Category Archives: cultures

Is LAPD Using Racial Profiling With The Muslim Community?

Racial profiling is going on in Los Angeles. The police department has launched an extensive mapping program to map out where there are Muslim enclaves across the city. But is this the first time that racial profiling has been used in the city?

Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael P. Downing defended the program by saying that it would help Muslim communities avoid the influence of those who would advocate extremism and violence. The program will take a look at look at the history, demographics, language, culture, ethnic breakdown, socioeconomic status and social interactions of certain neighbourhoods in the Los Angeles area. The program is still in its early stages and the full cost nor the final scope has been finalized.

At this point an estimated 500,000 Muslims in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties. Several Muslim and American Civil Liabilities groups have concerns about singling out individuals for data gathering based on their religious beliefs.

We are seeking to identify at-risk communities,” Downing said in an interview Thursday evening. “We are looking for communities and enclaves based on risk factors that are likely to become isolated. . . . We want to know where the Pakistanis, Iranians and Chechens are so we can reach out to those communities.”

Downing claims that the Muslim Public Affairs Council has embraced the program in concept. While not saying completely committing to the program as of yet program director Salam Al-Marayati has a meeting set up with the LAPD next week to learn more about the plan.

“We will work with the LAPD and give them input, while at the same time making sure that people’s civil liberties are protected,” said Al-Marayati, who commended Downing for being “very forthright in his engagement with the Muslim community.”

Much more of the Muslim community though is not happy at all with the planned directives of this program. Perhaps that could stem from comments like “a vicious, amorphous and unfamiliar adversary on our land” that Downing has stated when referring to the Muslim community.
ACLU Executive Director Ramona Ripston compared the program to the Red Scare of the 1950s and said: “This is nothing short of racial profiling.”

Downing says police enforcement officials across the world are dealing with radical Muslim groups that are isolated from the larger Muslim community. These smaller groups have the potential for breeding terror cells like the one that had plans to bomb Fort Dix.

“We want to map the locations of these closed, vulnerable communities, and in partnership with these communities . . . help [weave] these enclaves into the fabric of the larger society,” he said in his testimony.

“To do this, we need to go into the community and get to know peoples’ names,” he said. “We need to walk into homes, neighborhoods, mosques and businesses.”

Al-Marayati believes that Downing is working in good faith but is he a strong enough advocate for the rest of the Los Angeles area to back this program? Could this program be a much larger problem than the radical terrorists that is hoped to be tracked?

Of course this isn’t the first time that L.A. has dealt with racial profiling. In 2001 they collected information on the racial background of all persons who were stopped even though the LAPD had no means to process the information. The reasoning was to prove that the LAPD was not profiling persons who were stopped more than others.

“There is a perception that certain racial groups are stopped over others,” said LAPD Capt. Michael Chambers, a member of a task force on the consent decree. “The city is being responsive to determine if that is so.”

Since 2001 the LAPD has had officers fill out report forms of the the race, ethnicity, gender and age of a person of every person that is stopped in either a vehicle or on foot. The officer is also required to give all persons stopped a business card with their serial number on it as a receipt of the date and time that they were stopped. The information obtained in the original degree was required to be put on their website at lapdonline.org.

Since 2003 the LAPD has been vigilant when it comes to terrorism. The Terrorist Threat Assessment Center has had a phone number in place at (877) A-THREAT. People were reminded that: “Being Islamic or of Middle Eastern descent, or a Sikh or someone who wears traditional garb, is not in and of itself suspicious,” John Miller, who is head of the LAPD’s Homeland Security Bureau said.

The police in Los Angeles have a bad history when it comes to racial profiling. At one time or another Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Arabs have all been profiled and had to endure the reverse of innocent until proven guilty. The colour of one’s skin or the religious beliefs that a person adheres to in times where fear rules makes for a bigoted view in criminal matters.

additional resources:

http://www.civilrights.org/publications/reports/racial_profiling/
http://www.acrc1.org/lapd.htm
http://www.knbc.com/news/1966329/detail.html

Advertisements

The Slaughter Of The Dolphins

Japanese fishermen slaughter dolphins. Dolphin meat is toxic so why? Why are countless dolphins trapped in nets for slaughter? Pilot whales are also in the carnage. The mercury levels in these two animals making the meat extremely toxic.

