Romanian History and Culture

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Gypsies, Rromi or Rroma People in Romania and Europe




  Radu Ciprian Alexandru (ethnic Rrom), hero that saved many from the flames at club Colectiv, Bucharest, on Halloween, before the medics and firefighter arrived on the scene. Thank you! Good bless you!

      What comes to mind to a foreigner are the two things (other than Dracula) most closely associated with Romania: Ceausescu, and the Gypsies.

Romanian people are not gypsies (Rroma, Romany, a nomadic population from India, arriving in Europe in the Middle Ages.)  It is a coincidence of name.  There are gypsies that live in Romania and they are 5-7% of Romanian citizens, as there are gypsies living in the USA,  Europe and all over the world.  Some gypsies, as Ceausescu and his wife, were part of the higher hierarchy of the former Romanian Communist Party, and some of them still are in the higher hierarchy of some of the Romanian parties. These are the assimilated gypsies. Some are very highly educated and hold good jobs and businesses and are in politics. Some are famous and rich through sports and music. But there  are a large number of gypsies that are still nomads. Some are cooper smiths, gold and silversmiths and mind their own business. 

A history of the gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia, By David M. Crowe

But the one creating problems for the image of Romania in Europe are the beggars, and the one organized in criminal cartels.

After their ancestral  law they obey only their king (bulibasha), who has the right to judge them and if found guilty put them to death.

They do not respect private property, the police or the law in the countries they reside or travel. They treat their own children as property, forcing them to beg  under punishment of beating or even selling them to other gypsy families for the same purpose. Arranged children marriages at a very tender age is another aspect of this problem. 

For hundreds of years, Rroma have lived by traditions that keep them separate from the gadjé (which is us), and practiced rituals and obeyed laws that keep the loyal in, and the "unclean" out. This notion of clean and unclean manifests itself in complex washing rituals for laundering, housecleaning, and bathing. And contrary to the myth that Gypsy women are "loose," there are very strict rules regarding modesty and chastity. Today, traditional Roma continue to hold their own courts, where disputes of all kinds are settled, and the ultimate punishment within these courts is to be branded marimé, or unclean, followed by expulsion  from the community.

Over the centuries the Roma have managed to survive on their wits and their skills; horse trading, metal working, fortune telling, begging, and of course music are some of the traditional livelihoods of the various groups.

The gypsies (Rroma) are represented in Romania by the:

 Party of the Rroma
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
The Party of the Roma (Romanian: Partidul Romilor, Romani: Partida le Romenge), formerly known as Social Democratic Roma Party (Partida Romilor Social-Democrată), is a political party in Romania representing the Romani minority. Its leader is Nicolae Păun, and it currently has one reserved seat in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies.Founded in 1990, after the Romanian Revolution, the Party of the Rroma is the official political association of the Romani minority and consequently has one reserved seat in the Chamber of Deputies, regardless of its electoral performance. The party has contested every election since the 1992 suffrage, but has never passed the 5% threshold required for it to gain extra seats. At the 2000 and 2004 national elections, the Party of the Roma signed a protocol or Paf reciprocal electoral support with the Social Democratic Party.[1] (PSD)
The reserved seat has been held by Gheorghe Răducanu in 1992-1996, by Mădălin Voicu in 1996-2000, and by Nicolae Păun in 2000-2004 and since 2004, party representatives have been elected at local level.


Gypsy King: Florin Cioaba and Gypsy Family Traditions

Gypsy's New Court, the Tribal Stabor (Romanian only)  NEW

Rroma 'Fagin' gang mutilated children so they would earn more money begging on the streets of Britain's 

Gypsies Palaces in Romania

Palate Tiganesti, Masini de Lux si Asistenta Sociala in Romania

Attention to Minor Gypsy Pickpockets in Paris 

The Difference Between Romanians and Gypsies Abroad

Europe's Beggar, Romania's Rroma

Deportation of Gypsies from European Countries back to Romania

Rroma Population in the European Countries

Romanian Gypsies after 1990-Chronology

History of Gypsies in Europe. Famous Gypsies

Origin of the Rroma people

Language of the European Gypsies

Gypsy Music


President Basescu at Bruxelles. Rroma EU Integration 

Femeile Rome discriminate nu se afirma politic din cauza "complexului Elena Ceausescu" 

 Gypsies and Vampires

Gypsies and Magic

Gypsies in the United States

Gypsy's Gold

Romany people

Cersetoarea Artificiala Romanca sic! Tiganca  (Romanian only)

Părinţii care te vor îngrozi: şi-au obligat toţi cei patru copii să cerşească şi se prostitueze!  (Romanian only)

Gypsy New Court the Tribal Stabor (Romanian only) 

Primul Tribunal Tiganesc a fost inaugurat la Sibiu - vezi ce probleme se judeca

Primul Tribunal Tiganesc a fost inaugurat la Sibiu - vezi ce probleme se judeca

Primul tribunal oficial al comunitatii rrome din Romania, "Staborul-Romano", a fost inaugurat, luni, la Sibiu.

Din Stabor fac parte 20 de personalitati in varsta ale etniei rrome cu pregatire juridica, iar presedinte va fi Dorin Cioaba, presedintele Asociatiei Indirom, la sediul careia are locatia si noul tribunal, informeaza Rondul de Sibiu.

In cadrul Tribunalului rromilor va functiona, permanent, un birou de consiliere juridica pentru membrii etniei, format din sase consilieri juridici.

Conform Realitatea TV, prima sedinta publica a Staborului a judecat o disputa intre doua familii din Sibiu, intre care a existat o altercatie, iar acum se cer despagubiri. Tribunalul incearca sa rezolve aceasta disputa inainte de a se ajunge la o intanta de judecata obisnuita.

Fiul autointitulatului rege al rromilor, Dorin Cioaba, a explicat ca Staborul-Romano nu este o institutie paralela cu institutiile statului.

"Aici vor fi rezolvate probleme care tin de obiceiurile si traditiile rromilor si pe care nimeni altcineva nu le-ar putea judeca. De exemplu, la noi o femeie nu are voie sa treaca prin fata barbatului. Daca acest lucru se intampla, este o incalcare a obiceiurilor si numai Staborul poate judeca, cum poti sa trimiti intr-o instanta asa ceva?", a explicat Cioaba. mai mult

Luni, 28 Februarie 2011, ora 14:55

36 comentarii
Primul Tribunal Tiganesc va fi inaugurat la Sibiu, in februarie

Primul Tribunal Tiganesc va fi inaugurat la Sibiu, in februarie

Primul Tribunal Tiganesc, care ar urma sa functioneze dupa Staborul Tiganesc, va fi inaugurat in luna februarie de catre Dorin Cioaba (40 de ani), fiul regelui autointitulat al rromilor, Florin Cioaba.

"Am decalat putin termenul inaugurarii din cauza lucrarilor care au intarziat. Dar acum facem ultimele pregatiri, iar la finele lunii februarie vom da drumul Tribunalului de la Sibiu", a declarat Dorin Cioaba, cel care ar urma sa fie si presedinte al acestei instante, scrie Adevarul.

Cioaba si-a luat si licenta in Drept la Universitatea Lucian Blaga din Sibiu. "Si in momentul acesta sunt comunitati in care se judeca dupa Stabor. Diferenta e ca aici, la Sibiu, vor veni numai cauze grele, cauzele acelea cu sentinta data de Staborul local, cu care invinuitul nu a fost de acord. Aici Tribunalul va functiona ca o instanta superioara celorlalte existente in alte comunitati de rromi. Va fi un fel de Curte de Apel", a explicat Dorin Cioaba.

Conform viitorului presedinte al Tribunalului Tiganesc de la Sibiu, cauzele se vor judeca dupa regulile Staborului Tiganesc si, potrivit traditiei, presedintele va lua decizia finala, insa va tine cont si de verdictul dat de 20 de jurati.

Cladirea instantei tiganesti de la Sibiu se intinde pe 140 de metri patrati si are doar trei incaperi: una de aproximativ 80 de metri patrati, care va servi drept sala de judecata, si alte doua, a cate 30 de metri patrati fiecare, pentru birouri. Lucrarile au inceput in toamna lui 2009, iar pentru a... mai mult

Luni, 24 Ianuarie 2011, ora 21:20

9 comentarii
Fiecare comunitate tiganeasca trebuie sa aiba cel putin un batran judecator de care sa asculte cu sfintenie toata lumea. Judecatilor tiganesti li se spune 'stabor'. 'Cuvantul asta e o inventie de  pe vremea lui Ceausescu', ne-a spus Ionita Nicolaie, zis 'Duca'. Omul are 74 de ani, este cel mai batran judecator de tiganie din Romania, locuieste in Chitila si este singurul bulibasa care are si o legitimatie in acest sens, inca din 1991.

La baza oricarei comunitati traditionale de rromi sta judecata tiganeasca. Dreptatea impartita de judecatorii clanurilor este singurul lucru care ii tine uniti. Ceea ce cunoastem sub denumirea de 'stabor' e de fapt o institutie cu caracter inchis, cu legi foarte clare, doar pentru tigani.

Ionita Nicolaie, zis 'Duca', participa la judecatile tiganesti de 56 de ani. 'Tatal meu si unchiul meu erau judecatori de judecata tiganeasca. Inca de cand aveam 12 ani m-au luat cu ei sa vad cum se face. La 18 ani am primit dreptul sa particip si eu in calitate de judecator. De atunci pana azi am judecat peste tot in tara. In ultimii ani am fost chemat de cateva ori si in Germania pentru niste neintelegeri intre tiganii romani de acolo', ne-a zis Ionita Nicolaie. Batranul ne-a destainuit care sunt secretele unui 'stabor' si ce inseamna sa fii judecator de tiganie.

'In functie de gravitatea cazului, trebuie sa participe intre unul si trei judecatori', spune 'Duca'. Actul de justitie traditional se savarseste ziua, de obicei la pranz, cu participarea comunitatii, cine vrea. Daca judecata nu se termina pana la apus, cazuri destul de rare, se suspenda pentru a doua zi si se reia de unde a ramas. Nu se noteaza nimic, desi sunt acum destui tigani care stiu carte. Judecatorul trebuie sa fie un om cu o memorie buna, respectiv nu trebuie sa se faca de rusine si sa uite vreun detaliu al judecatii.

