The other week the House of Lords allowed an Appeal by Mr William Doherty against a Possession Order granted to Birmingham City Council for his eviction from the site on which he has lived for some 20 years. The Council had stated that they wished to refurbish the site and that this would not be feasible with Mr Doherty and his family remaining there. No alternative offer of accommodation was made. In December 2004 the High Court awarded a Possession Order to the Council and did not allow Mr Doherty to defend the matter on the basis that domestic law provided no proper security of tenure for Gypsies and Travellers on local authority sites. All the Council had to do was to properly terminate the licence and then obtain a court order without having to rely on any facts or allegations. In December 2006 the Court of Appeal refused Mr Doherty’s initial Appeal but this decision has now been overturned by the House of Lords.

Firstly, the House of Lords made it clear that they found the exclusion of Gypsies and Travellers on local authority sites from the protection of the Mobile Homes Act 1983 to be incompatible with the terms of Article 8 of the European Convention (the right to respect for private and family life and home). But for the fact that the Government are on the cusp of changing the law by now including local authority Gypsy/Traveller sites within the provisions of the Mobile Homes Act, the Lords would have declared UK law inconsistent with the Convention.

Secondly, the House of Lords quashed the possession order made against Mr Doherty and have sent the matter back to the High Court for Mr Doherty to have the opportunity of presenting a defence to the possession action. This defence will involve the hearing of oral evidence and the assessment of the proportionality of the decision to seek eviction. Mr Doherty’s solicitor said: “It is hoped that the Council will now reconsider their initial decision to seek possession action against this family. The decision will have wide ramifications not only for Gypsies and Travellers on local authority sites but also for others in dire housing need.”

Mr Doherty was represented by Jan Luba QC of Garden Court Chambers in London, as his Senior Counsel, by Alex Offer of Park Court Chambers in Leeds as his Junior Counsel and by Chris Johnson of Community Law Partnership Solicitors in Birmingham as his Solicitor.


More Romanian Roma fingerprinted, but at home

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Romania now seems to be itself going down the road of fingerprinting and recording the Romani People within its own borders – those that, primarily – are its own citizens.

Apparently the reasons given are the same as in Italy, that is to say, that they claim that this is being done in the name of crime prevention. So, in the eyes of the Romanian authorities, as in those of the Italians, being Gypsy equates, automatically, with being a criminal. In Romania itself, so it would appear from reports, the very word Roma to the general population equates with thieves and worse.

To all intents and purposes we are seeing a re-run of the 1930s Nazi anti-Gypsy policies taking hold all over the European Union and surrounding countries.

Discussions on whether Yul Brunner or Elvis Presley was Gypsy or the creation of a standardized Romani Language are not going to help the besieged Gypsy People in mainland Europe one iota. Other measures must be employed there. What good is a standardized Romani Language to the Rom that are being persecuted? About as useful as you-know-what on a boar.

All I can see is a complete re-run of the 1930s as regards to Anti-Gypsy-ism, How long until countries such as Germany and Austria, as well as France, start registering and fingerprinting the Romani-Gypsy on their territories, within their borders, foreign ones and citizens alike? I hate to say this but... I am sure this is not far off.

And while all this is happening our “esteemed leaders”, like Nero while Rome burned, fiddle.

On top of that the general Gypsy world population too seems to be in a total state of apathy and even denial – it could never happen here they all seem to say and think – as far as the suffering of their Romani brethren in the various European Union member states and some outside the EU, such as the Ukraine.

Solidarity amongst the Rom seems to have gone entirely out of the window. Or was it just a figment of the imagination and it never ever really existed?

If we, the Gypsy, the Sinti and Roma, in countries not – AS YET – affected by such measures do not stand by our Romani brethren that are affected then when it comes to us there will be no one left to speak out. The Gadje will not stand up on our behalf – the majority certainly not – not even the Jews who like us ones suffered pogroms.

