Marína of the Zabbaleen - DVD movie review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Marína of the Zabbaleen is a cinematic documentary feature that premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival to all sold-out screenings and impressive audience engagement.

Director Engi Wassef, an alumna of the Tribeca All Access program, became the youngest female director ever with a feature in the festival.

The festival’s Artistic Director, Peter Scarlet, personally introduced Marína at several screenings and was quoted as calling it "one of my favorite films of the festival." Among its other accolades, the film won a Muhr Award at the 2008 Dubai International Film Festival.

In addition to the film’s engaging story and Marína's big dreams (she aspires to be a doctor), the film portrays the resourceful Zabbaleen, a Coptic Christian community of recyclers whose entrepreneurial waste management system produces the highest rate of recycling in the world. Their model has inspired systems in Los Angeles and other major cities worldwide.

It is believed by some, including myself, and even some experts in the field, that the Zabbaleen are, in fact Gypsy in origin, of the Romani or Domari (both related groups though some claim different), and therefore the film should also be of interest to some of the Romani-Gypsy community.

Some of the living conditions of the Zabbaleen are also mirrored in those of the Roma recyclers in the former Warsaw Pack countries, such as the former Yugoslavia and Romani, for instance.

The release of Marína is also timely. As reported in The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere in May 2009, in reaction to the recent swine flu outbreak, the Egyptian government ordered the slaughter of all of the country’s pigs – the vast majority of which were raised by the Coptic Christian Zabbaleen and used integrally in the first phase of the recycling process.

For almost a century, the Zabbaleen had raised pigs to consume the thousands of tons of organic waste generated daily by Cairo’s residents. The ramifications of the pig cull are far-reaching, both devastating the livelihood of this minority community and imperiling Cairo’s entire system of waste management. Cairo is the largest producer of waste on the African continent.

Yet, the reasons for the pig cull are based at least as much in Egypt’s religious and political context, as on scientific reasoning. In fact the H1N1 Swine Flu came just like a gift from the g-ds to the Egyptian government and using the flu as a pretext they went and had the pigs of the Zabbaleen destroyed thereby all but wiping out their way of life and making a living and the most effective waste collection, recycling and garbage disposal service about.

The pigs, and no doubt even the Zabbaleen, have been a thorn in the flesh of the Egyptian government and the government of the city of Cairo for some time; the pigs because of the Muslim fundamentalists having a problem with them and the Zabbaleen and their garbage collection and recycling because of foreign money being able to come in if spent on “proper” waste collection, that is to say by multi-nationals who are already waiting in the wings.

The problem with the way those “proper” waste collection services work, however, and some of them are already operating in the Cairo areas, is that their garbage trucks compact everything thereby making recycling of the waste impossible.

The Zabbaleen provide a service to the city of Cairo, the country of Egypt and the Planet, as their way of waste recycling does not require holes in the ground for landfill operations. All recyclables are recycled and organic waste goes into the pigs; or at least it did until the recent government actions.

Torch Films, the producer of the DVD, will allocate 10% of gross retail sales revenues of the film to help the community survive its current dislocation and again reach sustainability. Their unique network of partners, which includes influential green organizations such as Net Impact, is collectively helping us in that effort.

With inspiration from the Zabbaleen’s thorough recycling system, distribution of the film will set the global standard for an environmentally and socially responsible independent motion picture release, serving as a benchmark for green film distribution.

Mindful that Marína comes from a family of paper sorters, the film's marketing campaign has been completely paperless, to date. Digital marketing and distribution processes are integral to the release. Theatrical distribution will utilize vanguard digital cinema technology, and innovative DVD distribution will reduce the carbon footprint of the process by more than 50%, on a per unit basis, from that of standard industry practice.

Torch Films is utilizing the greenest DVD technology available, the Flex DVD created by CD Digital Card, which uses 50% less polycarbonate plastic material than traditional DVDs, emits 50% less CO2 in manufacturing, and eliminates the necessity of non-biodegradable bonder.

Marína of the Zabbaleen is the first feature film to utilize this DVD technology. 100% soy-based inks will be used for all printing, and DVD packaging will be constructed from 95% recycled and 100% recyclable materials.

Torch Films is a global feature film financing, production, and distribution company founded in 2008, and is one of the few companies, and the only film company, selected for Mayor Bloomberg’s new entrepreneurship incubator initiative for New York City.

Marina of the Zabbaleen is a beautiful made documentary that could be, I hope, an inspiration so some of the Gypsy communities to rethink the way they operate in the waste management field and, with some additions, such operations could become the model for many around the world.

In my opinion, this is a film that should be seen by as may as possible in order to understand the way some waste is dealt with and it may also give some food for thought as to the way we produce waste, often needlessly.

© 2009

Gypsies told: 'No room for you in our city'

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Portsmouth City Council is refusing to provide plots for Gypsies and Travelers in the city.

Council leaders claim that there is no space to allocate areas for traveling camps.

The South East England Regional Assembly, the region's planning body, said Portsmouth should find space for 13 or 14 pitches for Gypsies and traveling show people. Councilors, however, wrote back to the assembly refusing to comply with this order.

Now they have agreed a Gypsy and Traveler strategy which says: 'The city council is concerned that any regional allocation of caravan pitches to Portsmouth will not be deliverable.'

Liberal-Democrat council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'This reinforces our message to the regional development agency that we will continue to fight this.

'We are continuing with our view that there is no demand for the sites in Portsmouth and no space for them either.'

The regional assembly came up with the number of pitches each area in the south east should provide after a lengthy consultation.

Fareham and Havant have to provide nine each, Gosport five, East Hampshire 18 and Winchester 37.

The figures have been sent to the government for approval, and an examination in public is expected to take place before they are agreed, but ministers could say Portsmouth has to provide the sites.

Portsmouth council leaders hope they can strike a deal with a neighboring authority to take on its share of pitches instead.

But Fareham is already in talks with Winchester to take its share on, while Gosport and East Hampshire have so far protested against the pitches they have already been allocated.

Tory leader Councilor Steve Wemyss said the city council was taking a risk by refusing to find sites.

'I agree that there is no space in the city,' he said. 'But the law says we have to provide suitable sites, otherwise we could end up with more illegal encampments.

'If they fail to provide sites it could be a problem when it comes to seeking injunctions to move travelers on when they do arrive.

'It's easy for the administration to say we don't have space, but it does feel like they are sticking their heads in the sand.'

Councillor Vernon-Jackson said the council would continue to work with neighboring authorities.

Regardless of the fact that there are many Gypsies and traveling people in Hampshire and also in and around Portsmouth. Mostly found encamped illegally, and despite the order from the regional assembly the Portsmouth city fathers are basically saying that Gypsies and Travelers are not welcome in their town.

The claim by councilors is that there is no space in the city of Portsmouth for less than 15 pitches. That, I am afraid to say, is a laughable excuse. Sure there are areas available, such as some of the old Navy facilities, where some of those pitches, if not indeed all, could be accommodated.

The truth is, though, that Portsmouth's city authorities are simply saying that they just do not want to provide spaces for Gypsies and Travelers. It is as simple and straightforward as that.

Shame on you, Portsmouth.

© 2009

Toddler punched by muggers

Were the perpetrators Roma?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

London, November 2009: On Tuesday, November 3, 2009, shortly before 5pm, muggers punched a two-year-old girl in the head as they demanded money from her mother, Scotland Yard revealed.

The 23-year-old victim was shopping with her daughter in Wembley, north-west London, when two young women tried to rob her.

The attackers, thought to be in their teens, became aggressive when the victim did not let go of her bag, and hit the mother on the arm before punching the toddler in the head.

None of the victim's belongings were taken, Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Detective Inspector Rebecca Reeves said. But DI Reeves also said that although the victim and her daughter did not have any visible injuries, this was a frightening experience for them.

A CCTV image of the two alleged attackers has been released after the attempted robbery in the hope that someone will recognize the perpetrators.

While both the women are described by the police from the CCTV images to be of Mediterranean appearance, with long dark brown curly hair and aged 14 to 18, I will say, despite the fact that I will be gather flack for sure with this, they do appear to be young Roma females from the Balkan region, probably, going by the way they are dressed and by looks. Alternatively they could be Albanians.

One was around 5ft and was wearing a white jacket, black mini-skirt, tiger stripe leggings, black flat shoes and was carrying a large black fake leather bag.

The second wore a black jacket, blue denim "skinny" jeans, black Ugg-style boots and had a large brown fake leather bag with gold details.

