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A Slaughter of Roma ("Gypsies")
by Petar Makara (Makarov) and Jared Israel
[Note from EC: This article was written in the
summer of 1999. The layout has been improved but the
content is the same.
NATO claims it is bringing liberal democracy to Kosovo. Western citizens are comforted by a lullaby press: all is well, the Serbs are finally at bay.
Reality begs to differ: NATO troops prevent armed self-defense while the KLA and special NATO forces terrorize Kosovo.
Non-Albanians are murdered or expelled. The same for Albanians who have been loyal to their country, Yugoslavia.
While plastering every "unconfirmed report" of a mass grave as proof of New Serbian War Crimes Discovered all over Page One, newspapers give little coverage to the slaughter and expulsion of Serbs which is happening under their reporters' noses. When mentioned, attacks on Serbs are labeled revenge; this morally charged word is employed to defuse outrage. (We call this sort of thing "Lying by Suggestion.")
But the newspapers never mention the Slavic Muslims, ethnic Turks or Egyptians and the vast numbers of loyalist ethnic Albanians attacked by the KLA, driven out, beaten, killed, their homes looted, burned. They dont mention these people because a) the very existence of these people is evidence of the multi-ethnic character of the Serbian state, which is not conceived as a state of Serbs, but a union of 26 different ethnic groups (you never read *that* in the NY Times) and because b) the fact that all these non-Serbs are under attack invalidates the suggestion that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is motivated by a desire for revenge.
Are these Slavic Muslims, ethnic Turkish Muslims and ethnic Egyptian Muslims all guilty of attacking ethnic Albanian Muslims out of religious hatred? Are the loyalist ethnic Albanians, numbering one third of the Albanians in Kosovo - are they anti-Albanian racists too?
Sounds a little odd. Better not to mention that these people exist.
For the Roma it is just like World War II
And the newspapers almost never mention the murderous expulsion of the Kosovo Roma ("Gypsies"), which is taking place as you read this, more terrible by the hour. The reason they don't mention the Roma is because mentioning the Roma might remind people of a very ugly seven-letter word.
When the Italian and German Fascists took over Kosovo and merged it with Albania during W.W. II (from whence comes the KLA's longing for a "greater Albania") they were extremely successful in recruiting ethnic Albanians. The Fascists' hatred for Serbs and Roma struck a chord among ethnocentric Albanians. The KLA, directly descended from these W.W. II Albanian Fascists, has a special hatred in its heart for the Roma.
Once in a while some news about the Roma does get out. When it does it is usually presented with attention to Political Hygiene: the contaminated facts are isolated and sanitized to lower the risk of contagion.
Consider today's (7/7/99) New York Times. The truth is mentioned in a shy way, on page A12. The article in question is so small it can be covered with several postage stamps. We call this "Lying by Position;" a newspaper buries the truth in a place where only the obsessive few will discover it.
The Times' title is:
"700 Gypsies reach Italy"
"Gypsies reach Italy." What does this convey? Couldn't the "700 Gypsies" be ordinary immigrants, or survivors of a shipwreck, or tourists? Or, given the word "Gypsies", mightn't readers recall the well-known tendency of the Roma to travel in caravans? Perhaps a romantic journey is described within, complete with colorful skirts and flashing black eyes, you know, something suitable for a musical comedy?
How many people will notice a tiny article on Page A12? And of those who chance upon it, how many will read past the innocuous headline?
Few. And fewer still will read through to one of the last sentences, where the article finally comes to the point:
"Much of Pec's Gypsy quarter [Pec, dear reader, is in Kosovo] has gone up in flames those [Gypsies] arriving [in Italy] today accused the Kosovo Liberation Army of burning their homes."
The truth is saved, for last.
Isnt it news that 700 Roma people have been expelled from Kosovo after their homes were burned down by NATO's ally, the KLA?