How long will we stand by and let it all happen with the apathy of “I am alright, my family are alright... that's all that counts”? We all can do something and we all must do something somehow somewhere.

We have only ourselves and we Gypsy everywhere must stand – even if only at a distance, for those that cannot be there – with those of our People that are being persecuted and that suffer.

Ourselves Alone!

AVA! Ame Shai!

© M Smith (Veshengro), August 2008

What are we doing?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

While there are real pogroms happening in European Union member countries, against Roma and Sinti; while in Italy the authorities have declared a national state of emergency over the Gypsy camps and have called out the Army; our esteemed “leaders” and academics are busy on Internet forums discussing as to whether Yul Brunner or Elvis Presley was or was not Gypsy.

Although the research into such persons of note who may have had or may have Romani bloodline and may even have followed the Way to some extent, is a valid one at the right time, presently is not that time.

It is certainly clear to me that there is little that we, who are not in Italy, or in Brussels, can do as regards in standing side-by-side with our Roma and Sinti brethren who are being persecuted, whether in Italy or in Hungary, or the Czech Republic, or elsewhere, or to annoy every EU official that we can lay our hands on until this madness is being stopped, we should discuss, at least, as to whether and what we may be able to do.

In addition to that there are the Romani refugees of the various groups in Kosovo in the IDP camps that are facing, soon, yet another bleak winter and something could and should be done for them. And then there are Romani children that need school exercise books and pencils, toys and clothes, and whatever else.

But, it would appear, that researching and discussing whether this or that public figure or personality, alive or dead, was or is Romani is much more important. One can but guess that this is easier than the other issues. Talk about priorities being all wrong.

It is therefore no wonder that the Romani People have so far gotten nowhere as yet as to any form of nationhood, not even a virtual one.

Forcing everyone to accept the title of “Roma” is not going to do it and nor does a standardized Romani language. This is all just something for the experts to play with.

Unity cannot be forced and no one can be coerced into any sort of unity; you do not get one on such a basis. It would be better then that those that do not see themselves as Roma, like the majority of the grassroots Sinti – no Astroturf there – and Romanichals, and other Romani, would have a confederation of their own that then might co-operate with the likes of the International Roma(ni) Union but not be a full part of it, under the false term “Roma”.

While we are all – with the exception of those that are not – Romani-Gypsy we are simply not all Roma. Which part of the word “not” do those who are constantly advocating the use the term “Roma” for all Romani-Gypsy do not understand? It is not that difficult, it it now. Then again, some seem to be educated so far beyond their capacity that they just cannot grasp the obvious. But, I digressed again.

While unity under the false title of “Roma” cannot be forced, solidarity does not and should not depend on any acceptance of the term. While, personally, like many Sinti and Romanichals, I cannot and will not accept the term “Roma” as an ascription of myself, I still feel for my Roma brethren of the Romani People. But there is not even a solidarity anywhere. Everyone is to busy discussing things that are at this moment entirely irrelevant.

Why does it seem so important to discuss, at this moment in time when there are much more pressing issues at hand for the Romani People, as to whether Yul Brunner, even though he seems to have claimed in his lifetime that he is of Gypsy descent, lives the life, or others of who it is said that they are Rom do or did?

Let those who are without sin cast the first stone.

However, let all of look at how we can help those Rom, of whatever group, that may be less fortunate than ourselves. Each and everyone of us, in their small or larger ways, I am sure, can do something.

I, for one, use this here to hopefully rattle some cages and wake some people up to what is important and what rather not at this time.

Food for thought I should hope...

© M Smith (Veshengro), August 2008

Racism and discrimination remain problems for Gypsies in Europe

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

In a recent interview with Deutsche Welle the head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma said that not enough is being done to root out the causes of prejudice in Europe. He said that many Sinti and Roma integrate by denying their ethnicity.

