spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
Dear Channel 4,

I am writing to you with the hope that you will stop ruining my life. While your obsession with my ethnicity is flattering, it has become somewhat apparent to me that you might have gotten the wrong end of the stick. This is sort of awkward for me, because I don't want to be the one to break it to you, but your documentary, 'Big Fat Gypsy Weddings', is unfortunately a work of fiction. There is no need to be embarrassed, it can happen to the best of us, and thus I hope my letter will help you establish the facts, after all I'm sure you are passionate about fighting discrimination against ethnic minorities. Don't be modest now, we know you are...right?

Read the rest at the linked blog:

ex_luludi775: (pink T)
[personal profile] ex_luludi775

25/08/2009 - Hindus and Jews have asked Pope Benedict XVI to take up the cause of the Roma of the Czech Republic during his upcoming apostolic journey on September 26-28. They said that Roma were living in apartheid like conditions.

In a joint statement issued in Nevada Tuesday, Rajan Zed, an acclaimed Hindu statesman and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich a prominent American Jewish leader in Nevada and California, said that Roma people in the Czech Republic reportedly faced violent attacks, stereotyping, racism, prejudice, growing gaps between Roma and other Czechs, beatings, poor quality housing, systemic unemployment, persecution, social exclusion, segregated schooling, were refused service at restaurants, stores, discos, faced the state's refusal to offer them protection from oppression, and were even undergoing forced sterilization.

Zed and Freirich further said that it was almost sinful and morally unjustifiable for religious people to ignore the Roma people's maltreatment. The Pope, they said, being the world's largest and most influential religious leader, would be very effective in raising the issue of maltreatment of the Czech Roma during his visit.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1251145109022&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

ex_luludi775: (pink T)
[personal profile] ex_luludi775
Story user rating:

Published: Today

U.S. singer Madonna, center, performs during her concert in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. The concert is part of Madonna's Sticky and Sweet Tour. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - At first, fans politely applauded the Roma performers sharing a stage with Madonna. Then the pop star condemned widespread discrimination against Roma, or Gypsies - and the cheers gave way to jeers.

The sharp mood change that swept the crowd of 60,000, who had packed a park for Wednesday night's concert, underscores how prejudice against Gypsies remains deeply entrenched across Eastern Europe.

Despite long-standing efforts to stamp out rampant bias, human rights advocates say Roma probably suffer more humiliation and endure more discrimination than any other people group on the continent.

Sometimes, it can be deadly: In neighboring Hungary, six Roma have been killed and several wounded in a recent series of apparently racially motivated attacks targeting small countryside villages predominantly settled by Gypsies.

"There is generally widespread resentment against Gypsies in Eastern Europe. They have historically been the underdog," Radu Motoc, an official with the Soros Foundation Romania, said Thursday.

Roma, or Gypsies, are a nomadic ethnic group believed to have their roots in the Indian subcontinent. They live mostly in southern and eastern Europe, but hundreds of thousands have migrated west over the past few decades in search of jobs and better living conditions.

Romania has the largest number of Roma in the region. Some say the population could be as high as 2 million, although official data put it at 500,000.

Until the 19th century, Romanian Gypsies were slaves, and they've gotten a mixed response ever since: While discrimination is widespread, many East Europeans are enthusiastic about Gypsy music and dance, which they embrace as part of the region's cultural heritage.

That explains why the Roma musicians and a dancer who had briefly joined Madonna onstage got enthusiastic applause. And it also may explain why some in the crowd turned on Madonna when she paused during the two-hour show - a stop on her worldwide "Sticky and Sweet" tour - to touch on their plight.

"It has been brought to my attention ... that there is a lot of discrimination against Romanies and Gypsies in general in Eastern Europe," she said. "It made me feel very sad."

Thousands booed and jeered her.

A few cheered when she added: "We don't believe in discrimination ... we believe in freedom and equal rights for everyone." But she got more boos when she mentioned discrimination against homosexuals and others.

"I jeered her because it seemed false what she was telling us. What business does she have telling us these things?" said Ionut Dinu, 23.

Madonna did not react and carried on with her concert, held near the hulking palace of the late communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

Her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, said Madonna and other had told her there were cheers as well as jeers.