Doesn't such news belong on Page One? Isn't the headline, which is the only thing many people read, completely misleading: "700 Gypsies Reach Italy." Doesn't this headline hide rather than reveal the truth? We call such headlines "Lying by Euphemism." The headline is literally true - 700 Roma people did reach Italy. But the truth is used to communicate a lie, just as one might give an article about Newton's famous experiment the headline: "Man drops Apple."
What if the Times' editors had
instead chosen the headline: "Gypsies, Burned out by
KLA, reach Italy?" What if they had put the story
where it belonged, on Page One? Wouldn't it have had an
entirely different effect?
(By the way, the Roma people loathe being called "Gypsies," which is a racist term. Is this unknown to the great experts at the New York Times?)
What ever happened to the NY Times, which exposed the Pentagon Papers and My Lai, the newspaper once considered the protector of our nation's integrity?
The following post is from the Roma News Network.
It is reprinted below unchanged and in its entirety. (The
article includes errors in grammar and syntax. Keep in
mind that these folks speak two, three or more languages,
and English is probably not the first
following excerpt makes a telling political point:
In World War II, the "fascistic ally" was ethnic Albanians, in groups like the League of Prizen, who enslaved and slaughtered Serbs, Roma and others to achieve an ethnically pure state; the fascist armies were the Italians and Germans. Today, the fascistic allies are the members and supporters of the KLA.
But who comprises the fascist armies? Could the Roma be saying NATO is a new, fascist army? And could the Roma, scorned by the Albanian Racial Supermen, just as they have always been scorned by the Racial Supermen who have tormented our poor species, be right on the money?
-- Petar Makara & Jared Israel
The following text was received by email from the Roma News Network. We have not altered the text. Since it was written by people for whom English is a *third* or *fourth* language, it includes some errors we have not corrected. - JI
Kumanovo / MACEDONIA ( RNN Correspondent ), July the 7th, 1999. The end of the war in Kosovo was accepted with big joy on the Balkan. But it can't be said for the Serbs and the Roma from Kosovo. The Roma people from Kosovo are sad now with presence of big revolt, because every war was bringing great troubles to them. Military and political targets of NATO, and the Albanians are fulfilled, the information on the media tell us about coming of real democracy, where every citizen no matter what color of skin, sex or religion can work, create and show his opinion with freedom. For the Albanians from Kosovo, the war has to bring new future. But it can't be said for the Roma from Kosovo.
Everyday Roma from Kosovo are forced to flee from their homes - the cities Prizren, Gnjilane, Pristina, Urosevac and to settle in the inner parts of Serbia - Belgrade, Nis, Leskovac, Bujanovac. Over 500 Roma in Pristina are exposed on frequent attacks of Albanian revolted groups, the representatives of KFOR [NATO troops] are protecting them, there are unofficial information about some Roma people killed and maltreated women. All those information are coming from the Roma refugees and some foreign independent journalists are confirming it. There are no official information about the Roma sufferings, this is not the first time of course, Roma people were not the first time of course, Roma people in the camps during the war. The only official information was the one of June 6 th after incident in the camp Stenkovec in Macedonia when Roma refugees from Kosovo were beaten by the Albanians. Everything is the same now, Roma people are beaten, killed, forced to flee from their homes.
One refugee from Pristina (50 years old) said:
Our first interviewer, 30 years old R.B from
Gnjilane, we could hear its own story and it ran like
Second case driving is about one 32 years old Roma
who was driving his car to Gnjilane to see his family.
The same guy was stopped by a KLA-OCK group and beaten so
much that his body was full of injuries, he was beaten
over his sex organ even. The wounds ands injures were
still recognizable. Such cases of beaten Roma them were
in big number. In this moment in Bujanovac 3500 Roma
refugees who have left their homes under pressure of the
so called KLA of Kosovo. Roma Community Center "DROM"
Kumanovo sentences this act of cruelty and crimes against
the Roma from Kosovo, it sentences the Albanians
political and nonpolitical movement which in this moments
doesn't have any respect toward our nation.
Our organization proclaims sentence to their
silence too, which is maybe a license for such act of
aggression and maltreating by their so called KLA. The
genocide of the Roma is not the first case, they always
followed by a pro-fascistic ally oriented armies who were
pointed and still are, toward clean ethnical states.
