Czech activist on 8 April: the Romani position in society is deteriorating, zero results from the financing invested
Today is International Romani Day. Romani people and the Romani world are close to me, I grew up among Roma and as an adult I am helping the poorest of the poor and fighting for their rights.
I basically feel a bit Romani myself, me som parno rom. Is there anything to celebrate this year?
Naturally it is necessary to show the brilliantly rich culture of the Roma to the gadje [non-Roma]. However, there are not many reasons to celebrate.
The position of Romani people in our society is bad, unfortunately it is not improving - exactly the opposite. Tens of thousands of Romani people are living in conditions of social exclusion and in impoverished ghettos, the numbers of which increase each year as their poverty intensifies.
Romani men and women face discrimination in all areas of life. Romani children attend segregated, substandard schools that do not give them any hope of a better future.
Antigypsyism and anti-Romani prejudices are the mainstream position of this society. This is not just about discrimination, poverty, racism and segregation, though.
Equality for Romani people is being denied to them even in the suffering they have undergone in the past. Recently a discussion has been held here about the decision to exclude the names of Holocaust victims of Romani origin from the public readings held here on Yom Hashoah.
Romani victims, according to some, need to be remembered at a different place and time - separately. At the Terezín Memorial, which is run by the Czech state, they are quite hardened in their refusal to fly the Romani flag among the row of flags being honored there and symbolizing the victims of Nazism.
Eventually the Romani flag has been flown at that memorial, but at a different time and place than the other flags are, and the Romani victims are remembered separately as well. Probably the worst thing here is, however, that Romani people do not participate in power-sharing, and they do not even fully enjoy the collective rights guaranteed to them by law as a national minority.
Annually an enormous amount of financial resources are invested into "Romani" integration and addressing Romani poverty, with zero results. Romani people themselves have no opportunity to influence what that money will be used for and how it will be targeted toward addressing the situation in Romani communities.
Romani people have no opportunity to influence the form the integration measures will take. Nobody speaks with them about it, because in a madhouse we don't invite the patients to meetings about the treatment program, right?
This means the form of the integration of Romani people is determined by gadje "experts" on integrating Romani people who work in different agencies and advisory groups and know Romani people just from the books written by other gadje. Naturally those measures then fail, they cannot function, they will not introduce change, integration does not succeed, but the big nonprofit corporations have budgets in the millions of crowns, acquire real estate, and raise their own salaries.
Subsidies flow and the wheel of the social integration industry keeps spinning. Nobody here works with the concept of "power-sharing/exchange", in the sense that modern social work and sociology do - it is taboo to speak of such a thing.
There is too much money at stake in this game. What is the way out of this dilemma?
There is no way out other than the actual involvement of Romani people in the matters that concern them. I wish all of my Romani friends mainly good health on this day.
- Czech actors send greetings to Romani people for 8 April, World Roma Day
- Zeljko Jovanovic: The New Roma Politics of Self-Determination and Unity
- 50th anniversary of the international movement of Romani people celebrated worldwide
- Overview of the online commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Romani movement already underway!
- Out-of-town youth assault Romani child and then other Roma in Sokolov - Czech Police defused the conflict and are investigating, local Roma not happy with their response
- Romani women and children in Slovakia assaulted physically and verbally by stranger at a lake
- Commentary: David Mezei, false prophet, and the Romani elite of the Czech Republic
- Dozens of Roma protest in front of restaurant in Czech town after food server allegedly assaults a Romani woman, police are investigating
- Czech MP alleges during parliamentary debate on welfare bill that incest is part of Romani culture, open racism on the floor of the lower house
- Assembly against discrimination and racism in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic attended mostly by Romani people
- Chair of the Czech Helsinki Committee: Czech society is racist towards Romani people
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Don't deny racism, eliminate it!
- More Roma citizens of Romania attempting to cross from Mexico into the USA to seek asylum this year
- Football hooligans and neo-Nazis blame all Roma for violent crime and march through Czech town, riot police deployed
- Czech extremists move from inciting anti-Romani hatred to railing against "COVID terror" ahead of fall elections
- Czech appeals court exceptionally reduces sentence for social media user who approved of Christchurch massacre, notes current law is imbalanced