Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife reports from Budapest, Hungary:

“There are believed to be a quarter of a million street children in Europe, although officials cautioned that figure may be higher because as many as 1.5 millions young gypsies, also known as Roma, are ‘unregistered.’”

These children have no voice to speak up for them, no defenses, no food. They are the unprotected targets of crimes and vices of the most debasing kind. Many come from Romania, a country where Roma were traded as slaves for 550 years, and where under Ceausescu’ s nazi-like regime, women were denied birth control, and rewarded to have children they could not afford to keep.

When they steal to survive, these victims of our society are declared criminals and undesirables. Where is the hope, the help for these martyrs of our culture.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gypsy/Roma children at the biggest crossroad in the history of their ancient culture.

Thestar.com: No hope for Roma in Czech ghetto. Rosie Dimanno writes:
“KLADNO-It is the first day of school. The children are well-scrubbed and neatly dressed. Some, the littlest and most excited, have their mothers in tow as they wait at the bus stop.

The bus pulls in. The doors fold open. The driver glares. And forbids them from boarding. ‘I don’t take gypsies.’

Moms, incensed, start to yell. Kids, confused and frightened, begin to cry. The driver, unmoved, slams shut the door and the bus rumbles off, leaving the youngsters stricken and adults seared with shame.

Many of these children have just had their introductory lesson in what it means to be Roma – reviled and excluded-in this so-civilized country.”

The above applies with slight variations to many countries of the former East-bloc States, as well as some states of Western Europe’s new so-called democracies. By contrast:

[Roma Daily News]: Roma Parents Sent to Jail in Hungary Because Their Kids Skip School.
“Two Roma parents in the village of Sajokaza have received 16-month prison sentences because two of their children stopped going to school, the Budapest daily “Nepszabadsag” reported on September ll. The paper cited a child-protection officer who said that it is unprecedented in Hungary that both parents, who have six children including an infant, have been given simultaneous prison sentences. While three of their other children regularly attend school, the two oldest children have dropped out.”

Of course those children drop out because they are put at a disadvantage from the time they set foot into a non-Roma school, they remain apart, and they often meet up with bullying by the majority kids that in turn often leads to brutal violence.

So what about Roma children right here in the U.S.?
Like every group of people, minority or majority, we educate our children for a life we deem worthwhile. For the majority, even most of the minority groups, we believe that a formal education, from school to college and beyond, will achieve this. For craftsmen and tradesmen it’s often a hands-on education to excel in whatever trade or craft their children want to pursue. For the Gypsy/Roma here in the United States it has been for the continuation of their culture, for which every Roma I have ever met has a strong love, pride and loyalty that exceeds even the loyalty to his own family. That culture has been under threat ever since they set foot into Western culture for nearly 550 years ago. Yet their culture has survived In America mostly by going into hiding as they arrived in waves since hundreds of years ago. They have since mostly educated their children at home, like many other groups who felt that public schools couldn’t meet their objectives and instill the values they feel strongly about.

Enter the age of the computer. If you can at all generalize about an ethnic group’s intelligence, I would say the Gypsies would rank high. Their quick thinking, the ability to adjust to and survive highly dangerous passages is definitely a proof of their mental capabilities. So now, the Roma took to this new tool, whereby the Roma can enter and communicate with this new digital world without letting strangers into their front door, like ducks to water. Even in Kosovo, where Roma are afraid to send their children to school for fear of them being murdered, the men found ways to get access to computers and link on in internet cafes. Imagine the impact it has on Roma over here, where there is prejudice but no persecution?

However, this new tool endangers Roma culture like nothing has ever done before. For now, there is no way to control or limit the exposure of Roma children to a culture not their own. I sense among many a great hunger for higher education, and a wish for their children to excel in this world of the written word, versus the oral culture that has been theirs for so long. So how can Roma preserve the culture they so value and love, as well as their beautiful, secretive language? Only Roma can solve this newest threat. The best we can do is help not hinder. But just as the computer has invaded their lives, so their culture has long been part of ours: through music and dreams of a freer, more independent life, unfortunately the darker side of prejudice and the need to enforce sameness as well. But there is no doubt in mind, the loss of their ancient culture would be ours as well.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Roma Community Facing Forced Eviction


This would destroy yet another community of 200 Roma people, leaving them without possessions or place to live as families. I wrote the following letter to the Mayor of Milano, Italy, with cc. to the Newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera’ in Milano, and the ‘International Herald Tribune’ in Paris.



