With help of the Roma virtual Network the coming into existance of the Initiative is spread worldwide;
The official launch of this website takes place on 25 October;
Members start organizing themselves in Groups with coordinators: Cultural, Edicational, Media and Porrajomos. The public presentation of the Initiative and its website is on 19 November in Rotterdam on the IDEA conference "Samen in Europa";
Official number of Members is over 140 (most orchestras count as only 1), Facebook supporters: 1800.
There is a first orientation on fundraising and famous artists are invited to join as Honorary Member; a new Group Coordination is added to focus on PR, fundraising, translation and logistics;
There are three Main Ideas for events: the Caravan Project, a smaller one or two day event and a Cultural and Educational project, linked to universities;
Official number of Members reaches 174, Facebook supporters: over 2300
The Artists' Initiative starts working out more official structures: the movement needs a Board and a Foundation, in order to receive the financial support for the planned events. It is decided that the focus will be on Romani children and youth.
Members of the Coordination Group start to meet in person;
Official number of Members is 213. Facebook supporters: close to 3000
The Artists' Initiative starts preparing the ROMA FOR ROMA event in Rome, Italy, planned on 15, 16 September 2011, in which approximately 50 artists will participate. The Initiative applies for a grant from the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), Amsterdam.
Simultaneously the Initiative distributes its text "Commemorating the Future" about the practice of Apartheid in nowadays Europe.
With all this progressing February also brings a serious setback: Kasum Cana, writer, painter and activist, passes away. Not even four months old since the start of this website, the Artists' Initiative loses one of its most precious Members;
Official number of Members reaches 259. Facebook supporters: over 3000
The Artists' Initiative starts forming a Board and preparing a Statute for the new Foundation that is going to be called: World Artists' Initiative "Khetanes" (= all together in Romani)
Within the Initiative the IRADL group, initiated by Casimire Williamsii, becomes more and more important: International Romani Anti Defamation Group, that spots racism in culture, media and politics. The first letter sent out is drafted by Ciuin Ferrin and co-signed by a large group of Members. The letter is meant for A&E network in the United States, having broadcasted an episode "Bloodlines" (Criminal Minds) full of very strong prejudicm. It is decided that IRADL will become an integral component of the new Foundation. Glenda Bailey-Mershon and Ciuin Ferrin start working out a press pack.
While in the States TV is broadcasting a film full of dangerous stereotypes, in Europe neo-Nazis march in Novy Bydzov (Czech Republic). Lukas Houdek, photographer and reporter, has posted his photos on this site. Also in Hungary far-right vigilantes intimidate Roma populations. In most cases police is extremely passive;
Official number of Members 284. Facebook Supporters: 3574
After the marches by neo-Nazis in Czech Republic, there are marches, occupations and even training-camps of neo-Nazis in Hungary. The Roma population of Gyöngyöspata is strongly intimidated. Children are kept at home and even adults are afraid to leave the house. In the weekend of Eastern (24 and 25 April) almost 300 women and children are being evacuated by the Hungarian Red Cross, as there is a paramilitary training-camp near their village. The men stay at home to protect their valuables.
There is growing pressure on Hungarian authorities to act. Finally some of the neo-Nazi leaders are arrested, but the evacuation of 300 women and children is officially called a holiday trip;
Official number of Members 306. Facebook Supporters over 3600
On 25 May our successful Facebook Cause is closed by a former Member, in spite of our protests to him and to Facebook. We immediately start a new Cause: World Artists for Roma Rights, that by the end of May has approximately 600 Supporters.
Also in May the translation in English of the Statute for the new Foundation, by Niko Rergo, is finished and handed over to the notary. "World Artists Initiative Khetanes" becomes the name of the Foundation and the new name of this website.
In the Test Europe Now Group preparations start for summer events in Romania, Hungary and Czech Republic. Also the International Romani Anti Defamation League Group (IRADL) becomes more and more active.
