The Ostrich Syndrome

Every time, so it would see, that anywhere and any time Anti-Gypsy-ism by the State is mentioned, our People, especially those Romani not directly affected, instead of standing up in righteous indignation turn into ostriches and bury their heads in the sand. That way they hope that no one notices what they are, e.g. Gypsies, so it would appear.

Pastor Niemoeller of Germany put it ever so well in his poem which starts, if I recall properly, “First they came for the communists but I did not speak out because I was not a communist” and ends with, “When they came for me there was no one left to speak out”.

So, presently they come, maybe, for the Machwaya and other Roma in the East and many of ours here in the West seem to think that it has nothing to do with them because, for one, they are not Machwaya, and often not even Roma, and two, because it does not actually affect them and their families. We have indeed become that narrow minded in our “solidarity”.

There are what amounts to basically nothing else but concentration camps for Rom being planned and constructed under the guise of “solidarity villages” in Italy which is meant to house up to 1500 Rom each and where they are to be placed under the watchful eye of armed – obviously, we are talking about Italy – Ministry of the Interior Anti-Terrorist Police, and the media everywhere, but especially in the EU, is silent – bar one little voice like “O Nevo Drom” – and our People, in general and especially our so-called “leaders” are silent; the ordinary Gypsy goes into hiding and the “leaders” are too much in the pockets of the paymasters of the EU in order to be able to complain against such actions as this might lose their funding.

In the Czech Republic, we hear, the authorities propose to surround Gypsy quarters in towns and Gypsy villages and enclaves with up to eight foot high brick walls topped with razor wire and one entry-exit gate that will be guarded by police “in order to protect the Gypsies from attacks by skinheads and other fascist elements”. Yes, sure! And on an airfield nearby a squadron of pigs is preparing for take-off”. It was the same kind of lies that were believed by Sinti and Roma under Nazi occupation when they were forced into fixed camps and then ghettos.
Also here, in those instances as to yet another EU state, the media is silent as the so-called “leaders” of the People and the People bury their heads still deeper in the sand.

No good doing that, folks! Everyone can see your Gypsy behinds sticking up and that way it is so much easier to kick you.

We should have a definite “No Ostriches Allowed!” policy.

While there may not be much that we can do in practice in way of something practical. We hardly have an army or police force that can intervene there nor do we, as yet, have the political clout – not even as an entire People – to have some serious words with the countries that are (proposing) to do all those things but... In any such case we, as a People, can at least make the world take note that we, the People, are aware of what is going on and are watching them and that way they may just take notice of us as a “force2 to be reckoned with. We have millions of People worldwide and I am sure that we could achieve something together.

But nothing will ever be achieved if the “I am all right, Jack” attitude persists in which others of our People and their situation and plight remains ignored.

I must say that I am not about to help any of ours who have no wish to make any efforts of helping themselves. Like so many of the poor Rom in Eastern Europe who would not need to be thus if they would but be prepared to get the finger out. But we must stand with those, even if we cannot physically do that, that are under those threats as mentioned and others.

Anti-Gypsy-ism is on the rise again and in Bulgaria right-wing parties, are, again, calling for organized Gypsy Hunts. In Hungary a successor organization of the Arrow Cross has been set up and it is using, so it is said, that old insignia.

All this, in this writer's view, is becoming more significant ever since the new EU Constitution is being played with.

What place is there for the Rom in this New Europe? The way things are looking they do not want there to be a place for the Rom in this new entity whatever lip service they are paying to Roma(ni) Rights and all that.

And all our People do – the great majority – is to pretend that it is not happening, to pretend that they are not Rom – like the Sinti in Germany, and simply hide like ostriches hoping that it will all just pass them and their families by.

Get you heads out of the sand and let's do something together for the future of the Romani People as a People. The time is NOW, not next week or next year.

Forwards together for the People.

© M V Smith, August 2007

Slavery Museum opens in Liverpool, England

UNESCO’s designated International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade has been marked by the opening of the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool - the first museum of its type to open in the UK.

