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September 20, 2018
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An exhibition “Watch out, gypsies!

Luxembourg, 26.3.2007 16:37, (Roma network)

The European Roma and Travellers Forum recently expressed its dissent with the organisation of an exhibition “Watch out, gypsies! The story of a misunderstanding” by the Luxembourg-City History Museum in cooperation with the Museum Astra in Sibiu/Romania.

This exhibition is currently shown at the Luxembourg-City Museum in the context of “Luxembourg: European Capital of culture 2007” and will, later this year, be presented in Sibiu/Romania, Luxembourg’s partner city for this year.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum which represents Romani interests at European level criticises the fact that the exhibition has been conceived and implemented without participation of Roma organisations and their representatives.

The mere choice of the title and the use of the word “gypsies” throughout the whole exhibition constitute a provocation against Romani people who in 1971 at their first World Congress after WWII expressed their wish to be called Roma.

I have complained in the past about conferences on Roma which have taken place without any Roma participating or helping organize; most recently Alena Aissing (alena@uflib.ufl.edu) of the University of Florida has created such an event -- a week long -- consisting almost entirely of song and dance performances by non-Roma. The programme is reproduced below, and the promotional poster is attached.This kind of exploitation for academic gain has to stop. I urge all Romani organizations to e-mail your protests to the persons ultimately responsible: Amie Kreppel, Founding Director of the Center for European Studies (kreppel@ces.ufl.edu) and in particular Jean Monnet, who is Chairman of the Miami European Union Center (reachable through akanner@miami.edu). Both of these individuals should know better, given the reality of the Romani experience. A conference to discuss Africans, or Jews, or Armenians, or Native Americans without their active participation would be unthinkable in this day and age; the same respect should apply. To promote racist stereotypes and inaccuracies ("Irish Gypsy Kelts", "American Tribal Gypsy") is a shameful reflection upon the institution of higher learning it represents.

Ian Hancock
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