This massacre of the dolphins is by no means a new thing. It’s been part of the culture for centuries but prior to the world of the Internet it wasn’t well known. Animal activists have recently given a spotlight on the practice. The activists have used celebrities to help get the word out on the barbaric nature of this type of fishing. The activists have taken measures in their own hands at times destroying the property of the fishermen. It’s been the cause of arrests and bad feelings between the two groups.

“One fisherman told me if the whalers could kill me, they would,” says the best-known protester, Ric O’Barry, who once trained dolphins for the 1960’s TV series ‘Flipper.’ “But I always try to stay on the right side of the law. If I get arrested, I’m out of this fight.”

Dolphin meat has often been used in school lunches. The meat is fairly cheap selling at about $16 US for a kilo. Schoolchildren know the difference between whale and dolphins, it’s not hard dolphin meat smells of the toxins within.

One fisherman compared the “fishing process” to that of the United States slaughterhouses. He wasn’t that far off and he was right in saying that it’s out in the open. Visible. When people see something horrific it stays with them. Slaughterhouses are behind walls.

“If you walked into an American slaughterhouse for cows it wouldn’t look very pretty either,” says one, who identifies himself only as Kawasaki. “The killing is done in the open here so it looks worse than it is.” Most are descended from families that have been killing and eating the contents of the sea around Taiji for generations and reject arguments that dolphins are ‘special.’ Says Kawasaki: “They’re food, like dogs for the Chinese and Koreans.”

In August Assemblymen Junichiro Yamashita, 59, and Hisato Ryono, 51, from the nearby whaling city of Taiji announced the high mercury and methylmercury levels that had been found in samples of the meat of pilot whales that had been butchered. The pilot whale is actually the largest of the dolphin family. Every year 2,300 dolphins are slaughtered in Taiji. The local fishermen herd the dolphins into small coves where they spear the animals and hack them to death. In Japan it is estimated that 20,000 dolphins are slaughtered a year.

Yamashita explained, “We’re not against traditional whaling, but we heard claims that pilot whales are poisoned with mercury, and we discovered that some of this meat from a (drive fishery) was fed to kids in school lunches.”

“We tested some samples — purchased at the Gyokyo supermarket in Taiji and Super Center Okuwa in the nearby city of Shingu,” Yamashita said, adding they were “shocked” by the results.

If the meat wasn’t toxic though would the outrage still be there? Of course it would. But…and by no means am I saying that this practice is right, it is tradition. We in the West do not agree with the slaughter of animals and it happens even here in North America. The clubbing of baby seals is just one instance that comes to mind.

The fact of the matter though in this case is the meat that comes from these slaughters is no longer safe for human consumption. It may have been in the past before pollutants filled the waterways. Now it is not only unseemly to slaughter the animals but by doing so puts a nation’s young at risk when their families prepare it for them to eat. For that reason alone it should be outlawed.

If the people in Japan were more educated by their government on the danger of eating mercury filled meat they would no doubt be up in arms about this practice. The animal activist are right to be outraged at the barbarity of the “fishing” but the key at least to me is the safety issues. Those issues being more in the news have a better chance at stopping the slaughter of the dolphins.

http://www.glumbert.com/media/dolphin


Op-Ed: Burma’s Writers Are In Danger Of Prison

What would happen if the government put a stop to poetry. If your written words expressing how you feel could make you an outlaw, would you continue to write about your way of life?

If the ink that flowed through your pen gave a defiant message would you be willing to live in a jail cell?

In Burma that is the reality for those who make marks on paper that the government deems defiant. And yet they write on. In cells, in exile, using brick powder for ink they script words of meaning.

Win Naing and Zargana are both being held in Burma. Zargana is a well known comedian. His cutting wit often targets the very issues that are current. Those issues are also expected to be censored.

“He’s very inventive,” says Htein Lin, an artist who himself served six-and-a-half years in prison (on false charges) and who now, having married a former British ambassador to Burma, lives in London. Htein Lin has been a close friend of Zargana’s ever since the older man awarded him first prize at a comedy competition, 23 years ago. “Zargana’s jokes always reflect current conditions in the country and are new and up to date. Other comedians just repeat old jokes,” he adds.

In Burma the military authorities know the power of words. That is why they seek to silence them.

In a country that has a higher education system than most around it though silence of the writers doesn’t happen. They just write in secret, their words reaching out to those who crave the knowledge that pen and paper bring.

