalderash Roma that have come to France as refugees. And those do not form a homogenous group.
Elayne Clift Women's feature service
She calls herself "a full-time Roma smart-ass"; not an easy job, she says. Enisa Eminova, a Macedonian Roma, is a consultant to the Roma Women's Initiative - founded in 1999 by the New York based Open Society Institute's Network Women's Programme. The Roma Women's Initiative works to develop, link and catalyse a core group of committed Roma women's leaders in an effort to improve the human rights of Roma women in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Roma people, sometimes called Romani but best known as 'Gypsies', originated in India almost two thousand years ago. They migrated to Persia (now Iran) and Turkey, and later into western Europe and North America. There are an estimated 12 million Romani in the world now, although that official number is considered low because many Roma conceal their identity. (Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Canada, October 2005)
Only about five per cent of European Romanies are nomadic. Despite abundant myths of caravans and cults, most Roma live in fixed locations and do not beg - or steal - for a living. Throughout history, they have suffered severe persecution, especially in Europe, where genocide was ordered in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and again during the Nazi regime. More recently, Romani have been subjected to attack and hate crimes in formerly Communist countries in eastern Europe, where they are discriminated against in all realms of life.
Romani women face both gender and racial discrimination. They experience prejudice in the workplace and are often entirely excluded from the formal economy. In Romania, for example, 35 per cent of Roma women aged 25-54 are unemployed, which is four times greater than unemployment rates for women in the general population. (Source for figures: Roma Women's Initiative, 2005) Further, they are constrained by limited educational opportunities. The segregation of Roma students into inferior schools continues to present obstacles to further education and vocational training, and girls are subjected to unequal opportunities even in those poor schools.
Second-class healthcare is another problem. The life expectancy for Roma women in the Czech Republic is age 60 - that's 14 years less than the national average for Czech women. In Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, infant mortality rates for Roma are close to twice as high as the national averages. Inadequate housing, traditional gender roles and general marginalisation from majority communities wherever they live add to Romani burdens. Those burdens make the weight of tradition even harder to bear.
Eminova lists some Romani traditions - virginity testing, early and arranged marriages, coerced sterilisation, domestic violence, and prostitution and trafficking. While acknowledging variations among different groups of Roma across regions and countries, she says that the virginity cult continues. Young Romani women are subjected to pre-marital examinations, sometimes by family members, to determine whether they are virgins.
In a 2001 survey conducted by Roma Women's Initiative in Macedonia, 75 per cent of boys said it was fine for males to have premarital sex, but 76 per cent thought their future wives should be virgins. Almost 60 per cent of parents said they would reject a potential daughter-in-law, or even disown their daughter, if she was not a virgin at marriage. Nearly 70 per cent of young women interviewed expressed deep fear and anxiety about the issue.
With more countries in Eastern Europe being admitted into the European Union, and with the launch of the Decade of Roma (2005-2015) by the UN, Romani women are becoming increasingly visible and active. Two years ago, for example, the Roma Women's Initiative held a Roma Women's Forum, preceding the World Bank/Open Society Institute's conference on 'Roma in an Expanding Europe'. Roma women participated in the 49th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2005 and in UN hearings on the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). And at the 10th Association for Women's Rights in Development Forum held in Bangkok in October 2005, Roma women's presence was strong.
In a plenary session titled 'How Should We Change?', Enisa Eminova challenged the audience of over 1,500 women to "move beyond one size fits all" when confronting racism and class difference. "We must realise it's not 'we and you', it's 'us', she said, warning against labels. "One person's win doesn't have to come from another person's loss. When we adopt the perspective of 'us', we can't harm each other without harming ourselves. We assume a joint culture of responsibility."
Eminova claims there is still racism in the global women's movement. She says women don't know, or they deny, that there are Roma living in their countries. At the same time, she goes beyond criticising State-supported, organisational and individual racism, and confronts her own community. Roma men and the Roma community itself, she says, must also examine their own prejudices. "Roma women should not have to choose between being Roma and being women." It is threatening to the Roma community, particularly the men, when the women within it explore their identity as both women and Roma, says Eminova. But why should women be vested with the responsibility for Roma identity at the expense of their identity as women, she asks.
An activist since age 17, Eminova, now 24, has helped launch programmes and initiatives in countries such as Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine that focus on Roma women's empowerment and development. She challenges young women to explore why their bodies should serve as a metaphor for family purity and community acceptance. She introduces them to the idea that a girl's virginity serves as a tool to oppress and prevent Roma girls from exercising their right to education, freedom of movement and human development.