Thanks to Glenda Bailey-Mershon there is huge progress in the preparation of the Press Pack;
Official number of Members 331. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1163
The final work on the Press Pack is done, that is going to be launched together with the Initiative.
Zoran Tairovic travels to Hungary, where he adds a beautiful fresco on one of the houses of the Bódvalenke Fresco Village. This project, managed by Eszter Pásztor, wins the Country Winner/ Honorary Award of Erste Foundation (chosen out of 1867 projects in Central-Eastern Europe). Zoran is also the painter who makes the sketches for a Formula 1 Fresco, on the occasion of the Formula 1 races to be held in Hungary in July.
Former President Václav Havel from Czech Republic cannot accept the patronage of a concert offered by Miret, due to his bad health. We do not cancel the event in Prague, but try to find someone who can replace Václav Havel.
Simultaneous we work on the Garden Project by Nadara: a plan to anable poor Roma families in Transylvania to buy pieces of land in order to stop the famine;
Official number of Members 352. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1398
On 18 July World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" becomes an official foundation.
The Press Pack is translated from English in Czech, German, Romanian, Turkish, Italian, Romani and several more languages. It will be distributed by the end of August.
Prof. Dr. Rajko Djuric joins the Initiative as Honorary Member.
The fresco made by Zoran Tairovic in Bódvalenke is not adopted by Formula 1 officials, due to a lack of time, but it is agreed that events will be planned for next year.
A long range plan "Test Europe Now!" is presented to all members;
Official number of Members 383. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1541
Last formalities are done to register the new Foundation in the Chamber of Commerce and to open a bank account.
It is decided that the first events in the framewok of Test Europe Now! will take place in Bódvalenke (Hungary) and Prague (Czech Republic).
An invitation is received (later confirmed in written) from the Congress of the Council of Europe to address the Summit of Mayors on Roma on 22 September 2011 in Strasbourg. On that day we will officially present World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" and hand out the Press Pack in several languages;
Official number of Members 409, Facebook Supporters New Cause 1637 (4674 Likes)
Beginning of September our website is under maintenance and almost one week offline. The whole content is transfered to another account to prevent hackers from entering the site.
Immediately after the preparations for Strasbourg continue. The English Press Pack is translated in French, German, Romanian, Czech, Italian and Spanish. In these 7 languages we present World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" on 22 September during the Summit of Mayors on Roma in Strasbourg. Both the introduction speech and the Press Pack are well received.
More translations will follow to forward the Press Pack to media and other interested institutions and individuals world-wide.
By the end of the month we focus again on submitting grants to finance the first activities in 2012, Test Europe Now!
Tensions grow in Europe. There are serious clashes in Czech Republic and Bulgaria. France is criticized by HRW for its mass deportations of Bulgarian and Romanian Roma, violating EU legislation;
Official number of Members 445. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1688 (4920 Likes)
Xylena joins as web administrator, creating a totally new design and introducing a special page "other languages", where Press Packs in many translations are posted. Pit is involved in designing all translated posters in 3 alphabets and many more languages.
Contacts are made with several foundations where we apply for grants. By the end of the month there are two meetings with members of Cabinets of the European Commission. The atmosphere is constructive and there will be a follow-up in December;
Official number of Members 467. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1748 (5028 Likes)
November weeks are spent to prepare for those meetings. Focus is on establishing a European Roma Orchestra and working out an educatiuonal and cultural program for schools, universities and community centres. Simultaneously we continue preparing a first concert by CHAVORENGE, the children's choir from Miret. Zoran is deeply involved in both the orchestra and plans about the Bódvalenke Fresco Village;
Official number of Members 511. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1797
In December two meetings with officials of the European Commission take place in Brussels. The atmosphere is cooperative. We are offered assistance in applying for grants and invited to attend the celebration of International Roma Day in April 2012 (an event during which Ida Kelarova and Chavorenge will perform in Brussels). Moreover we are given precious advices. One of the major topics is the European Romani Symphonic Orchestra, directed by Paco Suarez. Investing in the Orchestra, that now already includes musicians from 5 different countries, may become one of the first plans to be developped next year. We are suggested to continue recruiting more artists and actively work on PR. After this very positive meeting, we are invited to come back in January to further discuss projects on theatre, film and more;
Official number of members 562. Facebook Supporters New Cause 1926
In January 2012 contacts with the European Commission take place in written and by phone. We are invited to present Khetanes in April in Brussels, during the celebration of International Roma Day.
