Die böse Realität des Antiziganismus
The Evil Reality of Antiziganism

By Marko D. Knudsen
for the II. International Antiziganism Conference




Dulsberg-Sued 4 , D – 22049 Hamburg, Phone: + 49 179 7507848
Email: Antiziganismus@email.de , www.EZAF.org



The Evil Reality of Antiziganism

Antiziganism has to be understood as an instrument of stigmatisation, whose intent is not to observe and understand the circumstances of the “other” side, but to find elements of identification that legitimate separation and other discriminative actions against those “others”. Antiziganism is uttered freely and unfiltered by the majority society.

Thus, it hardly matters if a community of “Gypsies” has been living nearby for decades – their neighbours still consider them “Nomads”. 657 years ago, the Roma entered the continent together with the Turks during the Osman Empire’s invasion of Europe. This is probably the reason why they were initially feared and distrusted – a notion that remained in the European consciousness and has been nourished until our present day,


Europe’s Cultural Heritage

Antiziganism can be considered as a kind of European cultural heritage. Already during childhood, the individual is faced with the decision:
a. do I form and stand to my own opinion, thus questioning the values and prejudice of my own parents, or
b. do I believe what my parents tell me.
Of course, most people unquestioningly follow the views of their parents, because they are the instance of truth for all children. This manner of relaying values, traditions and prejudice from one generation to the next has been apparent in all European countries and in all social classes for centuries.

“The great breadth of a nation falls for a big lie much easier than for a small one.”
Adolf Hitler

This “tradition” manifests itself in a mental as well as palpable inner-social declaration of enemy status against those who are not supposed to be assimilated or integrated.
The majority society legitimates its antiziganistic behaviour against the Roma and Sinti, because the individuals see their own actions and attitudes in a subjectively logical context that is shared by the whole society:

Historical Antiziganistic Persecutions:
• 15th – 16th century: Antiziganistic laws
• 16th – 19th century: Marking and killing
• 16th – 21st century: Deportations and Resettlements
• 20th – 21st century: Gypsy Offices, Adoptions, Sterilisations


The Curse of ANTIZIGANISM

The fact is generally ignored that the Roma managed to survive for more than 1000 years in a hostile environment only because of their exceptional ability for assimilation and integration. With this, they weathered prejudice and Antiziganism, the resulting discrimination, racism and – at the end of the spiral – murder, and the historical genocide during the Nazi era and in Kosovo.
Antiziganism has left the Roma and their fellow groups crippled, both physically and psychologically; only worried about survival, feeding the hunger for food and not the one for knowledge. Poverty through exclusion, this is the result of the systematic Antiziganism in Europe: 12 to 15 million people neglected and ignored by a society that does not want them and considers itself right to hold this opinion.

Antiziganism or Antigypsyism

The European Center for Antiziganism Research will use the term Antiziganism in its international, English-language work, thus refraining from the term Antigypsyism. We decided against the commonly used English term, because it only refers to the Roma (“Gypsies”) in English-speaking territories like Great Britain and Ireland, while the rest of Europe uses closely related terms like “Zigeuner”, “Cigan”, “Cingany”, “Tsigange” etc.
Thus, the linguistic root “Zigan-“ is better suited for usage in a terminological definition for the entirety of Europe, the term “Antiziganism” allowing an identification of the problem on a national as well as international level. For example, a Rumanian might not make a direct connection between the word “Antigypsyism” and the “Tsigans” in his homeland.
The term “Antigypsyism” therefore only makes sense in the context of the special, national Antiziganism in the English-speaking territories of Europe.


Summary:

Antiziganism prevents equal treatment and therefore every attempt of integration, tolerance or assimilation of the Roma into the majority society of the respective states they are living in, although they are their rightful citizens. Because of Antiziganism, the Roma in all of Europe lack the protection of their basic democratic rights, especially the right for equal treatment, which should be codified in every democratic constitution.
In Europe, everybody is equal – but the “Gypsies” are nothing.

“There is no greater merit than freeing an oppressed nation.”
Nelson Mandela