Whether tackling race and class in the European Union or confronting the taboo subject of women's sexuality within Roma communities, Enisa Eminova's job is not easy. But her work, and similar efforts by her colleagues, is bringing Roma women's issues to light in both those arenas through research, education and advocacy. It is also making Roma issues visible to national and regional institutions and processes, such as the European Union's equal opportunities and anti-discrimination efforts and national machineries on Roma and women.
DESPITE claims the Government is failing to tackle the issue, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister insists it has made some real improvements over the last year.
A spokeswoman said: "There are already strong and wide-ranging powers available to deal with unauthorised developments, unauthorised encampments and anti-social behaviour."
She said the introduction of new enforcement powers to tackle development on land owned by travellers, but without planning permission, and temporary stop notices, which forces development to pause for 28 days while it is investigated, were significant improvements.
The Housing Act 2004, which requires local authorities to assess the accommodation needs of travellers as well as the settled community, was held up as another important development.
She said: "As part of the new planning process, local authorities will have to identify sites suitable for gypsies and travellers to meet this need. This is effectively a duty to provide sites."
And she said £33 million had been made available to local authorities through the Gypsy Site Refurbishment Grant scheme since 2001.
The spokeswoman said: "The Government will be making further funding available through the Regional Housing Boards over the next two years for site provision and refurbishment."
New York, 21. 11. 2005, 12:19, (CTK)
The concert of Slovak Romany musicians marking the recent election of Slovakia as United Nations Security Council member, has received unseen ovations in New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall late on Sunday. The Romany cymbalom orchestra of the Anyalai brothers surprised the audience by its untraditional but musically perfect performance of classical compositions by Joseph Haydn and Johannes Brahms, and by a series of passionate Romany folk songs. The concert also starred several soloists, including 13-year- old violinist Patrik Zigmund. "For a long time now I haven't heard 600 people applaud in a way they applauded this evening," Magdalena Vasaryova, state secretary at the Slovak Foreign Ministry, told CTK after the concert.
She said that the opinion prevails in the world that all Romanies in Slovakia live in Romany settlements on the outskirts of towns and villages.
"Of course, about ten percent of our Romanies live in settlements, but this is all. We would like [Slovak Romanies] to win the world's attention, as they are extraordinarily talented musicians who deserve scholarships and a little bit more concern," Vasaryova said.
The concert was also held to show that the idea of Romanies being discriminated against Romanies in Slovakia is nothing but a prejudice, she added.
Slovakia will be U.N. Security Council's elected member in 2006-2007.
Banska Bystrica, 29. 11. 2005, 18:41, (CTK)
The number of Romany assistants to teachers, who help them with problem children, has risen by a half to 900 in Slovakia since last year, Lucia Dobrodenkova from the Slovak Education Ministry told CTK today.
"We realise the importance of this project. Teachers' assistants from the Romany community enable children to get used to a new environment easier," said Dobrodenkova. Last year the Education Ministry earmarked 88 million crowns for the salaries of teachers' assistants, she added.
The introduction of teachers' assistants in Slovak primary schools has been the largest project of this kind in the country. The assistants now work in hundreds of primary schools, mainly in the localities with dense Romany population.
However, not only Romanies are interested in this job. Romany activist Magda Karacova, who worked as a teacher's assistant earlier, said that more and more unemployed teachers are seeking these jobs.
"I consider it a serious problem as these people have no experience with the life in a Romany community. It is just another job for them," Karacova said.
The project of Romany assistants, launched in 2002, was initiated by the Association of Young Romanies.
Agnesa Novozarova from this foundation said that so far some 200 Romanies with completed secondary education have worked as teachers' assistants via the foundation. A half of them have received a permanent job at schools and keep working there. There are some 90,000 Romany children attending primary schools in Slovakia, which is over 10 percent of all children in the country. A major part of them live in some 600 Romany settlements in east and central Slovakia.
PRAGUE- No money has been set aside in the draft budget for next year for the purchase and removal of the pig farm near Lety located on the site of a former Romany concentration camp, the daily Hospodarske noviny writes.