Those further description, as above, leads me further to believe that this crime has been committed by members of the Eastern European Roma community that are in London, often as “tourists”, from the new member states of the EU, such as Romania, Bulgaria, and also those from the Balkans that are now in Italy, who, all three grous, unfortunately, have a way of life, and the Irish judge recently was right with this, that sees begging with menace and also robbery as something acceptable.

We, the Romani People from Britain and elsewhere in Europe who have a different way, must make it clear to those Roma that that is no way to behave and that crimes like that will not be permitted by the Romani community at large.

Police urged anyone with information on the attack to call the incident room on 07917 067 281 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Any of the community who knows anything about this please contact the police. Let us show the Gadje that we do not condone such activities. Also, maybe our own justice system needs to go into action here and do something about it.

© 2009

Who owns your children?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

“What a silly question” many readers, and especially those who are parents, are going to think right now, and, like most people, they will regards that they, the parents, “own” their children.

I know, everyone thinks that, basically, the parents “own” their children but this, in the governments’ eyes, is not the case, regardless of what they may say otherwise.

However, according to the way the government(s) and powers-that-be see it it is they, the powers-that-be, who own your children, dearest readers, regardless of what they, the powers-that-be may say and claim to the contrary.

You may think me crazy but the fact is that the powers-that-be definitely do think that they own your children, everyone’s children, and the fact and truth of the matter is that they not just think thus; they do own your children in the way the laws have been framed.

You, their parents, are only permitted to look after them (as long as you do the job of caring for them according to the decrees of the governments.) feed them, clothe them, send the to government brainwashing institutions, called schools, and such, using, obviously, in the main your own money to do that all. All so you can call them “your children”.

However, if and when they state sees fit to come and take them from you because the powers that be have decreed that your upbringing is against the rules, they will surely do so.

If you happen to, as done under many of the social systems that are operative in many countries you receive monies from the state “for” your children, called in Britain “child benefit” and in Germany, for example, Kindergeld (children money), this becomes even more obvious and the state very quickly also interferes in how you raise your offspring.

And you still think that you “own” your children and have any rights to teach them the way you want them to be taught and all that. Think again.

© 2009

It's not Monopoly Money, Prime Minister

It is not monopoly money, Gordon, and it is NOT yours to give away

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Hard on the heels of throwing taxpayer money away at the banks, which then did not do as they were requested in return for the money, the current British Labor government – or should I better call it “regime” - has now given away more of the British taxpayers' money.

This time it has been given to the European Union (EU) and official figures show that our share of the EU budget is to soar by almost 60 per cent to £6.4billion.

According to a Treasury document that was very quietly and almost secretly released by the Government some weeks ago the nett effect of the concessions is that every household in Britain will have to cough up another £92 per year, making our overall contribution equivalent to £257 per household.

I wonder how many British subjects understand the benefits of membership of the Union

Would you vote to become a member of an association with a membership fee this size without checking out the benefits of membership? Would you call the Euro and the Common Agricultural Policy membership benefits – we do not partake of one and the other is "a hole in my pocket".

The EU contributions rebate was won in 1984 by Margaret Thatcher to compensate the UK for the massive costs of the Common Agricultural Policy, which benefits Britain much less than other countries because of its relatively small farming sector. British contributions will continue to rise as the impact of the government concessions increases in coming years.

The latest increase is the largest year-on-year rise since 2003. The loss of the rebate makes Britain the second highest contributing member of the EU behind Germany.

Not that this is very surprising from the clique around Gordon Brown that they have now, in the name of the British people, basically given away the EU contributions rebate won by the now Lady Thatcher, in the same way that they refuse to let the British people have a say as to whether or not we do want to be part of the Lisbon Treaty.

We have just seen the farce that the EU is claiming to be democratic but when a referendum result does not suit them they basically tell the government concerned where the people have rejected something to keep voting till the desired result is achieved, as just now in Eire.

How can anyone believe that unelected entity situated in Brussels and Strasbourg stands for liberty and democracy. It does not, that much is becoming more and more evident.

Despite their big talk Gypsy People in Hungary, Italy, the former Czechoslovakia, and other countries in the European Union are being persecuted, often by government decree, as in the case of Italy, with the EU bodies standing by. Ethnic cleansing by proxy, methinks.

We have nothing to hope for from the EU but everything to fear, namely and especially our personal freedoms, despite assurances to the contrary, and if the recent new laws in Germany are anything to go by then all one can say is “welcome to the Fourth Reich”, courtesy of the EU.

The only way for Britain, and other countries of Europe, to go if the people value their freedoms is to stay out of the EU or, if they are in, to get out, and that presto.

© 2009

The Gypsy and the Environment

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The true Gypsy, o Tatcho Rom, he who relied on Nature for his livelihood in one way or the other, has always taken care of the environment, of Mother Earth.

This, unfortunately, is not true with many of those that are about today and that are perceived by people in general as Gypsy and who are thrown into one pot with the old Romani, the true Gypsy.

Many that are today referred too as “Gypsy” should never been given that “title” as it is not theirs for they have no link to the Rom, the Romani, the true Gypsy; the one with his roots in Ariyania. But I digressed.

The Romani, the Gypsy, has always treated the environment as a source for food and raw materials from which to fashion his home and his livelihood, whether that was for the making of baskets, pegs, wooden flowers, hurdles, or whatever else.

Most cultures that live from and depend upon Nature that surrounds them for food, shelter and material from which make goods for use and sale did used to have a much better take on environmental things than town folks did.

In recent years, even among the true Gypsy, the Romani, the understanding of and concern for the environment seems to have gone a little out of the window. This, however, is a rather recent phenomenon and to a degree being due to the fact that other itinerants, who are often referred to as Gypsy but are not, and who never had the same regard for Mother Nature as the Rom, and who fly tip rubbish and who also, otherwise, act against the environment. Not that that is an excuse and I am no0t offering it up as one either.

The truth is that there was a time when the Gypsy was real green, for let's face it: who were the first recyclers, well before recycling was even known as such a term. They were the Gypsy.

The Gypsy used what others threw away to make goods for trade and use, such as peg knives made from knives that the Gohja, the non-Gypsy, have thrown away for whatever reason.

They made other goods from what they could take from Nature, such as clothes pegs , tent pegs, baskets, wooden flowers, etc.

In most cases it was also the Gypsy, settled even, who was the so-called “Rag & Bone Man” who would come calling from door-to-door for scrap metal, old rags, bones, etc. From much of the good scrap iron and steel thus collected goods were made and even from tin cans. Many of those goods then found their way into use and especially as wares onto country markets and/or sold door-to-door.

The Rom thus became the first scrap metal dealers and salvage consultants. Gypsies were the first real recyclers and prevented many a still useful item ending up on the rubbish tips.

They also were the repairers of time gone by, mending pots and pans, umbrellas, and even large industrial boilers. They were the ones that went and sharpened knives and scissors, and all kinds of other cutting tools, providing a service that country- and town folk wanted and needed.

The Churimengro, the knife man, made their cutting tools usable again and the “rag & bone man” took away the unwanted pieces of this and that, often, as said, to repair and resell even, or to just resell for the metal or whatever lese to be salvaged from it.

Many a Rom clearing people's clutter for them and bringing the stuff to the rubbish tip that really had not further use anywhere would leave the tip with more then he came there; salvaging usable goods from there and keeping them out of the waste stream. Many a times I would go with my uncles to the tip to dump the things that really could not be recycled and the guys at the tip would comment that we were leaving with more than we had actually brought.

Wastefulness of the Gohja is nothing new, to be very honest, but in recent years it has gotten worse, I am sure.

Without the often despised Gyppo the landfills of old would have been much fuller than they ended up being and reusable items would have just been left to rot.

Nowadays this has all become commercial and the ordinary Gypsy can no longer follow any such trade without this or that license and pickers at the dumps are all licensed and pay fees for the privilege of going through other people's rubbish in order to recycle the good things, and many a good thing does end up on the dumps.

The economic downturn that we all have ended up in at the beginning of 2009 may turn, I hope, the tables once again and make it possible for the Gypsy to follow such green jobs once again, including even, I should hope the making of clothes pegs, tent pegs, baskets, etc.

© 2009


Gypsy group angered by Huddersfield University lecture

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A row has broken out over Huddersfield University’s choice of speaker on Gypsies and Travelers.

Hughie Smith, president of The Gypsy Council, said the university has caused a “great deal of unrest” in the Romany community, including Huddersfield’s large population of settled gypsies, after it invited Jake Bowers to be a guest speaker.

Jake Bowers, who edits Travelers Times Online, contributes to The Guardian and presented a BBC radio program for the traveling community, which has ceased, so we understand, operating.

