Returning to the Roma

In the aftermath of attacks on Roma in Belfast I was heavily criticised by some for this blog. Some were annoyed to such a level they felt compelled to send emails which in one case reached a level of seeming threatening. The main complaints were over questioning if all the people presenting themselves as affected were solely doing so as a result of the attacks – a question subsequently raised by Michael Graham of the Housing Executive. Also, challenging the wisdom of those groups bringing people onto the streets (groups not mentioning their names while organising protests, as happened again when a leading member of the Socialist Party rebutted comment without declaring his position on the MSM this evening) and upping the ante while being unable to give the support needed to those they were acting on behalf of – an issue also raised in Fortnight by Derek Hanway of An Munia Tober Travellers Centre.

I assume that means these people join me on the list of anti-antiracists?

  • caoimhin

    “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    And then… they came for me… And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

    Are you saying it’s wrong to speak out??????

  • Godwin’s Law. Thanks to your gross hyperbole, caoimhín, this discussion is over.

  • Mark McGregor

    caoimhin,

    No. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that some people see having a discussion outside their set narrative as unacceptable. In this case people with supposedly good intentions found it unacceptable that I would question either the wisdom of their actions or suggest the story may be slightly more complex than just departure due to despicable racist attacks.

    Are you saying ‘no free speech for fascists’ now means no free speech for any dissenter from the narrative?

  • caoimhin

    The thread set out to criticize anti-racism!

    Maybe the protest had the unintentional effect of intimidating the Roma people, but I think the more long term message from this overrides this unfortunate event.

  • Pat the baker

    [i]I think the more long term message from this overrides this unfortunate event. [/i]

    I think you’ve just unintentionally vindicated Mark McGregor’s argument.

  • caoimhin

    The argument from Derek Hanway was that the protests intimidated Roma people from their homes because;

    “Anyone with knowledge of Roma people would have known about a general reluctance by Roma to attract attention,”

    Pat,

    While it is hard to believe that a protest in support of the Roma people is comparable to the initial attacks, Dereck Hanway is much wiser about the situation than I. Therefore, even if this was the case, are the protests not

  • caoimhin

    ….still justified

    Pat,
    How was that not an appropriate comparison?

    Mark,
    You have every right to question, but in doing so you’re deflecting attention from the real crime.

  • Telton

    @caoimhin

    “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    And then… they came for me… And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

    Are you saying it’s wrong to speak out??????”

    —————

    The problem with that is that a group of teenage spides in south Belfast is not the government.

    In light of the conviction of the two guys behind heretical.com who tried to claim asylum in the USA and the arrest of Muad’Dib of “7/7 Ripple Effect” a better modern analogy would be,

    “they came first for the racists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a racist;

    And then they came for the extreme pornography aficionados, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an extreme pornography aficionado;

    And then they came for the 7/7 troofers, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a 7/7 troofer;

    ————

    The point being that if you think that the lesson to be learned is about racism I think you miss the point. Just like Orwell in 1984 called the system IngSoc short for English socialism despite him being a socialist himself, he realised that the label and the ostensible aims was not the important point.

    The point is creeping totalitarianism from the government, and how it’s taking away of human liberty goes from groups who nobody likes to groups nobody cares about to wider and wider groups, like a frog being slowly boiled in the metaphorical pot.

    This time the Communists in the quote are most analogous to the racists ironically.

  • DK

    That blog of yours you suggested that the Roma over-reacted to the attacks deliberately in order to get better housing.

    Since in reality they went back to Romania, doesn’t that make you wrong?

  • Protection organised by the residents. My money was on the racists against the protectors if it came to it.

  • Mark McGregor

    Gari,

    Be careful. Those that suggest some people may have acted out of ‘sect’arianism rather than concern get ‘remembered’.

  • Should I expect a flood in my inbox then?

    Although in my defence, before a bunch of students turn up and picket my house and possibly do worse, I just said I reckoned the pride of the Village would beat them in a fight.

    Nice to know though Mark you have earned a place in the dustbin of history alongside Ramón Mercador.

  • cynic

    Maybe the Roma looked at the anti-racists and thought they looked an even worse option than those who were putting their windows in.

    Or perhaps they just didnt want to be pawns in a proxy war between two sides acting out old fights in a new arena – a bit like the flying of Palestinian and Israeli flags

  • DoctorWho

    Mark I feel you are trying to revise what you actually said.

    As DK has said you suggested that the attacks on the Roma where exaggerated in order for them to obtain improved housing.

    I am not judging you, but please have the dignity to stand by what you originally blogged, instead of revising, why not just retract.

  • me

    Gary Mulcahy of the Socialist Party has written a reply to Derek Hanway. It can be read here: http://spni.032.org.uk/Website/Racism Fascism/Reply Hanway July 09.html

  • me again

    Sorry, it can be found at www dot socialistpartyni dot net

  • Mark,

    In your original blog you never fully explained the reasoning behind your “niggling doubts”. I asked why in this particular case and with these particular people did those “niggling doubts” arise-still no real answer with this post.