Wednesday, November 23, 2011


my home


mugur shares these photos of Roma (sometimes referred to as Gypsy) informal settlements near Baia Mare, Romania, taken in late September 2011. Residents of these settlements face eviction after authorities decided to demolish the buildings which they call home.
(This is just one of several photographs available at the above site.  I encourage you to visit and see the others.) Morgan
mugur says: 'I hope that one day my dedication to the Roma cause will help people better understand them and put an end to their plight. After seeing my story on the ghetto in Baia Mare, I was contacted by Amnesty International and [asked] to cover for them the Roma communities facing the danger of being thrown on the streets.'

He adds: 'It is absolutely unacceptable the discrimination against the Roma both at home in Romania and in Europe. I believe there is still time to act and change this situation for the better. But there isn't much time left. If we don't act now, we will soon regret it.'
- elchueco, CNN iReport producer
In the media, we are all for human rights and integration. In real life, however, France for instance, only appreciates Romas in movies at Cannes film festival.
Inspired by the French authorities' solution to move Romas from point A to point B, Romanian authorities planned and started forced evictions of Roma informal settlements in cities like Cluj-Napoca, Baia Mare, etc...

Some of these settlements date back to early 90’s. They were always tolerated by the authorities who verbally encouraged Romas to build in the area while giving reassurances that nothing bad would ever happen to them. Yet, today, while campaigning on a hate ticket, the same authorities are planning forced evictions without reasons other than ethnic cleansing of the cities.

Our humanity is as big as the distance between us and the real problems of the world...This is why we can shed a tear for the starving kids of Africa and not give a damn about the desperate Roma kids living next door.

We ask of the Romas to send their kids to school, but we never ask if those kids can bathe or have a decent breakfast before attending classes. As they live in ramshackle dwellings, ‘bathing’ itself is an improper word to describe how these kids manage to wash themselves. Without direct access to running water, each child or woman goes 5-6 times each day to collect water from a nearby water pump. A task like that would make even Sisyphus go crazy.

Without heating or electricity the Romas lead a harder life today than in the Middle Age -- harder as the discrepancies then were less visible than those today...The most fortunate of them get an improvised electricity line from the near by apartment blocks. When you discover how much they pay for this bootlegged current that fuels maybe one lightbulb (20 Euro a month), you realize being poor doesn't come cheap.

They do all the dirty work for us by working for companies collecting the garbage or cleaning the cities. They can never make ends meet so they are always indebted to loan sharks. With less than 100 euros a month the public garbage dump is their supermarket.

Because we deem unimportant their traditions, pottery or other ancient roma crafts struggle for survival. Because of their lack of education and our own discrimination we only hire them on a daily basis and than spend all day in fear they might steal some fruits from us. Almost all the grapes are collected with the help of Roma people.

I live in a country where people look at poor Roma people living in inhumane conditions and ask me if they are thieves. I always reply with a question which renders them speechless. I ask, ‘how many thieves eating out of garbage do you know?’

Yet they live their life without asking too much. They only ask not to be evicted and thrown out on the streets. They ask to be consulted and presented with alternatives for relocation. If segregation is all that comes out of these relocations, they ask to be left where they are today. They realize life is hard for those without education, but regardless of how poor they are, they shouldn’t be denied the right to non-segregated social housing programs.

We deem them irresponsible for having so many children, but we seem to forget how many children our grandmothers used to have. If it wasn’t for our grandmothers we wouldn’t be here today...

Protected by current legislation, or the lack of it to be more precise, the racists of this country fail to understand the real power of Roma people. In less than a hundred years they will be the majority population of Romania.

How ironic is the fact that we want to get rid of them while our survival as a nation depends on them?

This is Europe at it’s worst...It doesn’t need to be that way...If South Africa were to forcibly send other African citizens back to their countries of origin, Europeans would find that unacceptable and human right activists would ask for all kinds of measures to put a stop to it...

When France does it, everybody turns a blind eye...

Where is the democracy in that?'
Please visit
to see the other photos.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I read the article and then the comments thread, and something about it just really fired me up.. I ended up posting an essay, couldn't help myself. -_-

It was a lovely article, and the pictures were great. But I couldn't help but feel rather put off (along with some of the other readers, I'm sure) by the author's lashing out at anyone who countered him in anyway. He made one of the most basic, and annoying journalism faux pas over and over again--that of attacking the AUTHOR, instead of the authors argument. Lashing out and calling someone a fascist for pointing out that he encountered Roma crime throughout his childhood is extreme. And I don't feel that it does anything for his case. In fact, in my humble opinion, it makes one look quite immature.

On the other hand, of course, the main individual (Romanian Can) that the author was at ends with was also very extreme and black and white in his idea of the issue (as well as just completely off base with some very basic Roma History 101). Sigh. I stressed this in my post there as well... I feel as though objective journalism on both sides is an extreme rarity with regards to the Roma. And it breaks my heart.


Morgan said...

Ah Rae, how happy we always are when you leave a comment and how much we enjoy your insights and analyses.

I agree with you. The article and photos and very good and the comments are quite interesting.
And I also agree with you that an effective argument must not be a personal attack, but rather a careful refutation of the points and postitions.

I understand the impulse to lash out but I fear that all rational positions are lessened by personal attacks and name calling.

Thanks again Rae. You always make me think.

Anonymous said...

hey hey!! this is a very nice website here and I just wanted to comment & say that you've done a great job here! Very nice choice of colors & layout, very easy on the eyes.. Nicely done!…

Anonymous said...

Thanks for placing up this article. I'm unquestionably frustrated with struggling to research out pertinent and rational commentary on this matter. everyone now goes in the direction of the amazingly much extremes to possibly generate home their viewpoint that either: everyone else within earth is wrong, or two that everyone but them does not genuinely recognize the situation. pretty numerous many thanks for the concise, pertinent insight....
My website is about [url=]educational toys[/url].