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Jovanovic: This is a constant battle for self-definition and we are resolved to win it, as long as we live

Budapest, 10.4.2014 22:11, (ROMEA)
Zeljko Jovanović, director, Roma Initiatives Office
Zeljko Jovanović, director, Roma Initiatives Office

Forty-three years ago, the founding fathers of April 8th, gave answers to fundamental questions every nation faces at a certain point. They knew that answers they gave will not be obligatory to anyone. They knew that the answers they gave will not be imposed on us by any governmental decrees, history classes, monuments, museums, memorials, or military parades. And they also knew that these answers must be given by Roma instead of being given by somebody else.

Today, forty-three years after, we pay deep respect and proudly celebrate the answers they gave. Nothing else obliges us to mark April 8th as the most important day for us collectively, but the moral imperative and hunger for self-definition. This is our Day of Flag. This is our Day of Republic. This is our Day of Independence.

In history, millions of Roma have paid the painful price because they wanted to celebrate who we are or because others defined who we are. In spite the price we pay, we are standing today together for self-definition. This is such a strong calling in us that every year millions of Roma and our friends mark this day.

We have never been bigger in number and stronger in knowledge. It is rather for us to stay dedicated to this great task, to increase the devotion and self-reliance to our cause for dignity and to show that millions of Roma have not been suffering and struggling for nothing.

The history will not mind a lot what we say today, but will definitely remember what we do every day to build on what those before us have done. This is a constant battle for self-definition and we are resolved to win it, as long as we live. Or at least, I am resolved to win it as long as I live.

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Zeljko Jovanovic, director, Roma Initiatives Office
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International Roma day, EU



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