May 16, 2008
Elaine Meinel Supkis
Ethnic cleansing jumps in Italy as the fascists are put back in power. Immigrants from Africa as well as the foot-loose Roma [Gypsies] are now being attacked by mobs backed by the police. As I said in the past, if the West endorses, supports and pays for vicious ethnic cleansing in the Holy Land, this will grip our own nations in return. This must be condemned and stopped wherever it is happening. Over 50% of the Roma in Europe were killed in the Holocaust just like the Jews. Like the Jews, they are hated for being 'non-state' persons. Only the Jews now have a state which is one of the ugliest ethnic cleansing criminal states on earth.
In cruel and unusual concert, Italy's new government, its police and paramilitary carabinieri, and even its gangsters, have turned their joint might against the nation's enemy number one: the Gypsies.
Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI and a small number of left-wingers raised lonely voices in central Naples against the national hardening of hearts towards Europe's perennial outsiders. To little avail: the Pope's appeal for a spirit of welcome and acceptance was met with a hail of angry rejection in blogged comments on news websites.
But what will remain scorched in the nation's memory – as a mark of shame, or a beacon pointing the way forward, depending on how you see it – are the flaming structures of the Gypsy camp burnt in the Ponticelli district of Naples on Wednesday.
Residents of the former communist stronghold on the northern outskirts of Naples have been raising hell about the camp since Saturday, when a woman claimed a Gypsy girl had entered her flat and tried to steal her baby..
Last year, as the Jews in Israel increased their pressure on the Palestinians trapped in a complex series of ghettos, the Jewish owned media in the US began this long campaign spearheaded by the very Zionist New York Times, talking about the cruelty of 'ethnic cleansing' in Darfur. This false-front campaign to redirect attention from the coming siege of the Palestinians worked great. As the Jews in Israel gloated about putting the children of Palestine on a severe 'diet' that aped the Warsaw ghetto's starvation diet, the US press dutifully ignored this and focused with near hysteria on Darfur.
Darfur was particularly ridiculous since it is a classic tribal warfare over limited resources on the edge of a desert. It was not driven by ethnicity but rather, by lack of water resources. And of course, it was tribal since all wars in Africa are tribal. Also, the number of dead and displaced were less than the illegal and amoral Iraq invasion done by NATO powers in an attempt at 19th century-style colonialism. The other day, the seemingly helpless Darfur rebels invaded Sudan's capital and killed Sudanese citizens. This actually made the news and made hash of the pretense that the Darfur tribe was helpless and a victim. So the matter is being dropped.
Now we have a much older form of repression and ethnic cleansing, one that is nearly as old as the vicious brutality shown towards Jews in Europe: the suppression of the Roma. If one goes back in history, the same regulations and laws locking out the Roma or enslaving them are nearly identical to the laws imposed on the other stateless people, the Jews. So when Hitler took over Germany, he not only went after Jews but just as viciously went after the Roma.
I have known a number of 'gypsies' over the years. While in Europe, I spent two weeks, wandering along with some sheep and horse herders who were Roma. I knew horses but never herded sheep and wanted to learn about it. They figured out that I was serious about this and not looking for sex and let me tag along, doing some of the work. Later in life, I ran my own sheep herd until my husband became too sick and needed full time care. I love sheep. And miss them.
In America, I knew a gypsy family who did knives and metal repairs: tinkers. I was only a little girl and asked to learn about these things and the patriarch happily showed me along with his young children.
Indeed, in the hippie sixties, I lived the Roma life. And felt first-hand, the police suspicions as my gaily-painted truck with the tapestries and hangings inside would roll into small towns. I would entertain children and put on shows with other 'gypsies'. We had to worry at night about attackers and had dogs to warn us. It was fun that year. I even planted a garden on the roof of my truck and would stand up there, weeding and tending it and people would come from miles around to see this. Once, in Texas, I was stopped by the highway patrol. They wanted dearly to beat me up except when they asked me about where I came from, I said, 'I grew up on a ranch. I love horses and cattle.' Then we talked about cows until they were laughing and let me go. Whew!
But I have a good idea how life is for the Roma. Within the hippie community, many were panhandlers and petty criminals just like in the Roma community. But others were honest trades seeking new places to make money. Or entertainers. Certainly, the Roma have been a rich, rich source of culture for Europe! 50% of 'Romantic' music by the great composers like Brahms, Ravel, etc. came directly from the Roma community. I learned how to dance Flameco from a Roma who grew up mostly in Spain, for example. Through him, I met the Roma community in Jersey City. When not camping outside, they cram themselves into the slums. But if you pass a good wine around, they take out their instruments and begin to play the most delightful music.
