NEWS - Archive July 2008

Headlines 25 July, 2008

ROMA HOUSING PROJECTS NOT TACKLING SEGREGATION(Slovakia)

25/7/2008- New housing projects aimed at integrating Roma into their communities have not followed the standards set up for the project. Daniel Škobla, Poverty and Social Inclusion Officer of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) told TASR on July 24 that the projects are being constructed too far from village and town limits, and tend to perpetuate segregation rather than eliminate it. The projects have been funded by the European Social Fund. Škobla also stated that he thinks the recent Public Health Service survey on Roma life did not have a representative sampling. The survey found that nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of Roma are not concerned about whether or not they have jobs. Škobla doubts the accuracy of these findings. He believes the best way to deal with Roma unemployment is with so-called 'affirmative action', which obliges companies who receive public funds to employ a certain percentage of Roma on a full-time basis. Škobla does feel, however, that the survey provided a useful picture of Roma health, food habits, hygienic conditions, birthrate and other matters, and highlighting problems that need to be dealt with, especially the issue of segregation of Roma in schools.
The Slovak Spectator

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SIX MIGRANTS DROWN OFF FRENCH INDIAN OCEAN ISLAND

Officials searching for survivors of a shipwreck off French Indian Ocean island Mayotte said six migrants have been found dead.

24/7/2008- Two planes and five patrol boats were Wednesday searching choppy waters off the French Indian Ocean island Mayotte for survivors of a shipwreck that left six migrants dead, officials said. The provisional toll after the sinking of the makeshift vessel - believed to have had up to 30 people on board from the nearby Comoros islands - was six survivors and six dead, officials said. French Foreign Legion soldiers based on Mayotte were also engaged in the search, scouring the island's coastline for signs of survivors. Dozens of migrants perish each year as they attempt the crossing from the Comoros archipelago to Mayotte on traditional wooden vessels known as a kwassa-kwassa. Mayotte opted to remain French when the rest of the Comoros won independence in 1975 and is seen by its poor neighbours as an El Dorado, offering a high standard of living, more employment opportunities and better education. Illegal immigrants account for a third of the population of Mayotte.
Expatica News

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FIVE CHECHENS ARRESTED AFTER ATTACK ON ASYLUM CENTRE(Norway)

25/7/2008- Five men from Chechnya were arrested after an attack on reception centre for asylum seekers at Våler 45 kilometres southeast of Oslo. More than 20 people were injured, including an 11 year-old boy. The attack was directed at Kurdish and Arab guests living Nordbybråthen transit centre in Østfold County. "Some of those arrested were picked near the centre and others were picked up in other places. Two came out of the woods nearby," says police chief Otto Stærk. The first arrests were made at 5am on Friday morning. The five Chechens will be interviewed by police on Friday. The Police think that more arrests will take place soon. Reports vary about how many attackers there were. Some say 40 to 50, others claim 100 and yet another estimate says 20. "What is certain is that there were a lot," says Stærk. Police confiscated several weapons near the centre. According to Stærk, both machetes and iron bars were discovered. Those living at the centre reported seeing firearms, but so far the Police have not found any. All the injured are expected to live, but it is not clear how seriously injured they are. Their condition remains stable. "Conditions at the Nordbybråthen are difficult. This is because the centre houses asylum seekers who have had their claims rejected by Norwegian authorities and are waiting to be returned to the European country that first let them in," says General Secretary of the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), Morten Tjessem to news bureau NTB. "Conflicts are not uncommon in a situation like this, but a large group of people coming in from outside is both unusual and shocking," says Tjessem.
Aftenposten

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SKINHEADS SUSPECTED IN 21 ETHNIC KILLINGS(Russia)

25/7/2008- A group of skinheads have been implicated in the murder of at least 21 ethnic minorities, the Investigative Committee said Thursday. The seven suspects had been under investigation for the murder of two Uzbek citizens in Moscow in May but are now suspected of killing at least 19 other "individuals with non-Slavic appearances," the committee said in a statement. The announcement came on the heels of two trials that began this week at the Moscow City Court, in which several teenage suspects are accused of dozens of racist murders. After being arrested for the murder of the two Uzbeks, four suspects began confessing to more racially motivated murders, including that of an acquaintance from Kazakhstan, the Investigative Committee said in the statement. They told investigators that they murdered the Kazakh man, whose last name was Melnik, in the apartment where they were arrested and proceeded to chop up the body and bury the remains in the courtyard, the statement said. The statement identified the four suspects by their last names: Tamashev, Molotkov, Nikiforenko and Yurov. Tamashev said he belonged to a nationalist group called the National-Socialist Society, it said. It was unclear from the statement when the other three suspects were detained or what their names are. A woman who answered the phone at the Investigative Committee's press office referred all inquiries to the official statement. Meanwhile, the Moscow City Court on Thursday ruled that a jury would hear the case of Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, both 17, who along with seven other skinheads are charged with committing 20 racist murders. A dozen teenagers charged with a series of deadly racist attacks are to go on trial at the court next Monday.
The Moscow Times

