Roma Holocaust 70th Anniversary Commemoration

For the Roma Holocaust 70th anniversary commemoration
Saturday 2 August 2014

Ensuring the right to remembrance and dignity for the Roma people

GENEVA / NEW YORK (2 August 2014) – On the 70th anniversary of the Roma Holocaust –‘Porrajmos’ or ‘Pharrajimos’– two United Nations human rights experts urge all governments around the world to ensure the right to remembrance for the Roma people.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák, and the Special Adviser of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, call for stronger measures and initiatives to keep the memory of the Roma Holocaust alive and enable survivors, Roma communities and others to mark it in a recognized and dignified manner.

“Many people globally have little or no knowledge that Roma were targeted by the Nazi regime. Under the Nazis, Roma were subjected to arbitrary internment, forced labor, and mass murder. German authorities murdered tens of thousands of Roma in the German-occupied territories of the Soviet Union and Serbia and thousands more in the death camps.

Else Schmidt was seven years old when taken in the summer of 1942 from her home in Hamburg. She remembers two men in military coats marching her to a warehouse on the docks where they left her among crowds of Gypsies already gathered there…
(A testimony from the book “Porrajmos” – Recollections of Roma Holocaust survivors)

On the night of 2 to 3 August 1944, all remaining 2,897 Roma men, women and children in the so called ‘Gypsy family camp’ in Auschwitz-Birkenau, were taken to gas chamber V and were murdered by the Nazis.

…Else had no idea why she had been brought there. In fact, she had no idea what a ‘Gypsy’ was...

Much remains to be done to establish the right and possibility for Roma to remember and commemorate with dignity. In several countries where evidence suggests that Roma fell victims to the Holocaust, governments should make 2 August an official day of remembrance for the victims of the Pharrajimos. All the world’s governments and the international community, including the United Nations, must make sure that they include reference to the suffering of Roma in their Holocaust education and commemoration events.

…Else’s parents drew a veil at home over her torment…

In order to allow appropriate commemoration, Roma graves and mass graves, including those that have not yet been marked, must be identified and preserved to enable survivors to remember and mourn in dignity.

…Humiliation at school worked more brutally: ‘I have very bad memories of school, because I still had my concentration camp number tattooed on my arm with just a plaster to hide it…

Violence against Roma is not only a matter of history but is a sad reality for many Roma communities today, also. We must realize that the hatred and the dehumanization of the victims of the Holocaust that characterised the Nazi era, still exist in the hearts and minds of some individuals in Europe today. These individuals are capable of committing violence against our fellow Roma citizens simply because of who they are.

…On the first day, the teachers, who were bad Nazis, forced me to stand up in class…

We must make sure that governments remain vigilant to this risk and take appropriate measures against signs of hatred and stigmatization. They must step up their action against hate speech and incitement to hatred before it is manifested in violence and atrocities. We call on all States to meet their responsibilities by implementing effective measures to protect their populations from discrimination and violence based on their identity.

…They said to me: You must stand here until you have told everyone what is under the plaster…

The growing presence of and support for extremist parties and ideologies, which often target Roma and other minority populations, including immigrants, is of increasing concern in Europe. It is in the interest of all European governments and democratic political parties to step up their efforts to establish necessary integration policies and platforms to ensure that all populations, including the Roma are considered and treated equally, can live in security and raise their children without fear.”

From that day, for eighteen years, Else spoke with no one about what had happened to her in Auschwitz and Ravensbrück aged 8 and 9.

Life In Gaza Explained

Protest the Invasion of Gaza in Santa Rosa

You are invited to join the North Coast Coalition for Palestine Wednesday, July 23, from 5 to 6 p.m., to protest the Israeli invasion and bombardment of Gaza. Click through for more info.

Sonoma County D.A. Announces No Charges Against Erick Gelhaus

Today, Monday, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch has announced that there will be no charges filed against Erick Gelhaus, the Sonoma County Sheriff Deputy who shot and killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez on October 22th, 2013. Click through to read more.

Statement About Iraq - From The Peace and Justice Center

The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County supports the peaceful resolution of conflict in Iraq, and opposes any US bombing or military intervention. Some of the dispute can be traced to the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq.  We mourn the deaths of Iraqis, Americans and others. While the resolution is unclear, we hope the US has learned from the recent past, and the pitfalls of military action.

