Acts of Kindness & Love
This past few days I have been feeling very sorry for myself, I have not been in good health and I have allowed myself to become quite miserable, between not feeling so good and family problems...well you all know how it can be.
The Roma people have so many problems as a race, and it can become very hard on the emotions sometimes when you hear of the hardships, poverty and misery many of our people live in.
A few days ago I posted the work of Anna Kari and the article by Nicolas Kalinin. both do such a good job.
Today I have recieved 2 emails one I told you all that I was expecting an article from Erik Shapiro, well that came today, and also an email from Ilanna Mandel, both of these people are total strangers to me, but both have shown such compassion for our people. I find myself very emotional and humbled by this most human quality that can make so much
When I was feeling down a few days ago, a friend Sergio posted saying there were still good things in the world..and yes Thank you Sergio..you were absolutely right!
I will post the emails for you all to read, and hopefully some of you can be of some help to either Ilanna or Erik
I would like to thank Ilanna And Erik for their kindness and for taking the trouble to contact me and allowing me to put their details on this blog
Nais tuke! thank you both & Shalom!
Hello from Los Angeles
Thank you for your wonderful blog. I am a writer and artist who lives in Los Angeles (although I am Canadian). I am always astounded by the fact that people in N. America know little to nothing about the Roma, their heritage, their history, or their contributions to our world by way of literature, art, music, dance and other areas of life.
I have been involved with the issue of the lead poisoned camps in Kosovo. It is a sad and disturbing story of how the Roma are so often neglected and used as scapegoats in Europe.
I am interested in meeting other artists who would like to form a network together to raise greater awareness of who the Roma are. I am not Roma myself, but rather Russian-Jewish.
hope others will contact me. I have this idea to create a huge online art auction - paintings, sculptures, photography to raise funds for the Roma in Kosovo - if it can help.
From Erik Shapiro
Stolpersteine – or “stumbling stones” – are metal plaques embedded in the pavement in front of where Nazi victims used to live. The idea began with an artist named Gunter Demnig, who placed fifty of these stones in Berlin in 1996. Since then, the number of stolpersteine has expanded significantly.
I was recently in Berlin and became quite moved by these stones and their implicit message. The stumbling is not physical; people don’t trip on the stones. But in my view, you inadvertently stumble across them on your way to somewhere, and they give reason to pause, honor, remember, and commit to be diligent about what genocidal atrocities might be happening now [like in the Darfur region of Sudan].
Most of what I knew before sitting down to write this notice about stumbling stones came from an article in ExBerliner Magazine which implies that they are only in Berlin and only for Jewish victims.
My impulse was to broaden the discourse by sponsoring stones for non-Jewish victims. For me, it is a matter of solidarity, and also to not feel so isolated. On a tangential note, the monument to the deportation in Paris is inclusive of all victims of the Nazis, and so to me a much more profound experience than those memorials devoted to only one group. Inside are inscribed quotes, such as this one:
“But the day that people will have understood who you were, they will bite the earth with sadness and remorse, they will water it with their tears, and they will build temples to you.” Vercors
I e-mailed the organization which coordinates placing the stones [email@example.com], and they replied that they would place stones for any victim of the Nazis, but needed the information to do so. They can send me a document with information on people from Berlin who were deported and murdered for being gay, but said they had no available documentation for Roma victims of the Nazis.
Then, poking around on the Internet in preparation for writing this notice . . .
http://www.flickr.com/photos/franzlife/36326850/in/set-72157594489669795/ Wikepedia also has considerable information on stolpersteine.]
. . . I learned that the discourse is already broad, and that there are some stolpersteine placed for non-Jewish victims [Roma, gay people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and political dissidents] and also many stolpersteine placed outside Berlin, and now even outside of Germany [in Austria, Netherlands, and Italy].
But that’s not a reason for me to stop. It is just all the more reason to keep going. If anyone can send me the necessary information for a Roma victim of the Nazis in Berlin [at least name and former address, also birthdate, date of deportation, place where murdered if available], I would like to start on my part by sponsoring a stolpersteine in Berlin for one Roma victim. Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will only be able to afford one stone for now, so that will be the first eligible one I receive. I urge interested readers also to write the coordination center at the e-mail address above to see about sponsoring stolpersteine yourself. The cost is about 95 Euros each.
Pesha mentioned to me that permanent addresses for Roma people might be difficult to document, because of the years of persecution that kept them moving, and asked if stolpersteine could be placed at traditional Roma stopping places [achen tan].
I said I did not know. But in my Internet poking around [the Wikepedia entry] I learned that stolpersteine were placed at a homeless shelter to honor and remember gay victims who were taken away and murdered, so there is precedent for stolpersteine at other than the permanent addresses of individuals.
According to the Wikepedia entry, Gunter Demnig had placed over 9,000 stolpersteine as of October 2006. It might be that he has documentation of where the stones were placed, and for who. His homepage is http://www.stolpersteine.com/. I don’t read or write German, but someone reading this who does might write to him, ask him about any present stolpersteine for Roma victims, and also please cheer him on for inventing and tirelessly following up on this worthwhile idea.