International PEN, the global writer’s association, has a Writers in Prison Committee. Led by Sara Whyatt the committee is working to have nine writers released from prison. Their terms range from seven to 21 years.

Poets Aung Than and Zeya Aung were sentenced to 19 years a piece for the writing “anti-government poems”. The person who printed their poems received 14 years and their distributor was given seven.

Writers getting longer terms than killers in the United States is insane.

U Win Tin was sentenced to 20 years 18 years ago. He was the editor-in-chief for a newspaper called Hanthawaddy. His crime was running too many articles critical of the regime. At 77 years of age he still writes in his cell using a piece of bamboo for his pen and ink from the brick powder of his cell’s wall. He has suffered greatly during the past 18 years; two heart attacks, lost most of his teeth, and is suffering from diabetes, spondylitis, and a hernia. Still he writes.

I pose a question to you in the journalism world, if your home was replaced by a cell, your pen crushed in front of you, your keyboard tossed away would you still write?


Forced Abortions China’s Shame

In China you are allowed one child. That’s it. If you choose to attempt for another one you could be forced to have an abortion. Although the practice is illegal it is still happening. Telling the story can be hazardous to your health also.

On August 24 LifeSiteNews.com
reported on Yuan Weijing being held in China. She was due to receive the Magsaysay Award, Asia’s Nobel Prize, on behalf of her husband Chen Guangcheng. He is in prison for bringing attention to the plight of Chinese women being forced to have abortions.

Yuan said, “I haven’t done anything wrong, so I’ll give it a try, and if they stop me then it’s not my problem.”

Her passport was taken at the airport. Officials claimed the valid document was void. Her phone also appears to have been taken by airport police.

“She has been detained by police at the airport,” Hu told AFP News, “and they declared her passport void. Her phone has since been taken away so we don’t know where she is kept now.”

The airport police say that they didn’t see the woman being taken into custody at the airport. She has not been seen since that day.

This is just the latest in a series of abuses the family has suffered at the hands of the government. They have endured house arrest. Chen Guangcheng has been denied appeals to end his prison term.

“The doctor said it was a boy. My friends who were beside me said the baby’s body was completely black. I felt desolate, so I didn’t look up to see the baby.”


Wei Linrong
was forced to have an abortion because it would have been her second child.
Wei Linrong was forcefully removed from her home by 10 family planning officials on April 16. She and her husband were taken to Youjiang district maternity hospital in Baise city after being told that they had no choice in the matter.

I was scared,” Wei told NPR

“The hospital was full of women who’d been brought in forcibly. There wasn’t a single spare bed. The family planning people said forced abortions and forced sterilizations were both being carried out. We saw women being pulled in one by one.”

Wei’s husband Liang was given a consent agreement to sign. He refused. The family planning officials signed it for him. He and his wife are devote Christians, he is a pastor. They do not agree with abortions on religious reasons.

Wei was given three injections to kill her seven month fetus. When fetuses are aborted in this manner the die quickly and their tissue becomes necrotic. The appearance is very dark when they have been born.

When the infant was body they treated the body was if it were rubbish, throwing the baby boy into the trash.

Not only are woman being prevented from having a second child it’s illegal to have a child outside of wedlock. There have been cases were single women have been forced to abort their children.

He Caigan was an unwed mother who also was forced to have an abortion. Family planning officials turned up at her house mere days prior to the due date of her child.

“They told me I’m too young, I couldn’t keep the child and I should have an abortion,” she said. “I’m too young to get a marriage certificate — I’m only 19 and my boyfriend’s only 21

An eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous reported that at the Baise faculty there are 41 beds just for forced abortions. This horrible violation of women became commonplace after China introduced a one child per family policy in 1980. A law was passed five years ago that guarantees China’s citizens a degree of choice when it comes to family planning.

Baise denies that forced abortions happen at their institution.

We were very surprised to hear of these accusations,” Nong said, “but our investigation concluded some individuals who were dissatisfied with our family planning policies were fabricating stories. These facts simply don’t exist. We really love and care for women here.”

Another couple Yang Zhongchen and his young wife Jin Yani were also days away from welcoming their daughter into the world. Yang Yin was very much wanted. Her parents however hadn’t been married when she was conceived in 2000. That was enough reason for the family planning officials to drag her out into the night and force her to abort the baby girl they were already in love with. Because of the abortion Jin Yani can never have another child.