State Dept. Dropped Blackwater Probe After Manager Threatened to Kill Investigators

The State Department abandoned a probe of the private military firm Blackwater in Iraq after a company official threatened to kill the government’s chief investigator. The New York Times reports investigators began looking into Blackwater’s Iraq operations just weeks before company operatives shot dead 17 Iraqi civilians in the 2007 massacre at Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. The investigators found widespread misconduct and warned of an "environment full of liability and negligence." But according to government documents, the previously undisclosed investigation was quashed after Blackwater’s project manager in Iraq, Daniel Carroll, issued a threat "that he could kill" the chief investigator, Jean Richter, and "no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq." The U.S. Embassy in Iraq ended up siding with Blackwater, ordering Richter and a colleague to leave the country and calling them "unsustainably disruptive" and "unnecessarily hostile" to "contract personnel." The New York Times says the investigators’ unheeded warnings "make clear that the [State] Department was alerted to serious problems involving Blackwater and its government overseers before Nisour Square." The trial of four Blackwater operatives accused in the massacre began this month after years of delay.

Story courtesy of Democracy Now

Police fail to report many deadly shootings


Sheryl Bell, mother of Julian Alexander, holds a candle during a vigil for her son on the one-year anniversary of his death outside his Anaheim home in 2009. Julian Alexander was shot and killed by an Anaheim police officer who was chasing four juvenile burglary suspects.
Orange County Register investigation shows that one in five fatal incidents across region isn't disclosed.

BY KEEGAN KYLE / STAFF WRITER
Published: June 28, 2014 Updated: June 30, 2014 10:58 a.m.

California’s system for tracking deadly police shootings is plagued by confusion and inadequate oversight, further clouding public knowledge of an officer’s greatest power.

At least one in every five fatal shootings across Southern California isn’t counted in official statewide and national homicide reports, a Register investigation has found. Police shoot and kill more often than the numbers reflect.

The newspaper identified widespread reporting flaws by comparing state data and district attorney records from hundreds of shootings between 2007 and 2011, the latest year available. At least 67 fatal shootings weren’t disclosed as required by state law.

The unreported shootings involved 31 law enforcement agencies, most of which were unaware the cases hadn’t been counted in official reports until contacted by the Register. Most acknowledged error and promised an internal review of reporting practices.

Read full article

Verizon - Helping Law Enforcement Militarize Your World

I know that we're asking a lot, but if you can separate yourself from Verizon, please do. We are going to be the targets of this some day. Don't go along. Switch to Credo, if you can. If you have other less militarized services to recommend, please let us know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-lE6F2c1A4

Leonard Peltier - 38 Years of Injustice

Leonard Peltier Freedom Campaign

Greetings my Relatives, Friends and Supporters
 
As I have said so many times in the past I am deeply and truly honored that you remember me on this day and I am honored to have my words read to you today.  I think this commemoration day should be about the lives of all our people who in some way lived and died for us.
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By the time of the Oglala shoot-out there had already been some 60 something of our Native people killed.  These people are the ones we are commemorating here today.  I always especially remember Joe Stunz,  who was a mentor to some of the younger boys in the community.  
 
Of all the things I want us to remember today and everyday, I want us to remember who WE are, I want us to remember where WE came from, I want us to remember our ancestors that we are so proud of , and I want us to live in such a way that our children and our children’s-children will look back at us and be proud of who they are because of what we were
 
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I want to see a day where our people do not have to depend on any other source than ourselves. 
 
I want to see a day where our people aren’t suffering from the bitter cold in the winter months. 
 
A day where our people are not suffering from mal-nutrition  and improper medical care.
 
I want to see fires burning inside well built homes that are not unstable and falling apart.
 
I want to see a day where alcoholism and drug abuse is not rampant throughout indian country.  
 
There are so many other things I could mention that need to change, and I will tell you for a fact they won’t start changing until WE change them. 
 
We must look back to our traditions. We must look back to our own cultures and the teachings of our elders who taught us that the greatest gift the creator gave us was our bodies in good health and the Earth around us.  We must remember from our traditions, that it is our responsibility to take care of our bodies and health and the bodies and health of our children,
Our traditions also taught us to be the caretakers of all the nature around us. 
 
There is an old saying back when the Buffalo were almost totally done away with, I think there were only about 25 or so left, in the U.S., the saying was that when the Buffalo come back, the American Indian would also come back.  Well, the Buffalo are back, they are not what they were, but they are thriving.  WE are also coming back, and we are not what we were yet, but we will be. 
 
I know things have changed, as they always do and we must rise to meet those challenges. Everything in life is based on some challenge and we have faced challenge after challenge and we are still here.  I want to encourage all of you from the depths of my soul and with my deepest prayers;  to set up programs for our children that would teach them the survival skills that it will take to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.  To find ways to protect and restore our Earth.
 
