Global, Religion

Rome, Italy: Fingerprint all Roma. Litvinov, Czech Republic: Beat the Roma with sticks and nails.

The recent persecution of European Roma (Gypsies) is abhorrent.
The UN News Centre reports:

November 21, 2008 – Two United Nations human rights experts today expressed grave concern over the recent rise in anti-Roma sentiment and violent incidents in several European countries, calling for a stronger response from governments.
“Effective action is required to stem the growing tide of hostility, anti-Roma sentiment and violence across Europe,” UN Independent Expert on minority issues Gay McDougall said in a statement…
In the latest incident on November 17th, far-right supporters armed with stones and petrol bombs besieged a Roma community in the Czech town of Litvinov and were prevented from attacking the community only by a concerted police response.
“Extremists may feel they have license for their attacks when the message they receive from government activities in other spheres is also that the Roma are a problem,” Ms. McDougall said.
“Governments must strongly condemn such actions. Moreover they must be committed to finding ways to create safe environments for all by carefully monitoring and strengthening their own anti-racism activities, through leadership and public education, by swiftly denouncing hate speech and prosecuting the racist and violent actions of others in society.”
Both experts consider the policies and actions of numerous States have been inadequate, at best, to resolve intolerable conditions of poverty, marginalization and exclusion experienced by the Roma. Policies such as fingerprinting Roma, abuse by police, and racist statements by senior public officials contribute to creating a climate in which societal discrimination and racism are sustained and enhanced.
The experts said the growing number of incidents requires both a national and Europe-wide response. “A strong message must be sent by the European Union and acted upon by Member States. It is unacceptable for any sector of society to be vilified, threatened and attacked,” Mr. Muigai said.

Why should this should matter to Jews? The Roma people, who arrived in the Balkans from northern India in the 14th century, spread throughout the European continent thereafter and built a both mythologized and brutally persecuted diasporic civilization. Sadly, the only connections drawn between Jews and Romanies begins with klezmer music and ends in the concentration camp.
This should change. As Jewish communities rebuilt themselves after the war with the help of their kinsfolk and allies, the Roma have struggled for recognition, reparations and a better life in a post-War, post-Communist Europe. It was known among the Hasidim that the Besht learned to set broken bones from a Roma healer. Julian Tuwim, a Polish-language Jewish writer, discovered Papusza, still the most well known Romani-language poet. Unfortunately today, the Jewish people largely ignore the virulent denigration of Romani dignity, preferring to largely abandon their dedication to pursuing justice in the diverse European societies where modern Jewish intepretations of tzedek took shape.
For information please visit the European Roma Rights Centre website : ERRC
Full Story.
A Pogrom.
An Overview of Recent Events.

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