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The Internet Anti-Fascist: Tue, 4 February 2003 -- 7:13 (#746)

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  • Paul Kneisel
    __________________________________________________________________________ The Internet Anti-Fascist: Tuesday, 4 February 2003 Vol. 7, Number 13 (#746)
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2003
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      The Internet Anti-Fascist: Tuesday, 4 February 2003
      Vol. 7, Number 13 (#746)

      Web Site of Interest:
      01) Princeton Project On Ethnic Relations, ""Roma and the Question of
      Self-Determination: Fiction and Reality"
      02) UN Development Programme, "U.N. Says European Roma Face
      News On the Roma ("Gypsies")
      03) Martina Pisárová (Slovak Spectator), "Report: Roma women sterilised
      against their will," 3 Feb 03
      04) Idaho Statesman, "Gypsies’ complaint passes court test," 1 Feb 03
      News On Fascism Internationally:
      05) Lev Krichevsky (JTA), "Russian Jewish Leaders Fighting Anti-
      Semitism," 29 Jan 03
      06) Mark Russell ([Austrialian] Herald Sun), "Nazi to run for [Austrialian]
      Senate," 31 Jan 03
      07) AP, "Vandals attack Holocaust memorial in Greece," 2 Feb 03
      08) Kiilu Nyasha (San Francisco Bay View), "Color struck! New studies
      refute racism & color chauvinism," 29 Jan 03



      01) "Roma and the Question of Self-Determination: Fiction and Reality"
      Princeton Project On Ethnic Relations

      - - - - -

      02) U.N. Says European Roma Face Discrimination
      U.N. Development Programme

      A United Nations report has warned that Roma, or gypsies, in central and
      eastern Europe endure living conditions closer to those in sub-Saharan
      Africa than to Europe, BBC reports. One in six said they were constantly
      starving, while one in three Roma children failed to complete elementary
      school The report, by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), calls on five
      countries in the region to do more to tackle poverty and discrimination
      among the Roma community. The countries - Hungary, the Czech Republic,
      Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania - are all scheduled to join the European
      Union. The Roma are the biggest ethnic minority in central and eastern
      Europe, estimated at about five million people. They are also the poorest
      of the poor.


      The UNDP report says that living conditions for most Roma are closer to
      countries like Zimbabwe or Botswana. More than half of those questioned in
      the survey said they went hungry at least a few days every year. One in six
      said they were constantly starving, while one in three Roma children failed
      to complete elementary school. But, despite low levels of education and
      discrimination by employers, the report disputes the staggering rates of
      unemployment often quoted in the media. It has been reported that 20% of
      Roma were formally employed, while another 20% worked in the shadow
      economy. But in some countries, up to 70% of Roma households live on state


      As Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia prepare to join the EU next
      year, and Romania and Bulgaria in 2007, many in Europe see this
      impoverished but fast-growing population as a potential source of crime and
      illegal immigration. The report calls for free textbooks and hot meals in
      schools for Roma children, positive discrimination in local government and
      more incentives to seek jobs. The EU has already spent almost $70m to
      improve the plight of the Roma. But many of them remain unaware of any aid
      programme, distrust even their own leaders and refuse to carry national ID
      cards. It is also unclear how many Roma actually live in central and
      eastern Europe, since, according to the report, half of them routinely
      claim to be part of another ethnic group.



      03) Report: Roma women sterilised against their will
      Martina Pisárová (Slovak Spectator)
      3 Feb 03

      The EU has appealed to Slovak officials to investigate new allegations that
      Slovak Roma women are being sterilised against their will, face racial
      segregation in hospitals, and are subject to racial abuse by medical staff.

      The claims were made in a 140-page report entitled "Body and Soul", which
      was presented on January 28 in Bratislava. It was the work of the New York-
      based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the Advisory Centre for
      Civil and Human Rights (POLP), which has offices in the Czech capital
      Prague and the eastern Slovak city of Košice.

      Based on interviews with more than 230 Roma women from nearly 40 Roma
      settlements in eastern Slovakia, where the majority of Slovak Roma live,
      the report documents 110 recent cases of coerced sterilisations. The
      interviews were carried out between August and October last year, and they
      include the testimony of Roma women who say they were victims of racially
      motivated verbal and physical violence in eastern Slovak hospitals.

      Presenting their report, the authors asked the Slovak authorities to
      address the issues, saying it was particularly important now because of the
      country's expected EU entry in spring 2004 and its obligation to respect
      international agreements on reproductive rights.