Els visits the Cultural Contact Point (CCP) in Amsterdam; Ema Dei has a meeting with the CCP in Paris. In most EU countries CCPs are there to help with application grants meant for the European Commission.
On the site two new groups are established by Nedjo Osman and Zoran Tairovic on respectively Romani Theatre and Romani Film.
With Romano Kher, the National Roma Centre in Romania, we further confer on the position and development of the European Romani Symphonic Orchestra, directed by Paco Suarez;
Official number of members 618. Facebook Supporters New Cause 2012
In February the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the Cabinet of Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou sends invitations for the conference "The role of culture in Roma inclusion" to:
Zoran Tairovic (Serbia), Paco Suarez (Spain), Santino Spinelli (Italy) and Els de Groen (Netherlands). The evening concert will be given by Ida Kelarova and her children's choir. So, at least 5 artists from Khetanes will be in Brussels on 18 April. In the final programme more members may be involved.
Emma Dei and Valérie Debruche prepare a special group for cultural events in schools and at universities, including 5 or more countries. Also further discussions on of the Orchestra group take place.
Official number of members 670. Facebook Supporters New Cause 2066 (Likes: 5212)
In March Ema Dei establishes the new group "Romano Them Transmission", inviting all members, artists and scholars, to see whether they can contribute to special cultural programmes for schools, universities and community centres.
Intensive contacts through Skype help us preparing for 18 April. It is decided that all 5 speakers, representing Khetanes at the conference in Brussels, will focus on special issues. To evaluate the conference and to discuss future activities, several of us decide to stay one day longer.
Official number of members 717, Facebook Supporters New Cause 2109
(Likes: over 5200)
In April we present World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" at the conference "From Segregation to Integration" in Brussels, organized by DG Education and Culture of the European Commission on 18 April. Paco Suarez, Zoran Tairovic, Santino Spinelli and Els de Groen all take the floor. Ida Kelarova is a speaker too, but too busy with the rehearsal for her great concert that evening in the Albert Hall.
The presentation of Khetanes is a success. Director Culture of the European Commission, Vladimir Sucha, compares our artists with his software and invites us to forward proposals for the Cultural Programme grants. We also have to thank Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia, speaker at the conference as President of the Spanish Unión Romaní and Honorary Supporter of Khetanes. That day in Brussels he is our strong advocate and ally.
After the conference we stay one more day in Brussels to discuss future steps. There is a lot work ahead!
Official number of members 742, Facebook Supporters New Cause approximately 2120 (Likes over 5200)
In May a lot research is done on the grant possibilities. With our different projects we can apply for grants in the framework of the Culture Programme, the Media Programme and the Citizenship Programme.
The biggest group on our site is Romano Them Transmission (RTT) that prepares visits to schools, universities and community centres. After confering with the Cultural Contact Point in Amsterdam and an expert from Brussels, the Cizizenship Programme seems to offer the best possibilities.
May 2012 is also the month in which Paul Rafferty, secretary in the Main Board, joins us again on our site, after a dangerous operation and a long stay in hospital. Get better, Paul! We need you, your friendship and your optimism.
Official number of members 752, Facebook Supporters New Cause approximately 2130 (Likes over 5200)
June is a rather silent month. The activity on the site drops, members seem to on tour or on vacation and hardly new ones sign up. Yet, racism continues. There is a growing number of Roma that seek asylum in Canada. In Europe are killings (Slovakia) and a bom attack (Bulgaria). And everywhere are threats. Romaphobia has no summers.