"Madonna has been touring with a phenomenal troupe of Roma musicians who made her aware of the discrimination toward them in several countries so she felt compelled to make a brief statement," Rosenberg said in an e-mail. "She will not be issuing a further statement."

One Roma musician said the attitude toward Gypsies is contradictory.

"Romanians watch Gypsy soap operas, they like Gypsy music and go to Gypsy concerts," said Damian Draghici, a Grammy Award-winner who has performed with James Brown and Joe Cocker.

"But there has been a wave of aggression against Roma people in Italy, Hungary and Romania, which shows me something is not OK," he told the AP in an interview. "The politicians have to do something about it. People have to be educated not to be prejudiced. All people are equal, and that is the message politicians must give."

Nearly one in two of Europe's estimated 12 million Roma claimed to have suffered an act of discrimination over the past 12 months, according to a recent report by the Vienna-based EU Fundamental Rights Agency. The group says Roma face "overt discrimination" in housing, health care and education.

Many do not have official identification, which means they cannot get social benefits, are undereducated and struggle to find decent jobs.

Roma children are more likely to drop out of school than their peers from other ethnic groups. Many Romanians label Gypsies as thieves, and many are outraged by those who beg or commit petty crimes in Western Europe, believing they spoil Romania's image abroad.

In May 2007, Romanian President Traian Basescu was heard to call a Romanian journalist a "stinky Gypsy" during a conversation with his wife. Romania's anti-discrimination board criticized Basescu, who later apologized.

Human rights activists say the attacks in Hungary, which began in July 2008, may be tied to that country's economic crisis and the rising popularity of far-right vigilantes angered by a rash of petty thefts and other so-called "Gypsy crime." Last week, police arrested four suspects in a nightclub in the eastern city of Debrecen.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia also have been criticized for widespread bias against Roma.

Madonna's outrage touched a nerve in Romania, but it seems doubtful it will change anything, said the Soros Foundation's Motoc.

"Madonna is a pop star. She is not an expert on interethnic relations," he said.


AP Writers Alison Mutler in Bucharest, William J. Kole in Vienna and Nekesa Mumbi Moody in New York contributed to this report.

ex_luludi775: (pink T)
[personal profile] ex_luludi775
2009-08-06 18:36:58
Full text here

Strasbourg, 6 August 2009: In a ruling made public today, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) unanimously found that Bulgaria is in violation of the European Social Charter by failing to meet its obligations to ensure that any person who is without adequate resources has access to the social assistance provided by the state. The ruling was issued in response to a collective complaint filed by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in 2008, in cooperation with the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), regarding the 2006 and 2008 amendments of the Bulgarian Social Assistance Act (SSA) which drastically limit the time citizens are eligible for social assistance. The complaint argued that these limitations had an illegal and disproportionate impact on Roma, women and other marginalised groups.

luludi: (Romany: madmen (Romany proverb))
[personal profile] luludi
By PETER MORRISON - Associated Press

LONDON -- Northern Ireland's police chief warned Thursday that recent attacks on Romanian immigrants that forced 20 families to flee their homes are damaging the region's economy and reputation.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde criticized the gangs who hurled bricks and bottles at the homes of Romanian families in a working class Belfast neighborhood.

"These people are doing huge damage to the economy of Northern Ireland, the image of Northern Ireland, and it is, in fairness, simply unjustified," he said. "The overwhelming majority of people here are law-abiding and are welcoming to those minority communities who come here to work."

More than 100 Romanian people who were forced to flee their homes in south Belfast have been moved to a leisure centre in the city. The group of about 20 families spent Tuesday night in a church hall after a spate of racist attacks on their homes over the past week.

Sorin Ciyrar a Romanian looks out at the media through a broken window after their house was attacked in East Belfast. In recent days Romanian homes have been attacked in Belfast which has resulted in over 100 Romanians taking shelter in a church.

A Romanian woman was attacked outside her house. Vandals smashed a window in the home of a Romanian family in Northern Ireland, the latest in a series of racially motivated attacks targeting Romanian Gypsies, police said Thursday. No one was injured in the attack, but it was likely to cause further alarm after similar attacks earlier this week.

