"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik



FORTY YEARS after the lst World Romani Congress anti-Gypsy racism across Europe is at its worst. Not far from the London location of that historic gathering riot police armed with stun-guns recently stormed the barricades of the Dale Farm estate.
That violent assault failed to break up the community and a hundred families continue to cling on to the land they own. Dale Farm is being gradulaly re-established through claims for illegal property damage, fresh planning appeals and a high court case which could force Basildon District Council to provide for those made homeless by their pitiless but unsuccessful 20 million euro ethnic-cleansing operation.
The London Congress proclaimed the opening date 8 April to be Roma Nation Day.
Over past decades it has been celebrated by several thousands of event in sixty countries, including India. They have been both festive and demonstrative. Occasionally they have gone off message by adopting such titles as International Roma Day and even, in the l980s, Cigandan. Most notable include that attended by President Kostunica of Yugoslavia at the junction of the Sava and Danube, when Roma victims of the fascist genocide were
remembered. Big demonstrations have been seen over the years in Sibiu, Belgrade, Skopje, Prague and Budapest, and in German and Italian towns following forced deporations and destruction of camps.
Attempts to link up the celebrations around the world under the theme of RiverCeremonies brough about gatherings beside the Rhein, Adige, Ghaghar, Garonne, Vardar, Volga,Thames and a dozen other major rivers.
There was too the 8 April Wave of Light commencing with the lighting of a candle by the Dalai Lama, visited by Prof. Ian Hancock. Another year the Millennium of the Exodus from India was remembered when veteran of the lst Congress Juan Ramirez reminded us: “We have to fight even harder today against injustice and racism.”
Because of  the worsening situation – further murders in Hungary, relentless deportations by Germany and France, and brutal evictions in the UK, Italy and Serbia – the need for united action and protest has become ever more urgent.
There’s now increasing demand by the younger generation, and more especially by the huge numbers of those who have suffered at the hands of merciless authorities, neo-facist and vigilante groups, that the Romani movement show a more militant face in response to deliberate marginalization and repression of our communities.
Support for a co-ordinated mobilization on Roma Nation Day 2012 is growing.
Gjuner Abdula, president of the IRU parliament says he wants to see activists from all the leading organizations, including the ERTF and ERU, and smaller groups, working together to plan the biggest yet demonstrations in towns and cities across Europe and the globe.
Meanwhile, an initiative to assist in this mobilization for Roma Day 8 April 2012 is being considered by activists in London angered and motivated by the Dale Farm experience. Those who would like to link up with us can contact dale.farm@btinternet.com

One response

  1. Great post, you have our full support

    January 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

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