[Diggers350] Sat 02 Oct 2021 MANCHESTER Drive 2 Survive Rally Tory Conference

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Wed Sep 8 00:47:05 BST 2021


Attend the National Drive 2 Survive Rally at the 
time of the Tory Conference in Piccadilly 
Gardens, Manchester, at 1pm on Saturday October 2 2021.

On Romany Holocaust Memorial Day, JAKE BOWERS 
warns that the new laws now being levelled at 
Britain’s Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities 
by the Police Bill once again threaten an entire people’s way of life
Romani prisoners at Belzec camp, 1940


TODAY is Romany Holocaust Memorial Day ­ yet ask 
most lifelong anti-racists what the significance 
of August 2 is and they will be puzzled.

For our history, just like our plight, remains one of Europe’s dirty secrets.

So come with me, if you will, on a journey into 
the past of Europe’s 12 million Romany people 
because we desperately need your help to secure a 
better future. Because history does not always 
exactly repeat itself, but in 2021 it is starting to rhyme.

On this day, in 1944, 4,300 Romanies were 
murdered at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

They were taken during the night from their 
barracks to the gas chamber by SS guards.

The mass killing was a reprisal on the community 
who led a desperate uprising at the death camp.

Just months earlier, on May 16, Romany prisoners 
of the so-called Zigeunerlager (Gypsy camp), 
having heard of the imminent liquidation of the 
camp, stood up against the Nazi guards armed with 
only hammers, pickaxes and shovels.

As a result of their defiance, no Roma died in 
the gas chambers on that day. The Romany revolt 
against the Nazis is the only recorded uprising 
in Auschwitz and is now commemorated as Romani Resistance Day.

We still do not know how many of us died in the 
Holocaust. Unlike the Jewish community, many of 
our ancestors could not read or write, so few independent records were kept.

Estimates range from 500,000 to 1.5 million 
people, their lives and stories are often lost 
within German statistics of those “remaining to be liquidated.”

We were the only other racial minority alongside 
the Jewish community specifically subjected to 
the Nazi “final solution” ­ and a similar 
percentage of the Romany and Jewish community was eradicated.

But there the parallels end, because what the 
intervening decades have taught us is that some 
inequalities are sadly far more equal than others.

So today we will weep for those we lost, but 
tomorrow we must again pick up the shovels.

Across Europe a mudslide of racist violence is 
once again engulfing our people. From Hungary to 
Britain, right-wing governments are once again 
scapegoating our people ­ and the results can be lethal.

In the Czech Republic, Romany man Stanislav Tomas 
died in Teplice on June 19 2021, after a Czech 
police officer knelt on his neck for six minutes.

In images comparable to the murder of George 
Floyd in the US, the video went viral, prompting 
Romanies across Europe to protest police violence.

The Czech Republic authorities deny any 
wrongdoing and the police were praised by the 
interior minister for their good work.

After the Council of Europe called for an 
independent investigation, the Czech president 
said he had no reason to doubt the results of the 
internal investigation, which found the police 
officers’ behaviour to be correct.

In New York, Berlin, Brussels, Glasgow, London, 
Vienna and in countless cities across eastern 
Europe where Romany populations are big and 
growing, Romanies are demanding justice for Stanislav and themselves.

Directly inspired by the Black Lives Matter 
movement, a Roma Lives Matter movement has seen 
thousands of Romany people demand better treatment on the streets.

For many of us the end of the Holocaust did not 
lead to turning point in our treatment and life 
chances. Those who had survived the Nazis were 
soon forcibly settled and assimilated into urban 
deprivation by Stalinist regimes.

In recent decades, the forced sterilisation of 
Romany women, poverty and over-representation in 
state care and special schools for Romany kids 
and deeply ingrained prejudice have kept us moving.

Such racism has led to a huge wave of Romany 
migration to western Europe. This has led to a 
doubling of the British Gypsy, Roma and Traveller 
population to at least 600,000 people.

But Britain is no safe haven. The hostile 
environment experienced by Britain’s Gypsy, Roma 
and Traveller community for over 500 years has recently been cranked up.

Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and 
Courts Bill not only limits the right to protest, 
but also seeks to completely outlaw nomadic Gypsy and Traveller culture.

If passed it will entirely eradicate nomadic life 
in Britain, giving police the power to seize 
Gypsy and Traveller homes and fine Gypsies and 
Travellers up to £2,500 ­ and imprison those 
needing to follow a nomadic way of life because 
of a lack of safe, legal stopping places.

On July 7 over 1,000 community members gathered 
in the shadow of the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, 
Nelson Mandela and suffragette Millicent Fawcett 
in Parliament Square to kick-start the Drive 2 
Survive campaign that will roll from Westminster 
to the Appleby Fair (the world’s largest Gypsy 
horse fair) in August in Cumbria, to the 
Conservative Party Conference in Manchester in October 2021.

Much as Gandhi, Mandela and Fawcett used direct 
action to fight for equality, Gypsy and Traveller 
community members will resist the outlawing of 
our cultures. Our communities have unified to 
fight the Bill, but we desperately need your help to stop it.

“As nomadic people that have roamed the lands we 
have lived on for our whole recorded history, to 
suddenly be told our way of life has no place in 
society is totally wrong and hurtful,” says Irish 
Traveller activist Chris McDonagh.

“We all live in a country that is supposedly 
proud of its acceptance and equality for all 
ethnicities and minorities, but we now see this 
is a lie. We are people and we deserve to live 
our lives as we always have. We deserve to exist.”

The Drive 2 Survive Campaign’s first aim is the 
scrapping of part four of the Bill that creates a 
criminal law of trespass and dramatically 
increases police powers over anyone residing on 
land that they do not have permission to be on.

We believe that the draconian powers within the 
1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act that 
already lock nomadic Gypsies and Travellers into 
a cycle of trespass and eviction and do not need strengthening but repealing.

Patel cannot ignore the fact that police powers 
are already too excessive. It’s not just Gypsies, 
Roma and Travellers who are resisting these new 
powers, but representatives from the National Police Chiefs Council.

In evidence to the committee stage of the Police 
Bill, the community and the police were united in 
calling for a better way of resolving the 
conflict around a lack of stopping places.

The community takes the threat of the new 
legislation so seriously that it has organised 
the first Romani Kris (council of elders) in 
decades to debate and decide a unified response to Patel’s Bill at Appleby.

Hereditary Appleby Fair organiser Billy Welch 
sees a direct parallel with the state violence 
that Romany populations were subjected to before 
the Holocaust, because before the death camps 
came the outlawing of nomadic life across the Third Reich.

“The people I represent are anxious about these 
proposals and with good reason. They are 
reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and the 
start of the process of ethnic cleansing in which 
Gypsies were forced off the road by fines and imprisonment.

“Their horses and vehicles were confiscated, 
which eventually led to them being sent to death 
camps or murdered on the side of the road.

“There are still many Gypsies alive who lost 
their families in that Holocaust and they have 
not forgotten ­ this is how it began.

“All of what was done then was legal in the eyes 
of the Nazis, but history teaches us clearly that 
just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right.”

This summer we will show the Conservative Party 
that we will not go quietly into the history 
books ­ in fact we will not be going at all.

To show your solidarity with the Drive 2 Survive 
Campaign, come to Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria between August 12 and 15

attend the National Drive 2 Survive Rally at the 
time of the Tory Conference in Piccadilly 
Gardens, Manchester, at 1pm on Saturday October 2 2021.

Jake Bowers is a Romany journalist. For more 
information see 
and <http://www.proudroma.org/>www.proudroma.org
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And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, 
he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and 
gave to them. 
<http://biblehub.com/luke/24-31.htm>31 And their 
eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he 
vanished out of their 
sight.  http://biblehub.com/kjv/luke/24.htm 
'Capitalism is institutionalised bribery' TG
"And I think, in the end, that is the best 
definition of journalism I have heard; to 
challenge authority - all authority - especially 
so when governments and politicians take us to 
war, when they have decided that they will kill and others will die. "
--Robert Fisk
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