Archiv der Kategorie 'In English'

Czech politicians respond to President’s antigypsyism: He divides us so we won‘t unite against him

Some other Czech politicians have begun to respond to Czech President Miloš Zeman’s remarks about Romani people avoiding work – remarks which prompted Romani people all over Europe to post photographs of themselves at work to Facebook. „When my son Nick was born, my Romani friends came to visit all the way from Ostrava to give him a medallion of the Madonna. They call me frequently to see whether I might have a job or work for them, to ask how I am, to tell me how they are. They‘re business people. Miloš, what the hell have you ever done for them and who gave you the right to insult them like this? former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek (Civic Democratic Party – ODS) tweeted. Czech Senator Jiří Dienstbier (Czech Social Democratic Party – ČSSD) tweeted the following: „You can choke on hatred, but you can‘t eat it. Mr Zeman is playing a transparent game. He offers one group grudges against the Roma, another his grudges against journalists, and somebody else some grudges against Praguers – you can see for yourself what else he is dishing up. He divides us so we won‘t unite against him.“

Miroslav Kalousek, the chair of the TOP 09 party, called the President’s remarks „absolutely hideous and unacceptable“. „That would have been hideous even if it had been said by somebody in a fourth-class pub. When the President of the republic, who is meant to be a President for all citizens, says it, then it is hideous and unacceptable,“ he told news server iDNES.cz. Czech MP Petr Gazdík (STAN) also disagrees with Zeman’s remarks, as do Czech MP Marian Jurečka (Christian Democrats – KDU-ČSL) and Czech MP Miroslava Němcová (ODS). „A President is meant to unite people, not divide them. His remarks divide society,“ Gazdík told iDNES.cz. „As has been demonstrated, there is a big part of the Romani community here who do honest work. A politician should do his best to be a person who integrates these people in a positive way. He should do his best to make sure these people get a high-quality education and work,“ Gazdík said. „I do not like how the head of state is speaking about some of the citizens of this country. I comprehend that some people here have had bad experiences with some Romani people, but I decidedly reject tarring all of them with the same brush,“ Němcová said.

Czech MP Jiří Dolejš (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia – KSČM) tweeted statistics about Romani employment captioned as follows: „Not only is he insulting them, it’s drivel.“ Pavel Fischer, a recent Senate candidate, said of Zeman that „He is dredging up the mud from the very bottom of our society! The President of the republic has made his remarks about journalists and Romani people – the autumn season has begun. There is nothing left to do but to put on our boots and rubber gloves and get our our brushes and buckets. The 100th anniversary of the republic deserves a more elegant style.“ Zeman’s first remarks in this latest series were a nostalgic reminiscence about the communist era and insinuated that without external compulsion, Romani people do not „want to work“. After casting his own ballot in this weekend’s elections, he reiterated the false allegation that „90 %“ of Romani people are unemployed in the country while speaking to Czech Television’s Richard Samko, who is a Romani community member. Monika Mihaličková of the ROMEA organization refuted the President’s claims by demonstrating that according to official statistics, not only do 70 % of Romani people in the country work, but 80 % of the people who collect unemployment benefits are not Romani. Czech sociologist Daniel Prokop then confirmed to the media that Zeman’s claims were completely inaccurate.

