No Gypsies Served - Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

No Gypsies Served
by Miriam Wakerly
Paperback 262 pages
Published 01/03/2010
by Strongman Publishing
ISBN: 9780955843211
Price: £8.99


“No Gypsies Served” is to all intents and purposes the sequel to “Gypsies Stop tHere”, which was Miriam Wakerly's first novel, published 2008, however, both books can equally stand alone even though they are connected. I would therefore recommend to buy both books. The reader won't regret it, of that I am sure.

The back cover of the book reads: “Two years have passed since Kay successfully campaigned for the Appley Green Gypsy Site,and four years since her husband was murdered. Life in the village was going so well until the phone call and letter. Then comes the disastrous site opening. Worst of all, Dunstan, whom she realises is her best friend and ally, is giving her the cold shoulder for some unknown reason. Dunstan is taking an emotional trip down memory lane, into childhood as a Gypsy on the road, and his eventual break from his people. Why is he so angry with Kay that he keeps away from her? Chances of a longed for reconciliation look slim ...” More I shall not give away of the story, for that would no be fair.

This is another great book by Miriam Wakerly dealing with the subject of Gypsies and Travellers in Britain and this one may possibly be even better than the previous one entitled “Gypsies stop tHere”. In fact I would say that it is a brilliant book and one that will have the reader spellbound. The story is extremely well written and the information regarding the Gypsy persecution at home and abroad is well represented. The story has multiple strands that are all extremely believable and real and which will have the reader riveted. Personally, I can identify with the figure of the Gypsy Dunstan in the story as growing up in a bender was also part of my childhood. Much has changed since and I am now, amongst other things, a journalist and living in a house. In the end the story turns out well for all concerned and it would be so good if this book would lead to such things in real life too."

Some of Dunstan's memories that he is writing down reminded me, as I have said above, of my own childhood around the highways and byways of the English countryside. But would I want to ever return to that life? The answer here is an definite no. And I must say that anyone who claims, after living in bricks and mortar, he wishes to be back po drom cannot be serious. But, I digressed.

This book is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend to the reader and the story will leave the reader spellbound throughout the entire book. Miriam has put so many different angles and plots into this book that boredom just cannot ever rear its head, making this book a real page turner.

I initially read the book, in manuscript form, when I was suffering from the Swine Flu and the side effects of Tamiflu and it was reading the manuscript for this book that kept me sane.

In both her books “Gypsies Stop tHere” and “No Gypsies Served” the author portrays Gypsies (and Travellers) as individual people, just like the rest of the population, making their way in life in the best way that they are able to.

Reading this compelling story allows one to hope for it to become perfectly possible for Gypsies to be accepted successfully into our communities. This will, however, require a deal of give and take, and that on both sides.

Miriam's books, hopefully, will go some distance towards this understanding in that it may make the Gohja, the non-Gypsy, understand that Gypsies do not have cloven hooves and do not steal children, etc., and also, hopefully, for I also recommend that Gypsies and Travellers read this book, for members of the Gypsy and Traveller communities to understand why, possibly, there are those prejudices in the non-Gypsy population towards us.

Miriam Wakerly has many articles and short stories published in magazines. “No Gypsies Served” is her second published novel. She has a BA Degree in Combined Studies (English, French, Sociology and Politics)from Leicester University and is a member of the Society of Authors. a non-Gypsy she has studied the subject and gives talks. She was on BBC Oxford, The Write Lines, in November 2009.

© 2010

Full Disclosure Statement: O NEVO DROM received no compensation for any component of this article.

FIRST EUROPEAN ROMA YOUTH SUMMIT

While the Spanish EU Presidency invites hundreds of politicians and Roma activists for the Second European Roma Summit in Cordoba, more than sixty Roma youngsters from all over Europe organize the first European Roma YOUTH Summit on April 7th-9th2010. In a base camp in a public square in Cordoba there will be a point for discussions, presentations, market of organizations, film screening, music, arts and media conference.

Our activities take place in the framework of the international youth network –“ternYpe’’. We are a network of youth and youth associations which create space for young people to become active citizens through empowerment, mobilization, self-organization and participation. We believe in the common efforts by creating trust, and mutual respect between Roma and non-Roma youth. The actions are organized in cooperation with the campaign “Typical Roma?” of the “ERGO Network”.

Special thematic workshops are organized by and for youngsters to discuss their issues and to share experiences. Although we young people do not participate in the official Summit, we want to show that we are actively engaged in constructive discussions and that we can contribute with our own ideas and visions.

The program of the First European Roma YOUTH Summit under the slogan “Be young, be Roma” includes street actions in Cordoba, and an artistic performance on stage of an international youth group from 12 countries prepared during a 7-day training on creative campaigning.

The Roma youngsters want to raise the awareness for active citizenship of ALL in ONE society. On behalf of “ternYpe” we appeal to politicians and MEP’s to put the youth issue on the agenda and to include young people in the decision making process, to promote a positive image of Roma and to strengthen the voice of Roma youth in order to stand up against discrimination and stigmatization.

The training-course and the European Roma Youth Summit is an independent initiative of ternYpe and is sponsored by the “Youth in Action” program of the European Union, OSCE, ERGO Network, “Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future” and Consell de la Joventut de Barcelona.

www.ternype.eu

www.romayouth.com

Corin Redgrave, British Actor and political activist dies aged 70

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Corin Redgrave, Tony-nominated British actor, has died on April 6, 2010 at St. George's Hospital in London. Redgrave, who was previously treated for heart problems and prostate cancer, was 70 years old.

