Remembering the Holocaust is key to fighting modern-day racism, OSCE Roma adviser said ahead of UN ceremony

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Remembering the Holocaust is key to fighting modern day manifestations of racism and intolerance, said the OSCE's senior Roma and Sinti adviser, attending a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York today.

Andrzej Mirga, the head of the Roma and Sinti Contact Point at the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), stressed the need to teach people about the Holocaust, including the long-neglected ordeal of the tens of thousands of Roma and Sinti who perished in Nazi concentration camps.

"I hope that the narratives of Roma and Sinti and their stories about suffering and persecution under the Nazi regime will be heard and will become part of the teaching on the history of the Holocaust, and thus make clear what should never happen again," said Mirga, who will speak at a ceremony to mark today's International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The ceremony was organized by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, which has partnered with ODIHR since the programme was established in 2006.

He said racist ideologies remain virulent in modern society: "Those who suffered during the Nazi era, including Roma and Sinti, cannot forget that racist ideologies were the root cause of their persecution at the time, and that is also why they feel particularly threatened today by extremist or neo-Nazi groups."

Holocaust remembrance and education on tolerance must be complemented by laws protecting the dignity and human rights of all people, as well as by the effective application of law enforcement tools to prevent or punish violent manifestations of racist and extremist ideologies, Mirga added.

OSCE participating States have committed themselves to promote remembrance of the Holocaust. At least 41 of the OSCE's 56 participating States commemorate the Holocaust with official events, according to a new survey published by ODIHR today. Thirty-three OSCE states have established official memorial days for Holocaust victims.

The OSCE has played a prominent role in developing responses to anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance. ODIHR assists participating States in implementing their commitments to combat hate crimes and promote tolerance and non-discrimination.

The shame is that while the OSCE participating states, and I do assume that Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, Romania and Hungary are also part of those, may have committed themselves to promote remembrance of the Holocaust may are running official and unofficial anti-Gypsy pogroms with Italy in the forefront of those.

What good is commemorating the Holocaust when nothing is being learned out of the lessons, and the hypocritical governments just put on an outward show. Not that Jews are anymore being attacked. Nowadays it is just the Gypsy, the Romani.

And, no one cares as to what happens to the Gypsy, bar a few Righteous Gadje.

Too much waffle and not enough action by the European Union and the United Nations. Then again how can the UN tell states to stop persecuting the Gypsy when the UN and its agencies are as guilty of killing the Romani People. In that instance by imprisoning them on lead polluted camps in Kosovo, for example.

They Gypsy is, was and always will be scapegoat until we, the Gypsy, fight back against it. The time is NOW!

© 2010