As a man I encourage you men out there to step up stronger than you have been, more determined than you have been, more consistent and persevering than you have been,and do all you can to make this a better place for all people.  
 
Our enemies are many, but most of it has to do with money.  People, at times, love money more than the Creator, or the gifts the creator gave us.   Our people will be approached even more in the coming future to sell off our lands and our resources and we must do what we can to protect them for our children and the coming generations.
 
We must also at every opportunity remind the Gov’t of the agreements and treaties they have made with our people.   We should also remind them at every opportunity that the Black Hills are still ours, and the lease is up. We should also remind them, at every opportunity that we are part of the treaty they call the constitution and that we should be respected and given every equal right under that agreement.   One thing in particular that the constitution says,  is that you will receive a trial with a jury of your peers and yet every indian that is arrested and tried in federal court is tried off the reservation, there is no jury of our peers.   
That is just one point, there are many.
 
I know for a fact that our people have it within their blood, history and understandings, to win out over this time of trial that our people have been going through for a couple hundred years now.
 
If we want things to be different we are going to have to DO them different. 
 
When I think about our young people and elders who commit suicide I am full of sorrow. When I hear about what is happening to Mother Earth, I weep with anguish. 
These things won’t change until we take responsibility for making that change ourselves.   These corporations are not embarrassed at all by hurting us.  They always find some legal, moral or religious reason to justify stealing from us.  We as a people must take responsibility, rise to the challenge and teach our children to be able to face that challenge.  We need to get back to eating the foods that our bodies are designed for, the ceremonies that our hearts and spirits are designed for, and the love and caring for one another that we are ALL designed for.
 
A wise elder once said you cannot live with one foot in a White mans canoe and one in an Indians canoe, you have to choose one or the other.  He said that in relation to perhaps culture, but when we look at the destruction of the air and the water and the soil and the dangerous possibilities that face all mankind that are taking place right now, we are all in the same boat. 
 
I always remember Floyd Red Crow Westerman once said, that the flowers are not all the same color… the birds don’t all sing the same song but together, they make a beautiful forest. I know for a fact there are people of other races and other colors that feel the same way we do,  and when we meet them, we need to join together to stop this common destruction that faces all mankind.   There can be no diversity of life on an Earth that cannot sustain life. 
 
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I was and am a common man just like you, but in all of this, I came to realize that each of us carries within him the spirit of our people and wherever we go,  whether we like it or not, we represent our people.  Since I was hauled off to boarding school it has been the same fight,  If I would just admit that this Government is always right and never wrong, and if our people would back off from the position of remaining who we are and stop clinging to our cultures, to assimilate, etc, etc…. but in my heart of hearts and in the core of my being I have always remembered what so many of our people have lived and died for,  I have remembered that they died for the right to remain on their own land where the creator put us. They lived and died for the right to practice our religion that was given to us.  They lived and died to be able to keep their children among them and not be taken off to some boarding school.  They lived and died for the right to be Indian, by OUR standards not theirs. I have done my best to live up to that all my days
 
I am tired, and at kind of at a loss for words now, and I am sure you are all sitting in the hot sun about ready for some cool water and a breeze, but in closing I want to say that
I miss you. 
I long to be with you.
I long to have the sun shining on me without the shadow of bars or chain link fencing in the way. 
I long to see an eagle circling the Sundance grounds.
I long for the touch and hugs of close friends and loved ones. 
I long for life as a free man
 
 
I will never give up, on who we are.  I encourage you to stay strong and be a good representative of our people wherever you go.  Be an encouragement and a source of strength for those in need. 
 
 Wherever they put me, or keep me, or lock me away,- rest assured that my heart and prayers are always with you 
 
Forever in the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Your Relative,
Leonard Peltier
Mitakuye Oyasin

Yes All Women!

If you're not making the connection between rape culture, violence such as that in Santa Barbara, and Efren Carrillo, you're not making the important connections.

YesAllWomen Changes the Story of the Isla Vista Massacre

by Rebecca Solnit

"Rape culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety. Rape culture affects every woman. Most women and girls limit their behavior because of the existence of rape. Most women and girls live in fear of rape. Men, in general, do not. That’s how rape functions as a powerful means by which the whole female population is held in a subordinate position to the whole male population, even though many men don’t rape, and many women are never victims of rape."

For more, check out:

http://www.thenation.com/article/180077/yesallwomen-changes-story-isla-vista-massacre?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=email_nation&utm_campaign=Editorial%20-%20Solnit#