The sad thing is that Brother Rose is so very right when he says that “many Sinti and Roma integrate by denying their ethnicity” this is not just thus in Germany. It is the same in other countries too, even those where, theoretically, according to common beliefs, your origin does not really matter.

The fact is that the majority of Romani People that integrate into the “host” society do so by denying and concealing their ethnicity. This is not just true for those that – for a lack of a better term - “deep integrate, e.g. those that end up in high positions in places of work, in politics, in the military and the police, and in show business and sports, but other do the same.

As soon as they live in a house and integrate in that way they begin got deny their ethnicity, and this is also true in the UK and elsewhere in the English-speaking world. Again and again I encounter members of the Romanichals in the UK and when, because of their names, for instance, the question is raised as to whether they are Gypsy, whether they are Rom, they will, invariably, reply “no, we are not Gypsy – our grandparents were but we are not – we live in a house”. Whether in this case it is full denial of ethnicity or just ignorance of the fact that Gypsies, that Rom, are an ethnic groups and Race is a different question.

In Germany amongst the Sinti (and Roma) we can also find that they deny to neighbors in the places where they live that they are Sinti (or Roma) and claim to be Italian, Greek, Spanish, Turkish, and such like, and they, for that very reason give they children Mediterranean-sounding names like Angelo, Antonio, Giovanni, and such like. As I keep saying, Mario Mettbach sounds real Italian or Spanish – NOT! This denial of ethnicity starts simply already when going for an apartment as, even in Germany, there is often the attitude and I know of several Sinti who have even been told this by the municipal housing authorities, “while we must house you we do not really want any Gypsies”. So, it is not really surprising that the denial takes place but... too many also seem to lack pride in their background and roots.

The concealment of ethnicity by so many Sinti and Roma who are integrating into society to some degree is also not surprising really as most non-Gypsies only have one image in mind when the word Gypsy is mentioned and that is begging children and pickpockets and such. There is no positive image of the Sinto and Rom in the mind of the non-Gypsies in the same way as the Sinti and Roma.

Instead of being held up as an example as someone who has achieved high position without denying his roots even, senior CID officer Guenther Weiss of CID Kehl/Rhein is being called an outcast because of his job.

Even the fact that this or that actor, artist, or sports personality, such as soccer player, is Gypsy is being played down or not even mentioned. Without positive models how can our (young) people have pride to go to achieve something.

In the interview Romani Rose said, and we quote here verbatim: “At the moment we are experiencing a frightening development. The most recent events in Italy make that clear. The measures taken by Berlusconi's administration in declaring a state of emergency and other steps are a clear breach of the EU Treaty. Sinti and Roma are EU citizens. The causes of the problems lie with municipal Italian government that allows slums to arise. When a few thousand people without any chance of improving their lot in life live on the edge of the city in indescribable conditions, it naturally worries the population. But latching on to the problem and using it in an election campaign as the Lega Nord did by using minorities to make the majority of people feel afraid -- that's something I hadn't thought could still be possible in Europe.

The Italian parliamentary president has made general, racist comments aimed at Sinti and Roma. That would be unimaginable in Germany. Discrimination and racism exist here too, but abusing the difficulties facing a minority to turn people's attention from other issues is something I think has been made impossible by 60 years of dealing with our history.”

I am afraid that Brother Rose lives in “cloud cuckoo land” if he believes that it could not happen in Germany what is happening in Italy. Far from it. We already have had the firebomb attacks of some years back for which, I believe, to this very day the perpetrators have to be brought to justice and rumor has it that the police knows very well who did it. Surprise? NO!

I am also in no way surprised that the fascists parties – and shame on the for Czechoslovakia for even permitting them – and shame also on Germany for allowing the likes of the NPD and the DVU and other neo-Nazi organizations – in the Czech Republic and elsewhere are calling for the rounding up and deportation of all Gypsies “back” to India.

Germany can just as quickly also become a dangerous place for Sinti and Roma as has Italy and other countries. To think otherwise is being complacent. We must be pre-armed as regards to this and be prepared to fight it.