The museum features dynamic, powerful and moving displays about the story of the transatlantic slave trade, uncovering the largely hidden account of the exploitation of Africa and Africans.

Displays address the legacy of transatlantic slavery, both contemporary as well as historic, reflecting issues that are relevant to Britain today, as well as Western Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa.

One can, however, safely assume, though this writer has not seen the museum as yet, safely from press releases and such, that not a single word will be mentioned in the entire museum about the first slaves that were sent to the Caribbeans and the Colonies, well, before any African Blacks, namely the Romani, the Gypsy, the the British Isles.

Well before any African Blacks were ever sent as slaves to the sugar estates of Barbados or elsewhere in the English-occupied Caribbean Islands, Romani, Gypsy, were sent there as slaves; men, women and children, snatched from the streets and byways of the British Isles. Many a British trading house became rich from this Gypsy slave trade because the government of the day paid them for hunting down and rounding up the Gypsies, they also paid them to ship them out to the colonies and then the traders were paid yet again by the planters for the slaves that were bought by them. Nice little earner, for sure. But this is not a story ever mentioned.

Slavery can obviously only be a Black thing, with all the political correct pressure groups, in the same way as the Holocaust can only be a Jewish thing. No place for the Gypsy in either despite the fact that in both cases Gypsies were the first to suffer.
But in each case the fate of the Gypsy is suppressed and those that wish to mention it are ridiculed or silenced in that there material will not be published; definitely not when it comes to the slavery of Romanichals from England, Manush from France and Gitanos and Ciganos from Spain and Portugal respectively. There is a lobby out there, mush as with regards to the Romani Holocaust, that want to keep slavery a uniquely Black African thing in the same way as another lobby pushes all the time in keeping the Holocaust and Pogroms a uniquely Jewish thing.

Well, I am sorry to upset the applecart here but neither even is uniquely to those groups; the Gypsy has a part in it.

What was the reason for Romanichals from the British Isles being sold into slavery? The same reason why the Rom went to the Nazi concentration camps; it was ethnic cleansing and ultimately it was intended to destroy the Romani People.

Maybe some people would like to think about that but, alas, I doubt it; we are only dirty Gyppos in their eyes.

© M V Smith, August 2007

One Roma killed in bloody racial clashes in Sofia

Sofia, 15.08.2007 10:59

At least one man was killed late on Tuesday night when a huge mob of Roma people gathered in the Sofia district of Krasna Polyana for a revenge of Monday night's mass brawl in the district between Roma and skinheads.

The mob, consisting of around 400 Roma, armed with axes, cudgels and stones, gathered in the Sofia's district where a Vietnamese community lives, demolishing everything that crossed their path.

The police are still investigating the circumstances of the Monday's brawl, but Roma witnesses claimed it was retaliation for an assault the previous night, when 30 skinheads reportedly attacked three Roma teenagers, one of whom was badly beaten.

Between 20 and 30 people were involved in the brawl, although witnesses' reports are contradictory, the police said.

The racial dimension of the clashes is somewhat fueled up by some local media by attaching the derogatory terms "Gypsies" for the Roma involved and claiming that they had chanted "Death for Bulgarians".

Editorial Comment:

If it should indeed be true that the Roma involved had chanted "Death for Bulgarians" then they are no better than those who have been perpetrating the acts against them. We cannot and must not allow ourselves to get down to the same level as those Nazis. While we must fight them we must do this in a different and measured way. It is us who will be made out to look the criminals when such slogans are being chanted. This is like the Rom going and chanting “death to the Gadje”. We cannot and must not stoop that low.

M V Smith, August 18, 2007

Romani Hip Hop singer receives threats from Czech Roma

Czech Romani Hip Hop singer Radek Banga from the famous group received threatening phone calls and SMS messages from Czech Rom after his strong statements about people who do not work.