Mr. Bowers is due to lecture students in the School of Human and Health Sciences on ‘Britishness, Roma, Gypsies and Travellers’ as part of their studies on citizenship on October 22.

But the invitation has angered The Gypsy Council, a group formed in 1973, who say they are the only authentic Gypsy organization in the UK and do not acknowledge Mr. Bowers as one of their own.

Mr. Smith said extensive research among the Gypsy and traveler community nationwide had failed to produce any evidence that Mr Bowers had any Romany heritage and that he was purely a member of the relatively unknown National Romany Rights Association.

A spokeswoman for The University of Huddersfield said they were aware of Mr Smith’s concerns but said the lecture would still go ahead.

The problem, it has to be said, with The Gypsy Council and Hughie Smith is that they think they are the only ones that should be allowed to represent the Gypsy community in Britain and secondly it is bad blood because it was not they, or better Hughie Smith, that were asked to do the lecture.

It might be a good idea if Mr. Smith would get glasses if he cannot find any Romani connections as regards to Jake Bowers. Any tatcho Rom would recognize Mr. Bowers as one of the People; it definitely is not difficult.

What this shows, yet again, is that there is no unity amongst the Romanichals even in this small country of ours; so how does anyone expect unity to be possible amongst the wider Gypsy community. It shows how much clannishness and jealousy there is.

It is strange that The Gypsy Council and Mr. Smith never had a problem with Jake Bowers when Jake had him on the shows at the BBC Rokker Radio but suddenly...

Anyone who cannot see what this issue is all about will need to have their sense and not just their eyes examined.

Where the choice of speaker by the Huddersfield University can have caused “a 'great deal of unrest' in the Romani community, including Huddersfield’s large population of settled Gypsies”, is entirely beyond the comprehension of this writer for the majority of Gypsies in this country, the great majority of the Romani community, could hardly care less who gives the talk, of that we can all be assured.

This is yet another illusion of grandeur by Mr. Smith in the same way that his claim that The Gypsy Council is the only true representative of the Gypsies in the UK is also rather null and void as most of the Romani People here have no interest in that organization and its self-centered attitude, especially of its Fuehrer.

This is as much a void claim as that of some of the Roma groups that they are the only true Rom.

Is it not time that we learned to work together, at least the Sinti-based groups, such as the Romanichals, the Manush, and others?

© 2009

BBC Program “This World” - “Child Thieves”

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

While this program has come under attack, some rather severe, from several quarters, especially from academics in the field of Romani Studies in the West, including Romani People amongst them, and also some Romani activists, it is time that we, the Rom, the Romani People, firstly admitted to ourselves and amongst ourselves that this problem exists and then admitted it also to the outside world; and secondly that we, as a People, did something about stopping this practice.

We have out own system of justice but maybe we have to get an international version of this sorted out and then proceed against those criminal elements amongst our People at speed.

As long, however, that we are in total denial of this, publicly and as a people then it will continue and programs of this nature will be broadcast.

Why suppress the truth, as some of the “leaders” seem to wish to do? If we do that we, that is to say those that try to do so, are as guilty as those who perpetrate those things.

This is the same with the issue of Gypsy children being trafficked for this purpose and other more sordid things even and the sale of children by some Roma groups from Eastern Europe to others simply for gain. The same comments are made as to that not being the case and it all having been made up by the media in racist attempts to smear the name of the Romani People.

The fact is that all of this is happening and that some groups are even proud of doing what they are doing, whether it is living of begging and stealing and such or the sale of children for this or that purpose.

The cases in the UK that have been uncovered where Gypsy boys and girls, some as young as four and five, had been trafficked by Rom from Eastern Europe to places such as Glasgow for sordid exploitation and the rings that were smashed by the police are then, I should assume, also made up by the authorities; if one would go with the logic of those “leaders”.

Many of the “leaders”, it would appear, have no interest in accepting the truth and in actually doing anything against those activities. Instead they are employing the “Ostrich Syndrome” and try to claim that this is not happening.

One can but wonder why this denial in the face of the facts?

We must not try to shoot the messenger just because he carries a truth that is somewhat unpalatable to us and we do not like the taste of it. Instead we must try to discover more and then try to put a stop to it.

We must accept the truth of this and not just because the Fagins that were in the documentary openly admitted it and I also personally have experience with Rom from the former Yugoslavia whose children were proud to go out pickpocketing and stealing from shops and parents of those kids who were proud of what they stole.

It happens. So let's face it! And then, deal with it! But do not shoot the messenger.

© 2009

Fingerprinting of Italy’s Gypsies wins EU approval

Fingerprinting of Romani Gypsies in Italy has been given the blessing of the European Commission

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A spokesman for Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said co-operation between the center-right government of Silvio Berlusconi and Brussels had made this possible.

Critics of the plan said it was a violation of fundamental human rights. Yet Barrot’s spokesman said fingerprinting will not be systematic and that strict conditions will be applied.

The EU had questioned Italy’s ‘crackdown on crime’ initiative which the government said would improve information about the circumstances under which an estimated 160,000 Roma live in Italy.

The government insisted the plan is not ethnic discrimination, and claimed Brussels had fully-vindicated the Italian authorities’ intentions. Ministers said critics of fingerprinting had stoked anti-immigrant feeling.

So, instead of actually condemning the actions of the Italian the European Union goes along sanctioning those acts.

The words of the spokesman for Jacques Barrot that “fingerprinting will not be systematic and that strict conditions will be applied” is a joke and everyone must realize that.

What strict conditions? We now have badges added to the fingerprints. All we now need is ghettos with barbed wire and watchtowers but I am sure they are on their way and, the g-ds forbid, probably not just in Italy.

Are there still some that think that my predictions of while back that this is the new Europe that we are seeing here, one that is as fascist as far as the Gypsy People are concerned as was Hitler and his predecessors?

We have been seeing for some time now an “ethnic cleansing by proxy” with the EU bodies allowing things to happen and now we are seeing that the EU bodies will sanction such things without an qualms.

How long will it be before the Romani People in Europe wake up and understand that the European Union and its various bodies are not at all benignly inclined towards them but rather the opposite.

We hear lots of nice words as to integration and all that but that is but window dressing.

We, the People, must do something against this.

© 2009

Shame on Italy

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Italian Council of State has approved finger printing and special badges for Gypsy children

This is the worst most discriminative and blatantly barefaced racist decision taken by a Country in the EU since the reign of Hitler and Mussolini.

On August 28, an amazing decision was taken by Italy's Council of State, Consiglio di Stato.

In spite of all protests against finger printing of Romani-Gypsies in Italy, whether immigrants or not, the Council of State has approved this procedure.

But not only that.

The Consiglio di Stato also finds it admissible that the Roma must w special badges on their clothes when leaving their camps. Does anyone remember the Star of David, that Jews had to carry in Nazi times? Most reminiscent of the era of Hitler and Mussolini for sure.

It was not only the Jews, though, that had to wear a badge during the Nazi era. Nay! Gypsies too had to wear a badge identifying their ethnicity and that badge was a brown triangle; and the practice of particular minorities forced to wear badges depicting their ethnicity is one of the most poignant reminders of the Holocaust.

Who would have thought that now, more than sixty years after the end of the Nazi regime, such policies, that we thought and were told would never again be used against our fellow man, would be getting a new airing in Italy.

Every Government in the so-called “free Europe”, and indeed the so-called “free world”, should, nay must, if they have any real sense of the horror of what was the Holocaust, condemn Italy and call for it's immediate expulsion from the European Union – at least from all of its bodies, including the Council of Europe and the European Parliament – especially when, measures of this nature are about to be implemented against a particular minority.

But, seeing that Italy is one of the founders of the European Union this is not going to happen; that we can be sure about.

However, the world should sanction and boycott that country until such a time that they reverse the policies and apologize publicly to the Romani People as a whole.

The call must go out for every NGO and individual around the world to write to their government to ask them to condemn Italy, and if they do not give rise to its condemnation then, please ask your government how they will have the gall to hold one more Holocaust Memorial Remembrance Day while, happy to have an EU partner with such disgusting and dehumanizing policies in force against a particular minority in 2009.

Europe more and more, to me as a Gypsy at least, begins to look like Europe 70 years ago, namely 1939. The Anti-Gypsy policies alone are one thing and the surveillance of every individual in most countries another.

While Italy is presently the worst perpetrator as to officially sanctioned Anti-Gypsyism France is beginning to follow suit with an action recently where the police “branded” Roma during some checks as to identity and resident status in France with a stamp on the arm. This too being most reminiscent of the days of the Holocaust and of time before when Gypsies were branded on the arm or the face.