La un 'stabor' vorbeste intai acuzatorul si martorii lui. Urmeaza apararea si martorii acesteia. Se poate insa si fara martori. Daca un tigan acuza sau se apara, prin juramant judecatorul ii da dreptate imediat.

Juramantul in 'stabor' e o dovada incontestabila. Dupa ce audiaza pe toata lumea, judecatorii aleg dintre cei de fata un numar de asistenti si se retrag cu acestia la dezbatere. Pedeapsa se da exclusiv in bani.

'Judecatorii din tiganie trebuie sa aplaneze certurile care ar putea destrama grupul. Puterea noastra sta doar in onoarea de tigan. Nu ne mai spuneti rromi, suntem tigani', mai zice Ionita.

Judecatorii din tiganie trebuie sa aplaneze certurile care ar putea destrama grupul. Puterea noastra sta doar in onoarea de tigan. Ionita Nicolaie, zis 'Duca'

Legile pe care trebuie sa le respecte tiganii

- Sa nu omori un alt tigan.
- Sa nu lovesti un alt tigan.
- Sa nu furi de la un alt tigan.
- Sa nu iei nevasta unui alt tigan.
- Sa nu minti un alt tigan.
- Sa nu calomniezi un alt tigan.
- Sa nu juri stramb in fata unui alt tigan.
- Tiganca sa nu treaca prin fata unui tigan, ci numai prin spatele acestuia, pentru ca ii poate face rau si plateste.
- Tiganca sa nu treaca prin fata unui animal copitat (vaca, oaie, cal, capra), pentru ca ii face rau si ii plateste stapanului animalului.
- Sa respecte decizia judecatorului.

Juraminte pe carne de porc si tigari rupte

Tiganii nu jura pe Biblie si nu se inghesuie sa jure pe icoane. In general se jura pe carne de porc si un ban pus deasupra sau pe o tigara rupta in doua si pusa cruce. Aceste obiecte sunt considerate diabolice, un lucru pacatos. Juramantul se rosteste: 'Asa cum se topeste untura din carne, asa sa se topeasca zilele mele daca...'.

300 de lei pedeapsa pentru calomniere

Cele mai multe instante tiganesti trebuie sa rezolve probleme de onoare. Reporterii Libertatii au participat la judecarea unui caz de calomnie intre tiganii din Chitila. Judecator a fost Bogdan Mitroi, un ucenic al veteranului Ionita Nicolaie, caruia i-a cerut sfatul inainte de deliberare.

Despre ce era vorba: o tiganca (Violeta I., 35 de ani) a fost banuita de adulter dintr-un zvon. Un tigan (Adrian S., 27 de ani) a vorbit despre acest lucru cu o terta persoana (Mihai M., 21 de ani). Zvonul a ajuns la urechile sotului femeii (Dan N., 45 de ani), care a cerut ajutorul bulibasei pentru a declansa judecata. Celui care a lansat zvonul adulterului i s-au cerut dovezi. Nu a avut. Ba, mai mult, a aparut un martor (Vasile V., 28 de ani) care a demontat banuiala. Judecatorul l-a amendat pe calomniator cu 300 de lei.

In tiganie, in general, denunturile nu sunt prea apreciate. Cel mai vinovat e considerat autorul moral al incalcarii datinilor. De exemplu, daca un tigan surprinde o neregula grava si o face publica in comunitate, iar in urma acestui denunt un alt tigan isi raneste semenul la nervi, denuntatorul este considerat vinovat, chiar daca ceea ce a spus el a fost adevarat.

In cazuri mai speciale, cel care se considera nedreptatit poate face 'recurs' la o alta instanta tiganeasca. Daca si acea instanta da aceeasi sentinta, partile in conflict trebuie sa respecte decizia. Altfel, risca excluderea din comunitate. In cazul in care judecatorii au gresit, ei decad din statutul pe care il au in comunitate.

Mai mult: Este singurul sef de stabor cu legitimatie | 

14 August 2009 | Subiectul: Minoritati,Multiculturalism,Revista Presei
La Caracal a mai apărut o minune – a avut loc o judecată ţigănească în sediul poliţiei. S-a întâmplat sub atenta supraveghere a oamenilor legii. Decizia de a organiza un astfel de proces a fost luată în comun de tigani şi poliţişti. Totul în urma unei altercaţii iscate vineri, 7 august 2009, între un grup de tigani şi un om de afaceri din Caracal.

În ultimele luni Caracalul s-a transformat într-un adevărat câmp de război între tigani şi omul de afaceri Remus Rădoi, care este acuzat că prin intermediul firmei sale de pază nu permite accesul tiganilor în localurile din oraş. Totul a culminat vineri, când cele două tabere s-au întâlnit din nou şi a ieşit cu scântei. Când au văzut ce s-a întâmplat la Caracal, judecătorii din Comitetul European al Tiganilor au cerut să fie organizată o judecată ţigănească, iar şefii poliţiei din Caracal au găsit şi locaţia – secţia de poliţie.

Judecata tiganilor a fost exact ca una de la tribunal. Mai întâi au fost lăsate să vorbească părţile implicate, apoi au fost expuse concluziile. Nu au lipsit însă momentele tensionate. “Faţă de domnul Mincioagă, domnu’ maior şi încă trei poliţai mi s-a dat un pumn în gură de către domnul Rădoi”, a declarat unul dintre cei implicaţi în judecată.
“Erau pregătiţi, aceşti tigani, să iasă în oraş şi să-şi facă singuri dreptate spunând că Poliţia nu se implică şi că ei nu mai pot rezista, că sunt foarte afectaţi. Am căutat în aşa fel să stopăm conflictul care există de câteva zile în acest oras”, a afirmat Florin Motoi, judecător în Comitetului European al Tiganilor, Krisintori.

Judecata a avut şi rezultate. Părţile s-au împăcat.

Un prilej foarte bun de a se discuta tot ceea ce s-a întâmplat în ultima perioadă, şi cred că a şi avut o finalitate, pe viitor sperăm noi ca lucrurile să mearga cel putin bine, dacă nu foarte bine”, a spus omul de afaceri Remus Rădoi.

Judecătorii prezenţi au spus că dacă nu se aplanează conflictul vor face un alt proces mult mai dur la care vor chema toţi judecătorii tignilor din ţară.

10 mar 2008
Staborul tiganesc din comuna ieseana Grajduri a pronuntat – dupa multi ani de "tacere" – o sentinta neobisnuita: biciuirea a doi tineri si amendarea familiilor care s-au luat la bataie in urma cu cateva zile. Amenda pentru familiile care au participat la scandal a fost fixata, conform legilor tiganesti, la cate 5.000 de euro de persoana.

Satenii din aceasta localitate, in majoritate tigani, au declarat ca staborul nu s-a mai intrunit de foarte multi ani, iar seful acestui inedit tribunal, bulibasa Ferdinand Stanescu, a spus ca nu s-a tinut cont de pozitia sociala sau de alte ranguri in comunitate pe care le au inculpatii. Cei judecati sunt, intr-adevar, oameni de afaceri destul de prosperi si fac afaceri impreuna de mai multi ani.

"Potrivit traditiei, membrii celor doua familii implicate au fost adusi la judecata, in mare secret, la miezul noptii, la marginea unei paduri, la lumina unor focuri. Timp de cateva ore au fost ascultate variantele ambelor parti pentru a decide cui apartine vina. In final am dat verdictul si am ajuns la concluzia ca motivul bataliei care avusese loc a fost orgoliu l celor doua tabere. Nu s-au certat de la bani, femei sau afaceri si judecata a tinut pana pe la patru dimineata. A fost vorba de patru frati, care la randul lor au copii de 18-20 de ani, si toti au vrut sa faca o demonstratie de forta. A fost o bataie, dar fara morti sau pagube si fiecare familie a primit cate o amenda de 5.000 de euro. Dupa ce s-a incheiat judecata, fiecare a promis in fata staborului ca vor fi oameni linistiti de acum inainte. Banii platiti de ei au ramas la dispozitia noastra, a staborului, si se vor folosi pentru ajutorarea tiganilor saraci de la noi", a spus liderul rromilor din Grajduri.

Presa are acces foarte greu
In timpul judecatii, la locul in care au loc discutiile si deliberarile nu au acces decat cei din stabor si acuzatii.
In jurul acestui tribunal sunt plasati mai multi tineri din comunitate.
Ei au misiunea de a pazi acest loc de alte persoane sau de curiosi.
Admiterea unor observatori din partea romanilor sau din partea unor institutii de presa, de exemplu, este un lucru foarte greu de obtinut, deoarece tiganii prefera sa-si spele rufele in familie.

15 lovituri de bici pe spate
Bulibasa Stanescu a spus ca doi dintre tinerii scandalagii, cei care au fost cei mai violenti in timpul bataii, au fost biciuiti, primind cate cincisprezece lovituri de bici pe spate. "S-a folosit un bici pentru manat caii si nu a fost o tortura, desigur. Acum, in vremurile noastre, e ceva mai mult simbolic, inainte cei vinovati erau batuti la sange si unii chiar mureau din cauza biciului. Celor doi tineri le-au ramas niste urme pe spate, asa, de aducere aminte sa se comporte cum trebuie. Nu se cuvine sa fim violenti la extreme, ca doar suntem in Uniunea Europeana, nu? Multi dintre tiganii batrani ne cer sa fim mai intransigenti, dar sunt alte vremuri. Eu nu vreau scandal la mine in sat si m-am suparat deoarece nu au venit direct la mine sa rezolve treburile", a precizat bulibasa Stanescu.

Staborul, reluat dupa cel putin 20 de ani de pauza
Staborul se reuneste foarte rar, doar daca este vorba de situatii grave. In Grajduri, zona in care tiganii nu au creat probleme comunitatii, acest stabor nu s-a mai reunit de dinainte de Revolutie. Atunci, in anii '80, a fost vorba de o crima si putini isi amintesc de ce a fost atunci, iar cei implicati pastreaza tacerea. Legea tiganeasca spune ca nu trebuie sa vorbesti de ce ai facut si judecat in stabor. Dupa staborul de la finele saptamanii trecute, liderii tigani locali, in frunte cu bulibasa Stanescu, au venit la Iasi, la sediul IPJ. "A fost o datorie de onoare sa vorbim cu politia deoarece nu este posibil sa se intample asa ceva la Grajduri, una dintre cele mai linistite comune de tigani din Romania", a mai spus bulibasa.