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RUSSIA OPENS TRIAL OF SKINHEAD GANG FOR 20 MURDERS

24/7/2008- A Russian court held preliminary hearings on Thursday in the trial of a skinhead gang whose members are charged with murdering 20 people in racist attacks. Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, both aged 17, led seven other skinheads aged between 17 and 22 who mainly attacked migrants from post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. "The criminal skinhead group is charged with 20 premeditated murders, 12 attempted murders and fomenting racial hatred," said Moscow City Court spokeswoman Anna Usachyova. "The skinhead group ... will be tried behind closed doors," she said. "A jury, requested by a female suspect, will be selected on August 22. The trial will be closed because some of the accused have not yet come of age." The accused video-taped their attacks on people with darker skin and posted them in the Internet. Running sequences of some of the violent attacks, Russia's Vesti-24 channel said that after severely beating their victims the gang would often use a knife to finish them off with a "trademark" stab in the back. Attacks on foreigners and darker-skinned migrant workers from ex-Soviet republics have become commonplace in today's Russia, where Jewish cemeteries and synagogues are often desecrated by neo-Nazi vandals. Swastika graffiti can be seen across Russia. Local anti-fascist campaigners have repeatedly urged the authorities to tackle rising xenophobia and neo-Nazism in Russia, which lost millions of its citizens fighting against fascism during World War Two.
Reuters

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MORE EVIDENCE OF GOVERNMENT CAMPAIGN AGAINST JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN RUSSIA

24/7/2008- New evidence has emerged of a government coordinated campaign against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. As UCSJ reported earlier this week prosecutors in Asbest and Taganrog have brought charges of extremism against Jehovah's Witnesses congregations. According to the religious freedom watchdog Forum 18, local authorities have also prevented eight Jehovah's Witnesses meetings from taking place in cities all over the country, and tried to obstruct to various degrees around 30 others. According to the Forum 18 report: "The FSB security service, local administrations and Prosecutor's Offices have all been involved" in this campaign. In addition, in the course of just two days this week, UCSJ has discovered articles in the local newspapers of four regions that demonize Jehovah's Witnesses, including a sensational account that accused them of kidnapping a man from within a Russian Orthodox Church in Elista, capital of the Republic of Kalmykia. Whatever the truth behind this account, which was written up in all the republic's major papers as well as papers beyond the region, its timing is suspiciously reminiscent of Soviet-style propaganda campaigns featuring spectacular accusations against various "enemies of the people."

The most credible description of the event came in a July 23, 2008 article in the local official newspaper "Pravitelstvennaya Gazeta." According to the article, the incident took place over the weekend at Elista's Krestovozdvizhensky Russian Orthodox Church. The paper cited the following "official version" of the events: Four men entered the church, grabbed a young man named Yuri Vorozhbitov and forced him into a car. Yuri is the 20-year-old son of the local head of the Jehovah's Witnesses community who had reportedly gone to the church looking for help against his parents, who allegedly forced him into the Jehovah's Witnesses "sect." He allegedly said that his parents had used physical force against him and that he was on the verge of suicide. A spokesman for the local diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church confirmed this account and reported it to the police, who after a brief search, found Yuri in a mental institution, where his parents had placed him. An appeal from a local nationalist organization led to a police investigation of the putative kidnapping. However, the young man's father, Vasily Vorozhbitov, told the author of the article that he and his wife had Yuri hospitalized because of his deteriorating mental health. He stated that his son was taken to wandering off and thereby endangering himself, which is why when the Jehovah's Witnesses found him inside a church, they felt the need to take him away by force. A psychiatrist who treated Yuri before confirmed that he has a history of mental illness, and that lately he has tried to avoid treatment, which he still needs. The doctor did insist, however, that any further treatment should be voluntary.

