The Internet Anti-Fascist: Tue, 4 February 2003 -- 7:13 (#746)
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
WEB SITE OF INTEREST:
01) "Roma and the Question of Self-Determination: Fiction and Reality"
Princeton Project On Ethnic Relations
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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.
NEWS ON THE ROMA ("GYPSIES")
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 Koice.
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
"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
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, Spiská
Nová Ves, Koice, 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
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 Koice 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'."
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04) Gypsies' complaint passes court test
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.
NEWS ON FASCISM INTERNATIONALLY:
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
No injuries were reported in the incident and the Jewish facility suffered
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
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
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
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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.
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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 persons 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 suns
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 thats 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 historys 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 theres 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 theres 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 worlds 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 isnt racial;
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
* * * * *
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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