Politia are varianta ei
Politistii ieseni au precizat ca adevaratul motiv au fost doua masini luate in leasing de firma pe care cele doua familii o administreaza impreuna. "La scandalul care a fost la finele saptamanii trecute au fost mobilizate si fortele noastre speciale de interventie. Cand am ajuns insa acolo, echipajele de jandarmi si "mascati" de la Interventie Rapida au fost insa informate de bulibasa ca bataia a fost oprita si ca, dupa ce staborul ii va judeca pe cei implicati, politia va fi lasata sa-si faca datoria. Avem si noi intelegeri cu aceste comunitati si de cele mai multe ori ei le respecta. Acum au scapat putin lucrurile de sub control, dar in cele din urma s-a terminat cu bine. Noi am demarat acolo o ancheta acum dupa legile in vigoare", a declarat comisarul-sef Liviu Zanfirescu, comandantul IJP Iasi. 

Gypsy King: Florin Cioaba and Gypsy Family Traditions

Thousands of Roma Gypsies will head

to the UK for a better life

Last updated at 21:56 10 September 2007 

Gypsy King: Florin Cioaba
Thousands of Rroma Gypsies may head west in search of jobs and better lives and the EU must prepare for them, Romania's self-proclaimed Gypsy king said.
Surrounded by thousands of Roma at a festive annual gathering in a valley some 125 miles west of Bucharest, Florin Cioaba said discrimination and hunger were likely to drive many Roma out of the Balkans towards the west.
He warned that prejudice awaited them in the EU.
"The EU is not prepared," Cioaba said on Saturday, looking out at a field of tents, food-laden tables and bonfires.
"Thousands of Roma from Romania and Bulgaria will leave their countries in the next two years and if the EU is not able to include them in the society, then it loses its meaning as an institution."
Roma Gypsies are one of Europe's oldest minorities and the Council of Europe, which monitors human rights, says they are the most discriminated against minority in Europe.
In recent months, Roma and illegal immigrants have been blamed by the Italian media for a spate of violent crimes.
A large camp of Romanian Gypsies along a busy Dublin motorway also caught headlines in Ireland this summer.
Romania, and its smaller southern neighbour Bulgaria, joined the EU this year, gaining free passage across the bloc's borders but transition periods in access to labour markets often prevent citizens of the two poor countries from getting jobs abroad.
"Everybody hates the Gypsies, even if not all of us are criminals and thieves," said Cioaba, a portly man wearing a blue tie-clip with EU stars on it. "Not everybody wants to beg, or steal."
The majority of Europe's Roma live in the Balkans, with some two million in Romania, where many of them struggle with prejudice, poverty and high illiteracy rates.
But each year in Costesti, families bring out their very best, hoping to find spouses for their children by impressing each other with copious food and fancy cars.
"I like the EU flag. It's a beautiful symbol," said Ninel Radulescu, a 31-year-old Roma from the village of Draganesti in southern Romania.
He waved to his car, a luxury off-road Audi, parked behind a long table piled high with wine, decorated roast piglets and chickens held up by beer bottles.
Women in colourful headscarves and shimmering skirts sat around the table.
A small EU flag was hoisted on top of the car.
"It symbolises wealth," Radulescu said.lasting Tribute Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group© 2009 Associated Newspapers Ltd

Romanian 'Gypsy' Children Become Engaged Aged 6 And 4

 Gypsy king's daughter is sad child bride

Monday, 29 September, 2003, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK

Ana-Maria Cioaba and Birita Mihai The school-age daughter of a Romanian gypsy (Rroma) king has married a 15-year-old bridegroom.

Ana-Maria Cioaba, whose age has been reported as either 12 or 14, stormed off at one point during the ceremony at Sibiu in central Romania, shouting at reporters to leave her alone. But she was persuaded to return by her family and went through with the wedding to Birita Mihai, himself from a wealthy Roma family. Reports say Ana-Maria had been promised as his bride when she was aged seven, for the price of 500 gold coins. Correspondents say the wedding is technically illegal under Romanian law, where girls must be at least 16.

" What marriage? " Ana-Maria Cioaba after ceremony. But the practice of school-age marriages remains common in the Roma community, and the Romanian authorities normally turn a blind eye. Ana-Maria's father, Florin Cioaba, is one of a handful of self-proclaimed Roma kings in Romania. Observers said the young bride looked sad and sullen during the ceremony. "She has been crying all day, but the marriage ceremony will go ahead with or without her," said a family adviser, Dana Cherendea, after the bride had stormed out, and hinted that the girl might receive a beating for her defiance.

"Ana-Maria did not have any say over this marriage. It is something that was decided when she was seven," her aunt Luminita Cioaba, told AFP news agency.

"Sometimes the gypsy traditions are very hard, even unfair," she added.

A cousin of Ana-Maria said some Roma women were beginning to reject the custom of arranged marriages. "I don't want to marry, I am choosy and I have refused several marriage partners my parents presented to me," said 17-year-old Gabriela Mihai. Ana-Maria herself appeared to reject the marriage.

Bride's wedding dress "What marriage?" she said after the ceremony, as her 12 bridesmaids chanted, "Out with Birita!"

The ceremony was being followed by a three-day party for 400 guests. The feast included 12 suckling pigs and thousands of bottles of wine.

"This is a happy day for the royal household - my youngest daughter is getting married," said Mr Cioaba.

Official figures say more than 550,000 Roma live in Romania, but the real number is believed to be more than 1.5 million. Romania has a population of 22 million.

More than 200 guests attended the wedding at a Pentecostal church.


Gypsy king: 'The EU offers new hope for the Roma'
Sibiu, Romania , 4.2.2007, 10:10, (Babel International)


Florin Cioaba, 'Roma King,' wants to unify the fragmented ethnic gypsy tribes and represent them politically.

There are around 12 million Roma living in Europe today. Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the EU brings them more power and a voice in Brussels. Florin Cioaba, who lives in Sibiu, believes that the EU represents an immense opportunity for his people.

How did you inherit the title of 'International King of the Roma?'

The Cioaba family has been at the head of the Roma for several generations. It was my father, Ion Cioaba, who tried to integrate the Roma into society on a national and international level in the 1960s. At the beginning of the 1990s, the Roma wanted a king to represent them and fight for their rights. My father went from being called 'Bulibasha', which means head of a tribe in Romani, to 'king'. Following his death in 1997, I inherited the title.

What could change for your people with Romania’s accession to the EU?

The EU has been changing the fate of the Roma in Europe since 2000, when the European Roma and Traveller’s Forum was started. This is a sort of ‘mini parliament’ that I belong to, as Vice President of the Romani Union. I see the EU as a new path and a new future.

Where exactly do the Roma need immediate support?

No single European state has legislation for discrimination of the Roma. Yet we are discriminated against everyday, especially on a local political level. The latest EU report recognises this as an increasing trend. This causes me concern, as well as the provision of health care and the housing situation of the Roma. Something urgently needs to happen.

What are your precise demands?

Every European country follows its own strategies. We also have one in Romania that has been partly implemented: Romani is taught in a few basic primary schools and at a Bucharest university. However, it is often the case that the programmes offered by the EU aren’t carried out. It's just not popular with the majority of the population.

The Romanian majority of the population complains that your customs are not compatible with a modern EU, for example, the practice of child marriage.

We want to hold on to our age-old traditions. In comparison to those, the European Union is very young! Now we find ourselves in a new millennium, and most recently in the EU, some things, of course, must change and I completely agree with that.

But changes shouldn’t be rushed and shouldn’t take place with the police standing at the doorstep. Around the topic of child marriage, there has been informational campaigns and many have already understood that children shouldn't get married at such a young age.

You personally had to be answerable to the European Parliament when your 13-year-old daughter, Ana Maria, got married.

My case was somewhat more delicate. The BBC was lying when it reported my daughter was forced into marriage with beatings and threats. And when Emma Nicholson (British MEP and Rapporteur for Romania) rushed to my daughter, that was correct. That is her role.

But when I explained to her that a centuries-old tradition demands from us Roma that our daughters should marry at this age, she understood and I also understood something. My daughter separated from her husband-to-be and they married once she had turned 15 (which is the Romanian legal age of consent for sex.)

How do you intend to bring the different interests of the various tribes of your people under one roof?

That’s my biggest concern. When my father founded the Romani Union straight after the revolution, at the start everyone joined. However, after a few months the union started to disintegrate with members absconding to other parties or unions. But 16 years later we can count over 250 Roma organisations in our country. At the moment I am trying to organise a single, uniform representation of the Roma. But it’s obvious that it will last at most to the next elections!

In Romania there are two different ideas on integrating the Roma. One demands strengthening this ethnic minority through its own schools. The other wants to see the Roma treated in the same way as Romanians. Which opinion do you hold?

In comparison to earlier, the Roma are already well integrated into Romanian society. We have university professors, we have our newspapers, and we have representatives in government. The Roma don’t need money or theoretical integration programmes from the EU, but need job creation strategies. There is a lack of jobs with which the Roma can pursue their centuries-old trades.

My vision is that tinkers will have the opportunity to develop themselves into the best worldwide copper workers, likewise for silver and goldsmiths. In my opinion, you have to give people a fishing rod and hook. If you give them a fish, then they will just expect to get more. If you give them a rod and hook, they will catch their own fish.

Brigitta Gabrin, Translation: Melanie Cutler
Babel International


Cu Palate Tiganesti si masini de Lux Asistati Social in Romania


Asistenta sociala in Romania e un domeniu atacat de coruptie. Spaga si tupeul au facut sa infloreasca mafia certificatelor de handicap, dar si listele cu beneficiari de lux ai venitului minim garantat.

Sotii Berca sunt rudari si au doua fete, care au cate trei copii. Fiecare a scos certificate de handicapat pentru doi dintre ei, iar ajutorul social incasat lunar de fiica cea mare, de exemplu, ar face invidios orice anagajat.

