Ustiben report
By Grattan Puxon

Having played the racist card and raised hatred of Gypsies to fever pitch, Michael Howard, seen now as the most extreme rightwing Tory leader to take his party into a general election may soon watch in manifest sastifaction as homes go up in smoke.

Already, children have been terrorised, caravans burned and belongings wantonly destroyed. Now Basildon District Council has commissioned the private bully-boys at Constant & Co to draw up plans to raze Dale Farm, the largest Traveller settlement in the UK.

"This is not about moving on a few caravans," said an alarmed resident this week. "You're talking about flattening a whole village."

He said a crisis meeting will take place at Dale Farm tomorrow morning (31 March) to discuss the latest developments.
Howard, himself the son of Jewish immigrants, taunted Gypsies by arranging a pre-election stunt close to the settlement last week.
Worse, Tory council leader Malcolm Buckly, emphasising Constant's "experience in this field", has confirmed that his council is paying the firm £20,000 to prepare a detailed eviction blue-print.

According to local press reports, turning Dale Farm - for decades a licensed scrapyard - back into "greenfield land" would cost in the region of £1.5 million.

In the most recent eviction operation carried out by Constant for Hertsmere District Council at Ridge, it is alleged that mobile-homes were damaged and quantities of property set on fire. Two wheelchairs belonging to an elderly disabled person were crushed. A mother was prevented from taking her sick children to hospital and an old man knocked down.

Ten claims for damages under the Human Rights Act are in preparation against Constant, the council and Hertfordshire police. Sums involved may amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds. On this model, Constant and Basildon council, together with Essex police, could face claims of up to £10 million if an eviction at Dale Farm is attempted.

Meanwhile, the Traveller Community Project has presented Basildon with what its chairman Patrick Egan says
is a viable alternative; creation with council co-operation of a housing association that will build several small mobile-home parks for families who must leave unauthorised plots at Dale Farm.

Father Joe Brown, chaplain to Travellers, who is already involved in talks with Basildon, has been invited to take a leading part in the Dale Farm Housing Association. At the same time, no less than l5 new planning applications have been submitted to the council by Dr Donald Kenrick and a team of volunteers.

Is the Media finally learning?

Is the media finally learning that there is a difference between Gypsy and Traveller, e.g. a difference between Romani-Gypsies, the only once to who the term “Gypsy” should, rightly, ever be applied and to those that are not Romani but Travellers in general whether they be Irish itinerants, English itinerants, or New Age Travellers (Hippies)?

On some other place on the Internet one entry did state: that the penny has finally dropped with the Daily Mail that it is not the Romani that are causing the troubles but Irish Travellers”. And someone else mentioned on the same forum that Romanies and Irish have always, in the main, have had feuds and never gotten along and SHOULD not be seen as being one. And that is where the source of our entire problem lies. In the fact that Traveller is seen as equaling Traveller and Gypsy as equaling Gypsy, which is not so. When their Lordships in their rulings decided that all Travellers are seen as Gypsies, in general, they were the creators of those current problems, and that is why the Irish Travellers, who having protections themselves as a group, still want and clamor for the protection that the Romani-Gypsies have as an ethnic People. We, the Romani, are an ethnic People and Race while the Irish, I am sorry, but this is the fact, are NOT. The Irish Travellers, in general, with the exception of the few Romani clans from and in Eire, are nothing but Gohjas who have taken up the traveling life, period, dosta.
Therefore, say the word “Gypsy” and the Gohja equates it immediately with the trash and mess that the Irish leave behind and around where they cam and with kids being abusive and performing bodily functions in public, often in full view of everyone. Romanies are NOT like that and would NEVER do that. Oh, I am the first to admit that there are some rogue elements amongst our own, especially those whose Culture is watered down a little too much, that may camp somewhere and leave a lot of trash and even building rubble behind or who may dump stuff such as the cuttings of some tree surgery job somewhere in a woodland or such, and this is something that, though not condoning, I am not really on about. And I also know of those that have set up camp on land for years and years on their own land until they won the planning appeals but where are our People to go? Some have won appeals other have not and even if they are trying it on non-greenbelt sites there is not a chance for them, as I mentioned in my previous article on O NEVO DROM, to get permission granted in most cases, whether retrospective or starting it the proper way. As soon as it becomes clear that it is Gypsies that wish to develop the land for their use and residence it becomes a non-event in most cases.

