Tag Archives: Romani

#PoliceBill attack on travellers is another step on Johnson’s journey to Hitlerian Nazism

Travellers: this is a council-run traveller site, so it looks orderly enough. But a proposed law means that even here the police could confiscate travellers’ homes, if officers don’t like the look of them.

Roma (or Romani); travellers; gypsies; diddycai; tinkers if you like. There are plenty of words for these almost universally maligned people.

They have a bad reputation because some of them are trespassers who will camp on any land, whether it is privately-owned or common, some of them are dirty and will leave their campsites filthy with litter, and some of them are prone to criminal behaviour.

In 1930s Germany, Hitler ramped up already-existing anti-gypsy laws to establish the pre-supposition that they were a “nuisance”, that they were criminal by their nature (so it follows that the authorities were allowed to assume they were criminals without them actually having to commit a crime), and that they should be moved on from encampments that were considered to cause a disturbance to the rest of the German population (in Hitler’s Germany, they were moved on into concentration camps where they were murdered in a holocaust that was every bit as brutal as the attempted genocide of the Jews).

Boris Johnson has been stealing policies from Hitler, it seems. Just take a look at his plans for travellers, as written into the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that has just won its first major vote in the House of Commons. Here’s Ian Dunt to explain it to you:

There. Police only need to assume that, because a traveller is there, they are likely to engage in criminal activity, and they can then treat that traveller as if they had been seen to commit such an act (even though they haven’t).

It’s like “pre-crime”, as described in the movie Minority Report, which turns the law on its head, allowing people to be arrested on the basis of predictions that they will commit crime. In the film, these predictions were not necessarily accurate. In this law, there isn’t even a requirement to be.

To recap: on sight of a traveller, the police may confiscate everything they own. And what will happen to them then? An arrest for vagrancy?

It sets innocent people up to be criminalised because of who they are, which is a well-recognised form of prejudice. Suppose Johnson targeted Jews. It would be an attack on these people because of who they are, not what they do. That is what we have here.

It isn’t quite racism, and it can’t be anti-Semitism, but the lesson of Hitler tells us it is just as bad.

Oh, and by the way, illegal traveller encampments could have been made a thing of the past if only local authorities had obeyed a 1968 law (the commenter below was adrift by a few years) that ordered them to provide standing sites for travellers to camp:

The Caravan Sites Act of 1968 led to the creation of 400 sites, but was ignored by many local authorities. I recall Powys County Council dragging its heels over demands for such sites within the last 10 years.

By breaking the law, council leaders (many of whom, I have no doubt, are Conservatives) made it possible for the current Conservative government to create the current legislation that demands that they be treated as criminals for no reason at all.

The Bill is sponsored by Priti Patel, who is already running concentration camps for refugees from foreign countries.

Where do you think she’ll open her first concentration camp for travellers? And what will they do next?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Uncomfortable facts that should be addressed – not just on Holocaust Memorial Day but every day

A woman and a man at the memorial plaque at Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany [Image: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images].

Here‘s a worthwhile article on the Beastrabban blog, making an important point about the way the scope of Holocaust Memorial Day seems to have been limited.

Today is, I believe, Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the world, or at least the Western world, reflects on the Shoah and the calculated extermination of six million Jews.

As we commemorate the sufferings of the Jews during the Nazi regime, we also need to take on board that it isn’t just about anti-Semitism, but about similar horrors that have disfigured human history down the centuries, and murderous, criminal regimes that are perpetrating them today.

Just so. The Nazi Holocaust, the killing of millions of Jews, and the way in which they were murdered, should never be forgotten. But part of this remembrance must involve recognition that similar hate-motivated atrocities can happen – and are happening – even now.

Unfortunately, there are some highly vocal people who seem to want to mask this fact, as we have seen on This Site over the last few days.

Holocaust Remembrance Day isn’t just about commemorating the Holocaust and its victims, but other genocides and their victims that have occurred throughout history. Hitler partly made his decision to go ahead with the extermination of the Jews because of the complete lack of western reaction to the Young Turks’ massacre of the Armenians. He commented, ‘Who remembers the Armenians?’ And before then, the German colonial authorities in what is now Tanganyika had attempted to exterminate the Herrero after they revolted, using similar eugenicist logic.

