Romani lives matter

A note from the editor

Conrad Landin

Te Aven Bachtale

I, like so many others, have Zoom fatigue. But every Tuesday evening since September, I’ve been genuinely excited to log on to a beginners’ class in Romanes. Te aven bachtale conveys a profoundly respectful ‘good day’.

I’ve also just learned the colours of the rainbow. The lesson offered an extraordinary glimpse into how Romanes has interacted with the tongues around it. Take rupano, the word for silver. It has the same root as rupee, the currency (and originally, silver coin) of India, from where the ancestors of Europe’s Roma departed in the 10th century. Or loli pabai, meaning ‘red apple’, which is where the word ‘lollipop’ comes from.

Despite our centuries of shared history, Europe continues to marginalize and oppress its Romani citizens with very little pushback. This edition explores why, taking as its starting point the death of a Romani man in police custody in the Czech Republic earlier this year.

But you will also read compelling stories of resilience – and resistance. In Glasgow, where I live, for example, the organization Roma Lav is building cross-community solidarity. My Romanes class is just one small part of that. So, be incensed, be enraged – but be inspired too.

Elsewhere in this edition, Kasturi Chakraborty shines a spotlight on the brutal treatment of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, while author Isabel Allende speaks of the power of fiction to teach us about our history.

Jea Deulesa (good bye, or literally, go with God).

Conrad Landin for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

A Romani mother and daughter in Hajduhadhaz, eastern Hungary, 22 March 2011. The town’s Romani population has been subjected to vigilante patrols at the hands of Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, which came second in the 2018 parliamentary elections. Photo: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

A Romani mother and daughter in Hajduhadhaz, eastern Hungary, 22 March 2011. The town’s Romani population has been subjected to vigilante patrols at the hands of Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, which came second in the 2018 parliamentary elections.

Photo: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Do Romani lives matter?

When Stanislav Tomáš died in police custody in similar circumstances to George Floyd, the world quickly moved on. Conrad Landin goes to the Czech Republic in search of answers.

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The Big Story

Action & info

Action & info

Campaigns, groups, media, and further reading on Roma.

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Roma in Europe - The Facts

From substandard housing to segregated schools, anti-Roma discrimination has far-reaching effects across Europe.

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The Czechoslovak photographer Josef Koudelka began capturing the lives of Roma across Europe. After photographing the events of the Prague Spring in 1968, Koudelka re-located to the UK, and continued his Gypsies series in countries including France and Spain. His book Gypsies was published in 1975 and re-published in an expanded edition in 2019 (Thames & Hudson). Czechoslovakia, 1967.Photo: Magnum/Josef Koudelka

Go west

Yaron Matras examines the evolution of language and culture during the Roma’s 1,000 year journey from the Indian sub-continent to modern day Europe.

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A Roma woman demonstrates outside Ostrava Municipal Hospital in the Czech Republic on 11 September 2020. She is taking part in a demonstration calling for the enactment of a law to compensate women who were unlawfully sterilised.Photo: Vladimir Prycek/CTK Photo/Alamy

‘They will take my daughters’

Europe has a dark history of policing Roma women’s wombs. Cyrine Sinti investigates attempts to redress forced sterilization in the Czech Republic.

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‘It’s a liberation struggle for us’

‘It’s a liberation struggle for us’

After centuries of government exclusion a new generation of Romani activists is fighting back. Conrad Landin profiles three campaigners leading the charge. Illustrations: Jason Ngai.

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Dale Farm has become a famous site for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities – as well as for violent evictions at the hands of police. As part of the Drive2Survive campaign, this summer protesters visited the site to stand in opposition to the UK’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is set to place further criminal curbs on travelling people.Photo: Huw Powell

The ground beneath our feet

Jake Bowers argues for the rights of travelling peoples to live and move through the landscapes they call home.

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Solidarity from the street: a march takes place in Ramallah, West Bank in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike against their administrative detention by Israel.Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills

Prisoners of occupation

Palestinians continue to be brutalized in Israeli jails, despite international criticism. Kasturi Chakraborty speaks to prisoners’ families about their struggles.