While the Daily Mail, and hopefully other rags of its ilk, like the Sun, are getting the drift as to who is responsible for the troubles, it would appear that the Tories and their little fascist Dictator do not and continue full steam ahead with their anti-Gypsy campaign of hate. But sorry folks if I am going to disillusion you; the other parties are no better either. I don’t care what they say now. What they will say closer to the election when the electorate starts making it clear to them that they cannot win on a pro-Gypsy ticket they will soon change their tune. Don’t say you have not been warned. So, you ask, who are we to vote for? “None of the above”, comes to mind but as you we do not have such an option and are not really enough in one area to make our votes count I don’t know either. Even starting our own political party would not help, really. Also please do not expect any help from the International Romani Union (or is it now International Roma Union? I think they are all confused themselves) as they are only concerned with Eastern European Roma (same as with the Decade of Roma Inclusion) and not with the Romanichals/Sinti in England. Yes, the English Romani are NOT Roma and please do not style yourself thus. The English Romani are Romanichals – as you all know – and thus part of the Sinti Nation.

(For more on this as well as other issues of Romani Politics, such as parties, and such, see ROMANI FIRST Blog & and the ROMANI FIRST email Newsletter.)

Latcho drom,

© Veshengro, March 2005

Review: Gypsies & Travellers in their own words

Gypsies & Travellers in their own words
Words and Pictures of Travelling Life
Compiled and edited by: Peter Saunders, Jim Clarke, Sally Kendall, Anna Lee, Sakie Lee, Freda Matthews
A4 Hardback with lots of color and b&w photos…
260 pages
£15 plus £5 post & packing = £20 (U.K. only)
Overseas please enquire…
Published 2000
Leeds City Council
Department of Education
Travellers Education Service
ISBN 0 950 8029 99
The book is available from:
Traveller Education Service
West Park Centre
Spen Lane
Tel.: +44.113 274 8050

‘Romanichals rokker about their kushti merripen’

“Gypsies & Travellers in their own words” is a rather unique book. It lets Gypsies & Travellers tell their own stories in their own words without any undue editing. This is something that is so very rare that alone from that aspect this book belongs into the library or onto the coffee table of anyone really and truly interested in the Romanichals of the British Isles and also and especially those of our own (I am saying this as I am Romani) to have something at hand for our chavies to see what is was like and still is like for some of our fohki.
Gypsies and Travellers from several generations describe, in their own words, their lives from early in the 20th century to this present day. Those are personal histories and viewpoints, however, taken and seen collectively they create and present a vivid picture of life within the Gypsy and Traveller communities and the radical changes experienced by them over the past century. It describes also the harassment Gypsies and Travellers receive on a daily basis from police and others in authority as well as the discriminations against them from the general public.
I can most highly recommend this limited edition book to anyone and consider the price well worth it. And the more of you buy the book the better for the fohki.


Join the protest of UK Association of Gypsy Women

Dear brothers and sisters around the world,

We ask you all to join together with us the UK Association of Gypsy Women to protest in the strongest possible terms the offices of Michael Howard Leader of the Conservative party and also to the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Bob Last at the mission to the UN in Geneva.

I will give you the e-mail addresses which are as follows:

We in the UK need the support of all our people this is the gravest situation we have seen yet a real danger of the concentration camps for the Gypsy/Travellers in the UK if Michael Howard gets the chance to form the next Goverment he has stated if he cannot find a loophole in the Human Rights Laws to exclude the Gypsies/Travellers he will scrap them altogether he has already said the wider community will be able to pick where they want our people to be put !!!

Michael Howard is fighting his campaign on propaganda as Hitler did against the Jews.
Is this history in reverse ? ...