The Gypsies in Germany have been integrated for 600 to 700 years by now, even though some may have travelled still until recently permanently even. Some, however, have been integrated and integrating ever since those days.

Being integrated, however, often means that the Gypsy People lie about their ethnic affiliation because they think that they will be able to evade the deep set stigmatization. The same is also true in the United Kingdom as in other countries of western Europe, as well as the Americas and the Antipodeans. The evil spectre of anti-Gypsyism is everywhere, it seems.

The problem is that the pictures of anti-Gypsyism are still very much alive, even in our modern era, or suddenly more so even with Internet and all that, and the Gypsy is still being portrayed, as we know from the issues in Italy, as snatchers of children, as thieves, beggars and worse, and while we have our fair share or rogues and criminals – but which group has not – the majority of our People just want to be allowed to to live without being hounded from pillar to post.

All of this that forces the Romani people to live in anonymity even though they are involved in all aspects of life – everything from politics to sports.

It must be our goal to bring about a climate that they can talk about the minority they are a part of without fear of discrimination or reprisals in any way, shape or form. However, personally, I sometimes think that, as far as we, the Gypsy, are concerned, this will never be possible, regardless of what term we may ascribe to ourselves, whether Gypsy, Sinti, Roma, Romani, or Traveller. The non-Gypsy general public will continue to have the negative image of us, as a People, as a Race, as people of non-achievers, of thieves, beggars, and such like, unless we can present them, and our People, with positive images, such as the previous mentioned CID officer.

Anti-Gypsyism was not invcented by the German Nazis; it has always been part of the German and European psyche, it would seem. But while the Nazis did not invent anti-Gypsyism it, nonetheless, was what led to their program of annihilation of the Romani People.

Anti-Gypsyims must be fought against wherever it raises its head but that means that we must identify ourselves as Gypsy – something many will not be prepared to do.

It cannot be permitted any longer that ethnicity is mentioned as far as Gypsies are concerned whenever any kind of crime is being committed, as happened recently in Britain with the Johnson clan of burglars. The ethnicity as Gypsies was stressed again and again by the media and the police and courts. This is something that would never ever be permitted to be done in conjunction with Jews, Muslims or whatever other ethnicity. Gypsies, Romani, on the other hand, always seem to be fair game here.

Not so long ago we have had an incident where a car was stolen via a ruse of a test drive and the victim, the showroom owner, described the perpetrator as Gypsy “because he had a Gypsy accent”. Sorry, a what accent? There is no such thing as a Gypsy accent in the UK or elsewhere. We all here speak the different local dialect, or not, as the case may be. But none have a Gypsy accent as there is no such thing. However, both police and the media ran with that.

In Germany, as well as in the United States, police reports still routinely state “Gypsy” in the description in one way or the other and the police departments in many US states even issue warnings for people to beware of Gypsies in the neighborhood and such.

This in democratic countries where generalities based on ethnicity just cannot be permitted in democratic constitutional countries and states. It does, however, happen again and again, and even and especially from the side of the law and law enforcement agencies. The Interior Minister of the Third Reich, Frick, ordered that non-Aryans' race be emphasized in court sentencing and modern Germany and other countries should behave different but do they? The answer, in my experience to this is a firm NO.

Anti-Gypsyism in Europe and elsewhere is far more widespread than – despite the fact that we would have other deny this – anti-Semitism. When it comes to ant-Gypsyism a far more open form of rejection seems to be accepted and acceptable to most members of the general public. When it comes to anti-Semitism the consequences quickly become more serious, at least in countries such as Germany, and rightly so. But the Gypsy can be attacked, in all manner of forms, and persecuted and discriminated against and very few people as much as bat an eyelid.

Not so long ago discriminatory comments were made by the deputy director of the association of German detectives. In an association publication he said the Sinti and Roma felt they could "live off the fat of the affluent society" and took "persecution
during the Third Reich as legitimizing for theft and social parasitism."