The 20 families who fled their homes earlier this week had sought refuge at a local church and have now been moved to another, undisclosed location for their own safety, police said.

Another Romanian family whose window was smashed Wednesday night remains at home with police protection.

A surge in racist violence over the past few years has coincided with the decline in Northern Ireland's traditional conflict between paramilitary groups rooted in rival Catholic and Protestant districts.

Some of the violence has been blamed on Protestant youths, who once would have vented their anger against Catholics or joined outlawed pro-British paramilitary groups. The attacks have largely taken place in south Belfast, a diverse area that is home to Queen's University, affluent neighborhoods and a working-class Protestant district known as The Village, where curbstones are painted in pro-British red white and blue.

Racial tensions are rising across Europe as migration grows and the economy worsens. Far-right parties picked up seats in several countries in elections for the European Parliament earlier this month. The whites-only British National Party, which calls for the "voluntary repatriation" of immigrants, increased its share of the vote and won its first two European seats.

Going back to Romania is not always the best solution for Gypsies, also called Roma, either.

Europe's 7 million to 9 million Roma people face widespread prejudice in Romania - where estimates of their numbers vary between 500,000 and 2 million - and other countries. Since Romania joined the EU in 2007, thousands of Roma have moved west to richer European countries, where many live in squalid camps with no access to health services, education, basic sanitary facilities or jobs.

Northern Ireland has only a tiny Romanian population - fewer than 1,000 people, according to a government estimate.

But a number of Romanian Gypsies have moved to Belfast since 2007 and have become a visible presence, selling newspapers on the city's streets.

Romanian diplomat Mihai Delcea, who met Northern Ireland politicians after the attacks, said he did not believe the entire community was in danger, and said the displaced families were being looked after by the authorities.

"We are here to build bridges between our communities and societies, not to destroy anything," said Delcea, Romania's consul-general in Britain. "They (Romanians) are safe here, I have not received a negative message from other Romanians here."

luludi: (Romany: opre roma!)
[personal profile] luludi
By Phoebe Greenwood

Just outside Montenegro's capital Podgorica, next to the city's rubbish
dump, is Konik refugee camp. A sprawl of tin-roofed huts and U.N. tents
enclosed by wire-fencing, it is home to more than 2,000 Roma refugees who
have lived here for ten years since fleeing violence in Kosovo. It is the
largest refugee camp in the Balkans. Hundreds of children live here in
inhuman conditions without enough food or water and yet almost no one
outside of Montenegro has heard of it.

Conditions in Konik are dire. Fires are a regular threat and often fatal.
Three weeks ago, a blaze caused by faulty wiring destroyed 18 wooden huts
and left 124 people without shelter. These families now live in U.N. refugee
agency (UNHCR) tents or have moved in with relatives in their already
over-crowded shacks. This time, luckily, no lives were lost.

The camp has irregular electricity and water supplies. In the summer when
temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees Celsius, there is simply not enough
water to go round. At the nearby rubbish dump, Podgorica's waste is burnt
off every day. As a result of the putrid air, lung complaints are common.

Refugees in Montenegro are not allowed to work as they have no documents so
most in the camp survive by picking food out of garbage bins in Podgorica.

"My husband died here eight years ago, I believe out of fear and sadness,"
says 56-year-old Mehria.

"You see the house I live in here - it is falling apart. Every time it
rains, water comes in through the roof and soaks everything. I feed my
children and myself by searching rubbish bins for food. This is a crisis
because no one is helping us."

Few children go to school. At Konik primary school, 270 of the 1,300
students are Roma. Save the Children, which has been working on education
projects to integrate Roma children since 2002, says keeping them in school
remains a major problem. Few will complete primary education.

"Roma children are among the most marginalised in this part of the world,"
says Jasminka Milovanovic, Save the Children's communications and advocacy

"A high drop-out rate is one of the biggest problems for various reasons -
lack of material resources, lack of motivation and a need to make some
money. These children are living in bad conditions and are not accepted at
school by pupils or teachers because of the bad hygiene."