We ask you to join us and help us to fight this evil, take care all our people.

God Bless!



The UK ASSOCIATION OF GYPSY WOMEN would like to respond to Michael Howard's advert "I BELIEVE IN FAIR PLAY".

Firstly is he including the Romany Gypsies, the oldest ethnic minority in this country today, or is it the Travellers only?

We would remind Michael Howard the Gypsy men fought and died to help free Europe from evil that was the Nazi regime, Jack Cunningham a Gypsy man from Hull was one of only 4 to receive the Victoria Cross for bravery. Michael Howard by his own admission came to England with his family as Jewish Refugees to flee the terror of the Nazis, the human rights act was adopted to protect people of a different race, colour or creed from persecution Mr Winston Churchill played a prominent role in forming the human rights laws for the very reason that the atrocities of the Holocaust suffered by the Jews and other minorities would never be able to happen again to anyone because they were different. Winston Churchill was a man of honour and principals he had the forsight to know that the holocaust could easily happen again but what he could not know is the leader of his party today would want to tear down what he had built up they must be pretty short on policies to stoop to such a low level as to use the most vulnerable minority in this country today, use them as a political football and due to certain tabloids who have launched a propaganda campaign of racial prejudice and hatred creating a climate of fear within the wider communities against the Gypsy /Traveller minorities Michael Howard obviously now believes the mood is right to claw the Tories back to power on the backs of these minorities did Hitler not do exactly the same with the German people against the Jews?

Michael Howard suggests the human rights act works in our favour and we can build sites wherever we want that is a DOWNRIGHT LIE we certainly have no evidence of this the facts speak for themselves the evidence we have is our people being evicted from their own land on a daily basis their homes smashed up or even being burnt down, elderly sick men being beaten and little children terribly traumatised and now anyone in uniform fills them with uncontrollable terror. Their parents’ only crime is trying to provide their own accommodation, in order they may get access to education and proper healthcare for their families, why do they have to try and provide for themselves? That is due to Michael Howard in 1994 repealing the 1968 caravan sites act that took away the duty on local authorities to provide caravan sites hence we find ourselves in this situation today local authorities have closed sites at an alarming rate forcing families out onto the road unable to find anywhere legally to stay and now Michael Howard has the audacity to say if he cannot exclude the Gypsy/Traveller minorities from the human rights act he and his so called party will SCRAP it !!!! The UKAGW say to every Jew in this country if you do not cry shame on Michael Howard the message you are sending out not just to the Gypsy/Traveller minorities… but to the BNP that Hitler was justified in the murder and the slaughter of 6 million Jewish fathers, mothers sisters and brothers and it is right and just to have a racist Government in power the BNP do not need to fight for seats in the election their views and policies are well safe in the hands of Michael Howard. We would like to speak to all the other minorities in this country of ours that the Romany Gypsy have been in for almost 600 years we will speak to them if we may through a poem that was attributed to a Pastor Niemoeller at the first service for the victims of the Holocaust, (forgive us Pastor we have made some slight changes)



Trespass by Travellers to become criminal offense

Mr. Michael Howard, MP, leader of the Tories, is also now talking about making trespass, if committed by Travellers, a criminal offense. One wonders as to whether that is also going to be used against Gypsies who set up encampments on land that they, the Gypsies, have bought fair and square and to which they hold the deeds. The way it looks, yes. Thereby, if Gypsies camp on land they own, land the do not own or by the side of the road they are criminals. So, yet again, being Gypsy makes you automatically once again a criminal. One can only wonder when Mr. Howard and his ilk start recommending interment camps for Gypsies or even the branding and cutting off of ears and such that were such a favorite of Queen Bess.