The Chamber of Deputies is expected to take the final vote on next year's state budget on Friday. Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies budget committee Michal Kraus (senior governing Social Democrats, CSSD) told the paper that the only chance of obtaining the money was for the government to use money from the government's budget reserve.
According to certain estimates, the purchase of the pig farm would require 300 million crowns.
Representatives of Romany organisations have been demanding for years the removal of the pig farm that is located on the site where the former Nazi internment camp for Romanies was during World War Two.
Hospodarske noviny points out that Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek (CSSD) again stated a month ago that the budget would have money for the purchase and re-settlement of the pig farm.
"No such proposal has been raised and things that municipalities mostly need such as kindergartens, sewage plants and playgrounds have been given preference," Kraus told the paper. He thus explained why none of the deputies remembered about the need to purchase the pig farm when the draft budget bill was debated in the budget committee.
However, government human rights commissioner Svatopluk Karasek (junior governing Freedom Union-DEU) believes that the "prime minister did not just make wild guesses" and that the money from the budget will finally be found.
Hospodarske noviny says that during the Friday vote on the budget the deputies will be able to allot a total of 20 million crowns for municipality needs, distributing the money among their constituencies. The sum appeared as the result of the rejection by the Chamber of Deputies of a bill on absentee vote for which a certain reserve was prepared.
The daily points out that artists should also receive money money. Actress and US-DEU deputy Tatana Fischerova has proposed 100 million for them. Orchestras, choirs and theatres should receive 20 million crowns, and 80 million should be designed for grants to finance cultural projects beginning with galleries and ending with dancers, according to Fischerova.
Oh, what a surprise - NOT. Despite saying again and again that they would buy the pig farm and turn it into a memorial for the murdered Sinti and Roma the Czech governments default on this. Did anyone really expect anything else?
ERIO suggests August 2 as a day of reflection for the European public, opinion makers and mass media about the dangers of anti-Gypsyism and racism in general. On the night of August 2, 1944, 2898 Romani men, women, and children were gassed at Auschwitz as Soviet troops closed in.
60 years later, headlines such as "Stamp on the camps," "War against the Gypsies," and "Gypsy madness" are seen frequently in British tabloids. Major politicians use open hate speech against Roma. Racism which would not be accepted against other ethnic groups often passes without comment when directed against Roma.
It is unacceptable to isolate, exclude and blame Roma for the obvious failure of policies made to forcibly assimilate them; it is unacceptable to publish racist materials in mass media and shameful to justify it from an economic point of view.
It is time to stop racism, including the often invisible or accepted anti-Gypsyism. It is time to give us, the Roma, a fair chance to be what we are supposed to be: equal citizens of Europe.
It is amazing that ever since this day was put forward - or indeed a memorial week - as a idea by the leadership of the INTERNATIONAL ROMANI GUILD on one of the website associated with the IRG every groups is claiming it as its original idea. No one would mind if they would put this idea forward but credit where credit is due would be a nice thought but then, in the Gypsy Industry this does not seem to be a possibility.
Museum of Roma Culture located in Brno, the second biggest city in the Czech Republic, is opening the first part of its constant exhibition. The newly-opened part of the permanent exhibition comprises two rooms out of the total of six exhibition rooms. Two rooms - No. 5 and No. 6 - will be opened tomorrow under auspices of Czech ombudsman Otakar Motejl. They will show 'Story of Roma' in the Czech Republic since 1945 till today.
The room No. 5 presents the basic lines and developments of the state approach to the Romany issue during 1945-1989. It includes eyewitness reflections on the events, as well as the development of Romany culture and traditions during this period. Documents, writings and photographs of the period, and three-dimensional objects with an audio-visual accompaniment are exhibited.
The Museum of Roma Culture was established in 1991 as a non-governmental, non-profit organization. Its establishment was the result of the efforts of a group of Romany intelligentsia and Romany studies and related study fields professionals. The Museum has become the center for research, documentation and presentation of Romany culture, history and contemporary developments, which makes it a unique institution of its kind in the European context. Since 2005, the Museum has become a state subsidy organization of the Czech Ministry of Culture.
The Room No. 6 offers a mosaic of contemporary trends marking the relationship between Romany communities and the majority population in the Czech Republic since 1989. The exhibition is composed of newspaper clippings and video-loop with interesting TV stock shots and clips from reports and documents on the life of Roma in the Czech Republic as well as abroad.
Museum of Roma Culture (Muzeum romske kultury)
Tue - Fri: 10 a.m. - 6 p. m.
