Miha Strojan was tending to his sick mother when the mob arrived. Wielding clubs, guns and chainsaws, several hundred villagers converged on the cottage in a clearing in the beech forest with a simple demand. “Zig raus [Gyppos out],” they called in German, deliberately echoing Nazi racist chants. “Bomb the Gypsies.”
It was the last Saturday of last month, when the mob terrorised the extended family of more than 30 Roma, half of them children, into fleeing their clearing a mile over the hill from the farming village of Ambrus in eastern Slovenia.
“They were building bonfires on our land and shouting that if we don’t move out, they will bomb us and crucify our children,” recalls Mr Strojan, 30. A Slovene filmmaker, Fillip Robar Dorin, present at the scene, said it reminded him of the Kristallnacht pogroms of 1938 when the Nazis rampaged against the Jews of Germany and Austria. “We would have torched the place, but we were too late. The police got there before us,” bragged one Ambrus villager.
If the expulsion of the Strojans, living in Ambrus for decades and owners of the place they were living in for 12 years, was a trauma for the family, it was also an increasingly routine example of the epidemic of forced evictions of Roma settlements across the European Union, particularly in central and eastern Europe where the Roma are concentrated....
...Outside Ambrus, the geese, chickens, and turkeys are scratching around the Strojans’ hurriedly abandoned homestead. In the forest opposite, sodden mattresses, children’s clothing, and old car batteries still lie under a “tent” of plastic sheeting and tree branches where the family sought refuge from the mob attack, which was apparently triggered following a violent brawl between a local man and a non-Roma man living within the Strojan compound.
In Postojna, at the other end of Slovenia, the Strojans are condemned to the squalour of a disused barracks once used as a refugee centre until it was closed last year as unfit for human habitation. There is neither heating nor hot water. They have been there for a month.
The world's most influential Marxist:
[T]here was, in Slovenia, around a year ago, a big problem with a Roma (Gipsy) family which camped close to a small town. When a man was killed in the camp, the people in the town started to protest against the Roma, demanding that they be moved from the camp (which they occupied illegally) to another location, organizing vigilante groups, etc. As expected, all liberals condemned them as racists, locating racism into this isolated small village, while none of the liberals, living comfortably in the big cities, had any everyday contact with the Roma (except for meeting their representatives in front of the TV cameras when they supported them). When the TV interviewed the “racists” from the town, they were clearly seen to be a group of people frightened by the constant fighting and shooting in the Roma camp, by the constant theft of animals from their farms, and by other forms of small harassments from the Roma. It is all too easy to say (as the liberals did) that the Roma way of life is (also) a consequence of the centuries of their exclusion and mistreatment, that the people in the nearby town should also open themselves more to the Roma, etc. – nobody clearly answered the local “racists” what they should concretely do to solve the very real problems the Roma camp evidently was for them.