The Roma are an ethnic minority scattered across Central and Eastern Europe,
with a large community in the Balkan states. An estimated 3.7 million Roma
live in South Eastern Europe. Across the region, they suffer high
unemployment rates, lack of education, poverty and discrimination.

The Roma community in Konik are refugees from Kosovo. Most left their homes
and land during the conflict in the 1990s when Kosovan Albanians pushed them
out, perceiving them as allies of their Serb persecutors.

Student Sebajdih Krasnici, 15, says Roma children endure daily name-calling
and bullying at school. "They don't respect us in school. They call us 'dark
skins' and 'gypsies'. They are just rude.

"Recently, a girl at school asked to borrow my pencil. I said she couldn't
as it was the only one I had. She just went mad and started calling me gypsy
and all sorts of bad words. It makes me feel horrible. They should respect
me, my brothers and my family."

For many parents in the camp, their children's health rather than their
education is the most pressing concern. "The children are hungry most of the
time, they don't have clothes or shoes to wear. How are they meant to
concentrate on learning?" says Vesib Berisa, 37, a father of five who has
lived in Konik for ten years.

"We are in a critical state. It's too much. No one helps us anymore, not the
government, the U.N., the UK or the United States. No one comes to see how
we are or how we live. Why do we have to live like this? We want to live as
other people live."

luludi: (dreamwidth: tori@dreamwidth sheep)
[personal profile] luludi
There is a community here on Dreamwidth that is focused on making 'Dreamsheep' icons. Not surprisingly, it's called [community profile] dreamsheep, where people make icons which are variations on the original sheep image.

Since I figured it's fairly rare that someone outside of Romany communities would want a Romany Flag sheep, I decided to post the one I made here in this community. Feel free to use it if you like.


May. 11th, 2009 12:02 am
aristoboule: (Default)
[personal profile] aristoboule
Not sure if anyone might be interested in this, but Ethnologue has a language family tree for Romani. I can't find it now (of course, argh), but at one time (if I remember correctly) they had some sort of appeal or initiative to record the oral traditions of people of the Balkans, especially for Rroma.
gypsy: (Default)
[personal profile] gypsy


Gypsies angry at abuse in Invercargill

'This is the worst town in New Zealand'

By EVAN HARDING - The Southland Times
ROBYN EDIE/The Southland Times
BOTTLED: Angry gypsies Helena and Andre Beissel with one of the bottles hurled into their house truck while it was parked on Invercargill's Gala St reserve at the weekend.

Exasperated gypsies said Invercargill's youths continued to be among the worst in the country when it came to hurling abuse and bottles their way.

About 60 gypsies and their families in 30 mobile homes were in the city over the Easter weekend for the annual Gypsy Fair.

They travel to towns and cities throughout the country for eight months each year, entertaining punters and selling their wares on weekends.

Gypsies spoken to by The Southland Times yesterday said Invercargill hoons had been driving past their camp beside Queens Park hurling abuse, throwing eggs and bottles at their mobile homes and tooting their car horns throughout each night of their stay.

They had also wandered into their camp and banged against their mobile homes in the early hours. A bike had also been stolen, the gipsies said.

The abuse was an annual occurrence for gypsies visiting the city, with only Palmerston North comparing, while Gore had also been bad in the past, they said.

"This is the worst town in New Zealand. We dread coming here, it's that bad," fortune teller Helena Beissel said.

Gypsy Fair field manager Gavin Mackenzie said he believed there were about "10 to 20 bloody idiots ... but everyone else is awesome down here".

"If they are not throwing eggs it's beer bottles. If you go to Gore it's dead rabbits they throw at you."

The actions of the perpetrators were condemned by people visiting the Gypsy Fair yesterday, with Vanessa Sandford saying everyone had different beliefs and lifestyles but they should still be respected.

Gypsy Fair merry-go-round owner Cam Taylor said Invercargill residents were marvellous and some abuse was to be expected when you were a gypsy.

"The reality is we aren't all drug-smoking idiots."

The gypsies said they had not contacted police.

Senior Sergeant Olaf Jensen, of Invercargill, said police could not apprehend offenders if they were not told what was happening.

He would contact the gypsies and see if police could help them, he said.