They are fighting back. They have a lawsuit with Hebei province’s Changli County where they are seeking $185,000 in damages.

“This is a first,” says Beijing lawyer Sun Maohang, who represents the couple. “No court in China has ever agreed to hear an appeal on a charge against officials involving a forced abortion.”

Jin knows that if they win it will still not heal the wound. Their child will never be with them. That’s a hole in their lives no one can replace.

Her story is like other women who have suffered the same fate. She was forced from her home to a medical facility. There she was asked to sign a consent form and when she refused it was signed by the family planning officials.

Her husband was not allowed to be with her when he arrived from his out of tow job until the next day.

Young Jin was hospitalized for 44 days following the abortion forced upon her. Her husband was forced to pay for the medications she needed in the hospital. If he hadn’t his wife would have been refused that very medicine.

Yang has spent the past seven years trying to get justice for his wife and still born daughter. Until obtaining their lawyer though they had not had a chance, now it appears they just may be able to get some justice.

“We’re hoping for a satisfactory resolution,” Jin says, “for the sake of our baby … for our own peace of mind.”

The Chinese are not happy that these cases are being released into the world. Blind lawyer Chen Guangchen found that out the hard way when he lead a campaign exposing forced abortions to the world. He now sits in a prison cell with a multi-year term.

Chen’s supporters say the government trumped up charges of property damage and “organizing a mob to disturb traffic” in order to jail him. the government has said that Chen is working for “foreign anti-China forces.” The US Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey is one of those who have been in contact with China on behalf of the blind lawyer.


They Danced To Freedom

They defected for their art and freedom to the West, ballet stars ballet dancers Rudolph Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Alexander Godunov all from their homeland Mother Russia. Back when the Cold War was real they sought freedom.

June 17, 1961, at the Paris Airport was when Rudolph Nureyev defected the Soviet Union. He had been treated harshly because it was assumed he was homosexual by the KGB. Within the week he was employed with the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas and was performing The Sleeping Beauty with Nina Vyroubova.

He was finally allowed the freedom to be who he really was. In Denmark he met his lover Erik Bruhn. They had a stormy relationship due to the fact Rudolph liked to play around.

Professionally he director of the Royal Swedish Ballet from 1967 to 1972 and Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada from 1983 until his death in 1993.

He was allowed back in Russia once to visit his mother. The year was 1989.

He contacted HIV sometime in the 1980’s. Although he denied he was sick with AIDS his health was visibly failing.

The French Culture Minister, Jack Lang, presented him with France’s highest cultural award, the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1992.
On January 6, 1993 he died in Paris, France at the age of 54.

His death was mourned throughout the world although perhaps the most eloquent tribute was by Mikhail Baryshnikov who said, “He had the charisma and simplicity of a man of the earth and the untouchable arrogance of the gods.”

Natalia Makarova, a prima ballerina with the Kirov Ballet defected in 1970 to London owing to both personal and professional unhappiness. A favorite of the ballets Swan Lake and Giselle she preformed for American Ballet Theater and Royal Ballet. She even returned to Russia during her career and danced Swan Lake again with the Kirov Ballet.

During his trip of the 1970 tour of London, Mischa started planning his escape helped in part by his friend Christina Berlin of the United States. In 1974 Mikhail Baryshnikov escaped his dance troupe and sought political asylum in Toronto. His first appearance after the escape was with the National Ballet of Canada in a televised version of La Sylphide.

After that he ventured to New York. During the rest of the 1970’s he was a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and the New York City Ballet. He later became a dancer and artistic director for the ABT until the 1990’s.

He is still a major name in the world of Ballet. On July 3, 1986, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Alexander Godunov didn’t escape the Soviet Union until 23 August 1979, while on a tour with the Bolshoi Ballet in New York City. In New York Alexander contacted authorities and asked for political asylum. In response the KGB put his wife Lyudmila Vlasova on a plane bound for Russia. The United States tried to intervene but she returned to Russia and the couple were divorced in 1982.

He joined his friend Mischa at the American Ballet Theatre dancing as a principal until 1982 when they had a falling out.

He moved on to a movie career. A much publicized relationship with Jacqueline Bisset lasted until 1988.

He became an American citizen in 1987. Sadly he fell ill with hepatitis and died at the young age of 45.