While some politicians in Germany have distanced themselves from this statement, such as the premiers of Bavaria and Brandenburg, Beckstein and Platzeck, the prosecutors, however, saw it as covered by freedom of expression. Would they have been able to do that had the statement been about Jews? No, they would not. There is, in Germany, and elsewhere in the EU, one law that governs all others and there seems to be one law that governs the Gypsy and as far as that law is concerned the Gypsy remains “free as a bird” nigh on.

To this very day the attitudes of the German police of the Nazi era and before – let us face it that this did not just start at 1933 – prevail in the German police and the court system. Hardly surprising though considering that the majority that trained today's older police officers and judges were none others but those that served the Hitler dictatorship.

Everything just carried on after 1945 as it did before, at least as far as the Gypsy is concerned.

So, where does that leave us as far as the European Union and our status is concerned as a minority within the Union. It leaves us in the same position as before. Wait until they go the same way with the term “Roma” to which everyone wants us to subscribe, as they did with Gypsy in Britain. Then, suddenly, there is no more ethnic group, and in one foul swoop there is no more protection. Bingo!

Do I have a far too bleak vision of the future for the Romani-Gypsy People? I do not think so, I am afraid to say. I basically predicted that things were going the way the are going in Italy many years ago – only no one wanted to believe it then. Unless we stand up and be counted and let the world see that we are a Nation amongst nations and that we have more decent people amongst us than rogues, then, and only then, will we get somewhere.

I know that we may need unity for that but, and here comes the but, that unity cannot be under a name that not all can subscribe to, namely the term “Roma”. In addition to that the attitude of the Roma against those that are not Roma also would have to change first, the attitude that they will call an Sinto or Calo a Gadjo, a non-Gypsy.

While unity is, obviously, something that one needs to be really recognized as a People, this cannot be achieved in such a way. We cannot get anywhere under those conditions for, while some of the big chaps may be happy to play along, the majority of the grassroots would never stand for that, and rightly so.

So, how to we proceed?

In order to get unity of some sort it may be necessary to create a second pole. That is to say a body for all the non-Roma groups of Romani, a sort of Confederation, that then could, maybe, work, on an equal footing, with similar bodies of the Roma.

Dosta penaua!

AVA! Ame Shai!

© M Smith (Veshengro), August 2008


by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

No, this time I am
not talking about those that pretend to be Romani, who pretend to be Gypsy, often with the stupid idea that they have been Gypsies in a previous life, or that they are a free spirit, or simply for wanting to play Gypsy on Renaissance Fairs. Nor am I talking about those that want to be Romani for some other strange reason.

What I am talking about this time is those Romani of different groups than Roma pretending to be Roma, describing themselves as Roma, and such like for a place amongst those Gypsies that are always touted by the experts as the be all and end all of all Gypsies.

Why do Romanichals want to be Roma?

We have this phenomenon with educated Romani academics who have their origin amongst the Romanichals of Britain and more so even amongst the ordinary ones.

The obvious reason for so many ordinary Romanichals having begun, in some places, to call themselves “Roma” is due to the “work” of some of those academics, and other who appear to be educated way beyond their capacity and capability, who pedal the notion that all Romani groups are but tribes and subgroups of the Roma.

The truth is that while all Roma are Romani not all Romani are Roma and I, for one, would rather be called a Gypsy in English or a Zigeuner, Tsigan, Gitan, etc. in other vernacular languages than to be regarded as a member of the Roma.

As far as I have learned from many Rom of different groups, that is to say those from the Romanichals, from the Manush, the Sinti per se, and also those that are not Roma from Eastern Europe, they too would rather be called anything but Roma. While many of the Sinti in Germany, for instance, do not want to be called Zigeuner, again because some people have made this word, falsely, into a “bad word”, but they do not want to be called Roma. Others in other countries are quite happily using the vernacular equivalents to the English “Gypsy” rather than Roma, but those with what appears to be a hidden agenda keep pedalling the false notion, that all Romani are Roma. Dordi!