© Veshengro, March 2005

Hate Campaign against Gypsies by Daily Mail

It is, in my view, absolutely amazing how, in a so-called free and democratic country with laws, a paper like the Daily Mail, and other of its ilk, is permitted to spew venom against an ethnic group of People, without immediately being taken to task over it. Maybe the Mail should think of changing its name to “Völkischer Beobachter”. In very few countries of Europe, I am sure, would they ever get away with it and this has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of speech and all that jazz. There would be an immediate outcry should the media dare to vilify any other ethnic group, be it Jews, Muslims, Blacks, Hindus, Sikhs, etc. in such a manner and rightly so, and the Race Industry in the form of the Commission for Racial Equality (but only if you are Black or similar and as long as not Gyppo) would swing into action and press for prosecution under “incitement to racial hatred” or such. Strangely enough, however, if the case involves us Gyppos then all we hear is silence, or excuses as in the “Firle Bonfire incident”.

© Veshengro, March 2005

Michael Howard’s advert "I BELIEVE IN FAIR PLAY"

All that Mr. Howard has been doing is jumping onto the anti-Gypsy bandwagon but then again we, the Gypsies of the UK, do not really expect anything different from either party. He has seen that he may be able to make election capital out of joining the anti-Gypsy feeling that has been stirred by the media, The Sun and some other rags, as one certainly cannot call them newspapers, in the forefront.

I did not realize that the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard, MP, had changed from the leader of the British Conservative Party to become the leader of the Nazi Party. The BNP could not have done better than Mr. Howard in the way he criminalized all Gypsies in this country with his words. This certainly should teach all of us Gypsies finally that no politician will ever take our side in anything per se.
Mr. Howard states that Gypsies should use the planning laws like every one else. But let me ask how often, compared to Gohjas applying, do Gypsies ever get planning consent to build their own site or just a even a bungalow or small housing development. Very, very seldom if ever, while in the same place a Gohjo developer get permission for a housing development that is for Gohjas. It is one law for all the Gohjas and one, much harsher, for us Gyppos. In fact we have laws specifically made against us. Even is Gypsies, legally, buy a residential caravan site previously used all year round by retired folks) and then they pull their trailers on they get evicted because the council claims that it is a “change of use”. Now I always thought, and so did they, that a trailer park is a trailer park is a trailer park, whether it is used by Gohjas or Gypsies. It is so in any other country of the world but, apparently, not so in the UK when it concerns Gypsies.
The real problem is that no politician cares for the Gypsies, legal or not, because Gypsies and our cause no not win many votes – on the contrary. It is as simple as that.

© Veshengro, March 2005

Web site teaches gypsies law-bending:

LONDON, March 16:
A British Web site that gives gypsies advice on how to circumvent laws on property use was blasted by the Sun newspaper Wednesday.

The Friends, Families and Travelers site "actively encourages travelers to take over sites with no planning permission," the newspaper said.

In a question-and-answer format, it also suggests using Britain's Human Rights Acts to avoid being evicted from camps on someone else's property, which is covered by the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

"Another argument for moving on to your land before making a (planning) application is that this is normally the only way of taking advantage of the Human Rights Act," the site says.

The site also offers tips on what to do when evicted, and even offers a 24-hour help-line telephone number.

The newspaper said it is being swamped with names for a petition protesting the Labor government's handling of Britain's thousands of bands of gypsies.


Where the website “Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)” is doing what the Sun, and even this article, has claimed they are doing beats me. May be some reader can find the section and point it out to me. While it may be giving advice on how to avoid eviction I doubt that that could be called “teaching gypsies law-bending”. And when, BTW, will the media and the rest of the world wake up to the fact that Gypsies are an ethnic group and therefore the name for our People, if Gypsy is being used, should be written with an upper case “G”. It is amazing that journalists who, supposedly, spend years studying their profession at university do not seem to know the basic tenants of grammar in this case and neither the basic tenants of courtesy towards an ethnic People. I would like to see what would happen should they write “jews”, “muslims”, “blacks”, or if anyone would address them as “british”. Maybe we, the Gypsy People, should from now on write “jews”, “english", “french", “german”, and such.

The Romani – The Lost Tribe of Israel?

Hardly! Though there are some who, for whatever reason, would like to the Romani People to be the lost tribe of Israel. To prove this they cite the similarities (what similarities?) between the Romani Cleanliness Rules/Taboo of mogati/magerdo and those of kosher/kashrut; the fact that some groups amongst the Rom circumcise their boys claiming that it is general practice (which it is not). But what does this prove? Nothing!