Official number of members 768, Facebook Supporters New Cause 2146 (Likes over 5200)
Also July is a silent month on Khetanes, though National Geographic makes many Roma protest when it launches its film production American Gypsies as an example of Roma "reality" in the United States. In Europe violence continues. In the first half of 2012 over 10 Roma have been killed; others lost their home and belongings. On this site several artists are threatened.
Official number of members 783. No further information will be given on the Facebook Cause, that has two different names and creates a lot of confusion. France continues to close illegal camps and to collectively expel Roma to Romania and Bulgaria. The human rights situation in these and other Eastern and Central European countries is worsening due to far-right pressure.
Official number of members 790. Situation is Europe is worsening. Many Roma flee to Canada, where the immigration policy is becoming more and more strict. Aren't these Roma running away from safe EU countries? Most asylum seekers are sent back.
Official number of members 807. October brings a rise of activities, partly triggered by a letter by Ian Hancock, vice-president of Khetanes, sent to all 800 members not to give up. Many artists send proposals for the Romano Them Transmission project (RTT project). First contacts are made with universities in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Berlin, Germany and Bucharest, Romania. Others will follow. Also the European Parliament in Brussels is contacted for a possible RTT event.
The political situation in Europe remains tense. Again there are marches in Hungary, again there are evictions in France.
By the end of October worldwide protests are heard against a racist book by Prof. Géza Jeszenszky, academic at the Corvinus University in Budapest and Ambassador at the Hungarian Embassy in Norway. On behalf of Khetanes 49 scholars and artists send a letter of protest to European and international institutions.
Official number of member 823. The correspondence about the racist book by Prof. Jeszenszky makes the European Commission, Directorate General Justice, promise to study the dossier.
Preparations of Romano Them Transmission continue. Four universities inform us to be seriously interested: Amsterdam, Bucharest, Berlin and Prague. Also first contacts with the European Parliament are made.
Official number of members 836. In December Heather Utreche passes away, active for the UK based Equality Foundation. Heather was a Khetanes member from the very beginning and always willing to help. In her we lose a sincere, brave and precious fighter for the Romani cause. Her son, David Scott, joins our network and thus helps continuing his mothers' great job!
Due to a misunderstanding with Brussels, we pass the deadline for a grant application, but decide to apply for a next one in February 2013. May this new year bring us health and happiness, but also the needed funds to realize our goals.
Official number of members 847. On 5 January Zsolt Bayer, co-founding member of Fidesz and friend of Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán, publishes a column in "Magyar Hirlap" in which he compares Roma to animals. The EU commissioners Neelie Kroes and Viviane Reding both condemn the column, that Fidesz, however, considers as an expression of free speech.
World Artists Initiative "Khetanes" receives an official answer from the European Commission (DG Justice) on the Géza Jeszenszky textbook file (see blog Follow-up Protest Against Racist Book, and also see blog Brown Soup). According to the Commission the Hungarian Court must take a stand in these matters. Yet, it is hopeful that there is increasing awareness within the European Commission on the threat of far right. Shortly after Silvio Berlusconi has expressed his admiration for Benito Mussolini, one more Commissioner, Cecilia Malstrom, responsible for EU Home Affairs, states on 28 January (quote): "Not since World War II have extreme and populist forces had so much influence on the national parliaments as they have today. In some countries even neo-nazis have been elected." (end quote)
On 31 January 2013 Khetanes successfully submits its online application for a grant from the Citizens for Europe programme. We hope that we will be given a chance to fight for a Europe for freedom, Security and Justice, where all citizens are equal.
Official number of members 862.
February is a rather silent month, during which the site, however, receives a lot of SPAM. People try to enter Khetanes with fake profiles. All of them are stopped.
Official number of members 869.
Also in March a lot of SPAM is coming. Hundreds of people seem to sign up, but most probably one and the same (group of) people are trying to enter. The ip addresses have been saved, the hackers have been stopped.
On 30 March "Khetanes" is present at the Gipsy Jazz Festival in Arnhem, Netherlands. Shortly after we are heading for Hungary to attend the celebration of International Roma Day in Bódvalenke, the Fresco Village.
