This April 8, International Day of the Gypsy People, marks the 50th anniversary of the I World Romani Congress that adopted the flag, the anniversary and the hymn used by the Roma diaspora around the world. After these 50 years, the Spanish gypsy population continues to claim our rights as on the first day, little or nothing has advanced the institutions since then. Access to justice that enforces our rights continues to be an obstacle course. Freedom, life and physical and moral integrity of people (also Roma) are fundamental rights that our Constitution includes. Therefore, in theory no person (even Roma) can receive torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. However, after those 50 years of institutionalization of the International Day of the Gypsy People, in Spain the courts affirm that murdering a young gypsy with a beating between 10 guards is legal, especially if he is disabled and makes you feel like a coward.
Anti-Gypsyism is a form of discrimination against Roma people based on stereotypes and prejudices. It anchors its roots in the legislative serialization of the history of Spain, it spreads through cultural products, infects the minds of all people regardless of their social, political or economic role and its most direct consequence is to prevent an important part of the Spanish society (that which is gypsy) access to its rights under equal conditions. Anti-Gypsy stereotypes and prejudices settle so deep in minds that they are undetectable by conscience. They are activated automatically regardless of intentions, which means that no matter how much a person commits to equality on March 8 or tweets #BlackLivesMatter, they can also automatically activate their anti-Gypsy stereotypes and display a whole repertoire of behaviors prejudiced while still perceiving yourself as an egalitarian person. Dissonant, right? Simply, when they perceive a Roma person in their range of action, “a strange intuition” warns them in their ears that Roma people are scary socially disabled and must be protected from them. Furthermore, these anti-Roma stereotypes are gendered, which means that anti-Roma stereotypes about women are different from stereotypes about men. In this way, while gypsy women are stereotyped and prejudged as submissive socially disabled, deceivers and liars, gypsy men are stereotyped and prejudiced as socially disabled, lazy and violent, among other pearls.
The reality is that a gypsy boy named Eleazar with a 75% visible disability (recognized by the relevant institutions and by the witnesses to the aggression themselves) has the normal fear of any boy of his mental age who has been lost in a stadium of football, especially if he is cruelly and unjustly attacked for not finding his family. However, the guards do not recognize in Eleazar a human being with the right to his freedom, his life and his physical and moral integrity just because he is a disabled gypsy male. Eleazar fit like a glove into the stereotypes and prejudices of the guards who assaulted him to death. Where there was a boy with a mental disability scared and lost, they saw a gypsy male who seemed to them an aggressive social misfit. They did not look him in the eye to understand his mental age or disorientation, feel empathy and help him find his family. Rather, they died of fear to meet a gypsy and for that reason they kicked him until he stopped breathing.
We can think that this type of situation can approach justice and reparation if the courts are accessed to enforce the violated rights. Isn’t that how they say that any democracy is built? But no, in the case of Eleazar, the Prosecutor’s Office affirmed that it does not see a crime in his murder, ignoring the evidence to the contrary. Could it be that the Prosecutor’s Office is prey to the same stereotypes and prejudices as the guards? Will he want to maintain that status quo where killing Ku Klux Klan-style gypsies is legal? It is as if a six-year-old child gets lost, you kill him because children terrify you since a friend told you a movie where children were the bad guys and the Prosecutor’s Office to fix it, says that such behavior is desirable and above all legal.
The reality is that different international human rights treaties ratified by Spain, and therefore binding, affirm that stereotypes and prejudices are an obstacle to access to justice. Justice, that other fundamental right, the responsibility of the State, that escapes like water through the fingers when it comes to protecting Roma people. In this sense, the State is under the obligation not only to eradicate these prejudices and anti-Roma stereotypes, but it must also prevent their appearance, repair the people who suffer them and guarantee that they will not be repeated.
That is why this year, on the International Day of the Gypsy People, the Spanish Roma communities want to denounce this murder and make it clear that we are not going to give up until we achieve a fairer justice system for all people regardless of the culture to which they belong. , whether they are male or female, whether they have a disability or not. We are going to travel this path together with the family in pursuit of #JusticiaparaEleazar, just as we have traveled other paths together before and we have not given up throughout our history. All relevant instances will be resorted to, they will speak to whoever needs to speak and on April 8 we will see each other to denounce this atrocity in different Spanish towns, such as A Coruña, Santander, Madrid, Gijón, Oviedo, Siero or Valencia.
We will resist for Eleazar, our brother, whom we do not forget.