24 Mar 2009
Solidarity with the Roma people!
Belarusian Roma Lawyers Group was opening monument dedicated to Roma victims of Holocaust in Uzda, not far from Minsk . On that picture you can see me and 2 other our activists. One is a veteran of Second World war. wrote Nicolas Kalinin to Green Left convenor Sarah Farrow.
'the Belarusian government must pay attention to the Roma minority and start to work. So far, Roma activists knocking on closed doors. People need to be honest, and start to respect Romani rights.' Nicolas Kalinin
In Green Left we get information from Nicolas Kalinin who works for Roma rights in Belarus.
In Belarus Roma people are persecuted, often harassed by the police, are discriminated against in education.
Belarus is part of the former Soviet Union...but racism against Roma people is found right across Europe.
I turned the Politics Show on sunday, here in the UK, to hear a Conservative politician coming out with racist statements about Roma. I am not damning all Conservatives...they are not all racists.
However right across Europe racism against Roma is seen as acceptable.
In the Holocaust, as well as the Shoah which aimed to exterminate the Jews, as well as the killing of LGBT people, Roma were also targeted.
In Britain in the 1970s you could still find notices that said 'No Blacks, Irish or Gypsies', racist statements against other minorities is unacceptable now but not for Roma....the Roma over here face more racism than any other group.
Italy is the worst example, perhaps, a far right populist government with ex(?)-fascists as part of the coalition, is whipping up hatred against Roma (Muslims are another target).
Take a look here for the Italian experience of Roma people.
In Eastern Europe far right political parties are whipping up hatred against Roma.
With recession, racism is on the rise...we need to show solidarity with Roma people and spread the word.
A human rights report notes for 2008:
Official and societal discrimination continued against the country's 40,000 to 60,000 Roma.
The Romani community continued to experience high unemployment and low levels of education. In 2005 authorities estimated the unemployment rate among Roma at 80 percent. Roma were often denied access to higher education in state-run universities.
Romani children were subject to harassment from non-Romani children and teachers. The majority of Romani youth did not finish secondary school. There was no public school in Minsk for Roma, although there were schools for Jews, Lithuanians, and Poles.1
Handy pro-Roma British blog here by the way.
Very interested to get and post Roma stuff if you want to mail me!