Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Burning the Roma

The Roma People, whom many describe as the most discriminated against people in Europe, are literally being burned out of Italy.

The following is from Everyone.

Rome, where the Roma people continue to burn to death

Surrounded by hatred and prejudice, the Roma people continue to perish in fires. Sometimes it is their poverty that kills them, that forces them to warm themselves in the harsh winter with dangerous means: old heaters, candles, spirit stoves.

Sometimes they meet their deaths at the hands of racists. On December 26th, a young woman from the Roma ethnic group was burnt to death on the Via Ardeatina, where she was living in a makeshift shelter. The area had already been targeted for ethnic cleansing operations by the authorities and intolerant acts from neo-Nazi groups. A group of Roma from a nearby camp alerted the Carabinieri. The planks of the makeshift dwelling caught fire for reasons the authorities later defined “an accident caused by negligence”.

The authorities investigating the violent deaths of the Roma people are the same authorities that use violence against the Roma, intimidating and driving them out of their camps like the sheriffs of the Old West. The Roma die from desperation, indifference, irrational fears, and ignorance which turns to propaganda and cruelty. The fire department arrived on the scene of the fire on the Ardeatina around 10 p.m. They found the charred body of the victim lying on one of the two camp beds in the hut. The fire followed a blaze that broke out in Via Candoni, (again in Rome) on December 11th : this time the flames destroyed forty huts.

Several others fires – which were put out by the Roma themselves - have “broken out” in smaller settlements over the last month, and in the early hours of December 21st 70 huts in the Via della Martora camp were destroyed and many people received burns. It was only the courage of a young Roma man who helped many of his sisters and brothers to escape unharmed from the burning shelters that a disaster was avoided. At the same time, a blaze spread through a Roma settlement in the Montemario area. Eight huts were destroyed along with the Romas’ meagre possessions and means of survival.

“I don’t know whether it was a case of arson or whether it was an accident,” says Albert, a Romanian Roma, “what I do know is the authorities continue to spy on us, even at night, and they are continuing to destroy our poor homes and our heaters. Dumping grounds and tips have received orders not to supply Roma citizens with discarded building materials, which makes it impossible for us to build more resistant shelters with safer means of heating. In spite of the days spent rebuilding our makeshift shelters in more isolated and hidden places, it gets harder and harder to get hold of suitable materials. Living outside in this freezing weather leads to hardship and death, but trying to warm ourselves with spirit stoves and illuminate a hut made from wood and cardboard with a candle also places our lives in danger”.

This is Rome, this is today’s Italy, where it seems a modern Herod has made his appearance, hunting out the Roma families with his willing brutes. When, by a miracle, (considering the antiziganism rife in Italy) Roma citizens do manage to find employment, it then proves hard for them to find a dwelling that possesses the certificate of habitability which will allow them to obtain a residence permit.

In the meantime the Roma are constantly being expelled from Italy, the charges based on crimes such as “bothersome begging”; causing a din; resistance to authority and insulting a public official: the same crimes thought up by the National Socialists to label the Roma and Sinti people as “asocials” and therefore to be persecuted. Other causes of prefectorial expulsion decrees are the conditions of poverty and hardship they live in, and the lack of assistance they receive - a fact considered by the authorities as conclusive evidence that the Roma have to survive by committing criminal activities.

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