      "If you are a Roma woman in Slovakia, it is highly likely that you will be
      sterilised against your will, that you will be put into maternity rooms
      segregated from white women, and that you will be slapped and be verbally
      abused by medical staff," said Barbara Bukovská from the POLP.

      The European Parliament's (EP) special envoy to Slovakia, Jan Marinus
      Wiersma, said January 28 that if Slovakia failed to properly investigate
      the cases, it could have negative consequences for the country at the EP
      session in March, when Slovakia's entry into the EU will be discussed.

      "The content of the report was very disturbing and shocking. If these
      [forced sterilisation] practices are taking place, they need to be stopped
      immediately," Wiersma said.

      Slovakia's deputy prime minister for minorities, Pál Csáky, said he has
      written a letter to responsible cabinet officials, the attorney general,
      and the Slovak police president requesting them to personally make sure
      that the allegations are investigated.

      According to the report, coerced and forced sterilisation because of racial
      prejudice is not new to Slovakia, having been perpetrated by both the Nazi
      and communist regimes in the Czechoslovak territory.

      In the post-communist era, "the fear that the Romany population will
      increase continues to be the driving force in justifying reproductive
      rights violations against Romany women," the report states.

      The authors said that despite mounting evidence that such practices were
      not abandoned as Slovakia started its transformation into a democracy, the
      Slovak cabinet has failed put an end to coerced sterilisations, or even
      condemn them.

      "The practice did not stop after the fall of communism, and now in 2003 we
      present you with a report that documents 110 recent cases. Now we want the
      Slovak government to thoroughly investigate and punish the people involved
      in these cases," said Ina Zoom from the CRR.

      Klára Orgovánová, cabinet plenipotentiary for Roma communities, told The
      Slovak Spectator that she considered the report to be a "weighty and
      important document that includes much sensitive information and allegations
      about some very serious [crimes]".

      "It is particularly shocking that, as the report states, such
      [sterilisations] are allegedly carried out on some women under 18 years of
      age," she said.

      A 1992 report by Human Rights Watch's Helsinki office said that many Roma
      women were lured into having the procedure without being fully aware of its
      irreversible consequences.

      Slovakia's estimated 500,000-strong Roma minority includes some of the
      country's poorest inhabitants. The Roma often live in segregated ghetto-
      like settlements on the outskirts of towns and villages. According to a
      recent report by the United Nations Development Program, as much as 44 per
      cent of Slovak Roma live on state support.

      In a 2001 report, the Hungarian think tank the Open Society Institute
      presented further evidence that coerced sterilisation was common practice
      in some areas of eastern Slovakia.

      The recent "Body and Soul" report includes confessions of women complaining
      of forced sterilisation and racial abuse in hospitals in Krompachy, Spišská
      Nová Ves, Košice, and Gelnica.

      The head of the Krompachy hospital, Miroslav Kraus, said, however, that the
      allegations were part of a discrediting campaign against his hospital and
      he insisted that his doctors had nothing to hide.

      "If any patients were sterilised, it was because those patients signed
      requests that the procedure was carried out," Kraus said.

      In the report, many Roma women were quoted as saying they were made to sign
      sterilisation consent documents while in great pain on operation tables.
      Some say they were already under anaesthetic and were not able to
      understand what they were signing.

      On other occasions, said Christina Zampas from the CRR, women were made to
      sign blank forms and the sterilisation was carried out along with Caesarian
      sections when Roma women gave birth to their children.

      Orgovánová insisted that she would make sure these allegations were
      investigated, including the accusations of racial segregation in hospitals
      and the racial abuse of Roma women by hospital staff.

      "In many hospitals there are segregated rooms for Roma women and the
      personnel argues that this is because Roma are not clean. Such behaviour is
      absolutely unacceptable. I will talk to the health minister and the
      education of medical staff must follow," Orgovánová said.

      A number of local NGOs have called on the government to deal with the
      discrimination that Slovak Roma face in all spheres of life, including
      employment and education as well as health care.

      Orgovánová's office was created in 1999 to specifically address these
      issues, but because of the complexity of the Roma's situation, in addition
      to the difficult economic situation in Slovakia in general, the life of
      most Roma has not improved.

      There is a widespread belief among average Slovaks that Roma choose to live
      off state benefit, and have a large number of children just to get higher
      state allowances.

      According to the "Body and Soul" report, health employees are no different
      in their attitudes towards the Roma. The report states that doctors
      sometimes deny Roma women access to their own medical records and that
      racial abuse is a frequent problem in hospitals.