Sun: 10 a.m. - 5 p. m.
25. 11. 2005
We have noticed some e-mails circulating within the Roma network recently that express serious reservations and criticisms of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF).
One writer is Carlos Santiago. He sees ERTF as a very authoritatian organisation dominated by its leaders. "We can already see how the Forum is completely ruled by ERTF Roma leaders who handpick different Roma people as they like from all over Europe." He carries on with his criticism: "They all share the common interest which is money. This is their driving force. We also know that financial support from different governments is sent there." Carlos Santiago strongly appeals to all leaders of Roma organisations to unite. "We must not let ERTF violate our rights; we have been united for centuries and we must again become one. Please, send your protests to us and we will collect them and send all to the right authorities."
A similarly critical email came from Kjell Lundberg in Sweden, who views the ERTF as "a big brother from above" that "with ruthless and disrespectable ways does try to rule the European Roma and Traveller people with an iron hand." He calls for his fellow Roma and Travellers to openly speak out about the unfair treatment that the Roma people, the people the ERTF are supposed to support, are receving from the ERTF. "If we don't dare to protest against the open insult and disrespectable treatment which has been showed in an obvious way from the responsible (Roma employed) at ERTF, it can soon be too late."
"We hope that thoughts and knowledge have been raised among our sisters and brothers around Europe," he said. "We can't accept any disrespectable behaviour from ERTF." Lundberg believes that basic Roma values are being overshadowed by the desire for power and money. "It's our duty to lead this knowledge to our children that Roma respect and loyalty not can be bought by money or status."
"It has never been like that among us Roma and Travellers and it can't be let to get that way, either," Lundberg stated.
Dzeno Association shares Santiago's and Lundberg's dissappointment with ERTF. When we tried to apply for membership in ERTF we ran into obstacles which ruled out our chances for participation. First of all, ERTF's Statute requires that an applicant represent 75% of the existing organisations in their country. In the Czech Republic it is not possible to determine the exact number of existing officially registered organisations that represent Roma, Sinti, Kale, Travellers and related groups. Secondly, ERTF's Statute prohibits applicants from accepting any government funds at any time during that organization's existence. Under these circumstances, it is virtually impossible for any currently existing organisations to meet the conditions, which makes it impossible to contribute to ERTF's activities.
Additionally, in a reaction to the announcement celebrating the commendation of ERTF's registration in the Tribunal of Justice in Strasbourg in 2004, Ivan Vesely, chairman of Dzeno Association, points out that the original concept of ERTF as a democratic assembly has disappointingly turned into a NGO like so many other international Roma NGOs already in existence. Like Carlos Santiago, Vesely strongly believes that Roma people should be represented by the body that will have its legitimate representatives elected. "The Roma have the right to nothing short of full, legal participation, and free and fair democratic representation in the political affairs of Europe," he said.
It appears that ERTF has not yet managed to break the distrust it has aroused among Roma by its establishment. On the contrary, crictical voices are becoming stronger.
It is amazing how long it took for some people to discover that there was something not right with the ERTF. Anyone should have been able to deduce that from the records of it "interim" president and others involved in it. They are not in it, and never have been in it, with any of the organizations they have fronted, for the People but only as regards to how much political mileage they could make on the backs of their poor Gypsy brethren, and the current "interim" president in particular. With the cronies and gullible that have been allowed to join he will change from interim president to president and that will be it. Nice one. And the audacity to call upon all those applying to join the ERTF to have an independent financial status and not receiving government funds while the ERTF itself is a part, basically, of the Council of Europe and please no one tell me that it is not funded by it, if only in part. That is the kettle calling the pot.
Nov 24 2005
By Nicola Rider
RESIDENTS in River Lane fear they will suffer "nervous breakdowns" if a court order, which is being sought to remove gypsy families from land in Leatherhead, takes too long.
The seven gypsy families were given 12 months to move from the site in River Lane by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) on November 17 last year.
But no attempt had been made by the families to move by the midnight deadline last Friday and Mole Valley District Council have started court proceedings against them.
But homeowners in River Lane believe that if the families are not moved on soon, their living situation will become even more intolerable.
One said: "We're only four houses. We are a forgotten minority. It's a ludicrous situation.
"If they are allowed to stay another year it's probably nervous breakdown time."