If one could now but put the finger on the reason as to why this notion is being continued to be pedalled in this way we might be a lot wiser as to this and one could then educate the People and the world at large in a much better way. Alas, however, those pedalling those lies are hardly going to tell us why they do so.

All that can be said is that while those claim different the truth is that while all Roma are Romani not all Romani are Roma. Period! Dosta!

© M Smith (Veshengro), August 2008

Towards a European Social Agenda also for Roma

Statement of the European Roma Information Office (ERIO)

The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) welcomes the “renewed” Social Agenda launched by the European Commission on July 2nd 2008, which aims at addressing the challenges of socioeconomic changes taking place in Europe. The fact that over 78 million people are living in poverty in Europe proves the urgent need of re-shaping and implementing more effective policies and legislation for eliminating social exclusion and poverty. Since its establishment, ERIO has been calling upon European institutions and national governments to undertake urgent measures to fight social exclusion faced by Roma. Here, it should be stressed a wide range of studies give account that social exclusion and poverty among Roma is much higher than within the majority society.

Nevertheless, the priorities set up in the “renewed” Social Agenda are drafted in the assumption that Europeans and people residing in Europe, are living in a society of full employment. Constraints of the globalised free markets, which lead to systemic unemployment and the social consequences of this, are not taken into consideration. Those key areas are not oriented to address the needs of people systematically excluded from the labour markets and from accessing social benefits. Furthermore, children do not belong to the labour market and can not be targeted through such policies. The needs of disadvantaged ethnic minorities, as Roma, people living in poverty and especially those living in extreme poverty, are not addressed by the Social Agenda. There is no focus on how these people can access adequate employment, self-employment and social benefits and services which come easily to others.

The European Roma Information Office believes that the new Agenda for a social Europe should be based on a human rights approach, specifically on promoting the societal framework conditions for the full exercising of socio-economic rights by all people living in Europe. The social meaning of the original Lisbon Treaty should be re-affirmed in the renewed Social Agenda.

Read more here

ERIO has also developed a Fact Sheet on the renewed Social Agenda to raise awareness among Roma communities on EU developments in the social policy field. ERIO calls upon Roma and Roma rights organisations to advocate for the implementation and improvement of the renewed Social Agenda at national level.

FACT SHEET on The Renewed European Social Agenda

Source: ERIO

Europe 2008 – A Rerun of Europe 1938!?!

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

If some Gypsy who was alive in the 1930s would happen to return to the Europe of 2008 I am sure he would be forgiven to believe he is still in 1938 with the exception that we now have computers and such.

Xenophobia and especially Anti-Gypsy-ism is now higher than it has ever been since World War II, it would appear, and as far as the Gypsy is concerned it is business as then, nigh enough.

Nowadays the problem is that with all the electronic IT infrastructure, biometrics and all that, and ID cards that can be tracked – where they are in use already – that our People have even less a chance.

The collaborators are also still the same, as we can see in the Italy of Il Duce 2, e.g. Silvio Berlusconi, such as the Red Cross.

Aside from Italy we now have a right-wing political party in the Czech Republic calling for all Gypsies in that country to be rounded up and expelled “back to” India.

What is the European Union doing? Nothing, for this is all, as far as I can see it, an overture for more to come by the European Union member states and the European Union proper as and when they get their will of becoming a “proper” federal union. The issue with making all Gypsy People and also non-Gypsy Travellers into Roma, in the same way as the term Gypsy has been abused and doctored in the United Kingdom where the ethnic status is being removed from those Romani that are sedentary now on government or private caravan site and in houses while those, of all backgrounds, that travel about at all times and call themselves Travellers, whether Irish, English, Scots, and even New Age Travellers, are termed as ethnic Gypsy. As, on the other hand, the travelling by caravan and the living along the site of the roads and such is, basically, a felony now in British laws and illegal those too will, sooner or later be forced to settle down. And, when there are no travelling “Gypsies” anymore then you no longer have an ethnic Gypsies – in law – and therefore no Rom who is being persecuted for Race can call upon racial protection. This is ethnic cleansing by another way and name.