A July 23, 2008 article in the Volgograd edition of the national daily "Kommersant" interviewed Mr. Vorozhbitov, who stated that his son, who suffers from schizophrenia, has the right to choose his own religious faith, and that the story about the "kidnapping" within the church was a planned provocation by the local diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. A spokesman for the diocese cast doubt on assertions that Yuri Vorozhbitov is mentally ill and demanded another medical evaluation of his mental health. Whether or not prosecutors will bring charges against Mr. Vorozhbitov remains to be seen. The story led to a predictable firestorm on web sites and media linked to the far-right, including a July 22 report on the web site "Russkaya Liniya" which quoted the head of the missionary department of the Yaroslavl diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church calling for Jehovah's Witnesses to be banned as an extremist organization and compared them to a disease that needs to be extirpated from the body of Russia. Meanwhile, articles appeared in three local newspapers in Yekaterinburg, Vladimir, and Arkhangelsk over the course of just two days demonizing Jehovah's Witnesses. In an article entitled "Poisoners of Minds," the July 22, 2008 edition of the Yekaterinburg paper "Uralsky Rabochy" opens by warning that: "A religious fanatic with a rifle on a rooftop can take the lives of several dozen people. And if he gets his hands on a nuclear power station--the lives of hundreds of thousands or millions of people." The next paragraph begins with quotations from Jehovah's Witnesses literature that proclaims their faith superior to other "false religions" and predicts an apocalypse that will consume the followers of other faiths, but not the Jehovah's Witnesses themselves. While the author admits that most religions contain similar tenets, he sees a threat in the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses, who supposedly inspire their followers to, "hasten God's punishment" by "grabbing a rifle." "In the end, we will mourn both this person and his victims. But should we let things get to this point? Wouldn't it be simpler to deal with these 'poisoners of minds' before it's too late?"

The next day (July 23), the Vladimir supplement to the popular national daily "Moskovsky Komsomolets" ran an article that began with a quote from the Bible warning about false prophets. The author of the piece claimed to have several friends and acquaintances who have been abused by "sects" and listed them only by their first names, making it impossible to verify the truth of his stories. He lumped genuinely dangerous groups like the Japanese death cult Aum Shinrikyo in with Jehovah's Witnesses and others under the rubric of "sects" which he defined as, "destructive religious trends led, as a rule, but one or two leaders who have unquestioned authority within the group and power over its believers." "The ultimate goal of a sectarian organization," the author writes, "is control over many, and ideally, over all spheres of a person's life" using hypnosis and drugs. "Many sects, like the Unification Church of Moon, the 'Jehovah's Witnesses,' the Scientologists of Ron Hubbard, and others are in fact huge commercial and financial 'empires' that aim to acquire power over the whole world." The author ends with the following warning: "Dear Vladimir residents, don't believe that a volunteer from the 'Jehovah's Witnesses' with a rolex on his wrist can make your life better. Don't fall for the provocations of the sectarians. In other words, be vigilant!" That same day, an article in the local paper "Pravda Severa" in the far-northern city of Arkhangelsk summarized the conclusions of a conference held in the city on "Sects and Psychotherapy." On speaker called "sects" "non-lethal weapons of mass destruction" that "cause psychological harm to people and to the mental ecology of Russia." The bulk of the article is an interview with Father Evgeny Sokolov, a Russian Orthodox priest based at Pomorsky State University in Arkhangelsk, whose accusations against Jehovah's Witnesses and other "sects," in the typical style of "pay to order" journalism in Russia, go unanswered within the article by any contrary views.

Father Evgeny warns that without a state religion, "the state and society fall apart when people believe in various spiritual values." He then hints at the accusations of many within Russia's security services that minority Christians are tools of foreign intelligence services: "Any enemy who wants to destroy society and the state will allow false and different spiritual orientations. The truth is always indivisible. If you need to divide a people, you need to deprive it of a united truth. That is the task placed before sects." He then makes the false claim that, "Every Jehovah's Witness, for example, is a citizen not of our country, but of a different state with a center in Brooklyn (the USA)" yet "the government does nothing to fight them." "Such impudent, cynical missionary work needs to be stopped," Father Evgeny then says that he can't imagine going to Germany to proselytize Russian Orthodoxy, a clear indication of the link between faith and nationalism in Russia. He made the astounding claim that the government of Germany would actually prevent him from doing so. The author ended by calling for a united effort by psychiatrists, Orthodox clergy and law enforcement agencies against Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists and other "sects."
FSU Monitor

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BITS FROM RUSSIA

Court Fines Bryansk Businessman for Selling Antisemitic Film
24/7/2008- A court in Bryansk, Russia fined a local businessman 25,000 rubles (approximately $1,000) for selling an antisemitic DVD, according to a July 22, 2008 report by the web site Jewish.ru. Dmitry Kovalyov, owner of the "Patriot" store, reportedly urged his customers to buy the film "Russia With a Knife in Its Back: Jewish Fascism and the Genocide of the Russian People." Prosecutors charged him with violating Article 282 of the criminal code, which prohibits the incitement of ethnic hatred.

