Decade of Roma inclusion is but an illusion


by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Much has been made of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, a decade that was ONLY for Roma (Sinti and others need not apply, which was discriminatory to start with) and ONLY for Roma living in Eastern Europe.

New well over half way though this decade all we can see is money wasted without anything to show for. So, where did the money go? It went into the pockets of Roma leaders and some Gypsyologists with which the authorities only were prepared to deal and virtually nothing, in any way, shape or form, ever reached the grassroots.

Instead of improvements to the conditions of the Roma in Eastern Europe, be that living conditions or their reputation in the eyes of the majority, things have gotten worse (as if they actually could but they did) and literal genocide on Gypsies all over especially Eastern Europe and discrimination continues unabated.

As far as Romani integration and inclusion the truth is that is has remained an illusion despite the millions of Euro that have been thrown at this project.

Much of that money has been wasted on one study after the other, one report after yet another and the bulk of the remainder was handed over, without any proper records and accountability, to Buli Bashas and other big wigs in Gypsy society, who appear to have only improved their own lot with that money.

It has to be said that to some extent – and I know that many will not want to hear this – a great many of Rom throughout Europe have only themselves to blame as to how they are perceived by the mainstream.

While it is true that Anti-Gypsyism exists in cannot be eliminated by order from governments and by screaming and shouting from the side of the Romani People.

Our own attitude, at least that of what would appear to be the majority of Sinti and Roma, towards non-Romani society and the open disdain we too often show towards mainstream laws and the Gadje per se is what is to blame.

A German proverb says: “Wie man in den Wald hineinruft to schallt es heraus” which, in the English, says “We reap what we sow” and this is very true indeed. We indeed reap what we sow here for if we treat the Gadje with disdain how are they to have any respect for us?

Both side are to blame, that is true, and there is no doubt about that, as we have nigh on always put each others' backs up with our attitudes towards one another  but when I hear the disdain with which Sinti and Roma alike treat Gadje then Anti-Gypsyism will continue, regardless of laws against it or whatever.

It maybe that we will have to make the first moves here instead of standing there and demanding that the Gadje give us respect (or else) and that they make the first move.

If we want to be treated with respect and “demand respect”, as a Rom proverb was translated by someone once, aside from the fact that one cannot demand respect; it has to be earned, then we (too) much change.

Integration is a two-way street too. Even if it is offered there are far too many Rom who refuse to do it by way of taking up paid employment if there is no other way to make a living. No, they then rather take money from the government in the way of unemployment benefit and welfare payments.

I know, as I said, that this is not what many are wishing to hear but the truth is and remains the truth.

Dosta penauas!

© 2012