This would destroy yet another community of 200 Roma people, leaving them without possessions or place to live as families. I wrote the following letter to the Mayor of Milano, Italy, with cc. to the Newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera’ in Milano, and the ‘International Herald Tribune’ in Paris.

Re: Eviction of Roma/Gypsies from Rubattino area

Dear Dott. Lombardi,

My name is Sonia Meyer. I grew up after World War II in a very distinguished Jewish family of highly distinguished scientists. One of my uncles (by marriage) earned a Nobel Prize in physics. I had the honor of meeting in person Italy’s greatest physicist Enrico Fermi, a poetic man in person. In the States I met many distinguished Italian Jewish refugees from Italy. All these people, despite fascism, never lost their love for the Italian people, who they felt were not their true enemies. Many of them returned to the country they loved to spend their last years of life.

I am afraid these same people would turn in their graves, if they learned what is happening to their beloved country. The Gypsy people are not strangers on European soil. They’ve lived among us for over 600 years. They are our highly artistic, maybe at times stubborn and hard to manage, European brothers and sisters. I was born in Germany and, although my family went underground during the Hitler regime and my blood is very mixed, I feel shame for whatever little German blood flows in my veins. Don’t leave that same heritage to your children.

It is not too late, stop the eviction of your fellow Europeans from the Rubattino Camp. I could personally try to get Roma leaders here in the United States to send their own people over to try and work out possible solutions. In fact Gypsies have no reason to trust non-Gypsies, their lives have had nothing but tragedy since they arrived on European soil. I believe, and I have dealt with Roma for a great part of my life, it would be best to start involving Roma to deal with Roma. It would be an effort that would show very positive results in a short time.

I am available to you if I can be of help. I realize the economic situation everywhere makes life difficult for many countries, but let’s try to solve problems in a way that makes us proud to be human.


Sonia Meyer

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


In an Editorial from The Slovac Spectator, under the title - The danger of instant solutions –it includes the following statement:

“SNS deputy chairwoman Anna Belousovova rushed to suggest that children from ‘socially inadaptable families’ [i.e. Gypsy children] should be placed in boarding schools. She said that in this way children would be given a choice about what type of life they would like to choose.”

In reality this method of ethnic cleansing, namely to deprive a child of its own cultural background in order to deny its cultural identity and hopefully live like the rest of the majority, goes back centuries. Children were brutally removed from their Gypsy parents in the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment, in order to ‘civilize’ them. Marie Therese of Austria and the leaders of many other European countries pulled Roma children from their parents and placed them with peasant families, to grow up ‘proper’. Now in present-day Europe they are forced to attend schools that discriminate against them and revile them. Not a “proper” learning environment for any child. The other method is to place them into schools for the retarted.

I have known Gypsies or Roma for most of my life. Fact is Roma love their culture, it is a beautiful culture. Roma love their children, most consider their children their biggest wealth. They bring up their children to live their traditional lives as much as possible. As intelligence goes, Roma children have plenty of it. They would not be able to survive without.

So what is the solution? According to Roma I talk to, schooling has to be a mix of traditional and academic. They need at least some Romani teachers. We have these schools for other ethnic groups in the U.S., why not have one for Roma here as well? Set an example for Europe. Morally and idealistically, this country stands for human equality. Here is another chance to prove it.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Madonna was the first major star to use her fame to open Europe’s Pandora box of ancient prejudice and racial divide. She is bravely exporting principles from our own beloved United States, where no matter how many problems we face, freedom and equality for all will always remain at the top of what we fight for. Now echoing from those Eastern European countries, 20 million voices of Europe’s persecuted to this day, and I quote:

From: “Roma Virtual Network” romale@zahav.net.il, August 29, 2009:
“Sofia, Bulgaria – Today is Michael Jackson’s birthday, and today the worldwide Roma community is pleased to launch an online tribute to their all time favorite entertainer, the King of Pop.

Michael Jackson is no longer with us, but he is fondly remembered by 20 million Gypsies. As a gesture of love and respect for their King of Pop, Roma around the world are invited to submit videos of their own best Michael Jackson song and dance performances.
‘The Roma of the world have one opinion,’ stated Vadim Kolpakov, who is currently performing in Sofia, Bulgaria, with Madonna’s worldwide Sticky and Sweet tour. ‘Madonna is our Queen of Pop, and Michael Jackson will always be our King of Pop.’”

Sometimes art will succeed, where politics and bureaucracy fail. Music of course goes straight to the heart, art to the eye, literature to the brain. We need all three of these art forms to slowly change prejudice that divides us and make the world a better, more interesting place for all of us to share.