Hitler did not lose the war (on Anti-Gypsyism today)

By Javier Sáez.

Today August 2 is the Memorial of the Samudaripen or Porrajmos, the genocide that the Nazis perpetrated against European Roma population; 230.000 Roma were killed (probably more, but there are evidence of 230.000 Roma who perished)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porajmos

In ceremonies and manifests that we have heard these days (in the event of the Council of Europe yesterday in Strasbourg, at the ceremony held on July 30 at the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality of Spain, and in several texts and declarations) we hear the same sentence, the same idea: “We have to keep the memory alive, to prevent that this fact will never happen again.”

But, in fact, it is happening again. Hitler, in a way, did not lose the war. His anti-Roma racist hatred has won, it is perpetuated and exercised day after day in that other silent genocide suffered by Roma in many European countries.

Here and now, in 2015.

It is not a planned genocide on an industrial scale as the Nazi one, or organized by an alliance Church-State-Monarchy as the Great Raid of Gitanos (inspired by the Bishop of Oviedo Gaspar Vázquez Tablada, and executed by the Marqués de la Ensenada and King Ferdinand VI in 1749 in Spain), but it is complex network of anti-roma events and speeches that cross all societies where Roma live: school segregation in special schools, physical attacks, insults, murders, spatial segregation in ghettos, arson attacks, paramilitary neo-Nazi marches in their villages, discrimination in access to health, employment and housing, police repression, evictions and expulsions, hate speech by politicians and the media, forced sterilization of Roma women, no identity documents, etc.

The list of anti-Roma events currently happening is long, wide, and it is easy to know: it’s in the reports of the FRA, the Council of Europe, OSCE, Open Society, Amnesty International, the ERRC, the ERTF, Union Romani, FSG, on websites and social networks of Roma activists (https://valeriucnicolae.wordpress.com/  https://baxtalo.wordpress.com/  http://www.unionromani.org/  https://twitter.com/novoselskyvaler   https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/romano_liloro  http://www.romea.cz/en/ ) and many other publications. We can’t claim that we don’t have the information.

This complex web of discourses and practices that make up Romaphobia is the great tragedy of today’s Europe, the symptom of a major failure, as Europe, its Member States, have not been able to effectively combat this silent genocide that we are witnessing. Those Roma women we see begging on the streets of any European city is not a “victim of gypsy mafia”, but the symptom of an escape, from villages in which they are still being pursued. They have to escape the brutal exclusion that we see in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where I have witnessed in situ that most of the Roma are still without rights, without access to citizenship (because of the same anti-Gypsyism, not because any “cultural trait” or “inability to integrate”). Or when they are the target of attacks by neo-Nazi parties and groups such as Jobbik (Hungary) or Golden Dawn (Greece). Or when they are evicted and expelled by local and national politicians (France, Italy). Or when they live in daily situations of discrimination (Spain, UK, Sweden, Poland). Or when anti-Gypsyism is used as an electoral weapon (García Albiol case: https://www.gitanos.org/actualidad/archivo/112664.html ).

We must recognize the profound anti-Roma sentiment that is in the basis of European societies, also in Spain, and recognize it as a problem of the majority society, not trivialize it. Anything goes against Roma. From the crude joke, to denial of a service, or the stereotypical portrayal by TV series like Anclados, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Gypsy Kings or the film El rey gitano; discrimination against Roma or organized attacks remain unpunished. This problem, anti-Gypsyism must also enter the political agenda as a priority, and we should listen to the Roma associations, who are organized for many years and have their own proposals for action in denouncing and combating anti-Gypsyism. I do not see this grave matter on the political agenda of the parties or in the National Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma (there is no budget, and no concrete action; it is not enough to say in a public meeting “you are in your home “), and this lack is also a symptom.

All these acts of hostility and hatred that we have pointed lead to a kind of civil death of Roma. And the civil death of a people is also a form of genocide.

No, Hitler did not lose the war.

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