Mole Valley council's principal solicitor, Chris Harris said: "The council has instructed outside solicitors to proceed with seeking an injunction against all the occupiers and we wish to obtain a court hearing at the earliest opportunity."
Some of the occupiers of the River Lane site have breached a previous injunction, which stated the land should not be used as a gypsy caravan site.
These committal proceedings are set to be heard in court on December 1 against two male gypsies.
Mr Harris said: "This hearing will go ahead, and we will also be seeking an injunction against all the occupants of the site to ensure that they comply with the terms of the enforcement notices by removing themselves, their caravans, structures and fencing and to leave the land as it was.
"This is a discretionary remedy and the judge can give them whatever period of time he thinks is right to leave River Lane."
But the residents are furious the gypsies could be allowed to stay even longer.
A spokesman for the four households said: "Obviously the gypsies are supposed to go but we all know they are not going to because they have made no attempt to leave."
He added: "We've lived with this for two-and-a-half years and they should go. It's an absolutely unbelievably horrible situation."
But the gypsy families have made several good friends while they have been living in the area and have a lot of support to stay.
Jenny Moore runs a community shop in Leatherhead and believes the town would be a better place if the gypsies stay.
She said: "I have appreciated so much getting to know the families through the shop and the local school.
"I believe that Leatherhead would be a better place if we could find a way to accommodate this community."
A small group of people including Jenny, gypsy Susan King and friend Naomi Langley have been arranging meetings between the gypsy families and MVDC for the last few months.
Ms Langley said: "I want to find a way to enable them to stay and firmly believe there is a solution out there, we just need time to find it."
But leader of the district council, Councillor Tim Hall (Con, Fetcham West), believes MVDC is determined to return the site to Green Belt land.
Speaking to The Advertiser he said: "The council is very determined that land will go back to the Green Belt land it should be.
"They are very keen to be at River Lane and we are very keen they are moved.
"We have talked to Epsom and Ewell Council about legal sites they could move to."
But gypsy Susan King, from the River Lane site, does not want to have to uproot her family.
She said: "It will be absolutely devastating for us to leave. It is our home and our children's future.
"I think the hardest thing about leaving would be uprooting the children and trying to start again somewhere else, not knowing where that somewhere else will be.
"We've made such good relationships with the community and we've made such good friends in the schools and shops, it will be a nightmare to have to move."
Well, these are indeed Romanichals and where are Grattan uxon and USHTIBEN and all the other helpful people? Too busy at the Irish Traveller village outside Basildon. But no one is here to help the Kings who indeed are Romanichals and not just Irish Trailer Trash. And no, I am making no apologies for the use of that term, none whatsoever.
23. 11. 2005
Novosibirsk, RUSSIA- Two Romani houses were burned on November 10 in Iskitim (Novosibirsk oblast) according to the European Roma Rights Center, Budapest (ERRC) sources. One Romani woman sustained severe injures and her child died three days later due to the arson attack. This grave incident is the culmination of a wave of violence against Roma that has remained without efficient law enforcement response to date.
For instance, on February 14, 2005, approximately twenty individuals attacked and burned a number of Romani houses in that town. According to reports, the assailants managed to destroy entirely around ten dwellings in the course of the attack. After the incident, the Romani inhabitants were forced to leave their houses. Similar acts of violence had reportedly also taken place in January 2005 and in April 2005. Earlier ERRC sent a letter of concern to Mr. Afanasiev, deputy prosecutor of Novosibirsk oblast, who replied promising to act on the concerns. After the transaction, this latest house burning occurred. Further to this latest wave of violence, ERRC sent a letter of concern on November 17, 2005 to Mr. Vlamidir Tokarev, Prosecutor of the Novosibirsk Oblast, copied to the Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation and to the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Russian Federation.
ERRC has requested that all perpetrators involved in the recent violent arson attacks on the homes of Roma in Iskitim be swiftly brought to justice, and that the victims be protected from further abuse and to take further precautions in their power to ensure protection for those Romani people who live in Iskitim.
(Roma Press Center Budapest/ERRC)
Those pogroms in the Novosibirsk oblast and several other regions are an ongoing affair, it would seem, and not a single word is being mentioned anywhere in the Western world, so vociferous would it be any other ethnic group such a Chechens or Turks or Jews or whatever. But then it is only "Dirty Gyppos" so, once again, no one could give a toss.
