Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roma families forced into metal cabins beside sewage in Romania

In central Romania over 100 Roma were forced to live in metal cabins behind sewage works after forcibly evicted from their homes, as reported by Amnesty International.

According to this report titled “Treated like waste”, which was posted on January 26 on Amnesty website, many of these included families with children. Report quotes Erszebet, who lives next to the sewage treatment plant with her husband and nine children, and who told Amnesty International what life was like in a metal cabin: “It is tight, when the whole family goes to sleep we don’t fit in. We cannot take a bath; we cannot clean ourselves. It is too small. We don’t want the older girls to take a bath in front of their father.”

Rajan Zed, well-known Hindu statesman; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a statement issued in Nevada on January 27th, 2010, said that it was shocking to see how inhumanely Romania and Europe were treating their Roma brothers-sisters who were there since about ninth century AD. It was clearly reprehensible, hazardous and immoral, and a blatant failure of Romania and Europe to meet the international obligations.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich urged the religious leaders of Romania to openly and strongly condemn this maltreatment of Roma as religions told us to raise the voice for the helpless. They stressed immediate end to forced evictions and guaranteed right to housing to Roma.

According to Amnesty, there are about 2.2 million Roma in Romania – making up about 10 per cent of the total population. As a result of widespread discrimination, both by public officials and society at large, 75 per cent of Roma live in poverty, as opposed to 24 per cent of Romanians and 20 per cent of ethnic Hungarians.

Entertainer Madonna was reportedly booed and jeered by thousands of fans in Romania in August last when she sympathized with Roma people and spoke against Roma discrimination during her concert in Bucharest.

Rajan Zed and Jonathan Freirich pointed out that alarming condition of Roma people, numbering around 15-million in Europe, was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, etc.

It was like an undeclared apartheid and it was almost total societal exclusion of Roma. The maltreatment of Roma was outside even the European Union norms. Roma issue should be one of the highest priorities of human rights agenda of Europe and world, Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan Freirich argued.

--Article Courtesy of Rajan Zed

I think the article speaks for itself. Yikes. This horrific treatment of Roma must end now. Here is a video on the matter from the Amnesty website.

And here is the report from Amnesty: click here.

And click here for a great blog called Lolo Diklo: Rroma Against Racism. Definitely check it out. It has great information, photos, and videos. All in all, very informative.

Monday, February 1, 2010

My flash fiction in Big Toe Review

The last issue of Big Toe Review is out, and my stuff is in it. Check it out here: Big Toe Review

It's too bad that it's the last issue-- it's a great publication, but it seems that the editor has been too busy and felt that it was unfair to his readers and writers that he didn't have enough time to dedicate. It is the end of an era!