New Campaign Against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia?
23/7/2008- Prosecutors in three cities have taken actions targeting Jehovah's Witnesses within a month of each other in Asbest, Murmansk and Taganrog, raising the possibility that their efforts are part of a coordinated campaign. As UCSJ already reported, prosecutors in Asbest (Sverdlovsk region) charged local Jehovah's Witnesses with inciting religious hatred and have asked a court to brand their publications extremist materials, according to a June 24, 2008 report by the Interfax news agency. Investigators determined that the publications present a negative image of the dominant Russian Orthodox Church. Meanwhile in Taganrog, on July 10 local prosecutors began a court case aimed at banning the Jehovah's Witnesses there, using anti-extremism laws as the basis for their claim, according to a July 18, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. Last year, the local prosecutor's office issued two warnings to the leader of the Taganrog Jehovah's Witnesses congregation for "extremism" after consulting an "expert" who claimed that Jehovah's Witnesses incite religious hatred in their publications. On July 18, 2008 the RIA-Novosti news agency reported that prosecutors in Murmansk issued a warning to the owners of a stadium that rented their premises to Jehovah's Witnesses for a religious event. Prosecutors argued that stadiums in Russia are only meant for sports. Legal cases against Jehovah's Witnesses have become more frequent in Russia after a Moscow district court outlawed them on spurious charges in 2004, but by openly abusing anti-incitement and anti-extremism laws, prosecutors have opened a new legal front against them

Leningrad Region Murder May Be Hate Crime
22/7/2008- Police found the body of a 25-year-old citizen of Kyrgyzstan in a Leningrad region town, according to a July 21, 2008 report on the web site of the national daily "Komsomolskaya Pravda." The body showed signs that the victim was beaten to death in the village of Ulyanovka. The victim was not robbed of his money or cell phone, increasing the possibility that he fell victim to a hate crime. Police are investigating the murder.

St. Petersburg High School Students Charged With Hate Crime
22/7/2008- Prosecutors in St. Petersburg, Russia charged two high school girls with a hate crime, according to a July 22, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. The 16 and 17 year old girls allegedly assaulted a fellow student in an attack motivated by ethnic hatred. The charges of violating Article 116 of the Criminal Code ("simple assault motivated by ethnic hatred") stem from a campaign launched in the city's Kolpinsky district aimed at targeting youthful offenders. The report did not mention the ethnicity of the victim.

Petersburg Anti-Fascist Arrested After Stabbing Incident
21/7/2008- Police in St. Petersburg arrested an anti-fascist activist after charging him with stabbing an off-duty police officer whom he mistook for a neo-Nazi, according to a July 18, 2008 report by the local Fontanka.ru news web site. According to police, the officer in training and his friend encountered a large group of young men on the night of June 13, one of whom allegedly asked if they were skinheads because of the way they were dressed. When the officer replied something to the effect that it was nobody's business even if he were a skinhead, the suspect allegedly stabbed him and his friend with a knife, sending them both to the hospital. The suspect's lawyer has a different version of the events, claiming that the police officer and his friend were walking down the street screaming neo-Nazi slogans when his client confronted them with his provocative question, at which point the officer allegedly broke a bottle and menaced him with it, forcing his client to use a knife in self-defense. Police arrested the suspect a month later and a court ordered that he remain in pre-trial detention.
FSU Monitor

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FOREIGN STUDENTS BEWARE(Ukraine, commentary)

Rising violence against racial minorities could stymie Ukraine’s hopes for closer EU ties.
By Melinda Haring, former advocacy and press officer of Freedom House and now a freelance writer living in Kyiv
 