On proper examination it should be noticeable that the Rom do have a different Religion, even though the egg-spurts claim we have no Religion of our own; that the Romani do not, as a rule, practice male circumcision, though, as said, some Roma groups do, and here mostly those living in the Balkans in areas that were once under Ottoman-Turk occupation/rule, or originating from there such as the Xoraxane Roma of Macedonia, some Kalderash and Roma of various groups from Montenegro, as well as some of the Albanian Roma.

We also do not have any forbidden foods of any kind unlike the Jews who are, for instance, not permitted to eat pork or crustaceans, with the exception that amongst many Sinti groups horse meat is taboo as the horse is regarded as sacred.

Our language too is entirely different and has no Hebrew or Aramaic in it.

And this is but a small selection of points where the supposed similarities do not add up.

Yes, maybe, there are quite a lot of aspects of the mogati and the kosher rules such as separate bowls for food preparation, etc. but there are also essential and very important differences that show that there is NO link between the Rom, in general, and the Jews.

From a religious point it must be noted and mentioned that the Rom are not truly monotheistic, even though we refer to a God (in the singular), the Creator, who we call o Devel or o Del, the Giver. There are, however, still other Gods there, including the Devi Kali, as well as others. And in addition to that many of the powers of Nature are worshipped and venerated too. So, once again, NO link, to the Jews and Judaism.

Sure, the true origin of the Romani People (and the various groups) is rather shrouded in the mists of time that much can, in my view, however, be said and that is that we, the Rom, are NOT the lost or a lost tribe of Israel. There are far too many points against that than for it.

The Romani are the Romani (and many different groups we are) and the Jews are the Jews. Dosta penesas.

© Veshengro, March 2005

N.B. The word "Rom" here is interchangeable with the word "Romani" but not with "Roma"


Ustiben report By Grattan Puxon

The same rabid anti-Gypsy racism which gave rise to the Nazi genocide is now being deliberately whipped up ahead of the UK general election, speakers at this year's Roma Nation Day rally will warn the UK Government.

Romani Rose, of the Central Council of German Sinti, who lost 17 members of his family during the Holocaust, will be among those addressing the Commemoration of Roma Victims taking place (12 noon) at St James's Church, Piccadilly, on Saturday, 9 April.

Paying their respects to the 500,000 Roma who died at the hands of the Nazis will be members of the foreign diplomatic corps and representatives of the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish communities.

After the signing of a Book of Condolence, candles will be lit to those who died both in the Holocaust and as a result of present-day racism. Among those to be remembered is Johnny Delaney, the 15-year-old Traveller murdered two years ago in Cheshire.

The church ceremony will be followed by a procession across central London in support of the aims of the GTLRC and in protest against threatened evictions at Dale Farm, Smithy Fen and elsewhere.
Attended by members of the Gypsy Council, TERF, the NTAG, UKAGW, ITM and other groups, the rally will be headed by the Romani Rad ensemble and a decorated horse-drawn vehicle.

Some marchers intend to deliver a demand to Savile Row police station for the SUN newspaper to be investigated for incitement to racial hatred over its recent article headed "Stamp on the Camps".
Similar complaints against other newspapers, among them the Evening Standard, the Mail and Daily Express will also be included.

At a public meeting following the march, Richard Sheridan is to announce his participation in the general election as a candidate for Billericay. He will be standing against the present Tory MP John Baron, well-known for his anti-Gypsy stance on the issue of the future of unauthorised caravan parks.

"As the first Traveller to stand for Parliament," says Mr Sheridan, "I intend to make our voice heard not only at Crays Hill but around the whole country."

His adoption by Dale Farm residents follows an intense voter registration scheme which ended on 11 March. Meanwhile, a plan for the creation of a housing association has been submitted to Basildon District Council as an alternative to the threatened 13 May eviction.
Known as the Sheridan Plan, the proposed Dale Farm Housing Association, drawing on Housing Corporation and local authority funding, would aim to build several family-sized mobile-home parks for people presently occupying unauthorised plots at Crays Hill.