Source: Romea.cz
Date: 17.10.18

Romany Woman ‚Found With Throat Slashed‘ In Ukraine

Media reports in western Ukraine’s Zakarpattya region say that a 30-year Romany woman was killed in the city of Berehove amid tensions over a series of attacks on Romany community members. The reports quote members of the local Romany community as saying that unidentified attackers slashed the woman’s throat. Ukraine’s National Police said in a statement on July 2 that a woman „with injuries to her throat“ was found on a street in Berehove and that medical personnel were unable to save her life. It did not name the victim or include any information about her ethnicity. Police said they are treating the woman’s death as a „premeditated murder“ but so far have found no evidence that it was a hate crime. „At this point“ police have found nothing to suggest a motive involving „racial or any other type of discrimination,“ the statement said. The woman’s death occurred eight days after police arrested seven people in an adjacent region of Lviv in connection with a deadly June 23 attack on a Romany camp. Police said at the time that a 24-year-old Romany man was killed in the attack in a forest near the city of Lviv, which was carried out by a group of masked men. According to police, four other people were hospitalized with knife wounds as a result of the attack — including a 10-year-old boy, two 19-year-old men, and a 30-year-old woman. That violence was the fifth attack on a Romany camp in western Ukraine in the past two months. In a joint letter to Kyiv authorities on June 14, four groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemned what they said was a growing number of attacks by radicals in Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities have „failed“ to respond to most incidents, leading to „an atmosphere of near total impunity that cannot but embolden these groups to commit more attacks,“ the groups said. The letter said that several neo-Nazi and far-right ultranationalist groups, including C14 and Right Sector, were behind at least two dozen attacks or harassment cases against Roma across Ukraine so far during 2018. The Council of Europe rights group estimates there are some 260,000 Roma in Ukraine, whose population is about 48.5 million.

Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Date: 05.07.2018

In Gedenken an Dávid Papp

Dávid war erst 24 Jahre alt, als eine Neonazi-Gruppe am 23.06.2018 eine Roma-Siedlung bei Lviv (Lemberg) stürmte und ihn dort ermordete. Andere dort anwesende Mitglieder der Roma-Minderheit wurden schwer verletzt, unter ihnen auch ein 10-jähriges Kind.

Ich lernte Dávid im Jahr 2000 kennen, als er sechs Jahre alt war. Er ging damals in den Kindergarten in Szernye, einem Dorf im Westen der Ukraine, in dem ich für ein Jahr unterrichtete. David war immer ein sehr ruhiger, lieber und zurückhaltender Junge, inzwischen junger Mann. Ich bin immer noch mit sehr vielen seiner Freunde und Familienmitglieder befreundet. Es ist schwer sie in Trauer und Schock zu sehen.

Auch ich bin geschockt und tief traurig, wenn auch nicht überrascht. Faschismus und Neonazis sind auf dem Vormarsch, nicht nur in der Ukraine. Es liegt an uns allen dagegen etwas zu tun.

Aber erstmal ist es genauso wichtig seine Familie in dieser schweren Zeit zu unterstützen. Ich werde alle hier gesammelten Spenden direkt an seine Schwester übergeben.

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Dávid was only 24 years old when a group of neo-Nazis stormed a Roma settlement outside of Lviv, wounded several, and killed him.

I‘ve known Dávid since he was six years old, he went to a kindergarten in Szernye, a village in the west of Ukraine, that I was teaching at at the time. Dávid was always a very quiet, friendly and a bit shy boy, now a young man. I‘m still friends with so many of his friends and family members, who are devastated.

I‘m so sad, even though I can‘t say that I‘m surprised. Fascism and neo-Nazis are on the rise, not only in Ukraine and it is up to us to do something against that.

But for now it is equally important to support his family in these hard times. I will give all donations to his sister directly.

Quelle/Source: gofundme
Stand/Date: 05.07.2018

Anti-Roma pogroms in Ukraine: C14 and tolerating terror

Three anti-Roma pogroms within a month mark a worrying escalation of racist violence by neo-fascist militias in Ukraine, and evidence of official collusion is a deeply sinister added element. The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has expressed its deep concern at the lax response from law enforcement agencies to racially motivated violence, which renders minorities even more vulnerable, and besmirches the image political leaders in Kyiv strive to cultivate of a tolerant, forward-looking nation.

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine called on law enforcement officers to investigate the recent attacks on Roma and tweeted the following: “No one in Ukraine should live in fear because of who they are. We urge law enforcement to investigate recent attacks on Roma. Justice and Tolerance for minority communities are key in the new Ukraine.” (mehr…)

‚A place to call our own‘: Europe’s first Roma cultural centre opens in Berlin

Groundbreaking institute to showcase and promote artistic and cultural contribution of Europe’s 12 million Roma people

As a boy facing bullying and discrimination for his Roma identity in his native Albania, Sead Kazanxhiu said he had harboured a simple dream: “To be considered equal to those around me. It was the same dream as our forefathers,” he said. “To not have to hide our identity in order to survive.”