One really could be mistaken to think that one has gone back in time accidentally to the 1930s.

How can the leaders of the nations and especially the Romani leaders, for instance, remain so silent?

Maybe the People can come to their own conclusions here and maybe, just maybe, they come to understand that many of those leaders are not in fact interested in their affairs but in their pockets.

© 2009

Further attacks against Gypsies in EU countries

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In Eastern Slovakia Roma fled city

The extreme right organization “Slovenská pospolitost” was holding another apparently unauthorized Anti-Roma-Rally in the small Eastern Slovakian town of Krompachy in order to demonstrate against the so-called “Gypsy criminality”.

According to media reports the majority of the Gypsies living in the municipality left town out of fear of attacks and many fled already in the early hours of the morning into the forests. Many of the Slovak residents of the town, on the other hand, welcomed the Neo-Nazi Rally with open arms, so reports the Slovak news agency TASR. A large contingent of riot police prevented the feared attacks against Gypsies of the town. For Tuesday, August 25, a further rally is expected in the town of Nové Zámky.

Hungarian right-wing calling for solidarity against Roma

The Hungarian right-wing extremist are calling on neighboring countries of the Hungarian and Slovaks peoples to stand with them in “solidarity” against the Roma minority.

Both countries, they say, have to battle the same problems, and here especially the “Roma Problem”, said Csanád Szegedi, the Vice-President of the right-wing Jobbik party.

In previous months there have been a number of of racists demonstrations in the Gypsy quarters by the Hungarian right-wing extremists, primarily of the “Hungarian Guard” that have caused great concern amongst the Romani People in Hungary and abroad.

Despite the fact that the “Guard” has been officially banned by the authorities they continue to operate and have even meanwhile change the name thus trying to thwart the authorities' attempt to disband them.

It has been officially disbanded by court order but nevertheless the paramilitary organization of the “Hungarian Guard” continues to operate.

And where are the bodies of the European Union? Nowhere to be seen or heard and then again, it is all hot air and talk anyway even if they do say something. Action is what is needed.

© 2009

Anti-Gypsyism in Nottinghamshire

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)


Dear Editor,

You will be pleased to know that we are recruiting to rid our area of gypsies once and for all. Our members will be armed with catapults (fifteen and counting), to pepper their beloved caravans. We are sick to the back teeth of filth they leave and the thieving they do from our properties. Police seem reluctant to move them on. This we will do. Our aim is not to injure - only to cause havoc. New members welcome.

Yours Sec.

The above is a letter received by the Editor of the Worksop Guardian and even though – or maybe because – the writer of the letter chose to stay anonymous this letter smacks of incitement not just to racial hatred but in fact of incitement to violence against property and persons based on Race.

It must be noted that the writer, who remained so nicely anonymous, stated that “our members will be armed with catapults (fifteen and counting), to pepper their beloved caravans” and the claim that their aim is not to cause injury but only havoc is a load of something not to be named, and it is hard to think that they actually believe their own words.

While we have so far only seen actions like that in countries of the former Soviet Bloc that are now part of the European Union this ugly specter of Nazism now seems to be arriving in the Yorshire Dales even and certainly is rather a worrying thing.

Only recently did we have issues of Anti-Gypsyism in Belfast, in Ulster (aka Northern Ireland) against families of the Romani Roma Gypsy community and while that could have, to some degree, have been attributed to the sectarianism that used to be prevalent in Ulster, to find this in small market towns in the Yorkshire Dales is rather a different kettle of fish altogether and should open the eyes of all those people that do not wish to see this kind of violence in Britain.

I have said many a times that I will be the first to admit that some of our community and especially many of those falsely called Gypsies though who are really not but live a life on the road, do leave rubbish and other things not to be mentioned not all of our community are the same and we, like the non-Gypsy community have good and bad people.

Europe, including the UK now, if would seem, is beginning more and more to look like Europe of 1939 than of 2009 with the way that Anti-Gypsyism is on the rise. Nazi-Fascism is rearing its ugly head once again an no one seems prepared to stand up against it.

Then again, we, the Gypsy, are used to this for we are not Jews or Blacks and hence no one cares. All the authorities do, in Britain and abroad, is to talk a lot and issue this and that statement against such racial violence; statements they often do not seem to believe in themselves. This could not and would not happen were it Jews or others thus threatened. Alas, it is just, as many see it, Dirty Gyppos, and hence the silence.

Now is the time for all to stand against this ugly specter of Nazism once again so that never again will things that haunted Europe in the 1930s and 1940s do so again.

We, the Romani-Gypsy, too, must stand up together and fight this menace, though not necessarily with their own weapons but on a different level and the best level is to educate the Gadje that we are decent peoples, despite what they think and believe. It takes two to tango, as they say, and maybe it is time we, as a People, as a Community, were prepared to address the concerns of the Gadje. What say you?

Ourselves Alone!

© 2009

Gypsy woman shot dead in North-East Hungary

One day after the 65th anniversary of the extermination of the Gypsy camp at Auschwitz murder on another Gypsy committed in Hungary

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Budapest, August 3, 2009 – A Romani woman was shot dead and her 13-year-old daughter was seriously injured in Kisleta in North-Eastern Hungary early on Monday, August 3, 2009, just one day after the 65th anniversary of the Romani Holocaust, according to information from the town's local government.

The two Gypsy women were attacked in a house on the outskirts of the town, said a spokesman from the municipality.

Police are investigating the scene, said local police spokeswoman Rita Fedor.

Thugs are running riot in so many countries of the European Union against Gypsies and murder, brutal attacks and intimidations are a daily occurrences with the EU parliament and the Council of Europe just giving lip service and doing nothing.

It seems to be time that we, the Romani People, did something ourselves and while I know that we are then going to be held up as the villains it would appear there to be no other choice.

We get the nice talk from many of the agencies that are supposedly by the People for the People but in fact seem to be doing nothing either when it comes to real action. Hunger strikes don't get us nowhere, I would like to add, and neither did it get the Macedonian Roma in Northrhine-Westfalia anywhere in the 1990s. Talking shops do not get us anywhere either. What we need is grassroots organizations of grassroots Rom, and when I say here Rom I refer to Sinti, Roma, Kale; all those that are Romani. But that is what we sorely lack.

So, what now? Where do we go form here? Answers on a postcard please...

© 2009

Anti-Gypsyism – the specter that is haunting Europe

Genocide by proxy!?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Anti-Gypsyism in Europe certainly is not new. Far from it. It has been about ever since around the 15th century in one form or another, sometimes mild sometimes very harsh and found its vilest expression in the Nazi actions against Gypsies for reasons of race.

Now, and especially after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe this vile phenomenon is once again really raising its ugly head and is on the rise, and that not just, I hasten to add, in Eastern Europe. This vile specter has even reached the shores of Britain and Ireland by now, as in the case in Northern Ireland in early summer 2009.

Attacks of various kinds all the way to arson and murder have been perpetrated against Gypsies in a variety of European Union member states by thugs with the governments of the countries and the European Union bodies doing nothing.

Are we witnessing genocide by proxy? It would appear to be thus.

The year 2009, on August 2nd, sees the 65th anniversary of the destruction of the Gypsy Camp at Auschwitz-Bikenau where at that one night from the 1st to the 2nd of August 1944 thousands of Gypsies, predominately women and children, were gassed and then burned, and this year, 2009, and the previous one, have seen the greatest escalations in Anti-Gypsyism and Anti-Gypsy violence in recent times and also the most serious of attacks.

While the perpetrators more often than not get away scot-free even if they are found out by the police, Gypsies who are defending themselves, their families and community are charged with affray and other crimes.

Gypsies who have mentioned about organizing self-defense groups have been told that they could be charged under terrorism laws, while fascist thugs can organize all they want and threaten all they want and nothing is done.

It is, once again, becoming more than obvious that, as far as most of the governments in the European Union member states are concerned, as well as the EU bodies themselves, the Gyppo counts for nothing and if he intends to defend himself against attacks then he is the criminal and not the attackers.

That is the way that the law always has been bent against the Gyppo and I guess we should by now have understood, though I know many have not as yet, that the European Union bodies are going to do nothing as far as Anti-Gypsyism is and neither will most EU governments. They are quite happy with this ethnic cleansing and genocide by proxy, it would appear.

© 2009


Asylum in Canada necessary until European Union can guarantee safety for Romanies

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In a statement released the Roma Community Center in Toronto stated that it is very concerned about Canada’s recent decision to shut the door on Czech Romanies and Mexican refugees. Immigration Minister Jason Kenny thinks that Roma don’t face state-sanctioned persecution in the Czech Republic.