"430 cu 200 cu 560, cu alocatie dubla de 86, cu buget complementar de 94 de lei … rezulta 2033 de lei. Eu zic ca e un venit modest fata de mine care iau 500 de lei pe luna." - spune, cu amaraciune, un asistent social.

Sora mai mica, primeste de la stat cu 30 de lei mai putin, adica 20 de milioane de lei vechi pe luna. Sustine ca masina din curte nu e a ei sau a sotului, ci a unui frate, iar casa cu etaj este ridicata cu bani cersiti in Occident. Bineinteles, membrii familiei nu vor sa le fie filmate proprietatile.

Primarul comunei a gasit si o "explicatie". El sugereaza ca acesti copii cu handicap ar putea fi rezultatul casatoriilor intre rude. In comunitatea rudarilor din Bujoreni, din 600 de locuitori, 400 aveau anul trecut certificat de handicap. Dupa un control, numarul lor a scazut la jumatate.

In casele in care lumea "moare de foame" nu prea mai sta nimeni. Multi copii cu handicap au fost trimisi de parinti in Franta, Anglia sau Italia la cersit, insa cei ramasi in tara continua sa incaseze ajutor social pentru ei. Presa londoneza a dezbatut pe larg acest subiect.


Romania asistatilor social. Exista zeci de indemnizatii, ajutoare complementare si tot felul de alte plati cu care, teoretic, statul roman sprijina financiar persoanele in nevoie.

Practic, este momentul de glorie al mafiei certificatelor de handicap, un domeniu in care pentru o pensie garantata, cetateni fara probleme de sanatate platesc spagi consistente. O caracatita care include medici si functionari.

Dezbracat, revoltat, violent. Iata portertul unuia dintre cei 88.000 de romani cu handicap fictiv.

La Valcea, o femeie, ajutata social primeste o piatra in moalele capului pentru ca vrea sa faca ancheta. Locuieste in vila, conduce masini de lux si primeste de la stat ajutor de aproape 500 de euro.

La Timis, unii medici s-au imbogatit dupa ce au eliberat certificate de nevazatori unor oameni perfect sanatosi. Afacerea costa 1.000 de euro.

Ce au in comun toti acesti oameni? Sunt la mila statului care nu se sfieste sa aloce doua miliarde de euro din buget pentru a-i ajuta. Unii pe buna dreptate, jumatate insa ilegal.

Duminica, la Romania, te iubesc, descoperiti, intr-un reportaj realizat de corespondentul ProTv, Rares Nastase, un stat mai mult decat darnic cu oameni care traiesc exclusiv din acest bani, cu asistati de lux ce conduc masini de zeci de mii de euro, cu nevazatori soferi cu rude ale unor alesi locali prea bogati ca sa nu-si permita un ajutor social.

Romania este taramul miracolelor. Barbati si femei cu handicap se insanatosesc rapid in fata camerei de luat vederi: se vindeca pe loc de orbire, deficiente locomotorii grave sau incapacitate de munca.

In Romania, venitul minim garantat ajunge la multe persoane cu stare. La Filiasi - Dolj un intreg cartier de asistati social prospera. Locatarii spun ca n-au avut nevoie de banii de la stat, dar daca tot ii primeau, de ce sa ii refuze?

Despre caracatita mafiei certificatelor de handicap date unor persoane sanatoase, precum si exemple ale unor personaje care primesc venit minim garantat desi nu sunt sarace, aflati duminica, la "Romania, te iubesc" de la ora 18:00 la ProTV, si, pentru prima data, in direct si pe mobil pe adresa




Rroma 'Fagin' gang mutilated children so they would earn more money begging on the streets of Britain's

Benefits Boulevard: Gypsies' gaudy mansions built in Romania... with YOUR money

By Sue Reid

Last updated at 12:05 AM on 21st May 2011

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  The children as young as seven were being kidnapped or bought from their parents in poor gipsy communities.
They were being smuggled to Britain for pick-pocketing, shoplifting sprees and prostitution and the profits used to build giant 'gipsy palaces'.
Police estimate that 168 youngsters aged seven to 15 were trafficked.
Yesterday 26 officers from the Metropolitan Police joined 300 Romanian officers for a series of dawn raids to arrest 17 men suspected of running the operation for the last four years.
Inside 34 fortified properties in Tandarei, a gang heartland in the south of the country, they found an incredible stash paid for by the children's work.
A fearsome cache of weapons included AK-47 machine guns, high-powered hunting rifles and knives, pistols, gas bombs and rounds of ammunition including rubber bullets.
Enormous bundles of cash with hundreds of thousands of pounds in sterling, Euros and Romanian lei were found scattered around the rooms.
Officers also recovered luxury cars, jewels and hundreds of false British passports and fake documents from parents giving the gang members permission to look after the children. 

 Profits from child trafficking in Romania are being used to build 'gipsy palaces' such as this one

  Profits from child trafficking in Romania are being used to build 'gypsy palaces' such as this one
Armed officers wearing balaclavas battered down doors, hauled the stunned suspects from their beds and handcuffed them on the floor.
Police acted after a tip-off about the huge sums of money flowing into the gypsy community in the impoverished village where massive homes called 'gypsy palaces' by locals, were being built.
Police sources added that some of the children have already arrived back in Romania, and are being given counseling.
It is also hoped that they can be used in identifying some of the gang
members that were involved in sending them to the UK.
A Romanian police spokesman said: 'The children were told their families would be at risk if they tried to flee, and families were told the children would be harmed if they made a complaint to authorities.'
Romanian officials estimate that a pimp operating 15 girls can earn about £2.7million a year if their trade is prostitution and slightly less if they are pickpockets and thieves. But many operate in networks up to 50-strong.
Scotland Yard is now hunting for the missing 168 children believed to be living in the UK, as well as the gang's associates in Britain.
Met Commander Mark Gore said: 'This was a massive child trafficking operation.
'These people have been brought up in the Romany community. The evidence suggests they were taken from their communities by force or without their parents' consent.
'We are now trying to find out whether they are being kept.'
Traffickers begun targeting the UK when Eastern European countries including Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU.
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28 Roma children rescued in London police raids

LONDON – British police took more than two dozen Roma children as young as 3 into protection Tuesday after raiding houses in London as part of a joint child trafficking investigation with Romanian authorities.

Officers raided 16 properties in east London in an operation "to safeguard potential victims of a Romanian-based Roma gang of child traffickers," police said.

The 28 children would be assessed by child protection experts, police said. Seven adults were arrested, including three on suspicion of assault and child neglect.

The raids were part of Operation Golf, a joint British-Romanian police operation against people traffickers from Romania's Rroma, or Gypsy, community.

"These children are exploited by gangs and in some cases their own parents," who paid criminals to bring the youngsters to Britain to earn money, Chief Inspector Colin Carswell of Operation Golf said.

The police force said 26 people were arrested in Romania in April in connection with the investigation and were facing charges of child trafficking, organized crime and money laundering.

The arrests come as European authorities struggle to find solutions to the complex issues facing Europe's poorest minority.

European Union Social Affairs Commissioner Laszlo Andor said Tuesday that it was unacceptable that Roma have "the same hopes and dreams" as other European citizens but not the same opportunities."

He called on member states to address employment, education and health issues for Europe's 10 million to 12 million Roma.

In August, French authorities began expelling hundreds of Roma back to their home countries. The French government said illegal Roma camps on the outskirts of towns were hubs for child exploitation and prostitution, but the expulsions were condemned by human rights groups and European Union officials.

Romania is one of the poorest members of the EU, which it joined in 2007, and up to 2 million Romanians have left their country in recent years in search of better jobs.

Police believe some were lured by false promises of legitimate employment and found themselves in forced labor and forced prostitution.


Associated Press Writer Alina Wolfe Murray in Bucharest, Romania, contributed to this report.


Romanian - Not Gypsy (Text needs editing)

By Don_Johnn

 Gypsy, Tzigan, Gittano...

First of all the meaning of the word gypsy. Gypsy defines a person of any origin, who has a nomad habit of life. Some said that they firs appeared in England at the beginning of the 16thCentury. They're origins are in Egypt or India. Since then they spread all over the world. Today we can find gypsies of any nationality.

I don't know how are gypsies in other countries but i know in Romania most

Some of the gypsies in Romania make illegalities and have a lot of money. Some of them show this through gold chains and rings.

of them are poor, dirty, thieves, beggars and pickpockets or worse. Some of them have connections in Interlope world. Of course there are some exceptions. There are some gypsies which are real humans. They have a beautiful home, a educated family, a successful carrier. But this only in particular cases. Most of gypsies in Romania are not educate because they never been to school, or if they was they abandon it before graduation. Not having any qualification, they cannot hire anywhere so they begin they're criminal life. In some cases gypsies have huge houses with 2, 3 or even 4 floors, they have a lot of money and gold most of them bought with money made from drug dealing, stealing, begging in other countries, prostitution and drug dealing.


Some of the gypsies in Romania  have a lot of money. Some of them show this through gold chains and rings.



Arată ca Beverly Hills: un cartier select, plin de conace sclipitoare, care ar putea fi căminele unor actori sau designeri celebri, care conduc bolizi Porsche, scrieThe Sun. Dar, de fapt, este orăşelul Ţăndărei, iar vilele sunt locuite de"gangsterii din România", care le-au construit cu banii furaţi din Marea Britanie.

Poliţia metropolitană britanică spune că treizeci de "mafioţi", mulţi dintre ei înrudiţi, au ridicat peste o sută de vile luxoase în Ţăndărei, multe dintre ele cu cele 800.000 de lire sterline obţinute ilegal în Albion, din ajutoare sociale.

Albion, din ajutoare sociale.

Vilă din Ţăndărei, construită de "gangsteri" cu banii furaţi din Marea Britanie/ sursa foto: The SUN

Autorităţile engleze cred că frauda pentru care opt ţigani români au fost arestaţi reprezintă doar "vârful aisbergului". Iar, după articolul publicat ieri, The Sun a făcut o vizită în Ţăndărei, oraşul ialomiţean de unde provin ţiganii şi care este situat la 144 de kilometri est de Bucureşti.

