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February 25, 2018
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Lukáš Houdek

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Zdeněk Ryšavý (2017) (PHOTO: Stephen McKenzie)
Zdeněk Ryšavý (2017) (PHOTO: Stephen McKenzie)

Czech Republic: Head of ROMEA receiving threats against his family, antigypsyism on the rise

11.10.2017 10:32 According to Zdeněk Ryšavý, director of the Romani media agency ROMEA in the Czech Republic, hate speech against Romani people is reviving after a brief lull and is even more intensive than it was before. He also believes that the boundaries are being pushed in terms of the content of such hate speech and tolerance for it.  full story

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Romani social worker on growing up at the Chanov housing estate in the Czech Republic

27.2.2017 7:09 Anna Siváková, now age 21, was born in and grew up at the Chanov housing estate in the Czech Republic. After graduating from the local primary school there she decided, unlike many of her schoolmates, to continue her studies beyond compulsory education, graduating from the high school in Most with a focus on social work.  full story

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Commentary: Czech tabloids spark antigypsyism online and off

Česká Lípa, 12.3.2014 19:48, (ROMEA) "A good gypsy = No gypsy. Or ZYKLON B" writes Facebook user Jiří Buldok Hrubý.  full story

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Lukáš Houdek: When Romani people don't speak "gypsy" right

Prague, 26.9.2013 22:44, (ROMEA) Here it is! Romani people causing problems once more!  full story

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Analysis: Czech news outlet misleads readers by mastering Photoshop

Prague, 2.9.2013 22:04, (ROMEA) Have you always longed to become a regionally-recognized journalist whose articles will be read by many? Do you not know how to go about attracting that many readers? The Prostějov Evening News (Prostějovský Večerník) can advise you. Its editors have developed an effective system for achieving this. They have also demonstrated that they are more than proficient at working with Photoshop and have become first-class users of this technology in their field.  full story

Ukraine: Police brutally beat Romani people during a raid, tubercular man has died

Uzhhorod, Zakarpattia, Ukraine, 25.1.2012 19:25, (ROMEA) On the morning of 11 January, a police intervention against Romani people took place in the Ukrainian town of Uzhhorod. The special police commando unit of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, "Berkut", broke into Romani dwellings in two localities, Radvanka and Telman, as well as other sites throughout Uzhhorod.  full story

Photoreportage: Czech Republic - Today's unrest in North Bohemia led by hardcore neo-Nazis

Nový Bor/Varnsdorf/Rumburk,, 10.9.2011 21:33, (ROMEA) The towns of Nový Bor, Varnsdorf and Rumburk in North Bohemia experienced anti-Roma events today organized by the extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS). Hundreds of police officers intervened against the marches.  full story

Emotions and pride at the Prague Pride Parade

Prague, 16.8.2011 19:21, (ROMEA) On Saturday, 13 August, just after noon, the Pride Parade took off from Prague's Náměstí Republiky. The parade marked the end of Prague Pride 2011, a five-day festival celebrating diversity and tolerance.  full story

Prizren in the shadow of aircraft

Prizren, Kosovo, 16.6.2011 20:36, (ROMEA) Two grimy workshops stand next to one another on the main avenue of the quarter called Terzi in the historic town of Prizren. Different kinds of grating and metal products are leaned against their beige plaster exteriors. Two fire-weathered men are still working on some of them. One is heating iron with an electric soldering device, the other curling a malleable, red-hot metal into the shape of leaves within a matter of seconds.  full story

Kujtim Pačaku: Romani children should get their language with their mother's milk

Prizren, Kosovo, 10.6.2011 19:40, (ROMEA) It was a hot May evening when we walked through the glass doors of the Rromani baxt (Roma Luck) association in Prizren. Regional melodies of Romani songs, some of which are several hundred years old, could be heard before the doors even opened. A tiny man was conducting an eight-member choir of young Romani singers. Even though it was 10 PM and the conductor of this first-ever Romani octet already had a hard day's work behind him, he was overflowing with positive energy, his eyes radiating enthusiasm. He exploded into fits of laughter at regular intervals, but as a choirmaster, he was uncompromising.  full story

Roma living like ping-pong balls in the schizophrenia of Kosovska Mitrovica

Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo , 3.6.2011 21:15, (ROMEA) Heavy rain is drumming on my already-soaked umbrella as we look out over a plain dotted with the ruins of what was a small Roma town. A brick two-story construction comes toward us through the falling fog, and the dogs behind the wooden stakes that outline the private land never stop barking. No one can be seen anywhere, the cloudburst has driven the residents inside. After another 100 meters, modern apartment buildings appear along with some miniature row houses. At the center of it all are roughly five shops and the single-story building of the local clinic. A rusted sign displaying countless international logos tells us we are in the Roma mahala of Mitrovica.  full story