London: The small minority of Roma people - said to be descendants of the warrior classes of northern India - has been identified by a European Union (EU) agency as the group most vulnerable to racism in Europe.
In a report for 2005, the Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) said the Roma gypsies in particular faced discrimination in employment, housing and education. They were also frequent victims of racial violence.
The Romas are considered gypsies and are identifiable by their language, religion and customs, which can be directly linked to those of Punjab in northern India. Analysis of the Roma language has shown that it is related to Hindi and Punjabi.
Other groups facing high levels of discrimination in many EU member states, according to EUMC, are migrant workers from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.
According to INEP agency, Muslim groups face particularly challenging conditions in many member states, it said.
"The new anti-discrimination law has triggered some positive initiatives and measures," said Beate Winkler, director of EUMC.
However, she warned that most member states lack the necessary data to monitor social and economic policies that affect their ethnic communities.
"This means they are unable to assess how far they have come in breaking the vicious circle of deprivation, prejudice and discrimination," she added.
This year's annual report of EUMC is the EU's first comprehensive overview of racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim discrimination, and covers all 25 EU member states.
Former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi had supported the cause of the Roma people in Europe and had called for recognition and understanding of their culture by people of other ethnicities.
In a speech at the International Romani Festival in Chandigarh Oct 28, 1983, Gandhi had stated: "There are some 15 million Romas dispersed across the world. Their history is one of suffering and misery, but it is also one of the victories of human spirit over the blows of fate.
"Today the Romas revive their culture and are looking for their identity. On the other hand, they integrate into the societies in which they live.
"If they are understood by their fellow citizens in their new homelands, their culture will enrich the society's atmosphere with the colour and charm of spontaneity."
Well, again the "Roma People" instead of Romani People. It seems that somewhere the powers that be have really nicely pushed this in order to confuse things. However, it is correct to say that the small minority of Romani People - descendants of the warrior classes of northern India - has been identified by a European Union (EU) agency as the group most vulnerable to racism in Europe. But I don't think we would have needed the EU and all its lovely study groups to tell the wold and us that. We could have and should have done that. But, alas, no one listens to us Dirty Gyppos and they have to have big committees and such like to study this all for years. Kamlo Devel - we have lived it for centuries. Just come and ask us and we will show you.
Kosovo 25. 11. 2005
Rajko Djuric, former president of International Romani Union (IRU), and current president of SCG Roma Foundation and member of Roma PEN Centre, has published his comments on the discussion of future development in Kosovo regarding Roma.
The Roma of Serbia and Montenegro, who like the Roma of many European and non- European states, along with the Jews, were the biggest victims of wars and a "bargaining chip" in conflicts of majority peoples, are following with attention and apprehension the start of talks on Kosovo and Metohija.
The United Nations, whose Secretary General Kofi Annan had an opportunity to talk with the representative of the International Roma Organisation, has been informed about the facts and data regarding the overall position of 12 million Roma, the largest national minority in Europe. Not unknown is the fact that the Roma were the largest national minority in Kosovo and Metohija until 1999.
The Society for Oppressed Peoples in Goettingen, Karitas and other non-governmental organisations of European states have very comprehensive data about the tragedy of Kosovo Roma at their disposal, data that, since 1999, have been published almost regularly in the magazine Good Day of the Catholic Church in Cologne.
This means that Europe and the international community have been informed that at first the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and then UCCK besides crimes over the Roma, committed several radical "ethnic cleansings" of members of that national minority. Of the some 260,000 Roma living there before 1999, only 29,656 remain. Out of 193 Roma settlements, there are now only 26.
This practically means a total destruction of the Roma national minority, which did not even happen in Kosovo and Metohija during World War II, even though there was German SS, Italian fascists, and their various associates. This is credible evidence of the formulation made by Hana Arendt that "totalitarianism destroys totally."
Following are some excerpts from some of the reports:
Roma T.T from Obilic and his wife, who were mistreated on July 5, 1999, made the statement that "the same ethnic Albanians who tortured them" then killed the Krasnici family. "Alija, his wife Muljazima, Djulja, Fadilj, Cherim and one-year-old Nedzmedin were burned alive in their home."