"Am văzut că strada principală din oraş s-a transformat într-un strălucitor Bulevard al Beneficiilor", notează, cu umor, tabloidul britanic.

O altă locuinţă din oraşul ialomiţean, în deplin contrast cu vilele

Astfel, pe strada Bucureşti au apărut zeci de vile în stil american, puternic colorate, care valorează minimum 570.000 de euro fiecare, estimează The Sun. Iar multe altele sunt încă în construcţie. Toate acestea contrastează "în mod bizar" cu "barăcile dărăpănate ale ţăranilor din localitate, găsite mai în josul străzii", notează publicaţia.

Un bărbat "cu dinţi de aur": "Dacă îmi pozaţi casa, veţi muri"

Vizita britanicilor nu a trecut neobservată. Aceştia povestesc că s-au întâlnit cu "un bărbat corpolent, cu dinţi de aur", care conducea un Vauxhall cu volanul pe dreapta, înmatriculat în Marea Britanie. "Dacă îmi pozaţi casa, intru în maşina voastră. Veţi muri", ar fi spus bărbatul.

BMW din Ţăndărei, cu volanul pe dreapta şi plăcuţe din Marea Britanie

De fapt, maşinile cu plăcuţe de înmatriculare britanice sunt la ordinea zilei în Ţăndărei, notează sursa.

Ieri, casa cu trei nivele a Claudiei Radu (care a primit o condamnare de şase luni pentru folosirea de acte false) era finisată de muncitorii angajaţi de familia femeii. Vila este echipată cu balcoane, terase şi un gazon bine îngrijit. În faţa gardului, erau parcate un VW Passat şi un BMW X5.

The Sun a descoperit că, pe lângă beneficiile obţinute ilegal din partea statului britanic, femeia primea ajutoare şi din partea statului român. În faţa autorităţilor noastre, Claudia Radu a susţinut că locuieşte într-o casă dărăpănată, la marginea unui drum neasfaltat. Astfel, ea a obţinut o finanţare de 375 de lei pe lunădin partea românilor.

Casa uneia dintre femeile care au fraudat bugetul Marii Britanii

Inspector-şef britanic: "Vom încerca să punem sechestru pe cele 100 de vile"

Un alt român arestat în Marea Britanie are o vilă "cu ţiglăolandeză şi frontoane (n.r. element arhitectonic situat deasupra intrării unei clădiri). Şi liderul bandei, Teiuş Dumitru, are un conac în Ţăndărei, deşi el oficial trăieşte în oraşul Nottingham, din Marea Britanie.

Una dintre casele pe care s-ar putea pune sechestru

Poliţia britanică spune că fraude precum ale românilor prejudiciază statul britanic cu 1,13 miliarde de euro anual. Dar inspectorul-şef Colin Carswell, şeful operaţiunii care i-a prins peţiganii români, spune că speră să recupereze o parte din bani. "Credem că minimum 100 de case au fost construite de această bandă.Acum, vom încerca să punem sechestru pe aceste proprietăţi", a explicat Carswell, pentru The Sun. "Totuşi, acest lucru ar putea dura ani de zile şi va depinde de legile din România şi cooperarea poliţiştilor români. Până acum, au fost excelenţi", a conchis inspector

Benefits Boulevard: Gypsies' gaudy mansions built in Romania... with YOUR money

By Sue Reid

Last updated at 12:05 AM on 21st May 2011

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In the week a gang of Romanian gypsies was jailed for an £800,000 benefits fraud, Sue Reid reveals the loophole in British law that allows taxpayers' money to be funnelled into a gaudy mansion and BMWs back in the East.

On a windy street corner in Bradford, West Yorkshire, a woman wears a lacy black headscarf and touts copies of The Big Issue, the magazine sold by the homeless.

She has travelled 40 miles across the Pennines from Manchester, where she lives with her eight children, to sell as many copies as possible at £2 each.

Luxury: The impressive property in Tandarei, Romania, identified by police as being built for a Gypsy gang linked with a £800,000 UK benefits fraud. Jailed fraudster Adrian Radu lived there

Luxury: The impressive property in Tandarei, Romania, identified by police as being built for a Gypsy gang linked with a £800,000 UK benefits scam. Jailed fraudster Adrian Radu lived there

But all is not as it seems. For 32-year-old Contessa Calinescu is a Romanian gypsy and is not homeless. In fact, she was driven to Bradford from Manchester, where the rent on her home is paid by taxpayers via welfare payments. She also claims nearly £500 a month in benefits for her large brood of children.

Like hundreds of other Roma women, she is exploiting a loophole in the law, in order to claim huge amounts of benefits.

Romanians who have migrated to Britain are restricted from claiming benefits — unlike other East European nations which joined the EU three years earlier.

But in a sophisticated scam, many Romanians have circumvented the system by claiming to be ‘self-employed’ Big Issue sellers — a status which entitles them to a National Insurance number and to claim the full panoply of welfare benefits, such as rent payments, council tax rebates and child benefits.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions’ website, Romanians working ‘in a self-employed capacity’ can claim housing and council tax benefit and child benefits.

As a result, Romanians are gleefully exploiting our generosity. A migrant advice organisation states: ‘The easiest way for Romanians to get access to the benefits system is to become self-employed.’

Claudia Radu, the Romanian woman with a £2m property portfolio
Adrian Radu, jailed this week at Southwark Crown Court

Fraud: Claudia Radu, the Romanian woman with a £2m property portfolio, and right, her brother-in-law Adrian Radu. They were both jailed at Southwark Crown Court this week

The result is that Romanian gypsies see Britain as the perfect destination as they try to escape poverty and discrimination in their home country.

They are doing nothing illegal. Even those who sell only a few copies of The Big Issue are entitled to tap into welfare benefits, and scores of them rake in huge amounts of state aid which they send back to Romania.

As a result, one particular town, Tandarei, has been transformed from a dusty outpost 100 miles from the capital Bucharest to a prosperous community full of new houses, BMWs and Land Rovers.

Indeed, some of the homes (painted garish colours and looking somewhat incongruous in a part of the world where farmers still use horse-drawn carts) are so swish that they have been likened to Beverly Hills.

Scotland Yard believes that more than 100 of the homes in an area dubbed ‘Benefits Boulevard’ have been built with the proceeds of money earned either illegally or through welfare scams in Britain.

This week, the scale of the problem was exposed when a gang of Romanian gypsies — some of whom own a brand new house in Tandarei — was jailed after fraudulently obtaining more than £800,000 in a sophisticated scam which a judge at Southwark Crown Court described as a ‘flagrant’ attack on our benefits system.

Gang members made regular budget flights to Britain, where they used forged Home Office residency documents and fake job references to obtain National Insurance numbers, and enabling them to claim tax credits, income support, child benefits and housing handouts.

Plush: A similar property inTandarei, Romania, where Marian Radu lived. Benefits are funnelled back to Romania through a loophole that allows gangs to buy stunning homes

Plush: A similar property inTandarei, Romania, where Marian Radu lived. Benefits are funnelled back to Romania through a loophole that allows gangs to buy stunning homes

They also used bogus birth certificates and photos of children who either did not exist or were victims of child-trafficking to illegally rake in child benefit.

Much of the money was funnelled back to Tandarei, where many more £500,000 houses are under construction. British-registered vehicles are everywhere.

Four mansions, in a property portfolio worth nearly £2 million, are believed to belong to the Radu family, who were jailed at Southwark Crown Court this week. It will now be some time before they are released and are able to return to the salmon pink-painted three and four-storey villas, with their manicured lawns, balconies and a porch.

Although this gang was not involved in the Big Issue scam, the case demonstrates how Romanian migrants are using a variety of tricks to abuse the system.

The Big Issue is sold by an estimated 3,000 people in Britain, with 40 per cent of sellers in the North believed to be Romanian gypsies.

Meanwhile, genuinely homeless Britons are finding it increasingly hard to sell the magazine, which was first published to help the homeless get a meagre weekly income and the chance to better their lives.

The system works by people buying copies for £1 each to sell at £2, and keeping the profit. But while British-born poor often can only afford to buy a few copies at a time, Romanian gangsters ‘block buy’ copies for cash at Big Issue distribution depots.

These are then handed to Roma to sell on streets all over Britain, with the profits being returned to the gangmasters.

''Some get £21,000 a year in benefits, which is more than the average wage of a real worker'

Every morning, Roma women are driven to town centres across the country — from Keswick in Cumbria to Bath in Somerset. One thousand magazines bought at £1 each and sold for £2 means £1,000 in profit every day can go to their ‘handlers’.

The money is then passed to the Mr Bigs, who wire or take it back personally to Romania.

As for the Roma who sell the magazine, by declaring themselves to be ‘self-employed’, they are entitled to welfare payments.

According to Simon Ashley, a councillor in Manchester, which has a 2,000-strong Roma community: ‘These people aren’t homeless — they live in houses. But the legal loophole allows them to have access to benefits as well as selling copies of Big Issue. Some get £21,000 a year in benefits, which is more than the average wage of a real worker.’

One criminal case that exposed the scandal involved a woman working for a Roma charity in London who set up a consultancy to help newly-arrived gypsies become Big Issue sellers. A police investigation led to Lavinia Olmazu being jailed for assisting 172 Roma to fraudulently claim a total of £2.9  million in benefits.

Her scam was simple. For an £80 fee, she provided fake ‘letters of recommendation’ to the Government’s Revenue & Customs offices declaring that the Big Issue sellers ran their own businesses and were, therefore, self-employed and able to obtain national insurance numbers.

Meanwhile, in Slough, newly-arrived Roma migrants have become Big Issue sellers and then registered as self-employed to get benefits.

A 22-year-old called Silvo said: ‘I can call on 100 of my friends and family living nearby to sell the Big Issue. We are very busy on the weekends.

‘We get money to pay our rents from the council because our business is now “selling”. We send money back to Tandarei, our town in Romania.’

Roma sellers of The Big Issue can be spotted every day in Leeds, Birmingham, Oxford, London and Bristol, and smaller towns in the North and the Home Counties. Many do not speak English, even though this is supposed to be a prerequisite of being a Big Issue vendor.