Sami Mustafa: Roma directors don't have to make films just about Roma people

Prishtina, Kosovo, 27.5.2011 18:11, (ROMEA) Sami Mustafa is a 26-year-old film director from a Roma mahala near the village of Plemetina in Kosovo. His first encounter with film-making was through a program run by the Balkan Sunflowers recreation center there in 2003. One year later he started collaborating with two film production companies, Koperativa and Quawava. He has directed several films about the postwar situation of the Kosovo Rom. His documentary film "Road to Home" was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 as the only film representing cinematography from Kosovo. Mustafa founded the Roma film production company Romawood and since 2009 has been running the Rolling Film Festival of Roma film together with Balkan Sunflowers in Prishtina as its artistic director. He lives in Prishtina with his French girlfriend, the film-maker Charlotte Bohl. interviewed him in Prishtina.  full story

Kosovo: How not to build a homeland

Plemetina, Kosovo, 24.5.2011 23:11, (ROMEA) Take a seat in a comfortable armchair, rest your hands on the leather armrests, close your eyes, and try getting lost in the following dream: Imagine that, as the result of a war that was not yours, you have lost your home. Add to that the loss of those closest to you and the fact that you live in an inconveniently small space, a far cry from your previous standard of living. Some of you might want to imagine that you have experienced deportation from a Western European country in response to your efforts at a new beginning there. Imagine six tall chimneys constantly emitting thick, dark brown smoke full of poisonous substances that will help most of you to die just after you reach 50. Welcome to Plemetina, a former camp for Roma IDPs in Kosovo.  full story

Kosovo Roma activist: Albanian children won't play with Roma children any time soon

Gjilan, Kosovo, 22.5.2011 16:58, (ROMEA) Shpresa Agushi was born in Prizren, Kosovo. She is a married Roma woman and the mother of three children. As she herself says, Prizren still remains one of only a few multi-ethnic places in Kosovo where Albanians, Roma, Serbs and other national minorities live alongside one another and get along together. Her Roma family lived in the Albanian quarter of Prizren, spoke Albanian at home, and attended Albanian schools. She then married into a Roma family in Gjilan, where the environment and her life were different. Most of her neighbors were Roma and the family spoke Romanes at home, so she had to learn the language to fit in.  full story

"This is not life!" - Roma dream of a new start in Gjilan, Kosovo

Gjilan, Kosovo, 17.5.2011 19:05, (ROMEA) Shiny shop windows full of brand-name clothing and ordinary knick-knacks, streets full of young students from the local branch of Prishtina University, lots of traffic and a pleasant, small-town atmosphere – this is an afternoon in Gjilan, an attractive town of 100 000 people about 40 km from the capital of Kosovo. To reach the Roma mahala of Abdulla Preševo, all you have to do is get off the main avenue and travel a few dozen meters. During that brief journey, the eye-catching shop windows are gradually transformed into burned-out homes without doors or windows that are covered in graffiti - political slogans and threats. The dismal weather contributes to the impression that this is a ghost town.  full story

It's Hederlezi after all!

Plemetina, Kosovo, 13.5.2011 17:14, (ROMEA) "Lukáš, get in! Where are you going?" asks curly-haired, 25-year-old Driton through the tiny window of his tiny white car.  full story

Kefaet and Selami: Deported to Kosovo during 48 hours

Plemetina, Kosovo, 14.5.2011 12:49, (ROMEA) Kefaet and Selami Prizreni are brothers. Kefaet was born in 1984 into a Roma family in Prizren, Kosovo. Four years later his family left the country for security reasons and found refuge from the threat of conflict in Essen, Germany. Selami was born there several months later. Both brothers actively devoted themselves to music from an early age and made their first studio recordings as adolescents.  full story

"Roma Luck" on the outskirts of Tirana

Tirana, Albania, 11.5.2011 18:23, (ROMEA) "A – B – C – D – E – F – G..." shouts a colorful little classroom full of six-year-olds. "Who knows how to count that on their fingers?" asks the 50-year-old teacher with the pageboy haircut. A boy in a red sweater jumps up and waves his hand so the teacher will call on him. She nods. "Nine!" the boy shouts. There is a tense silence in the classroom, broken by the teacher responding "Bravo!"  full story to report from postwar Kosovo

Prague, 26.4.2011 19:18, (ROMEA) During the month of May, news server will be dedicating a column exclusively to Roma in Kosovo 12 years after the war. Two correspondents for the news server, Lukáš Houdek and Zdenka Kainarová, will leave at the end of April for Albania and then for Kosovo, where they will focus primarily on the complicated situation of the Roma minority there. Members of this minority were placed in IDP camps after the war at the end of the 1990s. During the past decade, several dozen such camps have been established throughout Kosovo. Residents of these camps, most of which were built by the UN, have encountered or are continuing to face very poor living conditions.  full story

The long road to the Dom

Prague, 26.7.2009 19:18, (ROMEA) When groups of Roma turned up on European territory during the Middle Ages, local populations had no idea who they were as a nation or where they had come from. In some places the Roma presented themselves as pilgrims who had to travel as penitence for various reasons. Their people were said to have cast the nails used during the crucifixion, or to have failed to provide Mary with shelter when she and Jesus were fleeing the cruelty of King Herod. Those who chronicled these stories used their own imaginations to embellish them, and the fact that they were recorded in history books kept them alive in people’s minds for many years. In the beginning, European society was accommodating to the pilgrims, but over time their curiosity about them and sympathy for them were replaced by ambivalence and hatred.  full story

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