Thursday, June 18, 2009

We Should Be Scared, Very, Very Scared

The rumblings from the right are getting bombastic. Since I don't watch rabid-right TV or listen to rabid-right radio, I feel as though I have lulled into a false sense of security since Obama's election. Somehow, reading about it in Europe, as awful as that is, it seemed, well, over there. But the 'over there' is 'over here' and together they make for one living nightmare for many people. So, here is what we have to be very afraid of: Italian nationalists have been rooting out Roma and denying them benefits, education access, jobs. Italian nationalists and French nationalists have been scare-mongering around African immigrants and economic refugees. British nationalists (this is their actual website) won seats in EU elections and want to keep "Britain for the British and those who accept our values". Hungarian nationalists support British nationalists in wanting to keep closed borders and gave them campaign support in the EU elections. Northern Irish young thugs, with nothing better to do now that there is 'peace' in Northern Ireland, attacked Roma in their homes and threatened their lives. Intolerance seems to be rising all over Europe: to quote photographer Andrew Miksys (currently in Lithuania and whose photograph is posted here, with permission) "well, things are just getting worse and worse here too. don't know what it is. seems like lithuanians went from being very open after independence to increasing intolerance. i've kinda lost my patience. people here seem to have no empathy for anyone outside there immediate circle or clan. stupid and quite boring culturally too. been having a lot of conversations about this recently. my friend, dovid katz, at the vilnius yiddish institute wrote this recent editorial for the irish times. And now we come home to Frank Rich's op-ed piece in Sunday's NYT about the "Obama haters".
This photograph, by Andrew Miksys, is titled Reda and Alexander, Lithuania, 2004. It is part of a series on Lithuanian Roma.

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