Tag Archives: Romas

Czech Bigots Attempt To Attack Romas

The presence of Romas in many European nations invariably arouses the ire of right wing fanatics and bigots who have never abandoned Nazi-style approaches to dealing with people who are different from themselves. A gathering of the neo-Nazi Czech Workers Party nearly turned into a massacre of Romas due to efforts of police. About 500 thugs gathered in the town of Litvinovfor a march when they suddenly made a turn and headed for the Roma section of the community. Mob members were armed with Molotov cocktails, machetes and pitch forks which they intended to use against innocent people but were prevented due to the presence of about 1,000 police. In the melee about 300 Roma men also were present ready to defend their community against mob violence.

The gangsters who term themselves a “worker’s party,” threw flaming bottles and attacked police who stood in their way of carrying out violence. A police spokesperson said, “we discovered weapons–sticks, guns, pitchforks, machetes and other things in the cars of extremists and also Roma people.” A growing tragedy in Europe is the rising hatred against Romas. After all, they are a minority and have some differences.

Romanian Actress And Italian Racism

Italy is in the grip of xenophobia and hatred toward Romas which now has impacted those of Romanian background who have migrated to the country. There are about 1.2 million Romanians in Italy and many believe they are being lumped in with the Roma immigrants. Rome’s right wing mayor, Gianni Alemanno, who has no love for Romas, has appointed Romano Badescu, an actress and singer to become his point person in reaching out to the Romanian population. “I hope to become a bridge between the Romanians and the mayor,” she said. Her first task is setting up a free phone service in both Italian and Romanian to assist immigrants obtain information such as residence permits.

Some Italians are furious at the appointment which they deride in no uncertain terms. “What does this bird know about what the Romanians in Italy are up to,” said one web comment while another derided the mayor by commenting, “it’s scandalous to give this job to a ‘lady’ who has no qualifications for the job.” Ms. Badescu has a degree in commerce and economics and argues she is an immigrant and understands issues faced by newcomers.

It is interesting that Ms. Badescu made clear to differentiate between Roma and Romanian immigrants. “The Romas and the Romanians are two completely different peoples. The crime reports have created this prejudice against an entire people.” Of course, in her view, the prejudice created by a few Roma criminals is unfair to Romanians, but she fails to note it is equally unfair to the overwhelming majority of Romas who have never committed a crime. Ms. Badescu sings like the bigot she is–in nuanced tones.

Shocking Anti-Roma Czech Republic Proposal!

The Czech Republic Regional Development Minmister, Jifi Cunek, has proposed an unheard of plan which would classify each and every Roma family in the nation into one of three categories. Under this idea, a government would decide who does or does not fit into a slot and proceed to decide how best that family can live in the Czech Republic. One group of Romas would be allowed to live as they presently do on ground they have displayed an ability to function without government assistance. A second group would be Roma citizens who require some form of financial and social assistance and the third group would be subject to regular supervision by social workers and moved into government owned hostels. Cunek’s adviser, Josef Balaz, said, social workers who engage with Romas “realize these people are on different levels and therefore have very different needs.”

Ivan Vesely, deputy head of the government council of the Roma community, responded by noting “to categorize Roma citizens into groups is against the Czech constitution and social laws, and it violates the ideas and message of the Velvet Revolution.” Of course, at no place in this proposal is there any reference for dividing up other people in the Czech Republic into categories. Or, is the assumption, only Romas need government supervision and planning? Are there any non-Romas who live in poverty?

Anti-Roma Hatred On Rise In European Union

The recent EU summit meeting to deal with issues related to Romas has concluded hatred is on a rise against this group. The relaxed laws in Europe which allow easy movement between countries has undoubtedly resulted in Romas moving into areas where they previously have not gone. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, Antiziganism(anti-gypsy sentiment) is spreading across Europe. The Italian government was considering fingerprinting the entire Roma population in that country but backed down after protests throughout Europe. About 5 percent of Hungary’s population is Roma. About half of Roma children between the ages of 15-19 have not yet completed an elementary school education. Lack of education and occupational skills makes it difficult for Romas to obtain good jobs in the workplace. Another problem is language issues since many have yet to obtain language fluency in the new countries they are presently living in.

The EU recognizes there is no coherent short or long term program to deal with issues of prejudice against Romas or to assist them in obtaining jobs, decent housing, and education. Most probably the need for education is paramount in launching any long term program to assist Romas.

Italy Blasted For Anti-Roma Policies!

Billionaire George Soros, speaking at the first “European Roma Summit” sharply condemned Italy’s blatant government sponsored prejudice against Romas. “Certainly, fingerprinting, racial profiling, and so on is unacceptable,” he said, “and I believe illegal, and I hope the European Court of Justice will take up the case and declare it illegal.” Mr. Soros fears if Italy gets away with its fight to destroy the rights of Romas, “this could b ecome a de facto European standard.” Earlier this week the government of Silvio Berlusconi declared a national emergency in response to an increase in crime which he blamed solely on Romas. His action has been attacked by human rights groups throughout Europe who compared the bombastic prime minister to Benito Mussolini who was dictator of Italy prior to World War II.