Official number of members 872
On 5 April 2013, we visit Bódvalenke, the Fresco Village in Hungary, where Commissioner Lászlo Andor attends the celebration of International Roma Day. Various international press agencies have come to report on the event: Reuters, Al Jazeera and also the Wall Street Journal is there. Eszter Pásztor, Bódvalenke's project manager, did a great job, inviting them all to a celebration together with the villagers and Roma and pro Roma NGOs from Hungary, Germany, Austria, Belgium and several more countries.
That very day the Bódvalenke Declaration is launched! See for more info the blog on Bódvalenke.
Official number of members 874
In spite of the official statement by 4 EU Commissioners on 8 April, the meeting on 15 May in Brussels does not include Roma and/or pro Roma NGOs, but involves large EU oriented NGOs like Amnesty and OSF at the first place. Also the grant policy of the European Commission does not seem to support (pro)Roma organizations and their projects.
On 28 April 2013 the EACEA publishes the list of 26 granted projects, none of them being a project by, with, for Roma.
See for more information the blogs "Europe For Citizens Programme" and "Bódvalenke Declaration" on this website.
Official number of members 879
The official status of Khetanes as a non-profit is ended. In the last week of June a mail is sent out to all Khetanes members, asking: shall we continue the site, yes or no?
The reations are heartwarming and encouraging. See the blog KHETANES TOMORROW - KHETANES TAHARA for detailed information. Most probably we can keep the site thanks to active and financial contribution by members. A team of 3 web administrators is ready to maintain and improve the site. Others offer to deal with specific issues: e.g. anti-defamation, Roma rights, literature, dance or film.
The political situation in Europe is worsening: in Czech Republic far right is marching again, Hungary is strongly criticised for its undemocratic policy, in Italy evictions continue...
Official number of members 895
Khetanes will continue. In July enough financial contributions are made to continue the site for 2 more years: thanks to a group of some 10 Khetanes members.
In spite of the fact that it is summer in Europe and difficult to contact people, we immediately start looking for coordinators for the new main groups. By the end of July, we have at least 20. A good result, but we need twice as many to do a good job.
Official number of members 903
Most of the Major Groups (old and new ones) have been established. The others will be created in September, October at the latest.
The number of coordinators is rising.
Official number of members 907
Marches in Czech Republic, evictions in France, increasing poverty everywhere, no end to the crises. Also a kind of tiredness, however, seems to influence people. On Khetanes changes proceed.
Official number of members 909
In Greece the blond girl Maria is separated from her dark Roma "parents" who are under the suspicion of having kipnapped her. Also in Ireland white children are taken away from a family of Roma. The old legend of Roma stealing children lies at the bottom of the authorities' decision. When Maria and the blond Irish turn out to be Roma, prejudice has exposed itself.
On the site of Khetanes, slowly but surely major groups are formed.
Official number of members 915
In November more members start joining the Major Groups. All have been established now, except the Major Group on Music.
According to polls about the outcome of the elections for the European Parliament, spring 2014, hundred seats (approximately 12 %) will be taken by far-right parties.
Official number of members 927
The Major Group MUSIC is created by Paul Rafferty.
First Khetanes Juniors Group signs up: Khetanes Juniors Romania/Youth is Tolerance. Also in this last month of 2013, we start posting paintings on the Main Page with best wishes for the New Year.
Official number of members 939
Some Major Groups do much better than others, e.g. Literature, Visual Arts and Painting and Photography.
For many of the other groups we need more intensive coordination.
The climate in Europe is worsening, due to the ongoing crisis and people fleeing from poverty (and/or racism) in Eastern European countries.
Tina Burbank and Eszter Pasztor work out a plan of support for the Bódvalenke Fresco Village in Hungary. George Vasilescu offers to donate 50% of the prices of his paintings in order to help Romani children getting a better education. This trickers a discussion: could we help ourselves and to which extent?
