Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Roma Democratic Development Association
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
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.
Na Bister!~ Never Forget!~N'oubliez jamais!
It is now over 60 years, and I have frequently be come embroiled in heated argument as to how this period in history should be remembered. I know my stance is seen by many as extreme and intransient, but I make no apology for this. To place this horror as an "Historic event" that we should learn by is to my mind is the true danger. After all it could never happen today ! ..could it?
Those in Society who feel that we should never "forget", but that would should "forgive" in my eyes pose a far greater danger than the shaven headed right wing thugs, or the White clad cross burning fanatics.
I do not aim my lack of forgiveness at the German people, it is aimed at all people, at mankind as a whole. The Holocaust was not an example of the German people of the day against the Roma or the Jews or the Gays or the handicapped. It was an example of mans inhumanity to his fellow man. A need to dominate a need for supremacy, and sadly a trait that lies deep within the "blueprint", and a trait that may never be evolved away.
Forgiveness is the sure and certain path to acceptance..oh we may not accept as such..but we accept it happened "historically"..and we don't learn/understand the Genocide of the 2nd World was was only one of many both before ;
The Armenian Holocaust, Stalins policies in Ukrain,the Spanish policy of forced labour of the native peoples throughout the Carribean,South and Central America, US Clearing operations against the Indigenous peoples of North America
Hitler took many lessons from "history" from which to perfect his own Holocaust.
Katanga, Biafra, Bangaladesh IndoChina,Paraguay, Guetemala, Indonesia, Rwanda , Bosnia..ect..ect..What was that about it could never happen today?..could it?
It has happened..it does happen ..it will happen.
How can Genocide ever be forgiven, what was taken from us we will never know. This Genocide had a devastating effect on the Roma, so many were taken from a comparably small race . How any mother can look at the picture below of children and say it is time to forgive is beyond my comprehension. Who comforted these little ones while they suffered, I can only think the older ones took on the role and comforted the younger ones, but the older ones are just children themselves. how can some mothers darling, some fathers pride and joy be brutalised in this way, and a right thinking society even feeling it a remote possibilty to even consider forgiveness?
The Roma kept very few written records the Generations gone before were remembered and kept alive in memory by word of mouth. Those murdered in the death camps were not only killed but they were obliterated from living memory ..for all time.
Mothers, fathers, Aunts Uncles Grandparents brothers and sisters, literally gone up in smoke with not a soul to mourn their passing or light a candle for them, or speak their name in rememberance.
There is an old Roma saying (curse)
" Te bisterdon tumare anava "~ "may your names be forgotton"
How those words seem to mock these days.
When we think of those poor people we must wonder who might they have been those little children, and the children that were never born. Maybe another Django Reinhardt? another Mother Teresa ? think of all the wonderful music the Roma have brought the world,
The Roma proudly say "We sing no War songs" yet when war rages all around we are all too often the innocent casulaties
Below is a picture of an unknow Roma woman at Auschwitz ..it is a picture of what "might of been"
"Loves last gift...Rememberance..."
Na Bister! ..Never Forget !
Monday, August 20, 2007
News From Belarus
Nicolas kindly sent me this article he has written and has also kindly said I may publish it, so I am doing so.
Nais Tuke Nicolas phral for sharing your thoughts with us
Modern Belarusian delusions
Belarus is country with blue lakes, small rivers, pine forests and very peaceful people. You can read a lot of information about Belarus in internet. Now local authors prepared o lot of colored books about Belarus in English and foreigners might have a lot of options to have.. But Belarus is country with modern delusions.