He was a member of a prominent British acting family, and his siblings Vanessa and Lynn have also led successful careers in theatre, as well as his niece, the late Natasha Richardson.

He made his Broadway d├ębut in 1963 in “Chips With Everything”, but is perhaps best known for his role in the 1994 film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.

Redgrave was nominated in 1999 for a Tony Award for Best Actor in “Not About Nightingales”. He won an Olivier Award for the same role in the Tennessee Williams play in 1998. His other theatre credits include the Off-Broadway production of “The General from America” in which he played Benedict Arnold.

Redgrave also appeared in Shakespearean plays such as “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Henry IV, Part 1”, and “The Tempest”. He gained the approval of critics in the works of Noel Coward, notably a highly successful revival of “A Song At Twilight” co-starring his sister Vanessa Redgrave and wife Kika Markham.

He was also a lifelong activist in left-wing politics and together with his elder sister Vanessa, he was a prominent member of the Workers' Revolutionary Party. More recently, he became a defender of the interests of the Romani people.

Redgrave is survived by his four children, Luke, Harvey, Arden and Jemma.

Once again our People have lost someone, though a Gohja, who was prepared to make a stand for the rights of the Gypsy, the Romani. May he rest in peace.

© 2010

New guidance to help communities tackle anti-social behaviour associated with Gypsies and Travellers

UK Government publishes “Guidance on managing anti-social behaviour related to Gypsies and Travellers”

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The British government department for Communities and Local Government has published at the end of March 2010 a document entitled “Guidance on managing anti-social behaviour related to Gypsies and Travellers” and this once again shows that it seems totally acceptable to, time and again, make reference to “Gypsies and Travellers” when it comes to crime and anti-social behavior but you can all bet we would never see anything like that with Afro-Caribbean, Asian or Jews in the title.

Local councils need to work more closely with other agencies to address anti-social behaviour associated with Gypsies and Travellers, Communities Secretary John Denham said at the launch of the document on March 23, 2010.

As with all communities, he said, only a small minority of Gypsies and Travellers behave anti-socially and their mobile lifestyle can exacerbate this - but perceptions that the community is not dealt with the same as other communities damage public confidence about fair treatment for all.

This guidance for local authorities, the police and other agencies, sets out the strong powers that are available to them in dealing with anti-social behaviour associated with Gypsies and Travellers – whether they are the perpetrators or the victims – and where possible preventing such behaviour before it occurs. Powers include Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) and injunctions.

This guidance makes clear what action can be taken on policing and prevention, fly-tipping, noise, straying livestock and untaxed vehicles. It also stresses the importance of agencies working together to apply the same rules to Gypsies and Travellers when gathering evidence, prosecuting and collecting fines.

He also welcomed new planning rules which will speed up the enforcement process where it may be necessary so that quicker action can be taken against developments without planning permission such as unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller sites.

When it comes to Gypsies and Travellers, however, this seems to be totally acceptable to both government, the race relations industry and the general public alike.

Neither of them would permit any other ethnic group be mentioned in the same context but for the Dirty Gyppy and Traveller that is OK, they seem to think.

Well, it is not OK and it is a disgrace.

Yes, there are bad apples in the barrel of Gypsies and Travellers, but then the same is true with other ethnic communities and with the general population as a whole. Why, then, are Gypsies and Travellers singled out in this way?

And when we are talking Gypsy Sites – although the mention above is of “unauthorized” sites – no one, as yet, has given Gypsies and Travellers right of secure tenancy when they rent plots on official caravan sites.

Unlike the majority of the population if they rent from the local council or housing association who have security of tenure, this does not apply on Gypsy Sites and residents there can be evicted for nigh on no reason at all at a very short notice without any redress.

But then, we are but Dirty Gyppos and we deserve not better. That, at least seems to be the attitude of government, race relations industry, and general public alike.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that he Gypsy and Traveller community is treated no differently than the rest of the community. Perpetrators of crime and antisocial behaviour will be punished and, where appropriate, taken through the criminal courts and jailed.

It would be nice to know in which parallel universe the minister happens to live, together with the great majority of his colleagues in the House of Commons and the Other Place, as member of the Commons call the House of Lords, for it definitely is not on this planet.

Gypsies (and Travellers) have always been treated differently to the non-Gypsy population, despite what the current Home Secretary and his colleagues seem to believe.

Copy of the guidance is available at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/anti-socialbehaviourguide.

Copyright © 2010

PCC shuts down journalist's Blog for telling the truth

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Press Complaints Commission shuts down Spectator Blog for saying that the majority of all crimes in London are committed by Afro-Caribbean youth; which is, after all true.

This is, once again, is political correctness gone wrong and, in fact, much more. It is an attempt to rewrite the truth. Had the journalist talked about Gypsies in this way nothing, nothing whatsoever, would have happened, even if he would have been wrong.

The journalist in question is not wrong, however, for it is indeed, and that is fact and can be verified with police statistics, the truth that the majority of all crimes in the capital are committed by young black people, and here young black men in particular.

But, obviously, one cannot say that, as regards to the Afro-Caribbean young people, while at the same time every Gypsy can be painted with the same brush of being a tramp, a con-artists, a thief; in short, a criminal.

Personally, I must say that I am not surprised at all; I am just annoyed of the way we are acting and suppressing the truth, while at the same time the media and others are allowed to malign the Gypsy community.

Let's call a spade a spade and a shovel and shovel...

Copyright © 2010