23/7/2008- Romano Prodi, the former president of the European Commission, once said that Ukraine “has as much reason to be in the European Union as New Zealand.” Prodi is right, but not just for the usual litany of reasons cited against poor and corrupt post-Soviet countries. Ukraine, a country still in transition after its 2004 democratic Orange Revolution, shows signs of moving back toward its nationalistic and xenophobic roots. The nation must squarely confront this backpedaling before the EU will ever consider it a candidate for membership. The number of racially motivated attacks is at an all-time high in the country, according to the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, a large grass-roots organization that advocates for Jews and human rights. In 2007, there were at least 60 racist attacks, six of them fatal, according to monitoring carried out by the Diversity Initiative Group in Kyiv. Two people died in the 29 reported attacks that had occurred by March. Amnesty International’s new report on racial discrimination in Ukraine calls the escalating violence against minorities alarming and condemns authorities for failing to address the attacks. The victims have been Jews and immigrants from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The escalation of this violence may be best illustrated by attacks on a highly visible and vulnerable group, foreign students. More than 43,000 foreigners attend Ukraine’s financially starved universities, bringing in $250 million annually.

One student, Kazem, came to Ukraine five years ago from Iran after seeing the National Technical University’s Kyiv Polytechnic Institute advertised on the Internet. In the advertisement, Ukraine was called “the center of Europe” and the dorms were portrayed as palatial. Kazem secured a visa and began his studies at KPI in the mechanical engineering faculty. After five years and two attacks, Kazem is an unofficial leader of the foreign students at KPI. In February, he and approximately 500 international students, mostly from Iran and Turkey, peacefully gathered outside the main academic building to call attention to concerns about their safety. The students carried signs that read, “How many foreign students have to die for us to be heard?” and “We want to study peacefully.” They stood in front of the university as the police looked on lazily. Kazem kept herding the students, so that they did not block the door and the police wouldn’t have to confront them. Word reached the rector of KPI, who agreed to see them immediately. The students began rushing into the auditorium hall, where victims began to retell their stories to a crowded audience of foreign students and some faculty. Rector Mykhaylo Zgurovsky arrived and gave a speech promising to provide two security guards for each dormitory on campus, which allegedly have been the sites of many attacks. Kazem said that Zgurovsky “is a good guy” and cares about the students. Other students said that these were just more empty promises. “The police help them,” 27-year-old Hamid, a mechanical engineering student from Iran told me, referring to the attackers.

A different sort of rally was held 25 April at the State Committee on Nationalities and Religions. Mostly teenage men and university students turned up, carrying signs reading “Ukraine for Ukrainians.” The rally was organized by a nationalist group called RID. According to these protesters, minorities commit more crimes than ethnic Ukrainians and they receive better treatment at university. They do not want more non-Slavs moving to Ukraine. A massive, torch-lit protest organized by another nationalist group, Ukrainian Patriot, was held at KPI in late March over perceptions that foreign students have nicer dorms. Vladimir Polishchuk, the Kyiv police chief, has denied that the many attacks against foreigners in 2007, six of them fatal, were racially motivated. He even went so far as to say that people from African and Asian countries have nothing to fear. But Hakan, a KPI student from Turkey, said he’s afraid to go out after dark. Reza from Iran said he was attacked three years ago by approximately 10 men who told him to go home. According to the 22-year-old man, they told him, “Ukraine is just for Ukrainian people.”

Freddie, a 22-year-old mechanical engineering student at KPI, said he was attacked on 5 October by some 40 men on Kyiv’s major street, Khreshchatyk Boulevard, at 10 p.m. He said they clubbed him with beer bottles. The Lebanese student swears that he did not provoke them. Four months later, Freddie’s scars are still obvious on his forehead. He was told, “You’re foreign. Get out of our country.” The deputy dean of one department at KPI was hesitant to speak to me and asked not to be named. He said xenophobia is not exclusive to KPI. “It is a problem of the whole country. It’s about skinheads. Maybe it’s about racism … but we have other problems.” The police have been classifying many of these racially motivated attacks on students under Article 296 of the criminal code for “hooliganism,” which carries lighter penalties than the hate-crimes law. Amnesty International has argued that this misclassification results in “the racist nature of the crime” remaining unacknowledged. Parliament is considering proposals to strengthen the hate-crimes law and to change the murder statutes to include racial and national hatred as a motivation for killing. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, only four people have been successfully prosecuted under Ukraine’s hate law.