Majority of Belarusian’s are adherents of Russian Orthodocs church. Nowadays it’s popular to visit a church. It’s became part of culture. Can we say that Belarusian’s become more moral and spiritual? No, it’s just show visits. The Russian Orthodocs church became a part of society life. In cabinets of powerful bosses you can see Lukashenka’s portraits and icons. A “not – traditional” faith’s competing with Russian Orthodocs church. “Not – traditional” faith’s gives to believers opportunity to think about Jesus, to deliberate, to discuss. I meet with some preachers from Russian Orthodocs churches and I recognize, there was God in his speech. At the same time some “not – traditional” very week, very mercantile. It seems to me that everyone has his own God in his heart. Expansion of Russian Orthodocs church is a step forward in future moral revolution in Belarus. But it’s a big problem when we observe icons everywhere. People buy icons, crucifixes, visiting churches but in their hearts nothing changes. People confuse morals with different Christians attribute. Ok, try to imagine. Tomorrow in all cabinets on all walls someone will hang icons. How it can help to decrease crime, poverty, false, envy? I do not think so.
Now it’s popular to bear some opposition symbols. Our readers can say, its good, its can expand ideas of democracy. It’s great delusion. In the Soviet period it was popular to collect baggies with US symbols. Majority of people who bear this symbol haven’t any idea what this symbol means. It was just simply attributing of modern culture like ear ring or jeans. People didn’t thinks about contents of this symbol. Now in Belarus I observe the same situation. A lot of young people wear symbols in favor of democracy just to be modern. Everything what is forbidden is popular but at the same time we can observe depression of ideas of Belarusian revolution. Idea of Belarusian revolution lost its value. Unfortunately, it’s a fact. Due to different reasons, but it’s existing. Young people with badges in Belarusian language don’t belong to revolutionary movement. In this case it only part of culture. We can compare existing situation with period, when in the Soviet period people who bear long hair and beard was democrats. Yes it was in our history but until now it’s extremely difficult to understand how long hair influence preferences in political choice. I think no how.
Some time ago, when I arrived to Minsk for a study in law, a lot of people spoken in Belarusian language in transport. Now nobody speaks Belarusian. Now, if you are speak in the Belarusian language, people think that you are against regime. Its looks likewise like long hair interfering for a political choice. People confusing options with politics. Why? It’s due to deceptive policy of some political parties and NGO’s. In every interview, everywhere, opposition political leaders repeating, that they working in revival of Belarus. Population began to identify Belarusian culture, Belarusian language, all Belarusian with something opposed to regime. If you are talking that you are against regime and in the same time you are working in favor of Belarusian culture – in consciousness of majority people this two, absolutely different point, became totally identical. It’s not invention but its big problem. Now, young generation identifying Belarusian language, as an opposition political attributes. Very funny but international organizations community believes in it too. Some political leaders in Belarus altered idea of political strategy for a foal, indirect ways. They curing not there course of malady but only some indirect consequence. It’s too peaty, that a lot of programs for Belarus elaborated by people, who never was in Belarus, who have no idea where it is. A lot of programs for Belarus based on groundless delusion. Ok, lets imagine, tomorrow everyone will speak in Belarusian. How it will influence the political life and situation. Yes, no how.
Aspiration rooted in our heart, not in attribute of.
National minority expert
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Roma mothers appeal to world
To all democratic civilized human nations and to all government of the western countries and to all European Community.
In the name of the humanity and human solidarity, we, the Roma mothers, want to address to you this Appeal
We, Roma mothers from Kosovo, address this appeal to all the mothers all over the world. At the moment we are in the hardest times in our history since our arrival in Kosovo many centuries ago.
This tragedy swept away all our possessions gained by our hard work. Our European standard of living, our houses with modern equipment all is gone for good, swept by the robbers, fire-raisers and Albanian terrorists. The will in our faces and in the faces of our children turn to tears,while instead of warmth in our hearts now is ache, sorrow for lost place and freedom, sorrow for lost job and dignity. In just one split of a second our serene family life turned to fear and uncertainty. Our living became nomad, as we never had one like this.
We live in the camp, in tents where conditions are so bad. We have rains, floods in the tents, wet blankets and sponges on the beds where we lay with our children. With such bad conditions came diseases such as: anemies, Flu, dehydration, Bronchitis, Asthma and in the worst cases Hepatitis. Because of the fact that medical staff in the camp Stenkovac 2 is composed only of Albanians we simply can't expect proper care for us.