Live Roma children were also burned alive in Pristina, Serbia:
The KLA, which was also characterized by some Albanian intellectuals as "fascist," killed a large number of Roma in Pristina, Pec, Obilic, Djakovica, Lipljan, Prizren, Podujevo, Urosevac and Gnjilane. In Pristina, where 22,000 Roma used to live, according to the latest data there are 1,300 left; in Pec of about 20,000, 1,100 remained; in Obilic from about 7,000 there are only 500; in Gnjilane of the 7,000 Roma there are 250 left; in Vucitrn of 5,000 Roma inhabitants there are only 300… It is a long and agonizing list of mistreated people, raped women and girls, of the missing, and some reports speak of still undiscovered mass graves of Roma victims.
German Nobel laureate Gunther Grass has pointed to the tragic fate of the Kosovo Roma. His speeches are contained in the book Without a Voice, which was published by the Steidl publishing house in Goettingen.
The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) knows for a fact what, here and now, Albanian extremists are doing with the Roma who are still living in Kosovo.
Despite all this, Roma from Serbia and Montenegro, along with the Kosovo Roma and an additional116,000 registered Roma refugees from the province - firmly believing that the truth is always on the side of those who are least privileged - have a great confidence in the international community, especially in the UN secretary general's special envoy for talks on Kosovo and Metohija, Martti Ahtisaari. Ahtisaari has shown a great understanding for the Roma of his country, as has the president of Finland, Tarja Halonen. Halonen carries on with the work that was begun and has opened the door not only to Finland to the Roma, but also to Europe, for which she received the highest recognition of Europe's Roma in 2003.
The Roma of Serbia and Montenegro openly say what names they connect themselves with, and in that way they define their positions much more convincingly than by mentioning those whom they could fiercely attack.
Committed to peace and security, members of that national minority sincerely expect that in the talks on Kosovo the international community will uphold and defend only those viewpoints that are in keeping with its defined principles and with the norms of international law.
An independent Kosovo, in whatever form, would mean a recognition and reward to those who committed crimes against the Roma, crimes unrecorded up to now in the annals of European history after Auschwitz, a symbol of the Holocaust of Jews and the Roma. On the other hand, in the year that the UN has declared as the year for marking the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascism, neglecting the Roma victims of Kosovo and depriving their chidren's right to a future would signify the international community's silent agreement with a regime that has committed misdeeds against those people and ruthlessly trampled their national, civil and human rights. Rights which are guaranteed by the UN, its bodies and other major European institutions.
It is expected from the international community that those solutions bring peace, security, stability and prosperity to all the peoples and national minorities in Kosovo. At the same time it should be taken into account that ethics invoke justice, without which there can be no lasting peace. Justice must not in any way depend on the will of the perpetrators of crimes, and negotiations about the perpetrators' guilt must not be influenced by the will or threats of criminals.
It will depend on the wisdom and decision of the international community whether in a new millennium a new hope and faith will spark; also for the people, inhabitants and peoples of Kosovo and of the Balkans, among whom even at the times of kings and sultans, of the black and of the red terror, there was nevertheless cooperation, mutual understanding and friendship. Even then Kosovo was not divided, or independent.
These peoples, as many prominent writers and historians have explained, did not suffer from a lack of virtue, but, above all, from a lack of conditions to assert their rights and freedoms. Historical experience testifies to the distrust and poisonous hatred that grew uncontrollably on the borders of divided peoples and national minorities.
The words of Willy Brandt, which were said in a different context, could today serve as a beacon for politicians and diplomats, from whom it is expected to shun the moment marking the impossibility of planning the future in Kosovo: "Together can grow only what lives together!"
(Written by Rajko Djuric/editting of article by Dzeno Association)
The only answer for the Romani in Kosovo is for a Kosovo that stays with Serbia. Otherwise there will be no Gypsies left in Kosovo. They will either be forced out or killed. The aim of the ethnic Albanians, who were the wrong people that the West aided, in Kosovo have only aim; that of great Albania into which Kosovo would be slotted into and they would also go after parts, if not indeed all, of Macedonia. Their aims also are "Great Albanian for Albanians" meaning that all others would have to leave.
As we see from this article the West, surprise, surprise, backed the wrong side and this has been openly said by UNMIK soldiers and officers but is kept quiet by the media and western governments in order so they can repatriate Roma, Egyptians and Ashkali refugees back to Kosovo. "It is safe", the German government spokespeople say. "We have been there and checked". Yeah, and they also were given assurances by the Albanians there that nothing will happen to Gypsies returning. Well, there is a squadron of pigs hovering over my house, honest… I have checked.