Because of it, we ask for urgent and efficient access
this problem that means fast organizing of humanitarian
help consisting food and clothes, forming of camps for
accepting Roma refugees form Kosovo, cooperation of
international humanitarian organizations. Along with the
relevant factors UNCHR should take part too,
representatives of the Roma and Albanian movement in
Kosovo and Macedonia.
On the other hand we would like to inform you that Roma Community Center "DROM" Kumanovo already works on finding a solution for this problem. In the same time we acting and turn to you for coordinated acting and collaboration with all relevant institutions, for the general aim of helping the unsecured Roma and creating conditions for mutual life of all nations existing in Kosovo.
Activities of Roma Community Center "DROM"
The representatives of the organization are watching the
situation of Roma refugees in Macedonia and Europe every
day. In Poland, Czech R, Slovak, Hungary there are Roma
accepted as refugees, accommodated in camps, and they
afraid to communicate with Roma and Roma organizations in
the countries where they are. The representatives of DROM:
Ramis Osmanovski and Martin Demirovski went to some
cities in Yugoslavia, nearer to the border with Macedonia.
They considered the situation of the Roma refugees from
Kosovo, it is very delicate difficult, those people don't
need food but a solution for their actual situation, how
and where to go on? It is impossible for Roma
representative of some Roma organization to go to Kosovo
in this moment. In the next days Roma will meet new
problems, larger number of Roma refugees from Kosovo are
expected to enter Serbia and Macedonia.
The Roma organization from Macedonia, the Roma member of the parliament Amdi Bajram, the mayor of Suto Orizari-Nezdet Mustafa, are still actively working and acting in giving help to the Roma refugees from Kosovo located in Macedonia.RCC"DROM" Kumanovo is providing help continuously and further on for the Roma refugees and the social cases in Kumanovo. Some help is received from the Makedonski Centar za medjunarodna sorabotka MCMS, Karitas-Essen with residence in Skopje. The help received from one Roma organization from Australia was big relief in giving help to the Roma. In this moment 3000 Roma from Kumanovo together with the refugees are covered, they will receive help consisting of food and hygienic means. Foe 2115 Roma some help is received from MCMS, for 200 along with the refugees form Karitas Essen and for the rest the help is provided by on Australian Roma Organization. Roma people on Balkan are going to meet very hard days, months, they appeal not only humanitarian help but finding a way, actualization of the Roma problems in front of the world institutions because it is the unique way to the Roma future.
Dear friends, in period of 10 days, I wasn't able to give information, more correctly I took part following a conference in Sofia where the following topics were discussed:
Sofia, 17-19 June
Along with the beginning of the war in Kosovo, RCC"DROM" Asmet Elezovski started with giving information on Internet (http://www.romnews.com) About the situation of Roma on Balkan Kosovo. After two days only many information's came from one side of the world (Australia, USA) to another (England, Sweden). I thought my information won't be interesting and people won't pay attention to it at all. I haven't slept for so many nights, I was giving my best, I was seeking for real information, information that can be accepted as true. The information were changing every day, I was writing reports and very soon in day or two my information were officially approved. Thanks, to the RomNews Network , and the Editor in Chief Marko D. Knudsen and his team we succeeded to give, information with quality, objectivity and truth to the world. Few foreign radio stations presented my interviews in live. How sad and terrified I was because of the war and the suffering of Roma people. But in the same time I was very cheerful because of the fact that Roma succeeded to inform for themselves, to make a benefit on their own. We made big efforts and labor, spent a lot of money on telephone calls, travels, but we, me and my friends from DROM, don't regret a thing, because we succeeded to give information from Roma people, actual and true in the same time. Dear friends, I will work on the field of giving information to people further on, but I wish if it is not war. I thank to all of you for your support, to my friends from RCC"DROM" most of all to my college interpreter Oki and to the Editor in Chief of the RomNews Network Marko D. Knudsen.
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