The 30-year-old visual artist, who trained as a painter at the University of Arts in Tirana, is at the forefront of a groundbreaking institute launched in Berlin on Thursday to showcase and promote the largely invisible artistic and cultural existence of Europe’s estimated 12 million Roma people.

“We’ve been living in Europe for 600 years,” Kazanxhiu said, speaking in Romanes. “Now for the first time we have a place we can call our own and the chance to present the image of who we are, rather than others doing it for us.” (mehr…)

In Ukraine, Jews witness historic echoes in pogroms against the Roma

Over 80 residents of Loshchynivka, Ukraine, fled their homes last month as villagers took the law into their own hands after the murder of a local child

Pogroms have returned to Ukraine, but this time the violence is not directed at the Jews. At the end of August, about 10 Roma families numbering approximately 80 people were forced to flee from the village of Loshchynivka, about 250 kilometers from Odessa, in an incident which was described in the Ukrainian media as a “Gypsy pogrom.” An amateur video captured the August 27 incident in which a crowd of men threw rocks at windows and broke doors, as police watched but did nothing. The next day, about eight homes were destroyed — the walls knocked down with tractors, one home burned, another was left without a roof. Inside, television screens were smashed, mattresses ripped, a kitchen stove was thrown on its side. “We got a phone call, they said, ‘Leave now or we will kill you.’ We didn’t have time to take our things or our documents. We just grabbed the children and ran,“ said Nikolay Churali, a Roma man who fled from his home with his wife, two children, his elderly mother and 10 relatives. “We were outside. We cried; the mosquitoes bit us. A half hour later, they started to break down the houses. I can’t describe it with words.” The family lost everything they had and is temporarily staying with “some people” in the nearby town. “We don’t know where we will go tomorrow,” Churali said. (mehr…)

Czech football club cancels screening of documentary about Romani footballers after fans threaten violence

Because of serious threats made by a group of their fans, the Bohemians Praha 1905 football club has decided to cancel tomorrow’s scheduled premiere of the film „FC Roma“. The documentary by Rozálie Kohoutová and Tomáš Bojar has been nominated for a Czech Lion award and has already won the Pavel Koutecký Prize.

„We understand the decision by the leadership of Bohemians – the safety of visitors comes first. However, it is not possible to back down when people use intimidation and threats to disagree with others or with projects that they define themselves as being against. Neither the producers of this film nor the organizations working with them will let themselves be intimidated. At this moment we are negotiating a new place and time for the premiere,“ the filmmakers posted to their Facebook page.

News server Aktuálně.cz reports that Bohemians and Sparta fans were planning to attend the film screening. „Some fans aren‘t open to the artistry of the film, just the other aspect of it. Hatred against Romani people, which the film touches on, unfortunately exists among the fans,“ Darek Jakubowicz, director of the Bohemians Praha 1905 club, told the news server.

The film familiarizes viewers with the racial issue through the eyes of a football club predominantly comprised of Romani players competing in a district championship. It will be available on general release this autumn.

Bojar said the film was screened at the Karlovy Vary festival in July and will also be shown at other festivals. Viewers in the town of Děčín, the hometown of FC Roma, were allowed to see the film prior to its premiere.

In 2014 several football clubs in the Czech Republic refused to play with the FC Roma club, but today the team is competing normally, not just winning by forfeit. The club from Děčín has also played several matches with diplomats from various embassies to the Czech Republic and played against the Karlovy Vary Film Festival football team this week to promote the documentary.

Source: Romea.cz
Date: 12.09.2016

US Holocaust museum condemns attack on Ukrainian Roma

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum condemned an attack on Roma villagers in southern Ukraine.