How long until the selfsame calls that are now being heard in Czechoslovakia and Hungary for the Gypsy to be “sent back” to India will be heard in other European countries, especially of those in the European Union?

It seems that the emerging countries of the East, those who are just about coming out of the era of communism and communist dictatorship have the greatest of problems as regards to tolerance towards the Rom, and this problem seems to be greatest in the countries such as the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Romani and Bulgaria.

In addition to that, obviously, we already have the call and actions in fascist Italy of Silvio Berlusconi where currently a census is being taken of all Gypsy and all possible data, much like in the days of Hitler in Germany, are being taken.

It would appear that, despite the international calls, and how serious are they really, the trouble for the Rom is not over in Italy as yet. Rumors have it that a register of all Gypsies living in all camps is going to be taken and I am certain that that will include the Sinti then in addition to the Roma.

The plan is also, to it have been said, to level the majority of all the (illegal) Roma camps in and around the major cities.

Welcome to the Third Reich ala EU.

The question for us as the Romani People, the Gypsy, on not just an Italian or European Union level, is what are we going to do? Anti-Defamation organizations and such like will hardly help here and neither will letter writing and complaints to the Italian and other embassies or the European Union HQ.

Hence the question... so kerena? Too many sit there thinking that it is not going to affect them and their families, ever. And I am not just speaking here about those that may sit in safety of the USA, Canada or Australia. There are those in EU countries that are not part of mainland Europe of the Gypsy People that have the attitude that nothing can happen to them so they could care little. Some do care, I know. Too many, however, just say that it can never happen here so why worry and others even say that as they are born-again Christians and that Jesus will not allow that to happen to them and if al the Rom in those countries would but become Christians then they too would all be safe. I rest my case.

Again... so kerena?

Ava! Ame Shai!

© M Smith (Veshengro), August 2008

Euro MP of Roma origin basically OKs Italy's fingerprinting of Gypsies

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Hungarian MEP of Roma origin, always acclaimed to be the “first” Gypsy MEP (which she is not), Livia Jaroka, basically OKed the fingerprinting of Gypsies in Italy.

She said that this was being done with good intentions and that the fingerprinting will help Roma integration.

Now what can one say to that bar that with such people of our own in politics the Romani People do not stand a chance. Former MEP, to whom the honor falls of having been the first Romani MEP, Juan de Dios Ramirez Heredia of Spain, who is still a member of the Cortez, I understand, publicly condemned the actions of the Italian government as fascist and racist. What is it, though, with this woman?

Has she never spoken with those of our People who lived through the Holocaust or has she never read any of the accounts of those who have experienced the nazi persecution of the Gypsy? Apparently not. It was the same actions were the overture to that which in the end led to the murder of half a million to a million and a half of Gypsies in Europe.

But Blood alone, and this proves it once again, does not a Gypsy make. Being raised in the Culture and Traditions probably counts a lot more even. The proof of this is those adopted children that were and are not Gypsy by Blood and Race but but by having been adopted and raised as Rom by Rom are probably more tatcho than some that may be Rom by Blood but that being all.

While I do not know Livia Jaroka nor her upbringing she does seem to lack the feeling for all Gypsy People though, judging by her statements that have been treported in the press and elsewhere.

Maybe the fact that Livia Jaroka herself is a member of the center-right group has something to do with her take on the fascist regime of Silvio Berlusconi doing this fingerprinting and data collection for the benefit of the Roma.

Anyone got an alarm clock for this lady? She needs a wake up call for sure.

© M Smith (Veshengro), August 2008