"Kick the bucket if you don't want to do anything," Banga said in an interview on the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) website, referring to people who do not try to get from a bad social situation by their own effort.

Police are not investigating the threats and Banga has not asked for any protection. "This would be no solution. Nothing would be revealed anyway. And first of all, I don't want to act against my own people," Banga told the media.

Many Romany activists understand Banga's views, but they resent his vocabulary, it is said.

However, all one can say to that is that the truth sometimes hurts and at times it is only harsh words and a good kick up the backside that will get people off their butts.

It would appear as if what Banga said hit a raw nerve with some people and got under the skin of those Roma that are simply too lazy and do not like the idea of working for a living, which, I am afraid to say, seem to be a great number of them in the East. They threaten rather being prepared to change their ways. This is what gives our People a bad name as well.

Opportunities are provided in a great number of Czech municipalities for Roma to work and to better their situation, often in service of the municipality itself, but in one case recently only five, I believe, came forward to a program that had many more places for paid employment and training available. Proof, if any were needed, that too many Eastern European Roma brethren of ours are too lazy and too “proud” to help themselves.

Such attitudes must change and to threaten the messenger of such truths is not the way to go about things.

When one sees the state of the settlements of the Roma in Eastern Europe, with the men doing nothing but sitting idly about smoking and drinking and talking while the women and children are either out begging (or worse) or scavenging for resalable items and food even on the refuse tips, then it proves what Banga said. A strange pride those people have. Too proud to go out to work and earn a living but not too proud to take stuff from the rubbish dumps, even food.

Banga may have used some harsh language but, I assume, he, like many other Rom who do try to make it in this world while still remaining true to their roots, has gotten fed up to the back teeth with such attitudes of those lazy bums who need someone to do everything for them while their settlements drown in litter and they just sit about.

Earlier this year,'s CD Romano Hip Hop advanced to the European world music top ten. The band is very popular in the Czech Republic among young people.

M V Smith, August 2007

Online Conferencing for Romani Organizations

Every year thousands upon thousands of Euros are being wasted and squandered on gabfests by Romani organizations or other such events on Romani matters, such as the Romani Chib, and others, with no benefit whatsoever for the Rom at a grassroots level.

Much could be achieved with the money in the right hands that is thus wasted on those so-called conferences, congresses and gatherings that are often held in obscure locations. Sometimes one has to wonder as to whether the reason to hold those events in such locations or making them that costly for participants is so that only certain privileged ones are able to attend and the cronies of those who are organizing the events in the particular countries and locations.

Aside from the costs of actually holding such events, such congresses, such as hiring locations and venues, etc. there are all the other costs to the “delegates” and others have to pay in order to attend – one of the reasons why Rom from other countries and from less well-endowed organizations cannot attend – as well as the environmental impact and cost, such as the cost of printing all the various things, the security, the travel, etc.

There is a much better alternative, but will the “baros” ever accept it?

The alternative is the Internet and Online Conference Services. Those cost very little money compared to conferences and congresses held in the real world.

Those services can be small ones like the various Instant Messenger services and programs, such as MSN, Yahoo, AOL, etc. (or others), which permit type, voice and video conferencing with a number of people, or they can be other services, some free, some – most in fact – to be paid for hosted services.

It is possible to hire such services from a variety of hosts and providers, such as WebEx Communications Inc. and many others.

Online collaboration and online meeting and conference services can bring people together from anywhere in the world; dissolve geographical boundaries by enabling people to work together in real-time on the Web – as if they were sitting next to each other.

By using online conferencing services much money can be saved on all sides and a virtual carbon neutral congress can be organized and held for little in the way of monetary outlay. The costs are minimal, especially for the participants as all they need it a PC, whether desktop or notebook, and the environmental impact – something we must consider nowadays as well – is very low. Documents can be sent from one PC to all the others as PDF files with no need for printing and producing. Event security – not cheap either – is not required as there is not physical location where the event takes place.

So, all in favor of online meetings and congresses say “aye”...


© M V Smith, August 2007