Change in attitude
The solution, however, is not in merely amending legal codes. According to Amnesty International, bananas are often thrown at Africans simply walking down the street. Diana Ditto, a private English teacher in Kyiv, often sees racism in her classroom. “When I give beginning students an advertisement, they are supposed to form as many questions as possible. I often include pictures of minorities. Inevitably, the first question about a black person is, ‘Why are they black?’ ” Revising the legal code will not change these ingrained prejudices. It will take changing attitudes in society, proper justice, and strong political leadership. A country’s treatment of its minorities is a good barometer for its overall health. In Ukraine, economic growth may be strong, but human rights are light years behind the articles laid out in the European Convention on Human Rights, observance of which is a condition for EU membership. Until Ukrainian authorities confront their treatment of minorities and other serious issues, like endemic corruption, New Zealand may well have a better chance of joining the EU.
Transitions Online

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GREECE ACCUSED OF REFUGEE NEGLECT

24/7/2008- The Greek government has been accused of neglecting 140 war refugees who have been evicted from their reception centre on the Aegean island of Patmos. The refugees, including women and babies, are living rough in the streets of Patmos, a French charity claims. The refugees hail from the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and Somalia. Patmos is one of the Greek islands close to the Turkish coast targeted by people-traffickers paid thousands of dollars to smuggle refugees to Europe.

List of complaints
Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) claims says the 140 refugees had been crammed into a second floor discotheque measuring just 50 sq m (60 sq yards). The only advantage the building offered its occupants was shelter from outside temperatures approaching 40C (104F). But the refugees have been forced to confront the elements of a harsh Greek summer, because, according to the charity, the government has not paid the rent for the discotheque and the people have been evicted. The situation was described as "outrageous" by Sophia Ioannou, a Medecins du Monde spokeswoman. She called on the Greek government to provide sanitary civilised living conditions. This is the latest in a long line of complaints by international care agencies about Greece's handling of refugees.

Stop the conflicts
Earlier this summer more than 150 war refugee children staged a hunger strike to complain about conditions on the nearby island of Leros. The Greek government says it is trying to do all it can to cope with the refugee influx, but its islands are being swamped. And it simply does not have sufficient reception centres to handle the numbers coming across the water. Athens also claims that illegal immigration is a pan-European problem and accuses Greece's EU partners of not doing enough to support it on the front line. For example, the mayor of Leros claims that Britain and the United States must bear responsibility for the flight of refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan. Charity workers in the eastern Aegean say the only way to stop the problem is to stop the conflicts.
BBC News

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EDITORIAL: RACISM IN FRONT OF THE PC(Romania)

By Ovidiu Nahoi, Deputy Chief Editor 

24/7/2008- Should we make too much of the forums that accompany articles from our publications’ online editions? Do these messages tune in to readers’ state of mind? Let’s take notice of the fact that political parties and candidates put a stress on the virtual side of their campaigns. And if active citizens pass from agora to internet, then forums also should have their own sociologic relevance. And if so, the reactions to articles about the situation of Roma people are worrying. Both the piece of news about the Italians from Naples beach, careless about the dead bodies of the two drowned little Rom girls, and the interview from our paper with the Rom euro parliamentarian Viktoria Mohacsi received mainly reactions full of cynicism and intolerance. When you feel the hate murmuring in thousands and thousands of messages, you can’t help wondering: is it not that a couple of hare-brained could think out of a Kristalnacht, but more Balkan? What grasp would it have here a party or a leader making a blunt racist and xenophobe speech? Let us keep in mind, Romania is going to be invaded by Asia workers and we have no clue yet about what this collision of civilizations will bring us.

Another shocking detail: we are talking about debating spaces from around serious publications - such as "Adevarul", "Evenimentul zilei", "Hotnews" and others. Thus, we can question ourselves whether racism and tolerance are society’s background problems. Yes, we do have a problem with Roma people’s integration – we, the Romanian, and we, the European. But, saying, even under pseudonym, that the solution is linked to the "final solution" is a proof of backwardness. Praising to the skies Hitler is not more civilized than splashing the footway. And, now, let’s take our political leaders. With a few exceptions coming from our euro parliamentarians, they are silent as a mouse. They’ve chosen a dangerous compromise between European values and mother-country’s majority. How long are they going to go on like this? And, what exactly is going to happen with the flushes of hate and intolerance left to sink or swim? The duty of the leaders is to put forth the values they believe in, in very moments like these, even with the risk of elections. Same as it is press’ duty to take into account of responsibility, and not only of sales graphics.
Adevarul

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