Thursday, March 4, 2010
The followiing is a statement from the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities
By Valeriu Nicolae
February 11, 2010
The minister of foreign affairs of Romania, Mr Teodor Bachonschi, claimed during a press conference that: “We have some physiological, natural, crime-related problems among some Romanian communities, especially among the ethnic Roma communities of Romanian citizens." Following this statement, many criticized Baconschi’s apparent belief in biological racism. His declaration appears to link biology, criminality and ethnicity. Many Roma organisations, including some of those listed below, asked Minister Baconschi to step down.
He refused to step down and strongly refuted any accusation of racism.
February 23, 2010
Due to increasing national and international pressure, some Roma organizations linked to the current Romanian government organized a meeting to demonstrate Minister Baconschi’s open-minded and supportive attitude towards Roma. Baconschi abandoned the speech carefully prepared by his counselors and decided to speak his mind. He reminisced about a meeting he had had with some highly educated Roma while he was working for the Romanian president. He was so impressed by them at the time that he told his friends: "One may say many things about the Roma, but not that they are imbeciles. They have native intelligence. These qualities must be refined through education."
February 24, 2010
In a press conference in the neighboring Moldova, former member of parliament Anatoli Plugaru said in regard to a member of the Moldovan government: “[…he] and his political partners do exactly what Gypsies do with the unwashed child, rather than wash it they make another one.”
The Moldovan government released many formerly secret documents. One of them is an April 2009 letter, in which former Moldovan President Voronin employing a similar metaphor wrote that "with money, even gypsies sing and dance!?"
In fact, all over Europe, high level politicians feel free to employ similar stereotypes in their spoken and written rhetoric.
Organizations and individuals have often called in the past for the acknowledgement that anti-Gypsyism is rampant and strident, and that national and European institutions have failed to properly address it. European institutions and national governments need to show serious commitment. However, up to this moment most high level politicians leading European institutions and national governments have been eerily, if not shamefully, silent.
The author of this article – happened to be present at the meeting of Roma which so impressed Minister Bachonschi several years ago However, I feel that Human Rights activists Roma and non-Roma as well as politicians and institutions which care about eliminating racism will not receive him with the same polite approval if there is no change
Posted by Morgan at 11:01 AM