While it may be true that the Czech Republic (or any other countries in Eastern Europe from where Rom flee to the West) does not directly, per government decree, persecute the Rom the Czech Republic does so by proxy in that it allows others to do the dirty work for it..

As a signatory to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Canada has now taken a decision that both flouts international law and the documented reports of systemic persecution of Roma in Czech Republic. Yet Amnesty International stated in April that Gypsies in the Czech Republic “continue to suffer discrimination at the hands of both public officials and private individuals, including in the areas of housing, education, health care and employment. Not only do they face forced evictions, segregation in education and racially motivated violence, but they have been denied justice when seeking redress for the abuses against them”.

And it would appear that Amnesty International forgot the fact that Gypsy children routinely are sent – for their entire school life often – to special schools that once upon a time had the title – roughly translated – and you would find the same schools in many countries of mainland Europe and the same policy as regards to Gypsy children – of “special school for the educational subnormal”.

Human Rights Watch reported that since 1989, “Czech authorities have failed to adequately protect Gypsies from the ever-increasing danger of racist attacks. When attacks do occur, Gypsies are often denied equal treatment before the law, a direct violation of both Czech and international law”.

Minister Kenney states that claimants from the Czech Republic and Mexico are clogging the system, are preventing “legitimate” claimants from getting in to Canada, and that an overhaul of the system is necessary because it is overburdened. Yet the total number of refugee claimants arriving in Canada has decreased from 45,000 in 2001 to approximately 36,000 in 2008. The total number of refugees accepted annually in Canada has been cut in half, compared to the 1980s. The system isn’t working because of inadequate resources. Imposing visas on visitors from these two countries will not increase the number of claimants accepted from totalitarian regimes as the Minister implies, especially when those countries already have visa restrictions in place.

Minister Kenney calls Czech Roma refugee claims fraudulent. When the independent adjudicators of the IRB accepted 85% of their claims during the last 18 months, why did he say this? Neither Canada nor the EU has used this opportunity to criticize the Czech government and shame it into improving the human rights situation of this persecuted minority. This government is saying, “None is too many, we don’t want the Gypsies either.”

The IRB recently released its own report on conditions of the Romanies in the Czech Republic – yet it has no mandate to issue reports on overall country conditions and has never done so except in the case of the Rom. This is a breach of due process and taints the impartiality of IRB panelists who will be deciding hundreds of still-pending Romani-Gypsy claims.

The real reason, and this is blatantly obvious, for Canada to try to block Gypsy refugees from the Czech Republic (and elsewhere) is none of the reasons given but the very fact that they happen to be Romani, to be Gypsy, in the very same way as Gypsy from the Czech Republic, so years ago, were being turned away from even getting onto planes in Prague, for instance, by British Immigration official stationed there and working with the Czech authorities hand in glove.

The case of a Gypsy journalist is the prime example who, together with the Gadjo colleague, was on the way to London for an assignment but who was turned away at the airport by British officials who had him pointed out by Czech police as a Gypsy, while his colleague was permitted to continue and the Roma was not permitted to board the plane despite his Gadjo colleague's remonstrations even.

We now appear to see a similar situation in Canada and, I must say, it does not surprise me at all seeing the way that Canada has been going in the last couple of days, not just as far as Gypsies are concerned.

Anyone who waits for the EU to do anything will also wait a very long time indeed. We have seen this in the case of Italy, and elsewhere. The EU says a lot but does nothing, especially not when it comes to matters Gypsy.

© 2009

The FSG presents in the United Nations the shadow report on “Discrimination against Roma women in Spain”

Madrid, July 2009 - The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) will present on July 22, 2009 a shadow report on the discrimination faced by Roma women in Spain during the 44th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, at the Office of the High Commissioner of the UN in New York.

The fact of presenting such a specific shadow report on Roma women in Spain constitutes in itself a milestone as it will be the first time in UN history that such a hearing will take place, and furthermore by a Roma woman, Tamara Carrasco. Tamara Carrasco, Head of Gender Equality Area of the FSG, will raise her voice at the UN High Commissioner’s Office to highlight the discrimination faced by Roma women in our country.

Spain has ratified six of the seven major international human rights texts including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). These treaties are binding and therefore enforceable by the Spanish State.

Spain signed the CEDAW in 1980, which came into force on January 5, 1984. Since that date and at least every four years Spain is obliged to submit a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures taken to give effect to the provisions of the Convention, as provided in Section 18 for consideration by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, comprised by 23 experts in the field.

The Convention requests governments to assess on their own efforts to comply with the Treaty. This governmental point of view is complemented by civil society’s reports. For that reason, in the past (and to this day), the Committee has requested the input of NGOs in the form of parallel or independent reports, and informal oral presentations.

The last recommendations of the Committee to the Spanish government emphasised that national reports provided little data on Roma women and girls. Therefore the FSG has developed a shadow report to the 44th Session of CEDAW to be held next July 22 at the UN headquarters in New York. Tamara Carrasco responsible for the Gender Equality Area and Inés Cedrón, representing the International Department of the FSG, will present the Organization’s perspective on the specific discrimination suffered by Roma women in Spain.

The report itself can be downloaded in Spanish at:
and in Spanish and English at: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women:


Gypsy Basket-makers are leaving their trade

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Aydin, Turkey, July 2009 - The basket-makers living in Ilicabasi in Aydin, pointed out that they are being forced to leave their trade as they cannot compete against baskets and plastic products from China and elsewhere.

The Romanies living in Ilicabasi, explained that they have competed against plastic products before to trying to keep their trade alive, but now, as the Chinese products are commonly sold in all bazaars, their basket-making trade is being all but destroyed.

The basket-maker Rom are extremely concerned that can no longer even earn enough money to live let alone make some profit.

The basketry is the most popular characteristic trade of the Gipsies in that region, but now it is being destroyed by the introduction of cheap and nasty Chinese products, including woven baskets and not just plastic products.

First it was the advent of the use of the plastic baskets that began forving the basket-maker Rom out of the market and now all of it is being displaced by the cheap and nasty Chinese products. The basket-makers cannot compete even if all of them work all day every day.

One of the basket-makers, Ceylan Aydeniz, explained that formerly they were only making baskets to earn their living and it was enough for them but now, even they have to have lots of different trades and jobs besides making baskets, they are at the point of losing their traditional life and trades.

He said : “People used to buy handmade baskets before, but now they are preferring cheap and nasty Chinese plastic baskets. As you know, plastics are either very harmful for human health or dangerous for environment.”

And one must say that he is not wrong there in his assumption as to plastics, especially when they come from China and that also might apply to woven baskets that are imported from that country. The manufacturing process in China use stuffs that would not be permitted in Europe, for instance, as we have seen with the lead in paints on toys, etc.

Maybe, just maybe, there could be a field here for a Fairtrade operation, bringing such Romani produced handmade wares out of Turkey to the rest of the world.

It is clear also that the Romani folks over there in Turkey – as everywhere – cannot always think that they can continue with their old ways in this modern world. Adaption is necessary, and this includes education in many areas. However, such crafts, made from natural materials, should be encouraged and supported and ways should – nay must – be found to do just that. It is being done for Africans and other peoples; why not for the Gypsy and his crafts and trades?

© 2009

Village prepares for fight against Gypsy site

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Residents are preparing to fight a new application to create a gypsy caravan site on the outskirts of their village.

An application has been made to site 10 mobile homes, 10 utility dayrooms and 10 touring caravans for “nomadic use” on a piece of land off Lower Howsell Road in Leigh Sinton.

The site has been the subject of similar development proposals before. The first, for 50 pitches, was made in 1992. This went to public appeal and was rejected because it would be harmful to the character of the area and would impact on the local community.

In 2003 there was an application for holiday log cabins. This was thrown out on similar grounds.

On both occasions residents have campaigned strongly against the plans, holding crowded public meetings, raising “fighting funds” and writing dozens of letters of objection.

They say that the development would be on a greenfield site and would harm the amenity of neighbors and the village as a whole, as well as being contrary to the local plan.

One resident who lives near to the proposed site said she expected the village to unite against plans once again.

“This is the essentially exactly the same thing they wanted to do before, and the same reasons not to allow it should apply,” she added. “Obviously house prices will go down as soon as a big gypsy camp is created, and it does appear that some of these sites are not that well run. You cannot rely on what is said now as a benchmark for what it will be like over the next few years.”

Another resident, who has lived in the village for more than 20 years, said: “We have been waiting for it, but we have fought it before and will do so strongly again.