Also we can't expect proper special medical care in Tetovo as the most of the doctors are also Albanians and we are suffering because of them. All this results with bad conditions among us, mothers and among our children, so few days ago one of the mothers died.
In such bad conditions in the tents live 13 newborn babies, from one-day age up to two months, also 76 incline women and 196 mother still breast freezing their babies. Because of bad nourishing, low caloric food (only peppers and salt cheese) we have lot of sick women, insights, breast-feeding.
This tragedy in form of genocide and these poor conditions for living may cause the death of many children and us, the mothers. So we address this APPEAL to all the women all over the world to give their sympathy to us the mothers in camp Stenkovac 2 and to our children. We appeal to all humanitarian organisations and to all women to demonstrate and to protest, to make pressure to their governments to take us to their countries so we can feel again what we have lost, our peace, jobs, freedom, the future of our children, our peaceful and serene family life-with this, the women allover the world will express their humanity which is incorporated in their souls.
Mothers all over the world, as we are writing this appeal to you, our hands are frozen, the only light is the light of the candle which flame is swinging by the wind in our tent.
Instead the heat from the stove, our children's hearts is warmth only by our motherly love and our hopes for our better future. Mothers all over the world, please help us, help our children in this worst times in our living.
Roma Mothers from Kosovo who are in Stenkovac 2 Refugee camp in Macedonia
Ashmet Elezovski, member of board the Roma National Congress
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
It's been such a long time sine I last posted, and to those of you who have been emailing me asking about new posts ..THANK YOU xx
Life has been hectic, Poor Tom ( my son) has been in hospital again, for a long time, regular readers will know he is Autistic, and if thats not enough for him to cope with he has been diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, he's had a very tough time, but I'm pleased to say he's now doing very well on his new medication.
I "officially" celebrated my 50th Birthday on June 29th, I had the most wonderful birthday party :-). at the Tower of London watching my beloved Gitan brothers the "Gipsy Kings", as always they were fabulous. I'm afraid I had way too much to drink, and couldn't resist grabbing this Beefeater LOL, ignore the fat girl and look at the beautiful Gypsy boys playing in the background.
I took some really great pictures and you can see them if you click here http://www.gipsykings.net/tour07/lon.html
Devotees will notice that Canut was missing, which was a shame as I was looking forward to seeing him, but it was still a brilliant evening, shared with some really great people, it was particularly good to see my friend Margherite, it's ages since we last got together, Ohhhh but that girl snores!!!! :-(
And great to meet Karen Steve and little Benji, and Steves brother David. To any of those poor unfortunates sitting anywhere near me I apologise for the whooping and catawalling LOL
( If we could see ourselves when we are drunk..we may think twice!)
On a more serious note,
I will trying to catch up on matters that I think are of interest or concern, so forgive me if those on my mailing list get a bit of an avalanche !. A few things have come to my notice or been brought to my attention, and I will be including those as soon as I can.
One particular thing that I learned of only yesterday, and it was this that "kick started" me into posting again is information I received about "stolpersteine" or "Stumbling Stones" I was told about this by a gentleman called Erik Shapiro, these stones mark places (addresses) from where innocent people , Jewish, Gay ,Roma were taken from thier homes to be murdered by the Nazi's.
Erik would like to write an entry on this blog himself to explain fully, and I'm sure all of you will be very interested supportive of this wonderful project.
I have much to tell you, and much to show you by way of pictures. I am delighted that
Anna Kari, a Photojournalist has kindly agreed to allow her images to be posted on this blog, I will be including this before the weekend, I'm sure you will all love her work, Especially "Mel":-) For now I wish you all "kushti baxt" and hope your lives have been peaceful happy
Just a little "Gypsies warning" for Finbar (Rough Diamond) your mother should have slapped your legs more often , stop putting cheeky messages on my blog ! My husband Mike reads this blog..so watch it Gypsy boy LOL
Bright blessings and much love to you all