In Germany the director of a museum does not want to exhibit Roma for clearly political reasons...
Official number of members 947
February is an encouraging month. The Bódvalenke Fresco Village wins the SozialMarie Award, as the best project in Hungary. ERGO Network launches its Wall-free Europe Campaign, official start in April 2014.
And Christian Mehr announces a great event: International Romafestival "Roma-ember Against Racism", 20/21 June in Zürich.
Also some famous artists join the Khetanes site: Fedor Kondenko from Russia and Esma Redzepova from Macedonia. Spring is in the air!
Official number of members 953
The preparations of the International Roma Festival "Roma-ember Against Racism" go on and are published on the Khetanes site. The list of participating bands is impressive. Christian and his team are doing an amazing job!
The political situation in Europe remains bad, with far-right, nationalism and Euro-scepticism on the rise. Some Khetanes members personally experience the consequences, e.g. EveryOne Group in Italy that prepares for another case in court.
In Ukraine the regime change doest seem of help to the Roma population. In neighbouring Russia, Pavel Limanskiy is still kept in custody.
Official number of members 964
April starts with a new summit in Brussels. The Romani Union in Spain and ERTF openly express their big disappointment about the low number of Roma speakers. The third summit in Brussels on 4 April 2014 is again a clear example of "about but without".
Outside ERGO starts its Wall-free Europe campaign; inside, at the summit, words, concerns and promises are repeated.
In Ukraine a serious escalation takes place. In the clashes between pro-Ukraine and pro-Russia citizens, Roma are beaten by both sides.
Official number of members 974
In May elections take place for the European Parliament in Brussels. Far-right is on the rise. In the period 2004-2009, 52 seats were taken by Far-right members, in the period 2009-20014, 37 seats were taken by them. From 2014 and on, 59 seats will be taken by far-right. Especially in France, the results are worrying. Front National becomes the largest political party and gets 24 seats in Brussels.
The English UKIP (also 24 seats) refuses to work with FN and similar parties. Yet, the total number of xenophobic and/or anti-migration parties has increased a lot.
Official number of members 986
June is full of activities for the upcoming International Roma Festival "Roma-Ember Against Racism" in Zürich, on 20 and 21 June.
Under blogs on this site!
Official number of members 1009
July starts with good and bad news. In the Peasant museum in Bucharest, an art exhibition of the paintings of George Vasilescu takes place. The director and the curator fully back the artist, but populist politicians start a smear campaign against (what they call) a subculture portrayed in their museum for Romanian culture. See for more details: http://artists-for-roma-net.ning.com/profiles/blogs/is-roma-culture-a-subculture-damaging-mainstream-culture
Under blogs on this site!
By the end of July, Khetanes exceeds the number of thousand members.
Official number of members 1014
Due to absence of members (on vacation, on tour), August does not bring much news. The support for the Open Letter, however, is more than satisfying.
Official number of members 1018
In September two new tabs are introduced: Lost & Found, a service for members who are in need of something, or have interesting material to offer. The other new tab is Gypsy Film (also a new blog), where Galina Trefil is publishing reviews on Gypsy Films made by gadje.
Also in September two new tv broadcastings in Romania take place, as follow-ups of the events and the smear campaign in July, when the director of the Peasant Museum received death threats becaused he exhibited the portraits of manele musicians.
Official number of members 1023
Khetanes has its anniversary: 4 years ago this website has been launched, end of October 2010.
A new European Commission is approved by the European Parliament. In this Parliament is a new Romani MEP: Soraya Post from Sweden. Member of the LIBE committee.
Official number of members 1034
In November 2014, the website of Khetanes is partly renewed in order to increase the accessibility. Most important i.e. Major Groups are now in the tabs on the Main Page. With one simple click, Members enter their favorite Groups and also important blogs.
Official number of members 1035
In France, in a village close to Paris,the mayor refuses to bury a 2,5 months old Romani girl. The baby is buried at the cemetry in a neighboring village.