His memorial at Gates Mortuary in Los Angeles is engraved with the words:
His future remained in the past


When Will Housing Our Troops Be a Priority

With their family members overseas in Afghanistan you’d think that military families have enough to worry about. Unfortunately with housing the families are trying to make ends meet in poor quality housing.

Families can either choose to live in substandard housing on the base or break the bank in expensive private market housing in Edmonton.

With 200 families on the waiting list at Edmonton Garrison even with it’s shoddy housing most have no choice be to look at the private market. Only a fraction of the 4,500 soldiers stationed there have housing.

Instead they have to make due with cramped quarters off base that have inflated rents. Such is the case of Carrie Levesque’s family living in Legal 30 minutes north of Edmonton. Her husband is away fighting for our country while she and their two daughters due with a tiny two bedroom bungalow. From the small house Carrie takes care of four other children to make ends meet.

Carrie and her girls know that they need a bigger place but without the extra money for higher rent they are stuck behind a rock and a hard place. Military housing though is not an option for this young family.

“The PMQs are horrible,” said Levesque, who lived in one for the first two years of her husband’s posting, which started in 2002.

“They’re old, the plumbing sucks, the sewer comes up, the windows are old.”

Housing prices in Edmonton rose 25% in 2006. The average cost of a home now is $300,000. Quite a hefty price tag for a military family that could be moved without much warning. Rental costs are even more hard to manage, a typical two-bedroom apartment will be renting for $1,115 a month in 2008.

One family was so worried about the housing that they asked for a delay when they were to be deployed to Edmonton. They were switched to a Winnipeg post instead.

The military is looking into ways to help their soldiers. One small band-aid is using 69 units at the former site of CFB Griesbach that is being changed into a civilian residential neighbourhood. That’s just a drop in the overfull bucket though.

There is another solution for families. Ask not to be deployed to Edmonton until the housing situation improves. That one may just get a little more action than anything else.


If You’re Invisible Do You Matter?

They are the forgotten. The invisible. Scores died in the Holocaust and yet their very mention is brief. They are a timeless people.

The fact that there is little mention of their beginnings leads belief that they predated written word. DNA evidence shows that they started out in Asia, slowly migrating to Eastern Europe.

What we do know is there language is very much like Indian languages. They were likely to have been slaves of their conquerors moving into the Byzantine Empire between 1000 and 1050 A.D. That theory is based on their language and the Hindu words therein. They remained in the Empire until the Muslims expanded into the area. Again the Roma moved on.

Some say that they were the Atsinganoi that Saint Athanasia gave food to in 800 A.D. In 803 A.D. Theophanes the Confessor wrote of having the help of the Atsinganoi during a riot and that they used magic.

Constantine IX was visited by the Atsinganoi in the form of fortune tellers and wizards in 1054. They were on hand to rid the forest of wild animals threatening the farm animals. Later they were accused of being evildoers who poisoned his favorite hound.

Around 1360 the Atsinganoi had a community in Corfu. They were an important portion of the local economy at that time.

By the 14th century the Roma had made it to the Balkans. By the 16th century they were in England, Germany, Scotland, France, Spain and Sweden. They ventured to the New World during the colonial days of Virgina and French Louisiana. Larger immigration to North America happened around 1860 and 1900.

In Romania they were enslaved for five centuries. They endured the Holocaust as the Nazis murdered 200,000 to 800,000 trying to rid them from the Earth in what was known as the Porajmos.

Their language was banned from performances in Bulgaria. They have been forced to have sterilization from various European Countries.

They are a people with no country. They are the Gypsies.

This series will look at their culture, the Holocaust, where they are today, and the children.

Related Articles
BACKGROUND: The legend of Chang’e, China’s sad moon fairy
Thirteen winners at the PRIX EUROPA 2007 awards in Berlin
Holocaust historian: “Complex feelings” at German prize

With their culture based in early Indian society the Roma culture is often looked down upon by the Western world they have migrated to.

Roma Culture

Extended family is very important to the Roma. Marriage is entered into early. by today’s standards criminally early. With young girls as brides at the age of 12 or younger some of the communities they reside in have interfered in this practice. In 2003 Ilie Tortică, a prominent Gypsy king told his people to stop using child brides. The same year a rival patriarch Florin Cioabă married off his daughter at the age of 12.

The groom’s family pays a dowry to the bride’s family. Purity laws or “marime” are closely observed by its society.