"The first step is to obtain status as a registered social landlord," explained Patrick Egan, chair of the Traveller Community Project, which is meeting shortly to form the association.

At the same time, up to l5 fresh planning applications have been prepared for submission to Basildon council ahead of the May deadline. Also in the pipeline are eight human rights cases arising out of evictions by Hertsmere District Council and Chelmsford Borough Council. It is hoped that these cases will help deter Basildon council from resorting to similar methods - the employment of Constant & Co security men, riot police and bulldozers - to raze the homes of the many hundreds of residents at Dale Farm.

'Gypsies are going to get killed. If they did this to Asians, there'd be riots all over England'

Time is running out for the travellers at the camp that has become the target of a tabloid get-'em-out campaign.

Julia Stuart reports

13 March 2005

Barbara O'Brien recently received a text message informing her that the wife of a friend had died. As the 27-year-old can't read, she didn't bother getting in touch straightaway. "How stupid do you think I felt?" she asks…. more

BORN IN A GYPSY CARAVAN… a contradiction in terms

How often have we heard and do we hear this statement, this: “I was born in a Gypsy caravan, there-and-there, etc”, when folks wish to make everyone believe that they are real tatcho Romani-Gypsies? Often, for emphasis, this is even a wooden vardo. Far too often, I personally think. The truth of the matter is that what they are saying is a complete contradiction in terms, an oxymoron, so to speak, because if they are, supposedly, tatcho Romani by bloodline and tradition then a birth taking place in the caravan is and was a complete and utter “No, No” and a Taboo not to be broken. It just is not and was not done, ever. It would make the caravan mokadi (mochardi/mogati) and therefore the vardo would have to be destroyed afterwards as would have to be everything in it, and I do stress everything that was in it during the birth. It would also show that the family or clan where things like that would happen is not tatcho unless, obviously, the vardo is burned afterwards. Anyone talking such is talking complete and utter bull dust, as the Australians would say, and is probably no Rom at all; at least not one whose family has any Romanipen. And rat does not count for everything, does it now. No birth or death would be permitted to take place within the vardo.

There is a poem by Gypsy Williams, the Romani missionary in England some rather longish time ago, which goes…

“Into the tent where the Gypsy boy lay
Dying alone at the close of the day…”

…and shows how is really was and should be.

Both coming into the world and leaving this world were done, so to speak, in a small bender, often referred to as a “blister”, and never in the wagon itself nor the living space bender. So anyone saying that he or she was born in a Gypsy wagon either is very economical with the truth or he or she comes from a family that had no Romanipen whatsoever and may not even be of the tacho Rat.

As to the birthing tent I wish to quote from the book “The Haresfoot Legacy” by Frances Brown and that not because I cannot write this down myself but because the lady authors knows what she is talking about. On page 80 in the paperback edition from 1990 published by Headline in the middle of the page it reads, and I quote: “She crawled into the special childbirth tent that Jem had built – a tent that could be destroyed without much loss four weeks later when the mochardi time was past.” It is rather rare to read such accounts in books but anyone who comes from tatcho stock who have lived the life and observed the rules should know. However, what is written there in that book is tatcho in that a special tent would have been erected for the purpose of a birth and the period of seclusion of the woman and the child, as well as if a person was seriously ill and especially if a person was known to be dying. Another tent was there as well and that was the death tent, the place where, originally, the cremation would take place. It would be made from white canvass and would be burned with the deceased inside. Burials were done, I admit, and it very much depended on the family or clan. The use of the tents instead of the vardo was used, however, by all and still is (or should be).

© Veshengro, 2005


Sarishan and welcome to O NEVO DROM, the online Romani news magazine and the companion to the O NEVO DROM email newsletter. While here we, in the main, shall tackle issues in some small ways only, much will be dealt with in far greater detail in the O NEVO DROM Email newsletter. You can subscribe to this by contacting the editor of this website via the email link provided.

Latcho drom,