It is … important to remember the other victims of the Nazi camps as well.

This included the congenitally disabled, who were murdered by Nazi doctors under the Aktion T4 programme with the assistance and supervision of the SS… This prefigured and prepared for the murder of the Jews, particularly in the use of poison gas.

I made the point that disabled people are being persecuted to their deaths by the Conservative government in the United Kingdom – right now – in a response to comments in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (January 24).

And what initial response did I receive?

Denial. And denial is one of the ten stages of genocide, as we all know from the Holocaust Memorial Day website. Right?

The Nazis also attempted to exterminate the Romanies – the Gypsies – as they too were considered, like the Jews, to be subhuman and a threat to German society and racial industry.

Other victims of the camps included the mentally ill, neurotics, prostitutes, recidivist criminals, Prisoners of War, and political prisoners, such as trade unionists, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, gay men, and slave workers from the Slav nations. The last were worked to death in horrific conditions, including building the Nazi fortifications and tunnels in the Channel Islands.

The Holocaust Memorial Day website devotes a couple of paragraphs on a page to these victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The highest estimate of the death figures shows they outnumber Jewish victims by a ratio of nearly two to one.

The website also devotes several pages each to the genocides in Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia and Rwanda, and mentions the atrocities against Armenians which encouraged Hitler to commit his own.

It omits many other genocides, both recent and historical.

Nothing is said about the indigenous people of America, for example. Those of you who are aware of the HMD website may not even know there is a site for Aztec Natives, which makes the following pertinent point:

“The Mexican people are the descendants and the end product of five centuries of genocide – the greatest Holocaust in human history. Over 100 million of our ancestors, i.e. at least 90% of natives were killed.”

100 million dead, and no commemoration on Holocaust Memorial Day. It seems some groups have stronger public relations people than others.

Genocides have continued to be perpetrated, such as the various crimes against humanity committed by Fascist regimes across Latin America, Asia and Africa, supported by American foreign policy. The persecution of the Rohingya is just the latest of these.

Isn’t it interesting how we can identify the wrongdoings of people in other countries, yet we say nothing about what’s happening in our own? “It couldn’t happen here”, as the saying goes.

It has; it does; it is.

Those who deny it are complicit.

Fortunately, the Beastrabban piece provides a ray of hope. We see that not everybody supports the overwhelming concentration of attention on the Nazi Holocaust, and it is important to note that Jewish scholars are among those leading the way in this regard.

And Jews have been involved in protesting and commemorating them and their victims as well. In Canada, the leader of the mainstream Jewish organisation, Bernie Farber, organised a ‘Shabbat for Darfur’ after that city was attacked by the Islamist Janjaweed Militia in the early part of this century. Farber’s generous action has been bitterly criticised by members of the transatlantic conservative Right, who feel that Jews should concentrate solely on their own sufferings in the Holocaust, and not expand their experience of suffering, persecution and attempted genocide to form solidarity with the other persecuted ethnic and religious groups.

Why not form solidarity with other persecuted groups? We all know there is strength in numbers. Is it because making such connections might reveal uncomfortable truths about events closer to home?

Israeli scholars have also noted that the Holocaust, while horrific, was not a unique event. See Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, edited by Israel W. Charny, the executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust, Jerusalem, and Director of Postgraduate Interdisplinary and Graduate Social Work Programs in Family, Therapy, Bob Shapell School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University. Dr. Charny’s book also includes a chapter on the ethnic cleansing of Israel’s indigenous Arab population, which is definitely unwelcome to the Likudniks.

But it bears out Ilan Pappe’s assertion that Israelis are still decent people, who need to have the situation and issues properly explained to them. But odiously, Netanyahu, Likud and other ethno-nationalists in his ruling coalition are doing all they can to prevent that occurring. As are his little helpers over here in the shape of the Jewish Labour Movement and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.

Food for thought, I hope. But I wonder if critics of This Site and This Writer will be able to forgive me for including more groups in my own commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day than they do.

Source: Wishing Everyone a Solemn and Reflective Holocaust Remembrance Day | Beastrabban\’s Weblog


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