      One Roma woman from Košice told the researchers: "The nurses call us cigani
      [gypsies]. When they see us pregnant they say, 'You again! How many
      children do you want? We already have enough of you'."

      - - - - -

      04) Gypsies' complaint passes court test
      Idaho Statesman
      1 Feb 03

      The Idaho Court of Appeals says two men who accuse Ameritel Inns of denying
      them Boise accommodations because they are Gypsies can maintain their
      complaint against the company. The court reversed a 4th District Court
      ruling upholding Ameritel´s motion to strike the men´s complaint.

      Robert Black and Robert Marks filed a Sept. 12, 2000, claim against
      Ameritel in federal court in Idaho, alleging the hotel refused them rooms
      because they are Gypsies. That complaint was dismissed on May 22, 2001.

      The two are residents of Washington, and the document was signed by their
      Washington attorney, who was not licensed to practice law in Idaho.

      Ameritel submitted a motion to strike it.



      05) Russian Jewish Leaders Fighting Anti-Semitism
      Lev Krichevsky (JTA)
      29 Jan 03

      MOSCOW -- Local Jewish leaders in a Russian region have appealed to
      national Jewish groups for support in their fight against what they say is
      a mounting wave of anti-Semitism.

      On Jan. 19, windows were broken at the Jewish Community Center in
      Ulyanovsk, 430 miles east of Moscow. Police arrested three individuals,
      believed to be members of a local skinhead gang, for their involvement in
      the attack.

      No injuries were reported in the incident and the Jewish facility suffered
      minimal damage.

      But local Jewish leaders fear the community has become particularly
      vulnerable as a result of its attempts to attract public attention to
      earlier cases of anti-Semitism in Ulyanovsk, which is home to several
      thousand Jews

      Last spring, a Jewish youth leader, Alexander Golynsky, was severely beaten
      by a group of extremist youths. He received serious injuries and immigrated
      to Israel upon recovery.

      A few days after the beating, the Ulyanovsk JCC was vandalized. The words
      "Kikes to Israel" were painted on the fence surrounding the building.

      Igor Dabakarov, a community leader, says the recent attack may have been a
      response to a case now being brought against a former newspaper editor
      whose newspaper had published anti-Semitic articles.

      "Of course, we cannot tell for sure but that's the way many people here see
      it," Dabakarov, chairman of the Shalom Society for Jewish Culture and
      Education, told JTA in a telephone interview from Ulyanovsk.

      Earlier this month, a local court held preliminary hearings in the trial of
      the former editor, but the case was postponed so the investigation could
      gather additional evidence.

      This week, the Jewish community called on Russian Jewish organizations to
      send a rabbi and a lawyer to the region to help the community defend its
      point when the case reopens in court.

      The case was brought against Sergei Seryubin, who is charged with inciting
      ethnic tensions in the articles he wrote last year in Pravoslavny Simbirsk,
      a local newspaper connected to the Russian Orthodox Church, Russia's
      largest religious sect.

      One of the articles accused Jews of plotting to dominate the world and said
      Judaism teaches its followers to kill Christians. In the article, Berel
      Lazar, one of Russia's two chief rabbis, was called "a Satanist."

      A board of experts assigned by prosecutors confirmed that the articles
      contained inflammatory material. But Seryubin said in a television
      interview that he had committed no crime and that he had defended his own
      faith in a "theological dispute" with Judaism.

      "They have their religion, and we have ours," he told TVS television.

      The case--a rare instance in Russia of authorities prosecuting people for
      hate speech--was opened after the Jewish community complained to officials
      last year.

      There was a slight increase in the number of cases relating to anti-
      Semitism opened in Russia last year after new legislation on extremism was
      enacted, said Alexander Brod, director of the Moscow Bureau on Human
      Rights, affiliated with the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet

      But law enforcement agencies have shown little interest in bringing such
      cases to court, Brod said.

      Jewish leaders in Ulyanovsk say the Seryubin case--even after it reopens--
      could drag on.

      Alexander Axelrod, director of the Moscow office of the Anti-Defamation
      League, said that judging by similar cases in other Russian cities, court
      hearings could last for months, or even years.

      "This case can end in a fine, a probation sentence maximum," Axelrod said.
      "From what we saw in some other instances, it could be dropped altogether
      if the court decides the editor had no intention of inciting hate."

      In Ulyanovsk, the local Russian Orthodox diocese tried to distance itself
      from anti-Semitic articles and sent a letter of apology to the Jewish
      community. The newspaper's sponsors, which include the local diocese and
      the regional administration, fired Seryubin from his editor's position
      shortly after the Jewish community complained.