Official number of members 1043
The tabs Music and Literature are updated with new information. Two more tabs will be added.
The commemoration of the Holocaust (27 January) is (again) mainly on the fate and pain of Jews.
Official number of members 1046
New tabs are being installed: Romani Reports, Roma Stereotypes and Roma History. Thus, there is a better balance between culture and information. Many thanks to Wout J. van Vloten (Romani Reports), Monica Bodirsky (Roma Stereotypes) and Nadara Gypsy Band (Roma History) for the input and contributions!
Official number of members 1050
Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the Council of Europe present their plans to develop a European Roma Institute (ERI), as the international stage for Romani art, music and traditions. In order to become the official partner of Soros, the CoE must end its cooperation with ERTF. Khetanes opens the blog: "European Roma Institute: why re-inventing the wheel"
Official number of members 1063
The most important event in April, is the official recognition of the Roma Holocaust, O Baro Porrajmos, by the European Parliament.
Also the decision of the European Commision to take a stronger stance on discrimination by member-states is welcomed. See:
Official number of members 1067
The month of Herdeljezi (9 May) is a quiet month on Khetanes. On internet, however, the discussions on ERI (European Roma Institute) continue.
A moment of triumph is the huge exhibition of the art works of George Mihai Vasilescu during the International Gipsy Festival in Tilburg. Here the painter offers a portrait in oil that he made of Albert Siebelink, Festival Director. The smir campaign in Bucharest against the exhibition of portraits Roma musicians (see the blog on this site http://artists-for-roma-net.ning.com/profiles/blogs/is-roma-culture-a-subculture-damaging-mainstream-culture
) gets a straight answer from Tilburg. Also saf news: the brave director who received death threats but who defended the exhibition, has been dismissed!
Official number of members 1081
Beginning of June, Khetanes members meet in Salerno with 100 Thousand Poets for Change (www.100TPC.org
). At this first international conference of poets, many artists meet for the first time in person to exchange views, information and - of course - poems. Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion are the 2 co-founders of 100TPC. Together with the Italian Alfonso Gatto Foundation, called after the famous poet from Salerno, they are doling a marvellous.
June also has a happy end: Salomeea Romanescu and Sani Rifati are officially invited by the ERTF, European Roma and Travellers Forum, to represent Khetanes at the Plenary Assembly in Strasbourg (29/30 June).
Official number of members 1095
On 13 July, a letter is sent to Ulrich Bunjes, Special Representative of the Council of Europe, regarding the partnership between the CoE and OSF in establishing a European Roma Institute (ERI). The letter is sent CC to the Presidents of the European parliament and the European Commission and the UN High Commissioner. The proposed partnership between the CoE and OSF might weaken the position of the European Roma and Travellers Forum, a political body and the only political body Roma, Sinti and Travellers have.
Also in July, RomArchive is launched, another NGO, that with almost 4 million Euros support from the German state, is going to create an internet archive on Romani culture. Many of the leading activists in ERI also take positions in RomArchive.
The situation on the ground remains alarming. In Bulgaria, Roma are attacked by far-right and expelled from their houses.
Official number of members 1106
In August, thousands of refugees continue to flee to Europe, most of them arriving first in Greece or Italy. Among the people who flee, are also Roma families.
The evictions within Europe continue as well. Moreover, houses are being demolished and young school children are denied education.
Official number of members 1109
The numbers of refugees keep on increasing, together with the tentions in Europe. Far right parties fuel the fear in order to strengthen their position. It goes without saying that this also influences the position of Roma.
Official number of members 1115
The Holocaust memorial of Roma and Sinti victims in Berlin is covered with swastikas and the words "Gas them".
In Sweden and elsewhere evictions continue.
Official number of members 1116
The number of refugees fleeing from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran is increasing. Far right parties in Europe fuel the fear and contribute to a hostile climate that also negatively affects Romani and African EU citizens and migrants.
The tensions grow after the terror attacks in Paris, claimed by IS.
