Racism rise at the European Parliament
Dear friends: Some days ago, we sent you a copy of the letter we wrote to the lists’ leaders of the six groups which have obtained parliamentary representation in Spain. Nevertheless, many people asked us to spread the same text in English, so that it gets to the biggest possible amount of people.
That is the reason why, we send you once again the same document, but this time in English, begging you to apologize for the mistakes we could have made.
Once the European Parliament is established and we know exactly the Chamber’s constitution, as well as the President’s, Vice-president’s and the different Parliamentary Groups representatives’ names, we will contact them to call for extreme vigilance in view of the racist attacks that our people is suffering.
Barcelona, June 9th 2009
TO THE LISTS’ LEADERS OF THE GROUPS THAT OBTAINED REPRESENTATION AT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Respected Mr. Member of Parliament:
Above all, let me manifest on behalf on the UNION ROMANI, the Gypsy Associations’ Federation, our most sincere congratulation regarding your political group’s success at the last European Parliament election. You incarnate the most genuine representation of the Spanish citizens’ (who voted you) political will and your high mission at the European Parliament should be decisive to the defense of the civic rights which inspired the creators of the European Union and which have as a fundament love and the respect to freedom –supreme value with the lack of which there cannot be democracy.
As freedom is the most outstanding emblem of the traditional Gypsy culture, we would like to share our concern with you in view of the election’s results. The experienced progress of openly racist and xenophobic parties and coalitions, omens hard times for us who have always been, throughout history, the scapegoats on which the most savage feelings, which have sometimes marked human beings’ behavior, have been vented.
There has not been need of many days to go by so as the European ministers reunited at Luxembourg manifested that us, Gypsies, who represent the most important ethnic minority at the European Union, are being threatened by the “rising of the extremist movement, as a consequence of the current economical crisis” and that “Gypsies are subjected to great pressure and to a rising discrimination, so as there are radical groups who are developing an attitude against Gypsies based on prejudices which lead to radical and unacceptable behaviors”. That statement was made by the Czech Human Rights and Minorities Minister, Michael Kocav, whose country holds, as you know, The EU’s rotating presidency.
The current prospect, Mr. Member of Parliament, cannot be more alarming: at the Czech Republic some neonazi groups act violently against Gypsies and the National Party promised via television "a final solution to the Gypsy problem". In Holland the extreme right has become the second political force throughout the Liberty Party, whose leader is Geert Wilders, and it has achieved four seats at the European Parliament. The extremists have equally achieved seats in Romania. In Hungary, the extremist nationalists from "Jobbik" did several military marches at the polling stations with racist slogans against immigrants. In Austria, the Liberty Party has actively claimed during the campaign that “West is for Christians”. It is especially alarming that, at the United Kingdom, the British National Party ―racist and xenophobic― which is leaded by Nick Griffin, has achieved, for the first time, two seats at the European Parliament.
Le me tell you, on a personal basis, that the important debates that I held at the European Parliament, while I was an MP, against the French right-wing extremist party, whose leader was Jean Marie Le Pen, or against the Italian fascists headed by the deceased Giorgio Almirante, may seem a floral games’ amusement in view of the prospect that the Strasbourg’s Parliament future composition presents us.
Consequently, respected Mr. Member of Parliament, the UNION ROMANI earnestly begs you the following:
First: to practice your leadership within your Parliamentary Group in order to avoid that, no matter the case, there are not agreements to carry on collaborative actions with Members of Parliament that defend racist, xenophobic or anti-European ideas.
Second: that on your Parliamentary Group leads an openly antiracist trend which fights against those who want to resuscitate old Nazism demons which ended up with the lives of so many innocents, not so long ago, in our old Europe.
Third: to publish your antiracist statement. We earnestly beg you that. Do it in a brave way. We, Gypsies, and our sons, will always be thankful. And the rest of the citizens as well. Because the defense of the values that represent the respect of human dignity must be the heritage of all democrats above any partisan or interested approach. Dante Alighieri asserted that “the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who displayed their neutrality in times of crisis”. We, from the UNION ROMANI, assert it in a more rough way: “don’t even give water to the racists”.
We hope, Mr. Member of Parliament, that you give our petition the importance and urgency which it requires. It is said that History does not repeat itself. We are afraid that it happens against, firstly as a parliamentary farce staged by those who do not even believe nor in Europe nor in democracy, and secondly as a bleeding tragedy of expulsions, extraditions, violence and death.
Please receive, on behalf of those who compose the UNION ROMANI, our best and most hopeful Gypsy regards.
JUAN DE DIOS RAMÍREZ-HEREDIA
President of the Unión Romaní