“This affects everybody in the village and I don’t think there is going to be anyone in favour of it.”

Maggie Smith-Bendell, liaison officer with the Romani Gypsy Advisory Group, believes the fears are unfounded.

She said: “These people are in desperate need of somewhere to live.

“The land is owned by the family and they are doing everything the right way. They haven’t just pulled up on the site. If, and when, they get planning permission it will be a beautiful site funded by them. They are not asking anything from the taxpayer.”
Leigh and Bransford Parish Council will discuss the application at a planning meeting in the village hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday (July 7) and residents are encouraged to attend.

“It is a sensitive subject, and we are expecting to see a few people,” said chairman Martin Gloster.

What amazes me again and again is that anything that is for Gypsies will faught tooth and nail by residents on grounds that “ it would be harmful to the character of the area and would impact on the local community” while, when the land, as has happened in some instances, is sold off to developers who then wish to build a housing estate there the planning permission is, in a great number of cases, granted.

When it is Gypsies who wish to create a “housing estate”, albeit a caravan site, it is in issue of “would be harmful to the character of the area and would impact on the local community” but that seems to change when it is houses for Gohja (non-Gypsies) that are being built. What a load of £*&^!

It does not matter, we can see, yet again, whether Gypsies go about it the proper way or not. They will be refused planning and that despite the fact that, so it was said, they should be able to make provisions for their own housing. Dordi! One rule for the Gohja and one for the Gyppo. Still the same as always.

Instead of fighting against the development why don't the people actually get together with the Gypsy? In the same way I would like to suggest to the Gypsy families to try and invite the locals over for a BBQ or such and maybe that way prejudiced can be overcome and things worked out. I am not holding out much hope from what I see of the behavior of the locals but... in my view worth a try.

© 2009

In the face of Anti-Gypsyism a framework agreement for the Romani People in the EU is required NOW

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Pogroms in Italy, "final solution" proposed in electoral campaigns in the Czech Republic, Romani-Gypsy children placed in schools for mentally handicapped across Central and Eastern Europe, including Germany and Austria, ripped tents in France, where the Romani families are thrown on the street, and now the turn of Northern Ireland, part of Britain, where recently, extremist groups have been targeting Gypsy families originating from Romania.

Where on Earth is Europe and the European Union headed? Adolf Hitler had a European project. In the immediate aftermath of World War II the UN was launched to a project such as that and the European Union, which emerged out of the European Economic Community, swore, on paper, to also prevent such happening from ever occurring again. The truth appear to be a different one and it would appear as if the EU in fact is aiding and abetting the self-same action perpetrated against the Romani People, if not by direct commission than by commission and inaction. Nice words, probably just intended for the media and the world at large, are just not good enough.

Association "La voix des Rroms", “The Voice of Rom” ( has been calling on the European institutions to rapidly adopt the framework agreement for the Romani People in the European Union, as has been proposed by the Rromani Activists’ Network on Legal and Policy issues (RANELPI)*. The immediate adoption of this framework agreement and its immediate implementation of this Frame-Statute is now a most urgent case and, in fact, an emergency.

* The proposal of this framework agreement is available online in English, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish and Romanian on the website

However, I do not think that we should be holding our breath here for I am sure that we'd all be well expired before if we'd do be fore we'd see any action.

The problem is the European Union itself for, it would appear there is more to the silence and inaction as to the happenings that does meet the eye.

To me, as a Rom and someone who has been watching this for many, many years, it would appear that there is an agenda here and that this is “ethnic cleansing by proxy”.

It should have become quite clear by now to all but the truly blind that something is not right here and that there is too much waffle going on and no action and that it would appear that the EU's true aim is to make the Gypsy disappear and, while they cannot do that directly, they allow others to do it for them.

Let the reader think for him- or herself as to whether or not this may be so.

© 2009

Half of all first-graders in Belogradchik municipality are of Roma origin

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Belogradchik, Bulgaria: Vasil Levski primary school in the northwestern town of Belogradchik expects 50 first-graders for the new school year.

Principal Svetla Tabakova says that the number of first-graders for this new school year equals last year's number, half of who are of the Romani minority.

At a meeting the parents have been presented with the organization of the teaching process.

Apart from the obligatory classes, first-graders have to choose optional courses in Bulgarian, mathematics and sports.

Parents have to choose a foreign language their children will study after finishing first grade.

In the school English is preferred to German.

We have an individual approach to the parents of first-graders, which produces results.

The Roma parents are told that their children will live better if they are educated, Svetla Tabakova said.

While we have to agree that education is the way forward and, yes, also for the children of the Romani minority, and that is the same for not just in Bulgaria but also elsewhere in the world, the question remains as to how this education process is structured.

Also, will they be allowed to remain in the ordinary school system or will they be, as is the common practice in so many countries, and not just in Eastern Europe, be herded into schools “for the educationally subnormal” as they were once called though given different titles today.

Hilfsschule they used to call it in Germany and many a Gypsy child was forced into those schools for no other reasons that for being Gypsy. Chances of a decent job, even if they'd finish that kind of school, were non-existent aside from, maybe, laboring ones.

Was this done on purpose, and is it still done for the very same reason? You bet it is. This was done in order to keep Gypsy children from actually making use of any decent education.

Some succeeded, especially those that many not have been pushed into those “special schools”, against all odds, such as Police Inspector Guenther Weiss of Kehl, but many did not.

© 2009

Romanian Gypsy families determined to leave Ulster

Roma families determined to leave Northern Ireland

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Roma families that have been forced from their homes as a result of racist attacks in Belfast have their minds set to leave Northern Ireland. This despite the political and public sympathy and support that has been shown to them after the events.

Two teenage boys have appeared in court on Monday, June 22. 2009, charged in connection with the attacks which resulted in 115 Romanians Gypsies seeking refuge in a city centre Belfast church last Tuesday night.

A 15-year-old and a 16-year-old are each being charged with provocative conduct while the 15-year-old is also charged with intimidation.

The outcome of this, probably, will be nothing but a dressing down by a judge and then sending them home.

Notwithstanding the arrests and an anti-racism rally in Belfast on behalf of the 22 families, all of whom are members of the Roma community, they are still anxious to return to Romania.

They say that they have no jobs, no homes, no money and feel they may as well go home. Some, apparently, have said that it is better for them in Romani than in Britain.

There was still a lot of confusion over whether there was any statutory provision that would allow money to be provided to repatriate the families. Last week Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said if money were required it would be found.

However, it is understood there is official concern about what precedents might be created if public money was provided to pay for the flights. Belfast City Council said that it is checking if they can find the money. If not it may be a matter for the churches or the voluntary organisations to get them home.

Temporary accommodation was found for the families by Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie, although that is due to end on Wednesday. The Minister has indicated that they can stay longer if that is necessary.

Church representatives, trade unionists, politicians, members of Amnesty International and the Traveller community were among those who attended the rally in support of the families.

Barbara Muldoon of the Anti-Racism Network said that if any of the families wanted to stay the local community must stand shoulder to shoulder with them. There must also be a concerted effort to stop the racist attacks.

“There are no excuses, and no arguments that can justify what happened,” said Ms Muldoon.

“Immigrants are welcome here, they bring a wealth of culture to Northern Ireland and they bring their ability to contribute to our society. They are not separate from it but part of it,” she added.

While the spokesperson of the Anti-Racism Network may have state that immigrants are welcome in Northern Ireland it always becomes a different matter in the eyes of the great majority when those immigrant happen to be member of the Gypsy Nation.

While this has happened in an area that was always a trouble spot as far as outsiders are concerned one can but wonder how long before things like that will happen all over Britain (and elsewhere in the EU) as far as Gypsy People are concerned, and how long before it will move from the foreign ones to include also the “indigenous” ones.

All one can say that this is a shame as far as the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union is concerned.

In addition to this it is actually fact that by the time of writing on June 23, 2009, many of the Romanian Gypsies have already gone back to Romani, others are about to follow. Only fourteen of them intend to, probably, remain in Northern Ireland.

If they feel safer in Romania where there itself are lots of problems then it shows how bad it is getting in Britain.

Also, on the night from June 22 to June 23, 2009 the Church that gave refuge to those Romanian Gypsies has been attacked and a number of windows smashed and the dook kicked in.

This also means that the juveniles that have been charged with the attacks on the Romanian Gypsies the other day have not been acting alone and it may be proof that groups such as Combat 18 are involved and even thugs of the British National Party.

© 2009

Romanian Roma attacked in Ulster

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

If we, the Romani in Britain, did not know it already the British National Party (BNP) and others of a similar nature do not mean us well.

