Today is August 2nd, the day when we commemorate the 7.5 million Roma who were lost in the Sàrmudaripen, or Roma Holocaust (the usual “official” figures quoted are massively understated; the difference in the Roma population of Europe before and after the Nazi era is around 7.5M). For me it’s always an emotional time, as a number of my relatives, including my mother’s father, were lost in that period of history, and it had a profound effect on my family. So it is hardly surprising that my thoughts turn to the topic of anti-Roma prejudice, and the fact that, far from having gone away in the 73 years since the tragic but also heroic events of August 2nd, 1944, such hatred is once again on the increase.
I have recently been distressed to discover just how serious is the resurgence of extremist political ideology in many parts of Europe, with the Roma, as always, as the scapegoats du jour. Mere months before the 80th anniversary of the Anschluss, when the Nazi troops burst out across central Europe unleashing an unprecendented level of terror and death, we are seeing power-crazed politicians and their followers, filled with an unholy blood-lust, once again calling for our blood to be spilled and/or for Europe to be “cleansed” of our presence. Speaking as one whose of millions of Roma whose families and clans lost members during the Sàrmudaripen, this chills me to the core. An alliance of far-right politicians across Europe, most strident among them being the Conservative and VMRO parties in Bulgaria, Fidesz and Jobbik in Hungary, but including many others including members of UKIP and the Conservatives in Britain, and of course the Front National in France, are openly calling for mass roundups and deportation of all Europe’s Roma to India. Some individual politicians, such as MEP Angel Džambazki in Bulgaria, have gone even further and have called publicly for another genocide against us: a campaign is currently underway to have Džambazki sanctioned by the EU Parliament for his advocacy of genocide.
I have recently been engaged in a war of words on social media with some of the supporters of these vile politicians, trying to counteract some of the evil lies and anti-Roma propaganda that they have been spewing. In this article I hope to illustrate just how toxic their attitudes and their propaganda is, by quoting some of the lies they have sought to spread about us. Initially some of them were rather shocked to discover that I can understand Bulgarian, when they thought that not using English would let them say the more extreme things. Therefore I have translated the things that were said originally in Bulgarian, and reproduced what was said in English verbatim:
“They wear traditional clothing. Their language also gives them away. Some of them also have faces that look very „Indian” which also helps.”(Well, excuse ME! So I’m not allowed to wear my traditional clothes, speak Romani and “look Indian”???)“Gas Chambers – Only Solution to gypsy problem”“What you and your people need is mass exodus back to India.? Or on the bottom of the Black Sea, it’s your choice.”“Gypsy parents support their 14 year old daughters to have sex and become pregnant so they can get bonus welfare for another kid.”“Gypsies smell like shit … and sell their babies for money”“Gypsies are the exact definition of an Untermensch. F*cking parasites.” (Whoops, showing your Nazi ideology a bit blatantly there, are you not, my friend?)“Bulgarians, you should have destroyed their f*cking subhuman neighborhood”“Deport them to India now, why do we tolerate them? Why bother to integrate them? Send away these parasites from Bulgaria!”“I know the only solution to the Gypsy problem is to exterminate them, or deport them massively. But I don’t see how is that going to happen in the near future with this current tolerant and retarded society we live in. F*ck the EU.”“Repulsive animals”“Animals have more hygiene than gypsies”“You are literally eating from waste, and rape children after you beat them to death. You support terrorism and more accurately you support ISIS and the islamic takeover in Europe.”
Naturally, I countered each of these pieces of nonsense with evidence, explained our ritual hygiene laws and how totally wrong the whole “dirty Gypsy” stereotype is, described our strict sexual morality laws (considered repressive by many gàdje, but by us merely as sound morality) – and as for that ridiculous accusation that we’re Islamist terrorists, what a thing to say to someone like me who is of the phuro pachipen and therefore basically Hindu! But naturally, such people do not permit such little details as facts and logic to get in the way of their prejudices and blood-lust, and so I was told:
“Go and be a filthy gypsy in India. Nobody likes you here. Your people are the lowest scum on earth”“Look, your people are the lowest scum on earth for a reason. 90% of Gypsies don’t have basic hygiene, and here you are talking all funny and shit.”(In other words, how dare I contradict a white person?!)“India is waiting for you. GO practice your street-shitting culture there. Scumbags!”(and then the real threats began…)“Just watch in the coming years”“We dont want to integrate gypsies, we want them to get the f*ck out of our country forever!!! We cannot live with these dirty animals. I hope a future civil war happens so i can personally get involved in massacring fucking gypsies!”“Before Europe becomes multinational, there will be world war 3 !!!! and gypsies will be wiped out, because everyone despises them.”
Naturally, I have reported all of this as antiziganist hate-speech. I made the first complaint more than a month ago. But has anything been done? What do you think? Do the people in power in gàdjikano society give a rat’s ass about us? Hah. They want us gone as much as the lunatic far-right do, they are just more subtle about their racism. Sadly, it seems to me that, far from having been laid to rest, the ghosts of Europe’s Nazi past remain very uneasy, and once again are stalking the land. Romale, phralale tha pheniale, te varterasa!
Author: Natalia Ivend, PhD in Romani language and traditions, Indo-Romani Vidyalaya, the first Roma University founded by native Roms in their European history.