Imposing: Another luxury gypsy home in Tandarei, Romania, that police discovered when the benefits fraud ring was smashed

Imposing: Another luxury gypsy home in Tandarei, Romania, that police discovered when the benefits fraud ring was smashed

Back in Bradford, mother-of-eight Contessa says: ‘I came to your country four years ago to find work. I get by selling the Big Issue and I receive benefits to care for my children. My friend has the car and brings me over from Manchester for the selling every week.’

In London, Lina Petrea, 43, has been a Big Issue seller for a year. Her pitch is outside the Holland & Barrett store in Upper Street, Islington. She says she lives in North London with seven other Romanians, five of whom sell The Big Issue.

‘By selling Big Issue, I get a National Insurance registration as self-employed. When you don’t speak good in your language, all you can do is sell The Big Issue.’

In nearby Holborn, 30-year-old Marinella has been selling The Big Issue for eight months. Every day, the mother-of-two gets the bus from Ilford, Essex, to her pitch. ‘The Big Issue helps me feed my daughters,’ she says. ‘But there are too many Romanians selling the magazine now. The competition makes it difficult for all of us to make money.’

'Romanian businessmen are making a huge profit from getting their women to sell the Big Issue magazine'

The Big Issue organisation sees nothing wrong with the Roma sellers becoming self-employed to get state assistance. Elizabeth Price, director of Big Issue in the North, says: ‘We understand that these benefits are seen by some as a loophole, but the fact is, as Big Issue vendors, these people are permitted to be self-employed and so are entitled to those payments.’

However, British-born homeless are losing out. Gary Johnson, 39, originally from Liverpool, is a Big Issue seller in Birmingham city centre. He says: ‘These Romanians buy up loads of magazines in one go. It is far more than I could afford, and it means there are not any left for the truly homeless.

‘It looks like big business to me. They don’t need the money and they’re not homeless. They are given accommodation far more easily than most people because they have lots of children.’

In Oxford, a Big Issue seller called Jim said that every Monday he watches two Romanian businessmen buy between 800 and 1,000 copies of the magazine at a nearby depot.

‘Romanian businessmen are making a huge profit from getting their women to sell the Big Issue magazine. Two men I know spend a grand a week, but will make double that when women from their community sell them on to the public for £2.’

Although a spokesman for Big Issue says the organisation is aware of the issue, it is ironic that the magazine’s founder, John Bird, has declared war on welfare cheats, asking the Government to tighten the system.

‘It makes me laugh how some people on benefits seem to know every single one of their rights — but none of their responsibilities,’ he has said.

Such a view perfectly describes the Roma gypsy people who blatantly use his magazine to milk our welfare state, deprive the real homeless and have spawned a huge criminal industry.


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Attention to Minor Gypsy Pickpockets in Paris

actu-match | lundi 26 septembre 2011

Alerte aux pickpockets

 En bande dans le métro, elles guettent. Quatre jeunes filles en jean, sweat-shirt et baskets. Petites et menues, des fringues usées et disparates. Pas de maquillage, quelques bijoux. Et chacune un sac en bandoulière. La plus âgée, un bandeau dans ses cheveux longs avec des mèches colorées, doit avoir 15 ans. C’est elle qui mène la troupe, elle fume et possède un téléphone portable. Elle parle fort, fait grand bruit. Assises sur les sièges jaunes de la station Franklin-D.- Roosevelt, les autres l’écoutent. Encore une minute avant le prochain train. Des adolescentes ordinaires en apparence. Mais qui observent attentivement les voyageurs. Certains leur adressent des regards soupçonneux. Pas de quoi alarmer nos voleuses. Il est mercredi, 12h30, l’heure de pointe. L’air est moite, on suffoque. Et toujours ce brouhaha agaçant du métro. Le quai de la ligne 9, direction Montreuil, est encombré. Touristes et Parisiens se bousculent dans cet espace étroit. Le métro approche. Top départ de la «choure», du vol à la tire. Toujours la même stratégie. Les gens s’agglutinent devant les portes des wagons. Le groupe de filles se mêle aux voyageurs, les colle littéralement. Elles doivent faire vite: entre dix et vingt secondes pour «pickpocketer ». Une des ados reste en retrait, surveille. Les autres «tirent».

Leurs mains fines et manucurées plongent dans les sacs, les besaces, les bananes pendant que les passagers grimpent dans le wagon. Elles les suivent à l’intérieur. Elles ciblent un couple d’Italiens. L’homme, en polo rayé noir et blanc et petites lunettes, n’a pas de sac. Une aubaine. Le mâle étranger est une proie facile. «Elles les aiment japonais ou américains, parce qu’ils ont du cash», nous dira plus tard un policier. La plus jeune cache son avant-bras droit sous sa veste, plonge ses doigts dans la poche de la victime et lui dérobe son portefeuille. Deux secondes lui ont suffi. Aussi vite, elle compte son butin. Mais la bande est repérée. Les haut-parleurs annoncent qu’un «groupe de pickpockets est monté dans la rame no 2». Tout le monde s’observe. Un ange passe. Ces voleuses jouent aussi les suspicieuses. Le signal de départ retentit ; elles s’éjectent du métro avec leur prise et sautent sur le quai. Les portes se referment. L’Italien réalise alors que sa poche est vide et que son portefeuille a disparu. Trop tard. Les filles ont décampé. Le lendemain. Même station. Même heure. Même quai. Mêmes filles. Elles sont sept au moins. Les voyageurs s’engouffrent dans les rames. Une voleuse, brune, petite, tatouée et enceinte de huit mois fouille dans un sac. Sa complice, blonde, grande et plus âgée, dérobe le sac plastique d’un quadragénaire, un Noir athlétique. Il s’en rend compte, vocifère, attrape quatre des voleuses et descend sur le quai. Les adolescentes se débattent. Trois lui échappent. L’homme est excédé, il en tient encore une par le poignet. Il la frappe, mais elle parvient à prendre la fuite.

Il en coince une autre et la gifle. La gamine hurle, pousse des cris stridents. Et file à son tour. Les témoins sont médusés. Lui ne décolère pas; il en tremble et s’écrie: «C’est tous les jours comme ça! Tous les jours! On les croise et elles nous volent. Tous les jours!» Une scène choquante. Pourtant, des voyageurs parfois victimes viennent le féliciter. Tous déplorent ces agressions autrefois exceptionnelles, désormais quotidiennes. Selon le ministère de l’Intérieur, 4600 mineurs de nationalité roumaine, entrés en France légalement, sont éparpillés sur le territoire. La plupart prétendent être des enfants isolés. Dix pour cent des personnes passant devant les tribunaux parisiens, des mineurs pour la moitié, sont de nationalité roumaine. Chaque année, ces jeunes sont présentés jusqu’à cinquante fois au parquet. Ils commettent entre 200 et 300 vols par an chacun. Claude Guéant, ministre de l’Intérieur, a déclaré le 12 septembre: «Sur les sept premiers mois, la préfecture de police a mis en cause 4800 Roumains contre 2500 en 2010, soit une augmentation de plus de 90%. Ce chiffre a triplé entre 2008 et 2010.» Un samedi après-midi, station Havre-Caumartin. Devant nous, deux très jeunes filles de moins de 15 ans. Elles traînent les pieds; leurs visages sont chiffonnés, leurs yeux cernés. C’est leur sixième jour de travail consécutif. Ni RTT ni jours de repos ni congés payés pour ces gamines à peine sorties de l’enfance. En surface, les grands magasins, où leurs aînés mendient. A chaque âge son délit.

Des agressions autrefois exceptionnelles, désormais quotidiennes

«Dans le métro, elles sont une centaine. Quatre-vingt-dix pour cent seraient en fait originaires de l’ex- Yougoslavie, si l’on en croit ce qu’elles disent. Elles ne vont pas à l’école. Personne ne leur apprend à lire et à écrire. Leur seule éducation, c’est mendier et voler. Elles ne connaissent que ce moyen de survie», confie un policier. Elles rejoignent le quai de la ligne 9, direction Mairie-de-Montreuil, et tombent sur une patrouille de la Bac (Brigade anti-criminalité). Elles semblent bien la connaître. «Vous avez fait combien ce matin les filles?» demande en souriant l’un des policiers. La plus grande lui rend son sourire et se plaint de ne plus faire le même chiffre qu’avant. Une de nos sources nous révèle que ces bandes de filles, dérobent jusqu’à 40000 euros en deux semaines. Cinq cent mille euros provenant de l’exploitation des mineurs en France auraient été expédiés en Roumanie depuis janvier. Le policier reprend: «Ne faites pas de conneries devant nous. Sinon, on va devoir vous arrêter!» Elles promettent d’être sages… La scène est irréelle. Ce sont les mêmes filles qui, dix minutes plus tard, vont nous menacer avec un clou de charpentier de 10 centimètres de long, parce qu’elles sont mécontentes d’être prises en photo. Retour à Franklin-D.-Roosevelt : carrefour des lignes 1 et 9. Plaque tournante du vol à la tire où se croisent businessmen pressés et touristes égarés. Sur le quai de la ligne 9, direction Pontde- Sèvres, un groupe de huit filles a eu moins de chance que les précédentes. Les mineures sont interpellées par trois gardiens de la paix, une arrestation calme et bon enfant.

La routine pour elles! Elles prétendent toutes s’appeler «Hamidovic». Cet été, la police en arrêtait trente par jour. Le nombre de chapardeuses de ce type ne cesse de croître. Et toutes déclarent avoir le même âge: 13 ans. Les syndicats de policiers sont agacés: «Le seul moyen de vérifier leur âge, c’est la radio osseuse, mais nous ne pouvons y avoir recours qu’avec leur accord… Bien sûr, elles ne nous le donnent jamais, déplore Frédéric Lagache, secrétaire général adjoint du syndicat Alliance. Nous sommes désarmés, démunis face à cette délinquance. Soit on ferme les yeux et les vols vont augmenter, soit on essaie de trouver une solution juridique, des moyens légaux pour arrêter ces mineurs. Ces gamins connaissent les lois françaises. On ne peut pas accepter que notre justice protège des voleurs. Cette situation pourrit la vie de tout le monde…» Quatre garçons sortent du métro Trocadéro. Tous ont moins de 15 ans. Le plus jeune n’a pas 11 ans. Direction la tour Eiffel. Avec 7 millions de visiteurs par an, ce monument est le terrain de jeu préféré des pickpockets. Une trentaine de Roumaines jouent les «sourdes et muettes » et font la manche. Elles exhibent de fausses pétitions demandant un soutien à l’association Handicap international. Des crapules, charmantes et souriantes, présentes tous les jours, entre 10 heures et 18h30.