In Belfast, Northern Ireland (Ulster), the attacks of recent days on Romanian Roma immigrants have shown this with renewed vigor.

And where was the Police, of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (what a mouth full), once known as the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and still as prejudiced as ever?

They took ages to come to the aid of those Romanian Gypsy families. CHIEF CONSTABLE of the PSNI, Sir Hugh Orde, however, has rejected any claims his officers were slow to react to the needs of Romanians suffering racist attacks in south Belfast.

In the same way, as I am sure, every CC is claiming that he or she and his or her officers would not be prejudiced towards the Romani community, whether indigenous, so to speak, or immigrant. The truth is an entirely different one though.

Sir Hugh claims those whose homes were attacked in the loyalist Village area of the city would have been properly protected by the PSNI had they decided to remain in their homes. His officers had done their best in what was a difficult situation, he said. And pigs certainly do fly as well.

While it has to be said that, in the end, the police did put the families, at new temporary housing, under protection this shows, yet again, what it takes before police will respond to calls for help from the Gypsy community to alleged racist attacks.

The attitudes of years gone by are still prevalent and nothing has change in the police services in the various countries of the United Kingdom.

Romanian gypsies beware beware. Loyalist C18 are coming to beat you like a baiting bear

In a rather menacing message the racist group calling itself Combat 18, believed to be affiliated to the BNP, made it rather clear how they view things as far as Romanian Gypsies, and no doubt other Gypsies, are concerned.

The message broadcast by text and email all over Northern Ireland is hate-filled and and full of menace:

“Romanian gypsies beware beware.
Loyalist C18 are coming to beat you like a baiting bear.
Stay out of South Belfast and stay out of sight
And then youse will be alright
Get the boat and don't come back
There is no black in the Union Jack
Loyalist C18 'whatever it takes'.”

This rhyming racist warning has been picked up on mobile phones and computers all across loyalist areas of the north of Ireland and, no doubt, some will want to act on such ideas, and not just the thugs of C18 and such like.

So-called newspapers, such as the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Mirror also do not help in the way they time and again create a false image of the perceived “Gypsy problem”.

The houses from which the Romanian Roma fled are boarded up and evidence as to why they fled is all around, with Swastikas daubed on doors and walls.

Many of the Romani families affected have said that they'd rather go back home to Romania where the problems are less, as regards to racism, than in Britain.

This certainly is not a very good showing for the country that prides itself to be the bastion and mother of democracy and a real multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when it comes to the Gypsy People, regardless whether “English” Romani or foreign.

Time we, the Rom in the UK (and elsewhere in Europe), considered what to do as to this.

© 2009

President of the European Union?

Please click on picture for larger view

This about sums it up, and not just as far as Italy is concerned, but as far as the entire European Union.

Homeschooling soon to be considered “child abuse”?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In Britain, the country with probably the world's most liberal education system as regards to homeschooling, government think tanks now push for registration and inspections of homeschooled children in case homeschooling might be a cover for “child abuse”.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We will soon find, I am sure, that homeschooling in itself will be considered “child abuse”. I am also sure that all over this idea we would find the fingerprints of the European Union where in most countries it is illegal to homeschool. Germany only not so many months ago in a legal judgment made the final statement, as far as Germany is concerned, that educating children at home is and will remain against the law in Germany and in France and other affairs things are about the same.

Read on:

New York legislator says Holocaust memorial only for Jews

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A state assemblyman from New York, USA, has stated on record that a Brooklyn Holocaust memorial should only be for Jews.

Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat, said the memorial should not recognize the other victims of the Nazis, according to a report by the New York Post. The memorial in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood was erected by the City of New York.

"These people are not in the same category as Jewish people with regards to the Holocaust," said Hikind, an Orthodox Jew whose district includes the heavily Chasidic section Borough Park. "It is so vastly different. You cannot compare political prisoners with Jewish victims."

Along with 6 million Jewish victims, millions of gays, disabled people and Roma also were persecuted by the Nazis -- a fact that several city officials played up in their defense of a plan to recognize those groups at the memorial.

"It wasn't only the Jews that were massacred," said the city's Jewish mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

"There's no doubt that most of the atrocities at the Holocaust were done upon Jewish people," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "But it goes against history and their memory to not commemorate all groups that were persecuted by the Nazis."

Hikind, who speaks out frequently on Jewish issues, made the comments at a news conference attended by his 89-year-old mother, Frieda, a survivor of Auschwitz.

Not that this is really anything new as far as the Jews' take on the Holocaust is concerned. To them it was only they that suffered and “Gypsies defile the memory of the Holocaust by wishing to be associated with it” as it was stated some years back by some Jewish dignitaries, including a Mayor in Germany and member of the Board.

When the listings are given Gypsies, anyway, run basically on the bottom rung, well below the gays and lesbians, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others. This despite the fact that Gypsies are the only Race, aside from the Jews, who were, in fact, persecuted and gassed for reasons of race.

“ You cannot compare political prisoners with Jewish victims” Hikind said but Gypsies were not “political prisoners” but imprisoned and gassed for the selfsame reasons, namely that of sare, and it should be remembered that some of the extermination methods were first “tried out” on Gypsy victims, such as Zyklon B on 200+ Gypsy children from Czechoslovakia, the so-called “Protektorat Boehmen und Maeren”.

But those Jews have but one thing in their mind and that is to have the Holocaust to be a uniquely Jewish event and no others have a right to be involved – according to them – regardless of whether or not they were persecuted for the selfsame reasons. They were not Jews and hence they have no right here.

Sorry Mr. Hikind, personally I do not care what you, or others of your kind, say as to this. In fact I think that Gypsies have more right on a Holocaust memorial than the Jews if we want to play on percentages murdered. Our Romani People lost more that seventy-five percent of our People to the Nazi extermination apparatus which means that a genocide was near complete here, as far as Europe is concerned.

Then again, do the Jews care? I don't think so.

© 2009

Natascha Winter & the Sinti men

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The problem, and this is rather self evident, that the Sinti Rechtsprecher and other Sinti men has as regards to Natascha Winter, the head of the Sinti Allianz, is the fact that Mrs Winter is more of a man than they will ever be. This is the fact and truth; plain and simple.

The men often rant and rave saying that a Sintizza should not (be allowed) to run an organization but they are really nothing but jealous and their jealousy makes them look rather silly.

While Natascha Winter has gone and started something to help the People the others just talk, talk, talk and then talk a lot more.

Firstly their claims as to Sinti women not being allowed too run such affairs have no substance seeing that our People originally were ruled, on clan level, by the old women. Secondly it shows that those men who just rant and rave against Mrs Winter have in fact no backbone for, otherwise, instead of all the talk they would do things themselves.

But this they do not. They rely on others. Often they reply primarily on Gadje, on non-Gypsies, to set up and run organization that are – supposed – to help our People. Anyone can have a big mouth but to actually do something, however little, takes initiative, inspiration and intelligence, as well as get up and go power and staying power. Something those ranting and raving men do not have, it would seem and so they feel rather put out when a woman does it instead.

Why the German Sinti men from certain quarters seem to have a problem with Mrs. Winter when they seem to have nothing to say against Lalla Weiss who runs a Dutch Sinti Organization.

Would I be too much off the mark if I would suggest that in Germany it has to do with monies from the government, that is to say the “reparations” and such like; something that does not enter the equation in the Netherlands? I think I would not and that is “where the hare lies buried”, as one would say in Germany, here translated.

Such a shame that because of such infighting the Sinti get not very far while the Gadje and especially the governments sit and laugh.

© 2009

Who is killing Hungary's Gypsies?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The recent fire bomb attacks against Gypsy homes and the murder of Gypsies in a number of towns and cities across Hungary seem to all be linked in some way.

This brings to mind the horrible of the Arrow Cross and groups of a similar nature that operated in that country and elsewhere during the time of the Third Reich. The Arrow Cross and its partners were more eager to destroy Gypsies then than were the most ardent Nazis elsewhere and they are thus again today.

Anti-Gypsyism is a scourge in Eastern Europe and here very much so in the countries that were the sphere of influence of the former Warsaw Pact and which are now European Union (EU) member states with the EU bodies making a few noises but that is about all.

Were we talking here about Jews I am sure things would be rather different, but all we are talking about, as far as they are concerned, is Dirty Gyppos who have less value to them than do cats and dogs, and in some quarters, such a in statements by right-wing parties and grouping the Czech and Slovak Repulics, the former CSSR, where Gypsies are being referred to as maggots or even as “worse than maggots”.

Europe, so it would seem, is sliding down a very slippery slope at present and that rather at a rate of knots.