The summit meeting brought together a wide range of government officials as well as representatives from Roma communities. It is clear many European Union leaders dislike the actions of Berlusconi but as of yet are unable to devise an approach that will protect Roma rights in Italy. The EU is still struggling with defining which rights belong to a nation and when does a national decision impact the entire European Union?

Fascism Not That Bad Says Rome Mayor!

Gianni Alemanno, former youth leader of a neo-Fascist party, was elected mayor of Rome by running on a program of hatred toward Romas who he blamed for causing crime problems in the city. Ironically, while on a trip to Israel, he told Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere dellal Sera, that fascism really wasn’t as bad as people claim. “Fascism was a more complex phenomenon,” he said, and “many people joined up in good faith and I don’t feel like labeling them with that definition.” He admitted the racial laws under Fascism were “absolutely evil” but one should not label all Fascists as evil people.

A central problem with people like Gianni Alemanno is their failure to grasp their programs against the Romas are exactly in accord with the so-called “absolute evil” of fascism. It was the fact fascism existed that “absolutely evil” laws were passed. How can one separate the evil of fascism from the evil that emanates out of their rule?

Italy Cracks Down On Roma Population

The government of Premier Silvio Berlusconi is pursuing its plan to fingerprint each and every Roma living in Italy as part of his program to end crime. Rome’s city officials and the Red Cross began a census of the city’s Roma population, but would not participate in any fingerprinting of the people. Red Cross personnel are handling the Rome census in order to reassure Romas they are not being targeted for any police action. Rome Prefect Carlo Mosca, the government’s top security official for the city, says he is skeptical of mass fingerprinting. he assured the press Gypsies will not be fingerprinted unless thee is suspicion they may have committed a crime. “When there is suspicion of a crime… fingerprints can be taken as for any Italian.” However, other cities like Naples have been more aggressive and all Gypsies are being fingerprinted.

Among the nations of the world, Italy has long endured the legacy of its Mafia heritage which is undoubtedly alive and well not only in Sicily but in other parts of the nation. Mafia leaders live in the open and are known to local police. Will the police initiate a fingerprint campaign for all members of the Mafia?

Two Italian Girls Die, Oh Well, They Were Only Romas!

It was a summer hot day on the beaches of Naples and the four girls decided to head off for an afternoon of sun, and perhaps, earning some money from tourists or other people on the beach. They were four Roma girls ranging in age from 16 to 14 and down to eight. They walked along the beach either begging for coins according to one version or selling trinkets to another. Around 1:00 p.m. the heat got bad so they decided to walk into the water even though neither of the girls knew how to swim. At this point, the story gets murky. Police reports suggest they went further into the water until caught in currents. The two younger ones were rescued by the 16 and 14 year old drowned.

The bodies of the two girls were placed on the beach. A few people came over, glanced for a moment and returned to sunbathing, eating or talking with friends. According to the newspaper, La Reubblica, “While the lifeless bodies of the girls still on the sand, there were those who carried on sunbathing or having lunch, a few metres away.” After all, they were just some Roma girls.

Some human rights experts are raising questions, not merely about the indifference of Italians to the dead bodies, but to events as described by the police. Why did four girls who did not know how to swim go so far into the water?

This is just another story in the Italian bigotry toward those who are Romas.

Right Wing Thugs Threaten Czech Romas

The prejudice facing Romas in the Czech Republic was highlighted by recent events in the town of Karlov Vay where paramilitary members of the “National Guard” decided to station themselves outside of an elementary school in order to “protect” children from Romas who were living in a nearby dormitory. The children were promised escorts to and from school. Roma parents threatened to take their children out of school due to fear of their being hurt. A Roma student, Risa Stavansky, and his two friends were threatened by one of these “guards” who took out a switchblade. The police said they had personnel in the area and the mayor of the town said he would be “glad to hear their side” of the dispute, and by, “their,” he referred to the thugs.

No school anywhere in the world needs “guards” if the local police are doing their job. It is clear officials in this community are not doing their jobs as guardians of law and order. A mayor does not talk with thugs to “hear their side.” By the way, is he making any effort to hear the side of Roma parents?

Roma Czechs Head West To Canada

Last year marked a dramatic increase in Roma Czechs leaving their nation in order to migrate to Canada in search of a nation which respects the rights of Romas. About 367 left in 2007 in contrast to only 130 who had migrated in the previous six years. Max Berger, a Toronto lawyer who works with Roma immigrants, says “they tell me it’s because of beatings and harassments by Skinheads and Neo-Nazis.” Paul St. Clair of Toronto’s Roma Center supports that view. He learned from Roma immigrants that “seven pregnant women were beaten and kicked in the stomach by Skinheads. Four can no longer conceive.” He repeatedly heard from men of their difficulty in securing work in the Czech Republic and employers even told Romas to their faces, “we don’t hire Romas.”

The Czech Republic was among the first victims of Nazi Germany and sixty years later Czech citizens who are members of the National Guard organization march through the streets chanting “The Czech Republic is for white people.” Romas report they have encountered prejudice in Canada but unlike Czech police, the Canadian police are quick to put a halt to attacks on Romas and there are laws against spreading hate.

There is sadness witnessing a people who were subject to incredible hatred allowing hatred to flourish in their society.