      The newspaper continues to be published, but the Jewish community said that
      it has not published any anti- Semitic material since Seryubin was fired.

      Dabakarov said the Jewish community experienced a backlash after it helped
      bring charges against the editor.

      A group of Orthodox Christians and nationalists picketed the court this
      month, some shouting anti-Semitic slogans.

      And a local priest, Alexei Skala, warned in televised remarks that anti-
      Jewish violence in Ulyanovsk is possible should the editor be convicted.

      "The situation is becoming very serious," Dabakarov said. "We need some
      qualified legal support in this case, otherwise the defense will be
      successful in trying to convince the court and the public that this is the
      case of the Jewish community and law enforcement organs against the
      Orthodox Christianity."

      - - - - -

      06) Nazi to run for [Austrialian] Senate
      Mark Russell ([Austrialian] Herald Sun)
      31 Jan 03

      A white supremacist jailed for 12 years for race hate crimes plans to stand
      for the Senate at the next federal election.

      Neo-nazi Jack van Tongeren said yesterday he believed his chances of being
      elected were getting better and better.

      "The issues we raise will never go away," Mr van Tongeren said.

      "The federal election is a long way down the line and a lot can happen but
      our support will grow."

      Mr van Tongeren plans to stand for a Senate position in Western Australia
      with his new party, the Australian Nationalists Workers Union.

      His supporters have started putting up posters around Perth with slogans
      such as "Vote Jack back" and "Jack will make Aussies free and prosperous".

      West Australian Attorney-General Jim McGinty said under federal laws Mr van
      Tongeren was allowed to stand for parliament after having served his

      But under WA laws, convicted criminals were banned for life from running
      for public office.

      Mr McGinty said the Federal Government needed to toughen its laws to keep
      serious criminals out of Federal Parliament. He said the WA Government
      would be watching Mr van Tongeren closely and if any campaign tactics
      breached the criminal code, he would be charged.

      Mr van Tongeren was jailed in 1990 over a violent anti-Asian campaign,
      which included pasting "No Asians" posters around Perth and fire-bombing
      Chinese restaurants. He was convicted of 53 charges including conspiracy to
      drive Asians from the state, false pretences, breaking, entering and
      stealing, theft, arson, causing an explosion, wilful damage, attempted
      arson and assault.

      He was jailed for 18 years without parole but his sentence was
      automatically reduced by one-third under WA sentencing laws and he was
      released last September.

      - - - - -

      07) Vandals attack Holocaust memorial in Greece
      2 Feb 03

      THESSALONIKI -- Greek Jewish groups yesterday condemned a weekend
      attack by vandals on a Holocaust memorial here. Two swastikas were
      spray-painted on the monument near the center of this northern Greek city.
      David Saltiel, head of Thessaloniki's Jewish community, described the
      attack as a "saddening incident." Greece's Holocaust monument was unveiled
      in 1997 to honor Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps during World War
      II, reducing a community of 80,000 people to 5,000. The memorial had been
      vandalized several times. Saltiel renewed calls on the government to
      declare an annual day of remembrance for Greek Jews killed by the Nazis in
      World War II. "Only a historic move will discourage these modern-day
      messengers of racism," Saltiel said.



      08) Color struck! New studies refute racism & color chauvinism
      Kiilu Nyasha (San Francisco Bay View)
      29 Jan 03

      Americans, generally speaking, are among the most color-struck folks on
      earth. The slightest variation in skin tone can make the difference between
      acceptance and rejection, based on racist theories of light-skinned

      An article appearing online from BBC News (12/18/02) titled "Colour ‘no
      guide to ancestry’" noted, "Physical characteristics associated with race -
      such as skin or hair colour - do not necessarily reflect a person’s genetic

      "A group of scientists - writing in the journal ‘Proceedings of the
      National Academy of Sciences’ - have found that people who appear white may
      genetically be mainly African, while people who look black may genetically
      be European or Amerindian."

      One of the researchers, Sergio Pena, said, "There is wide agreement among
      anthropologists and human geneticists that, from a biological standpoint,
      human races do not exist. Yet races do exist as social constructs."

      The research was done in Brazil and Sao Tome, a former Portuguese colony
      off the African coast. In Brazil, the population divides into three ethnic
      groups: the indigenous Amerindians, Africans and Europeans. Although these
      groups have intermarried over the centuries, Brazilians consider themselves
      either white or black. However, after testing two groups, the results
      showed the "whites" had about 33 percent Amerindian genes and 28 percent
      African as discerned from their maternal DNA, indicating European men often
      fathered children with Black and Indian women. The group classified as
      black had 48 percent non-African genes.