The lack of action, aside from a few non-binding mumblings, by the EU, European Parliament and Council of Europe, could lead one to think, if one would be conspiracy theory inclined, that there could be an official anti-Gypsy agenda, despite all the rhetoric from the EU bodies.

The way things are people could be forgiven to believe that, for it sure does look like it. The sin of omission is here as great as the sin of commission.

Until we see, I think, some definite action against what is going on from the side of the European Union bodies, and not just empty talk, the suspicion must persist that there is more to see here than meets the eye.

For a long time it has been looking, to some of us at least, that the EU was up to something, something no good, as far as the Gypsy People, the Rom, are concerned and the writing was could be seen clearly on the wall.

It is now becoming clearer by the day that something is afoot and that this is an ethnic cleansing and genocide by proxy.

Now that the economy has gone south the Gypsy is once again being blamed for those problems too and made the scapegoat.

Neo-Nazis and the public in general in many places call for the extermination of the Rom because, so the Nazis and their sympathizers, the Gypsies are a drain on a country's resources and an adverse effect on the world economy. This must be because of all the banks that are Gypsy-owned, I guess.

The Gadje society needs a scapegoat and while the Jews are only being accorded this “honor” once in a while the Gypsy is always it.

The organs of the European Union are complicit in this anti-Gypsyism and those murders of Gypsies in that they make no (real) effort to stop it. Anti-Jewish sentiments are always dealt with immediately and promptly.

Time that the Romani People also realized that no help will ever come from the EU. The opposite rather!

Ourselves Alone!

© 2009

Czech Romany activists alarmed by attack

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Prague, Czech Republic - Czech Romany activists are deeply concerned about the Molotov cocktail attack on a Romany family in Vitkov, north Moravia, during the night in which a two-year-old girl was severely burnt, and called for Romany guards to be formed and for emigration to Canada.

Many of us in the Romany community worldwide will, I am sure, share the concern and the outrage as to the attacks that we see happening not just in the Czech Republic and Hungary but also in other places and which often go more or less unreported, bar in local media – if we are lucky.

While the idea of Romany guards has been suggested by this writer and some others before it has also inherent problems and that is that those on the outside will then blame the Rom for the problems. Not that they do not do so already.

A protection “force” should be considered, nevertheless, I think, but bow things are to be done must be considered very carefully here.

On the other hand to call for immigration to Canada is, certainly, not the way to go; or immigration to any foreign land. The only thing thins will do is create more problems, namely in the country to which the escape is being made. In many of those countries, the UK for example, there are people who would use such immigrations as a signal to start their own Anti-Gypsy actions, of that we can be sure.

"The movement of Romany Resistance calls on Romanies to be watchful against terrorist attacks by Czechs," the movement says in a press statement.

The statement was joined by the organisations Roma Realia - north Bohemia, Romani Alliance - west Bohemia and Futurum Roma - central Bohemia.

The movements says Romanies should not rely on the "failing state apparatus" and reminds that arson attacks on Romany homes are not unique in the Czech Republic.

We, the Rom, should have notices by now, in fact we should have notices long ago, that no state apparatus would ever protect us, despite all the laws that may state, on paper, that the Romany are a minority protected under this and that legislation, whether in the country, e.g. Czech Republic, or wherever, or in the EU as a whole.

Unknown perpetrators threw Molotov cocktails into a family house inhabited by a Romany family. Three people, including the child, were injured in the consequent fire.

The attack has been sharply denounced by outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and President Vaclav Klaus.

While both the Czech Prime Minister and the President may have condemned this attack this is but rhetoric and for the media and the rest of the world; a fact that we have to face.

The movement has called on Romany communities to prepare possible escape routes from where they live or stay. They should not leave old people, women and children alone without "a strong Romany protection."

"This is the sole that Romanies can do within their possibilities, " the movement says.

The old way used to be “roving camp guards” and maybe those need to be considered, even if the place where one lives is not a camp. In addition to that what might be needed – and I know people will attack me for saying this – is to actually set up Romany communities, Gypsy settlements.

The movement also told possible critics of the call for emigration that no one has the right to keep Romanies at a place of danger where they are the possible targets of neo-Nazis, the statement says.

Kumar Vishwanathan, who has devoted himself to work with Romanies in north Moravia for many years, said that the attack was an expression of cowardice and that the the situation in the Czech Republic for the Romany starts to be intolerable.

He said that he could personally see Romany families having machetes and axes prepared at the door to defend themselves in case of an extremist attack.

"Unless our elected representatives and courts awake and unless they do something about the situation, disturbances will follow," Vishwanathan said.

The problem, as I have indicated already, is that if the Rom arm themselves they will get blamed. It is a vicious circle for our People and I know that only too well.

© 2009

Gypsy child seriously hurt in alleged racist arson attack

The fascist attacks against Gypsies are continuing unabated

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

European countries seem to become a dangerous place for Gypsies yet again

Prague, Czech Republic - A Romany toddler and her parents were seriously injured in an apparent petrol bomb attack on their house in north-eastern Czech Republic recently, according to police reports.

The victims said someone threw Molotov cocktails in their house in the town of Vitkov, setting it ablaze shortly before midnight, police spokeswoman Sona Stetinska said.

She said that police would not be able to confirm the cause of the fire until after examining the site, which has been complicated by the danger of the building's collapse.

Outgoing Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said he was 'seriously concerned by surging extremism', urging authorities to determine whether the incident had been racially motivated.

Police said the motive of the alleged attack was not immediately known. 'We cannot confirm that it was racially motivated but we also cannot rule it out,' the spokeswoman said.

The 22-month-old toddler girl, rescued from the burning home by her parents, was airlifted to a hospital in the regional capital of Ostrava in a critical condition, according to the medical rescue services.

She has suffered severe burns on 80 per cent of her body and inhaled fumes, spokesman Lukas Humpl said in a statement.

Her mother, 27, sustained burns on her legs and one arm, while the father, 33, had serious burns on his back and limbs, the statement said.

The incident took place amid rising political activity of far- right and neo-Nazi groups.

On the same night, far-right extremists had embarked on a highly- publicized march through north-western Czech town of Usti nad Labem, home to ghetto-like Roma communities 430 kilometres east of Vitkov.

Czech towns have struggled to ban extremist rallies as their organizers exploit laws that safeguard freedom of assembly.

'It is clear that there is a link between political activation of extremists and direct violence towards inhabitants, ' the premier said. He vowed that his outgoing cabinet would discuss the issue on April 20.

Despite such rhetoric, far-right groups have continued their activities unhampered. The government recently failed in its effort to ban one such organisation, the Worker's Party. Racist-tinged fire bomb attacks, some of them deadly, have also recently shaken Hungary and police torture of Gypsy boys occurred in the Slovak Republic.

Nothing, it would appear, is being done by the EU as regards to those happening, bar lots of talking, yet again, and even more talking.

Being more than a little concerned with the lack of action by the European Union and the Council of Europe, bar rhetoric, I am beginning to wonder as to whether there is more here than meets the eye and whether there is some kind of hidden agenda here by the EU and its member states against the Romany minority.

I leave the readers to make up their own minds on this...

© 2009

Russian Gypsies denied 'baby-money' to buy new caravan

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

KALININGRAD, Russian Federation - A group of Gypsies in Russia's westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad has been denied a federal subsidy for a new caravan.

This happened already in February of 2009 but has only come to our attention as yet.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced at the end of 2008 that so-called 'baby-money,' a payment of 267,500 rubles ($7,700 at the current exchange rate) for families with two or more children could be used from the start of 2009 to help pay off mortgages or improve living conditions.

Before this, the payouts, which were introduced in 2007, could only be used after children reached the age of three.

The Gypsies filed a request for the sum saying that they needed it to buy a new caravan to house the group's many children. However, local authorities said the money could not be granted to them as a caravan was not recognized as official accommodation under Russian law.

So, unless you live in a house in Russia as a Gypsy you cannot get that money that is supposed to be due all citizens. Yet another way of discriminating against the Rom in Russia. Then again, what's new? As always, there is one law for the Gadje and one for the Rom.

Anti-Gypsyism in all forms is rampant in Europe, whether in the European Union member states or elsewhere. So, such minor incidents, I am sure, should not surprise us at all. Sooner or later the living in a caravan, for Rom, will be outlawed, it should not surprise me, in many countries once again.

Do I have far too dark view of things? I do not think so. I saw the writing on the wall where everyone was still trying to tell us how great the EU was supposed to be for all the Rom and how they were going to protect us and our Culture, etc. Yeah! Right! And pigs fly as well.

© 2009