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How British colonizers caused the Bengal famine

The mass starvation that killed three million Indians during the closing years of the Second World War was no act of nature; it was engineered. Britain must face up to this crime, says Jason Hickel.

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Ladi (left), pictured with a relative, a Congolese Mavrovouni resident is feeling the pressure.Photo: Sebastian Skov Andersen

Rule of silence

A hard-line regime in Greek refugee camps is making life harder for the migrants within them, as well as aid workers who want to help. Sebastian Skov Andersen and Gabriel Geiger report.

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Who will protect the land?

Who will protect the land?

Hazel Sheffield explores how the history of failed land reform in Colombia threatens both people and planet. Illustrations by Léo Hamelin.

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Opinion

View from Africa

View from Africa

Love among the leaves by Nanjala Nyabola.

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View from Brazil

View from Brazil

Hunger in the world’s breadbasket by Leonardo Sakamoto.

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View from India

View from India

Going against the stream, by Nilanjana Bhowmick.

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Currents

Democratic transition upended: a demonstrator protests the renewed prospect of military rule in Khartoum, Sudan, October 2021.Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

Rolling coup

When will Sudan's military hand back power?

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The colour of wine

The colour of wine

In recent years, black wine growers, distillers’ and drinkers have been staking their claim on the industry.

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Girls for girls

Girls for girls

Defying the Taliban’s resurgent war on women.

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More of the same. Insufficient action on climate means more cyclones like Mora, which hit Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in 2017.Photo: Suman Paul Himu/Drik

Loss and damage

Rich countries’ refuse to compensate vulnerable countries.

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Light in the darkness. A Polish resident in Michałowo, a town a few kilometres from the Belarus border, puts a green light in her window as a sign of welcome to migrants.Photo: Michele Amoruso

Playing with lives

Hanna Grześkiewicz reports on the humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.

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Crypto-mining surge

Crypto-mining surge

The summer of 2021 in Iran was marked by frequent, dangerous power outages.

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Illustration: Emma Peer

Reasons to be cheerful

Step aside, Columbus; Farmers triumph; Ancient buzz.

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Regulars

Letters

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

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Illustration: Sarah John

Something in the air

Virginia Tognola begins her series from the Argentinian capital with a reflection on the strange nature of security in the big city.

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Inequality Watch

Inequality Watch

Additional US military spending vs solar power.

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Photo: SOPA/Alamy

Sign of the times

Gazans protest the Israeli government’s designation of six NGOs as terror groups.

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Illustration: Rodrigo de Matos

Open Window

Climate games by Rodrigo de Matos (Portugal).

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Country Profile: Iraq

The photos, facts, and politics of Iraq.

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Putin's Russia

The rise of a dictator by Darryl Cunningham.

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Photo: Prasanta Biswas

Southern Exposure: Prasanta Biswas

Highlighting the work of artists and photographers from the Majority World.

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Photo: Lori Barra

The Interview: Isabel Allende

Graeme Green speaks to the Chilean author about her inspiration and the power of fiction as a useful history teacher.

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Illustration: Marc Roberts

Only Planet

The five stages of greed by Marc Roberts.

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Farmers in India have led the way restoring soils and boosting yields.Photo: Jake Lyell/Alamy

Temperature check

Soil – the climate fix that cop forgot. By Danny Chivers.

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Photo: Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty

Hall of Infamy

President of Guinea, Mamady Doumbouya.

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Illustration: Kate Evans

Thoughts from a Broad

Blame somebody else, cartoon by Kate Evans.

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The Puzzler

Crossword Puzzle, Association Words and Wordsearch.

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Agony Uncle

Agony Uncle

Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days - this month, activist burnout.

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Illustration: Andy Carter

What if…

We took money out of politics? Frank Fornby shares his vision for better representation.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed Media: Books

Mixed Media: Books

Beasts of a Little Land; How to Be a Revolutionary; The Transgender Issue; Cop.

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Photo: David Parry/Royal Academy of Arts

Spotlight: Yinka Shonibare

Best known for his work exploring colonialism and post-colonialism within the context of globalization. Words by Subi Shah.

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