Which is very similar to the Jewish community! The cultural richness the Jews and the Roma brought to Europe is tremendous and the payback was to be nearly annihilated in a bout of very vicious ethnic cleansing! The same is true with the US: much of our best arts for the last 200 years has sprung out of the ghettos! And still comes from there! I will say this very clearly: oppressed minorities suffering under the whips of the ruling elites always are the wellspring of all great art and culture! It is the humas, the fertilizer of all cultures. Yet they are also despised and persecuted. This is a cruel reality which suggests that the human mind is hardwired in some awful way whereby the ONLY way one can truly be creative is to be persecuted or enslaved. It is what survival does: forces open the doors to creativity. Or perhaps, the goddesses of the arts only bestow their great gifts to those in the most need?
Roma Nation Day this year will be marked by the lighting of up to a million candles
in Romani communities across sixty countries around the globe, a collective-event of growing solidarity and a message of peace in troubled times.
Torch-lit processions and candle-lighting gatherings in ancient motherland India, across Europe, in North and South America, and for the first time in countries of the Middle East, including Turkey, Iran, Jordan and Israel, promise to make this by far the biggest yet celebration of "8 April".
Already major Roma Nation Day events have the endorsement of the International Romani Union, members of the Roma National Congress, the newly-formed Association of Roma in the CIS and Baltic States, the All India Banjara Seva Sangh, the Trans-European Roma Federation and hundreds of smaller organizations and groups.
The process of nation-building, started 70 years ago, depends upon increasedutilization and expansion of the institutions created todate; chief among them Roma Nation Day, the World Romani Congress, and the flag and anthem, and our international NGOs and single-state assemblies, to be crowned soon by the establishment of the Council of Europe-sponsored European Roma Forum.
Some Roma organizers think that if they imitate the Jews, they will be 'free'. Instead, they will lose the blessings of the goddesses and end up brutal overlords. Since no one is about to allow them to flood into some place like say, Hungary or Czech to take over and wipe out or put into ghettos, the natives, I don't see them aping the Jews entirely. The fact that they are now being tempted to do this is very sad. Whatever makes them a wellspring of all the arts, dance, music, poetry, romance, will vanish just as it is rapidly vanishing from the Jewish community. The residual feeling of being persecuted keeps the Jews creating things still but it has lost its universal appeal and is increasingly ugly within. The tattered remains of the Jewish tradition of overcoming adversity via art, music and poetry is evolving into barking orders, torturing prisoners and outright stealing from the neighbors while destroying free speech.
Some of the greatest scientists of the last 200 years were Jews. This was due to the desire to see the truth and to explore the limits of the mind. Trapped in ghettos, the only freedom was that of the mind and this was honed to the highest degree. Now, the majority of efforts of the Jewish intellectual community is increasingly focused on destroying the mind. Instead, barriers to thought are being erected, censorship laws are being passed and the Jewish people desiring to rule are using the police to enforce this. And the collective mind dies. If the Roma ape this, they will cease to be a source of the arts and become just another cruel ethnic group seeking power.
Ever since the cyclone, Burma's military rulers have put an impressive effort into bringing order to the former capital Rangoon.
On almost every corner of the city there are units of soldiers in khaki uniforms: sweeping, fixing and cleaning.
The state-controlled newspapers have been full of praise for the way the government has handled the crisis.
The generals have tried to make sure that no-one is in a position to challenge their view.
Army checkpoints block all roads to the Irrawaddy Delta.
Foreign journalists have been thrown out of the country and no aid workers are allowed anywhere near the disaster area.
"It makes no sense, it feels like they [the government] want these people to die," said one aid worker, who asked not to be identified as he is waiting for the permission to go into the delta.
In the meantime, the UN says another cyclone could be on its way to Burma.
I notice the West is eager to pretend China will fail due to the earthquakes and storms that assail their nation. As China struggles with great energy and bravery to overcome all this, Burma is doing a classic 'cleansing' in the delta region. Last year, the junta ordered the tribes there to move inland where they could be controlled better. Now that a cyclone has destroyed everything, the masters are waiting like slavering dogs for the hares to come out of their holes. Burma has a very cruel government very similar to the Khmer Rouge who took over Cambodia after the US invasion. Invisible to US eyes, the entire Middle East and East Asia, like Africa or Europe, is riddled with many thousands of different tribes, varying religions and many languages. Whenever something bad happens, these pop into view in the form of ethnic cleansing surges. This case is just yet another example.
The earth is a big place. The evolutionary ecosystem of our global cultures require there be as many ethnic enclaves as possible. Each brings their own riches to the human cultural feast. All of them have their bad side. All of them go through ups and downs, sometimes more creative than other times. These forces must be treasured because there is no one road to the future. There are many small, wandering footpaths walked by bare feet. With song and dance. The poetry of dispossession defies brute strength of the rulers. The rulers leave pyramids built by slaves but the slaves leave us poetry, stories and even the Bible.