      Not only is our concept of race arbitrary, but it is based on a relatively
      insignificant difference between people. Skin pigment, eye shape, and hair
      type are all determined by genes. But the physical ‘’stereotypes’’ of race
      ‘’reflect superficial differences,’’ writes L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, a
      pioneer of genetic anthropology. "Genetic variation within any race is much
      greater than between races.’’

      For example, light skin color is needed in northern climates for the sun’s
      ultra-violet light to penetrate into the body and transform vitamin D into
      a usable form. This mutation may well have arisen at different times, in
      different ancestral groups, on different points along the DNA. In other
      words, ‘’white people’’ do not share a common genetic heritage; instead,
      they come from different lineages that migrated from Africa and Asia. Such
      mixing is true for every so-called race.

      ‘’All living humans go back to one common ancestor in Africa,’’ explains
      German scientist Svante Paabo. ‘’I might be closer in my DNA to an African
      than to another European in the street …. Genetics should be the last nail
      in the coffin for racism.’’

      Cavalli-Sforza has probably spent more time trying to classify human groups
      by genetic analysis than anyone else. In his massive book, "The History and
      Geography of Human Genes," he groups people into geographic and
      evolutionary clusters. But, he writes, "at no level can clusters be
      identified with races." Indeed, ‘’minor changes in the genes or methods
      used shift some populations from one cluster to the other.’’ ("What DNA
      Says About Human Ancestry - and Bigotry, Part 3, The Myth of Race," Village
      Voice, Mark Schoofs.)

      The Nazis, as everyone knows, justified the death camps on the grounds that
      Jews and Gypsies were genetically inferior - but what is less known is that
      the Nazis took their cue from eugenics legislation passed in the United
      States. Here, race is defined primarily by skin color. Since that’s a
      genetic trait, the logic goes, race itself must be genetic, and there must
      be differences that are more than skin deep. But modern genetics undermines
      the whole concept that humanity is composed of ‘’races’’ - pure and static
      groups that are significantly different from one another. Genetics has
      proven otherwise by tracing human ancestry, as it is inscribed on DNA,
      demystifying "race" and solving some of human history’s most intriguing

      A few years ago, scientists at the National Institutes of Health announced
      that they had put together a draft of the entire sequence of the human
      genome, and unanimously declared that there’s only one race - the human
      race. Those traits most commonly used to distinguish one race from another
      - like skin and eye color, or width of the nose - are traits controlled by
      a relatively few number of genes, and thus have been able to change rapidly
      in response to extreme environmental pressures during the short course of
      Homo Sapiens history. Equatorial populations evolved dark skin to protect
      against ultraviolet radiation, while Northern people evolved pale skin to
      produce vitamin D from pale sunlight.

      The science of human origins can help to heal the many wounds that pseudo-
      scientists have inflicted on us, with their measurements of skulls and
      their emphasis on racial differences and racial classifications. And
      science can now get us out of it. Over time, ‘’genetics will help beat down
      racist arguments,’’ says Eric Lander, a world-renowned geneticist at M.I.T.
      ‘’But they will need to be beaten down, because they will keep coming up.’’

      We need more journalists, teachers and leaders to promote the evolutionary
      understanding of our human race so that we can ultimately bury the notion
      of superior and inferior races. Nevertheless, we must be clear that even
      though there’s only one human race, significant cultural, religious and
      political differences remain among various groups here and around the
      globe. We should learn about and appreciate our cultural/religious
      differences. As for political differences, at this point in world history,
      I think we must draw a clear line of demarcation between the majority of
      ordinary, oppressed peoples and their (our) collective enemies - the
      minority ruling classes plundering the world’s resources at our collective

      Although we know that race is a construct, racism is still a reality that
      has permeated our culture and politics for centuries, leaving in its wake
      white supremacy and deeply ingrained racist attitudes among so-called
      Whites. The dichotomy is truly Black v. White, except that it isn’t racial;
      it’s political.

      Social science dictates that the most oppressed groups in any given society
      will be in the forefront of its struggle for liberation from racist
      oppression, since they have the least to lose and the most to gain from a
      change. Moreover, they have the knowledge that derives from experience, not
      just theory.

      * * * * *

      In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
      distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior
      interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and
      educational purposes only.


      We have no ethical right to forgive, no historical right to forget.
      (No permission required for noncommercial reproduction)

      - - - - -

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