Parts of the human body is considered to be unpure, including the genitals. Clothes for the lower body and menstruating women must be cleaned separately from all other clothing. Many of these practices are also in the Hindu culture.

With their Nomadic lifestyle the Roma have often been deemed untrustworthy. American pop culture has had references to this. Cher’s early hit “Gypsy’s Tramps and Thieves” was about the Roma people.

Cultures in Europe tried to have their assimilate into the norms of society. Often banning their language and customs. This has caused a continual conflict between the different societies and the Roma people.

The Holocaust

Considered by the Nazis to be outcasts the Romani were targeted for annihilation. Between 1918 to 1933 anti-Romani laws were commonplace within Germany. They had to register with government authorities, unable to travel freely and forced to work in work-camps.

When the Nazis came into power in 1933 it only got worse. The July 1933 sterilization law saw many of the people being forced to under go sterilization. During the same year the “Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals” was passed. Considered asocial, the Romani were sent to concentration camps along with the other undesirables (Beggars, vagrants, the homeless, and alcoholics)

By 1935 they were being denied their civil rights. The marriage between a Romani and an Aryan was forbidden. By 1938 German and Austrian Romani were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. They were forced to wear either a black “asocial” patch or a green Z. It is estimated that between 220,000 to 500,000 were killed during this time.

Roma Flag

Related Articles
World‘s smallest and thinnest RFID tag is powder made by Hitachi

4 comments

Nearly one third of world‘s species under extinction threat
Key economies pledge to fight financial market turmoil

1 comment

The Romani are among us. Scattered like the wind they fit in the cracks that very little see. Still thought of as the thieves they stick to the old ways whenever possible. They are the Nomads of the West.

Welcome to the road well travelled! There is a fine art to travelling, and a magnetism to some of us. There are many things that you miss when you stay rooted in one spot. Roma and Travellers have developed this to a fine art, yet maintain a strong sense of family, perhaps with even stronger family ties than Gadjo. – Latcho Drom!

In Eastern Europe they reside in the poorest areas of town. High unemployment plagues them. And yet a few branches of this vast family tree does prosper. Expert coppersmiths, the Kalderash clan are fixtures of Romanian life. Though they are Nomadic in spirit most moves in the modern world have been because they have been pushed out of their small settlements by society.

Few of the children finish secondary school. They are still looked down upon in much of the Eastern bloc and former Yugoslavia where larger majorities inhibit. Almost always in this area they are in ghettos struggling to survive.

Instead of living hand to mouth from small low paying jobs many Romani live off the system. This furthers the way others in the towns they live in look at there as lower class peoples.

Because the Romani who stick closest to the purity laws, they shun the others in towns in the European areas they live. They stay among their own and rarely fit in with the rest of the people, sticking out like a sore thumb. They are the ones that people know of, the gypsies. The ones who have assimilated into the modern culture tend not to be noticed as Romani.

Most of the Romani in North American came from the Irish and Scottish Travelers. They are like in Europe, considered thieves. Often they leave towns in the Southern United States in the midst of scandals. There is little out there about them. Mostly because they live along side everyone else. They tend not to have as strict laws among them as the European Clans.

I personally lived among a family of Romani when I was eighteen. I had an opportunity to spend a few months after schooling with a carnival that traveled the Southern States. I found them to be a proud and entertaining group of people. The stories and laughter they gave treated me to a love of their ways. Overly protective of those they considered family, I was lucky to live as a daughter of their heart.

Oh and yes, count your change at a carnival, it’s not that they steal….just adding isn’t the same among all people.

In Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia Romani children face poverty, discrimination and a lack of vision for the future. UNICEF is hoping to change this plight.

By breaking the chains of exclusion the Romani children will have a better chance of a future while still being able to hold onto their cultural beliefs. As it stands now the Roma children are often hungry. They live in absolute poverty, as did their forefathers. They are unhealthy and much of the population is underweight.

The children often do not finish secondary school. Confined to only Romani schools that are under budgeted and understaffed they struggle to keep up with their peers in these European countries.

UNICEF is hoping to make strides for these children.

If you want to see how you can help please contact:

Jadranka Milanovic, Communication Officer,UNICEF Serbia Office: Tel + 011/ 3602 100; e-mail:belgrade@unicef.org

http://www.fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/people/victroma.htm