Dozens of Roma, also known as Gypsies, fled their homes in the village of Loshchynivka, after a mob of local villagers destroyed their property and set fire to at least one home on Sunday night. The mob attack came after a local man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the rape and killing of a 9-year-old girl.

While villagers believed the arrested man was Roma, Ukraine’s Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group said that he was not Roma, the New York Times reported. Tensions between non-Roma and Roma in the village already were running high before the arrest.

Hundreds of residents reportedly demanded that the Roma be expelled, according to the report. The Roma are now seeking a safe place to live.

“The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum strongly condemns these outrageous acts. It urges the government of Ukraine and local authorities to provide protections for the Roma and other threatened minorities, and to develop educational and community programs that will help build respect for cultural diversity,” the museum said in a statement.

“Between 1933 and 1945, Roma and Sinti suffered greatly as victims of the Nazis and their allies. Ultimately, between 220,000 and 500,000 died in the genocide of the Roma and Sinti peoples,” said Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield. “Sadly, the recent pogrom in Loshchynivka, Ukraine, is but one of many acts of violence and forced evictions visited upon the Roma in Europe since 1945.”

Source: JTA
Date: 31.08.2016

Czech govt to buy out pig farm on Roma Holocaust site

The Czech government said Tuesday it was in talks to buy out a pig farm built on the site of a former Nazi concentration camp where hundreds of Roma prisoners died during World War II.

Anti-racism activists in May demanded the EU halt subsidies to the farm, part of their long campaign to remove it from the sensitive location. „No other government has been so close to resolving this issue,“ Daniel Herman, culture minister in the left-wing government of Premier Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters Tuesday at the site. Herman, however, refused to reveal the sum under consideration or when to expect a final deal. Built in the 1970s in the southwestern village of Lety by the communist Czechoslovak regime, the pig farm has reaped scorn at home and abroad ever since totalitarianism was toppled in 1989, four years before Czechoslovakia split into two states. „It’s sad that communist authorities built a pig farm on a Roma Holocaust site,“ Jozef Miker, a Roma rights activist said Tuesday in Prague.
„What’s worse, is that it’s still there 27 years after communism’s demise.“ Between 1940 and 1943, Nazi Germany and its Czech collaborators imprisoned close to 1,300 Czech Roma at the camp. Alongside European Jews, the continent’s smaller Roma minority was also a target of Nazi genocide during World War II. Some 327 Roma, including 241 children, died at the camp staffed by an ethnic Czech commander and guards, while more than 500 were sent to Nazi Germany’s infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in occupied southern Poland. Of the 9,500 Czech Roma registered before World War II, fewer than 600 returned home after the Holocaust. The Czech Republic, an EU country of 10.5 million, has a Roma community estimated to number between 250,000 and 300,000. Of the roughly one million Roma who lived in Europe prior to WWII, historians believe that Nazi Germany killed over half.

Source: Yahoo News
Date: 03.08.2016

Ex-Yorkshire mayor in racism storm over anti-Muslim and ‘Romania gypsy’ tweets

A FORMER Yorkshire mayor faces being reported to the police over alleged racism and anti-Muslim comments on social media.

Councillor Heather Venter, who was mayor of Driffield in 2013 and 2014, supported controversial posts on Twitter, but denies harbouring racist views. One tweet she ‘liked’ said: “Shouldn’t employ Muslims. Nothing but trouble.” Another tweeted on April 30, read: “Sadly, looks like Romania’s Gypsy begger/pickpockets will b [sic] soon replaced by African Muslims.” She also tweeted a link to an article by a neo-Nazi website that read: “White South Africans march in London against white genocide.” The controversy comes after a website accused the councillor of racism for her Twitter activity.George McManus of the Beverley and Holderness Labour Party. said the tweets ‘liked’ by Coun Venter were “designed to cause offence”. He added: “There’s no room for remarks like these in a civilised society. I am particularly concerned that this person occupies a position of authority as a councillor and that this impacts badly on the reputation of the good people of Driffield. They are in my opinion designed to cause offence and to cause racial and religious hatred. (mehr…)