Chacune récolte entre «100 et 200 euros par jour» nous assure… l’une des muettes! Un business rentable et implanté. Les cinq camions de gendarmerie mobile, les trois fourgons de CRS, la voiture de police, les soldats en patrouille de Vigipirate et les dizaines d’agents à vélo, à pied et à cheval effraient à peine les arnaqueuses. Encore moins ces quatre ados qui chahutent, rient, parlent fort et lancent des pierres sur les canards. Deux policiers rouspètent, alors ils filent vers le Champ-de-Mars. Les pelouses sont envahies par des familles et des touristes qui profitent du soleil. Les jeunes slaloment entre les groupes et mendient. Le butin est maigre: un petit morceau de pain et un paquet de chips. Ils changent de stratégie : les petits essaient de voler deux Américains inattentifs. Un homme s’interpose: Francis, la soixantaine passée et les épaules larges. Coups de pied, coups de poing, gifles, empoignades, Francis maîtrise les voleurs. «Ancien RG, ancien flic, ancien responsable sécurité de la Sorbonne, je viens là tous les jours pour arrêter ces brigands. Sauf quand il pleut ! » explique le justicier en colère. Un voleur est à terre, bloqué par le retraité. Il en tient un autre par la manche. Le troisième lui échappe. Un passant prête main forte à Francis pendant qu’il appelle la police. Mais les gamins leur échappent et prennent la fuite. Francis capitule. Deux policiers à vélo prennent le relais et se lancent aux trousses des pickpockets. Ils reviennent bredouilles un quart d’heure plus tard.

«Ce sont des mineurs, dit l’agent, agacé. Lorsqu’on les arrête, ils sont relâchés une heure plus tard… Alors à quoi bon les interpeller? » Puis: «Ce matin, la Bac en a embarqué huit qui volaient des portables à l’arraché. Demain, ils seront là de nouveau.» Un commerçant le confirme: « Ils volent mes clients dans la file d’attente. Et ils sont de plus en plus nombreux.» A la gare du Nord, même constat. Les «signeuses» de fausses pétitions, environ une trentaine, récoltent 10 000 euros par semaine. Certains restaurateurs ont trouvé la parade: «Pour que mes clients soient tranquilles, raconte un barman, j’échange la petite monnaie de ces filles contre des billets.» Puis, découragé, il ajoute : «Elles se font arrêter, mais d’autres arrivent. On doit vivre avec, c’est sans fin.»Point final


Gypsy Palaces in Romania


Gypsy Palaces in Romania Show Indian Building Tradition



In Romania, 2% of the population is represented by gypsies. . While some go to countries such as England or Italy to beg, others in Romania used their fortune of unknown origins to build huge palaces. In this example, we will take a look at probably one of the tackiest homes we’ve seen, one located in Cluj Napoca, Romania

gipsy house tn New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

gipsy style New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

002 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

003 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

004 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

005 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

006 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

007 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

008 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

009 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

010 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

011 gipsy house New Architectural Direction: Gypsy Castles

photo credits: Dan Perry, via marginal_arch

For interiors  go to:

Criza la palatele tiganesti! Cine sa intretina o casa de 500.000 de euro?

Criza darama unul cate unul turnulete palatelor tiganesti, iar pirandele si puradeii se intorc fortat la coviltir. E scumpa intretinerea si nu mai sunt bani de case.

"Nu putem nici sa le tinem, nici la zugravim pe cele gata incepute", se vaita proprietarii.

In aceste conditii, agentii imobiliari au o misiune grea. Sa vanda vilele pentru care fostii locatari cer o jumatate de milion de euro. Dar credeti ca le vrea cineva?

Pirandele care se visau cucoane au renuntat la carpetele cu "Rapirea din Serai" si mobilele aurite. E criza si nu mai dau prin sufragerie.

In cartierul Meteor din Targu Jiu, vestit in comunitate pentru palate, o camera de peste 50 mp menita sa fie folosita atunci cand gazda are oaspeti a devenit depozit de lemne.

Pe scurt, nu mai sunt vremuri de trait in lux. Domnul Stanescu stie si de ce: "Nu prea mai merge treburile, s-a furat mult din Romania si nu mai este material".

Si tiganii din Recas fluiera a paguba. Pana nu demult castigau milioane de euro din afacerile cu fier vechi si din ,,deplasarile" prin strainatate. Acum nu-si mai face nimeni vila iar cele incepute au ramas asa. Disperati, unii au cerut ajutorul agentilor imobiliari, dar n-au gasit cumparatori.

Cer 500.000 de euro pentru o astfel de casa, ca sa nu mai spunem ca nu apreciaza chiar toata lumea turnurile lucitoare si gresia din camere. Cele mai multe dintre palatele tiganesti au cate 12 dormitoare distribuite pe doua etaje.


The Difference between Romanians and Gypsies Abroad

The difference between Romanians ans gypsies is that Romanians went there to work while the gypsies went there to steal; and because of them Europeans have a bad opinion about Romanians in general. We are not racists but is they're fault for the bad image Romanians have outside.

Imagine how would you feel if you are in a foreign country and you go in a super-market to buy something, and you see a large paper with the message: "before you leave please pay for your selected products" written in your native language. Everybody think that the majority of us are the same which is not true. Just because this race is born with inflectional skills in they're blood does not mean that Romanians are the same.

Gypsies from Romania call themselves rromi. Yes, that's right. With double r. Someone from Europe could easily be fooled by this. Rrom si not the same thing with Romanian. It is a big difference. In our country the gypsies are mean, all they want to do is to take others' money.

Is This Racism?

Of course not. I am not racist. They can live and do everything they want to do without any problems. Here, in Europe or in any other corner of the World, as long as we as nationality and humans, are not affected by there activity. It looks pretty normal to think like that when because of them, a whole country is disconsidered by other countries in a such manner.  


Europe's Beggar, Romania's Rroma

 by Marius Dragomir  

 Text and photos at : 

Romania has the largest Rroma minority in Europe. According to the last official census, roughly two million Roma, representing ten percent of the population, are living in Romania today. They are considered to be "the most disruptive" minority; an opinion supported by statistics from the Romanian police that reveal a high proportion of crimes are committed by Roma.

Representatives of the Romanian Roma Party argue that this is due to the grim medieval poverty Roma face today. They also claim that Romanians are prejudiced, blaming the Roma minority for all the troubles in Romania. According to the Party, Romani people cannot work, even if they want to, because the Romanian employers are reluctant to hire them. Roma party leaders also complain about the indifference of the government and their lack of effort in securing the social integration of the Roma minority.

Facing cruel poverty (living in houses without electricity and running water), the Roma are trying to survive by begging in the street. In the past ten years, many have moved to Central Europe where they can earn more money from begging.

In turn, Romania has had to bear the prejudices of Central and Western European countries that associate Romania with "a hell lived by Gypsies." Instead of working on the domestic economic situation which can change the standard of life for its people, the Romanian state has focused on improving "the image of the country abroad," by trying to keep its Roma at home, with the help of those Central European countries that have sent many of the Romanian Roma packing, declaring themselves "sick of Romanian Gypsies." Illegal migration networks

The migration of Roma people started immediately after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. The Roma minority discovered a new way to make money. Because the competition in the "begging market" was too harsh in Romania, they went to the former Czechoslovakia, Poland and Germany to earn their money. Soon, they created the "illegal migration network," as the official documents from the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs describe it.

Romania gained a bad reputation that encouraged Czechoslovakia to propose the introduction of visas for Romanian citizens. The Romanian diplomats succeeded in avoiding the problem by signing a treaty of readmission with Prague in 1992. The treaty was renewed separately with the Czech Republic and Slovakia after the country split in 1993.

But the "illegal migration network" continued to work. Facing waves of Roma emigrés, a severe regime for Romanian travelers was introduced in Poland, and a stricter border control on entry into Germany was enforced. Consequently, after 1995, the Roma people chose Slovakia and the Czech Republic as their final destination. Two routes to Slovakia were established: the so-called "green border way," through Ukraine (they used to enter Slovakia by walking in the forest without any identity paper), and the normal route of crossing the border between Hungary and Slovakia.

According to foreign police in Slovakia, many Romanian Roma prefer Bratislava where they beg in the center or steal Western and Central European passports. They sell these passports to the heads of the more sophisticated prostitution networks that deliver prostitutes to the Western European sex market.

On arriving in Bratislava, they have their "contact persons" who provide them with a place to sleep—usually in deserted blocks of flats or caves.

Zanfira Gindac, a Roma woman from a village close to the Romanian town of Arad, begs in front of the TESCO supermarket in Bratislava. She says that she came with her husband and two of their five children, to beg in Bratislava. "We make about 1000 Slovak crowns a day (more than USD 20). After two months, we usually go home with almost 50,000 Slovak crowns (more than USD 1000). We live half a year with this money in Romania," she says.

Zanfira and her family usually cross the border by bribing the Slovak police officers. "We give them USD 100. Everybody has to eat a loaf," she says.

When the illegal immigrants are caught begging, they are taken by Slovak police to the Romanian embassy. "We have to make consular passports for them, valid one day, and send them home. They need these documents because after getting the interdiction stamp on their passports, they get rid of the documents," says Octavian Olteanu, consul at the Romanian embassy in Bratislava.

According to the diplomatic reports from the Romanian embassy, "the Romanians cross the border illegally in Slovakia by bribing the Slovak officers." In 2000, the number of illegal Romanian emigrés doubled, reaching almost 3000. Eighty percent of them are Roma. "Illegal emigrés" are considered those citizens whose purpose of travel is NOT study, tourism or business.