Official number of members 1119
2015 was a year of war and fear, violence and grief, rise of far right and hatred. It was also a year of losses. Precious people passed away: Donald Kenrick, academic and author of many well-known books (UK), and Albert Siebelink, director of the International Gipsy festival Tilburg (Netherlands). May their souls rest in peace.
Four months before his death on 30 September, Albert Siebelink had organized a huge exhibition of the paintings by George Vasilescu, during the International Gipsy Festival of May. So good happened also in 2015!
Besides supporting Albert to organize this art exhibition, Khetanes has introduced candidates for the plenary meeting of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) in Strasbourg. The first two Roma who attended the plenary on behalf of Khetanes were Sani Rifati (Germany/Kosovo/USA) and Salomeea Romanescu (Romania).
Some more good news is that the ERTF in Strasbourg, the only political body Roma, Sinti and Travellers have (!) will not be dismantled, but will continue its activities in 2016 and beyond.
In June 2015, Khetanes visited the first international conference of poets, organized by 100 Thousand Poets for Change (founder Michael Rothenberg). The conference, held in Salerno in Italy, would result in new Khetanes members from e.g. Ghana and Nigeria, all of them poets and writers. We warmly welcome our brothers and sisters from Africa, who join us in the fight against racism and xenophobia.
Another activity in 2015, was the start of a column with book reviews. No less than 8 Khetanes members are volunteering to write reviews of books published in English, French, Russian, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish and Romanes.
And last but not least: Pavel Limanskiy, Roma human rights activist (Russia), has been released, having spent two years in jail!
Khetanes’ contribution included various letter campaigns, logistic support in co-organizing, translations, consulting NGOs and helping individual members. Khetanes is a movement. We do not aim at replacing existing institutions, but intend to strengthen and improve them.
We are not rich in money, but we are rich in ideas and we are independent! All our activities are paid out of our own pocket. Don’t waste that money!!! Profit from the space and freedom on our website. And don’t forget to invite your friends to join us. The more we are, the louder our voice!
♫ Baxtalo Nevo Bersh 2016 ♫
❄ Próspero Año Nuevo ❄
♫ Happy New Year ♫
✨ Bonne Nouvelle Année ✨
⛄ Glückliches Neues Jahr ⛄
♫ Felice Anno Nuovo ♫
✨ Gelukkig Nieuwjaar ✨
Official number of members 1119
With all the refugees fleeing from countries like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan plus the ongoing stream from countries in North-Africa, the readiness to accept and socially include Roma in EU countries is decreasing more and more. Particularly central and eastern European states refuse to welcome refugees, but also in western states, the administration is reserved whereas crowds are demonstrating. In this climate of xenophobia, fueled by far right and populists, the inclusion of Roma seems no issue anymore. On the contrary, also Romaphobia is on the rise.
Official number of members 1123
In March, the European Academic Network on Romani Studies sends a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (see below). Tens of academics protest against a text in which Roma are warned for the negative impacts of poverty. Almost immediately the text is being removed!
Official number of members: 1123
A young Roma boy from Bulgaria, who states that he is equal to a Bulgarian non-Roma boy, is called names, humiliated and fysically attacked. The video made about this short "meeting" provokes tens of reactions from all over Europe. This being on the alert of Roma themselves is the only positive thing about the incident that proves that nothing has changed for the better.
Official number of members: 1125
In May, a message is sent out to all members that Els will stop most of her activities for hetanes in autumn 2016. However, she will assist her successors to continue the website. Stoimen Vassilev, filmmaker in New York, USA, is willing to take over Khetanes, but wants to share the work with other members.
Our Facebook page is regularly visited and updated, but the Khetanes website as a meeting place of our own badly needs more activities and contributions. Summer 2016 therefore will be decisive for the continuation of the Khetanes website, started in October 2010.
Official number of members: 1131
Things are developping well. In autumn 2016, Stoimen Vassilev will take over the site. The number of Members who want to help is steadily increasing. Due to summer and vacations, it is hard to contact all people, but the expectations are good.