The consul says that they receive a lot of money in Slovakia. "Some Roma people told me some time ago that they came to beg for a car. I was puzzled," Olteanu says.

The Czech Republic has made a great progress in preventing these waves of Roma emigrés. During the past year the numbers of Romanians entering the Czech Republic was reduced tenfold and only 80 citizens were sent back to Romania. Ninety percent of all illegal emigrés are Roma, according to the Romanian embassy in Prague.

At the border they are met by "guides" who take them to Germany. But the Czech Republic has managed to limit "migration" through the introduction of a new law at the beginning of 2000. The law necessitates that the border guards put down on the "visa paper" their signature. This restricts the extent of bribery because the guards can easily be discovered and they don't want to jeopardize their jobs: if a person is found with illegal documents in the Czech Republic, the officer who permitted his or her entrance will be punished.

Picking up the coins in Central Europe

"Eventually, the Czechs realized that the Romanians are not beggars," says Marian Radu, secretary in the consular section of the Romanian Embassy in Prague.

"But the Slovaks still think that Romania is a country where only poor Gypsies live," says Ludmila Lasac, a student from Bratislava who came from the village of Voievozi (county Bihor) in Romania. She is a member of the Slovak minority from Romania who came to what she called "our grand grandparents' country."

Most Slovaks from Romania who have returned to Slovakia (more than 3000 in the past ten years, according to Foreign police in Bratislava) face similar resentments: "They know only those dirty Gypsies and that's the reason why, when they see a Romanian passport, they reject you," Lasac says.

It is the same with the case of Nicolae Dragu, a Romanian citizen who tried to visit his daughter who is studying in Bratislava. He was sent back to Romania in June 2000 by Slovak officers who refused to explain the reasons for his expulsion, Dragu says.

Jaromir Novak, a journalist working for Hospodarsky Dennik in Bratislava, is a member of the Slovak community from Romania and settled in Slovakia seven years ago. One of the problems he faces is that the Slovak state does not want to grant him Slovak citizenship—a refusal caused by the same prejudice against Romania and Roma people.

This is the situation for 90 percent of Slovaks from Romania, according to the Romanian Embassy in Bratislava. Slovak officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained their refusal by saying that Slovakia doesn't have a law for granting double citizenship.

"But if you are a Slovak from Switzerland or any other Western country, the law against double citizenship is suddenly irrelevant. If you are a Romanian, you are a Gypsy and you have to comply with the law," Lasac says.

Although the Slovak state blames Romania for their inability to keep its Roma people at home, the Slovak government has not made any effort to stop "migration networks." A high official from the Slovak Interior Ministry said that they knew about border officers taking bribes from Roma. They hope the situation will be improved when the salaries of these officers are increased, claiming that it will motivate officers to keep their jobs.

During an official meeting in June this year, Romanian President Emil Constantinescu and Slovak President Rudolf Schuster brushed over the Roma subject saying that the "Roma problem is a European problem" and promised to solve it in the future. Unfortunately, nobody knows how this will be done.

While governments are anguishing over the prevention of Roma migration from Romania, the Romanian "Gypsies," as they are called by the public, ponder over the day when the Roma will be incarcerated in camps and isolated from the world:

"Everybody in Romania hates us. Now, we are loathed everywhere. We don't come here gladly. Do you think I like to see my child playing the accordeon in the tram and picking up the coins thrown by Slovaks? I would like to have a salary and come to Bratislava as a normal tourist. But I don't even dare to dream about that day," Zanfira bitterly concludes.

Marius Dragomir, 22 November 2000

photos courtesy of Oltiţa Stiuj, Monitorul de Braşov

Deportation of Gypsies from European Countries back to Romania

 There  are a large number of gypsies that are still nomads. Some are cooper smiths, gold and silversmiths and mind their own business. But the one creating problems for the image of Romania in Europe are the beggars, and the one organized in criminal cartels.

After their ancestral  law they obey only their king (bulibasha), who has the right to judge them and if found guilty put to death. They do not respect  the police or the law in the countries they reside or travel.

 Since Romania joined the EU in 2007, thousands of Rroma have moved west to richer European countries, where many live in squalid camps with no access to health services, education, basic sanitary facilities or jobs. More than 700 encampments have been built in Italy and 400 in France, where Gypsies have been met with hostility because begging, human trafficking, prostitution and street crime.


 France sends scores of Gypsies back to Romania

By JULIEN PROULT, Associated Press Writer Julien Proult, Associated Press Writer Thu Aug 19, 11:35 am ET

PARIS – France expelled nearly 100 Gypsies, or Roma, to their native Romania on Thursday as part of a very public effort by conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy to dismantle Roma camps and sweep them out of the country, the Immigration Ministry said.

France chartered a flight to Bucharest, which left from the southeastern city of Lyon with 79 Roma aboard, Immigration Ministry officials said. However, Romanian border police official Cristian Ene, at Bucharest's Aurel Vlaicu airport, said only 61 people were aboard. The French Immigration Ministry was unable to immediately explain the discrepancy.

Fourteen other people were repatriated to Romania aboard a commercial flight from the Paris region earlier in the day, the French officials said, adding that another Romania-bound repatriation flight was expected Friday. Additional flights were scheduled for later this month and September, Romania's Foreign Ministry said.

Those repatriated Thursday left "on a voluntary basis" and were given small sums of money — euro300 ($386) for each adult and euro100 for children — to help them get back on their feet in their home country, a standard French practice, officials said.

Roma advocates countered that the repatriations were hardly voluntary, claiming that those who refused the deal would end up in holding centers and eventually be sent home without funds.

Alexandre Le Cleve, a spokesman for Rom Europe, said the expulsions were pointless because nothing prevented those sent back from immediately returning to France, as many have done in the past.

"For those who left this morning, they can certainly take a plane as early as tonight and come back to France. There's nothing to prevent this," Le Cleve told Associated Press Television News in an interview. "Obviously, these people come back, they are brought to the Romanian border, then come back to France, can leave again and so on. There are some Roma people who have been sent back seven or eight times, each time receiving the famous euro300."

Adrian Paraipan, a 37-year-old who was aboard the Lyon flight along with his wife and three children, said he planned to return to France.



"In two weeks, I will leave again," he said, adding that his family was unable to make a living in Romania. Another person on the flight, Maria Serban, a 29-year-old mother of four, said her family will also consider going back.

France is allowed to repatriate Gypsies from Romania — who as citizens of an EU member state are allowed to circulate freely within the 27-member bloc — if they are unable to prove they can support themselves while in France, Le Cleve said.

He suggested, as human rights activists have done in the past, that the voluntary departures help inflate the total number of annual expulsions, a figure the government releases to the media with much fanfare.

Foreign-born Gypsies are often seen begging on the streets of France's cities, often with small children or puppies, and many French people consider them a nuisance, or worse.

Sarkozy has linked Rroma to crime,sexploitation of children and prostitution. On July 28, he pledged that illegal Gypsy camps would be "systematically evacuated." Some 50 camps have been emptied since then, including at least two on Thursday, local officials said.

In the southeastern town of Saint-Martin d'Heres, near Grenoble, about 150 riot police removed about 100 Roma adults and 45 children Thursday. That evacuation went smoothly, and no incidents were reported, local officials said. Another 25 Roma were taken from their camp near Lille early Thursday, officials said.

Sarkozy's crackdown on Gypsies came on the heels of much-publicized unrest by French Rroma, who attacked a police station in the center of the country after the death of Gypsy youth there. The measures are also part of a raft of new hard-line security measures by Sarkozy, who won election in 2007 on a tough-on-crime platform.

The policy is attracting increasing concern, both at home and abroad, from those who fear it discriminates against one of the European Union's most vulnerable and impoverished communities.

Romanian President Traian Basescu said, "We understand the problems created by the Rroma camps outside the French cities" but insisted on the "right of every European citizen to move freely in the EU." Romania, one of Europe's poorest countries, joined the EU in 2007.

Basescu, who was speaking Thursday in the eastern city of Iasi, pledged to "cooperate with France to find solutions."

Some critics contend the French crackdown is a cynical ploy to divert attention from France's economic woes and attract far-right voters in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. Sarkozy's approval ratings have been weak and a financial scandal has embroiled a top government official.

Officials insist they are not stigmatizing Roma — though Sarkozy's stance had chilling undertones in a country where authorities sent French Gypsies to internment camps in France during the occupation. They were kept there until 1946, about two years after France's liberation from the Nazis.

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux insisted France is being careful "not to stigmatize any community," but said the government can't just let people occupy land illegally.

"Simply, everyone understands we are enforcing simple rules: One cannot just illegally occupy land without authorization," Hortefeux told journalists during a visit Thursday to the town of Crecy-la-Chapelle, east of Paris.

The government is also facing criticism from French-born Gypsies, known here as "traveling folk," who have lived in France for centuries and are loath to be confused with Eastern European Roma.

Hundreds of traveling folk are locked in a stand off with the mayor in Bordeaux, after officials in the Atlantic coastal city forced them to vacate an encampment there. The city offered them two alternative sites to set up camp in, but the families refused, citing inadequate facilities.


Associated Press writers Alina Wolfe Murray in Bucharest, Oleg Cetinic in Crecy-la-Chapelle, France, and Jenny Barchfield in Paris contributed to this report

 At least 70 Roma left France and hundreds more will follow in the coming weeks after their camps were shut down.

The French government says it is a "decent and humane" policy of removing people from deplorable conditions.

But rights groups say the Roma are being demonized, and Romania has warned France against "xenophobic reactions".

 "We understand the position of the French government. At the same time, we support unconditionally the right of every Romanian citizen to travel without restrictions within the EU," Romanian President Traian Basescu said.

However, Mr Basescu added that he was prepared to send police to France to help implement the repatriation scheme.

Two flights from Lyon and Paris were due to be carrying 93 Roma passengers, but according to some reports only 70 actually boarded the flights and arrived in Bucharest.

A deportee named Gabriel told the AFP news agency in Bucharest that life had been "very tough" in France, but he would not rule out returning because there was no work in Romania.

Another man said that in Romania "we don't have any chance, no jobs, nothing".

Hundreds more are expected to leave France on flights scheduled for Friday and next week.

Exploitation claims

The Roma are EU citizens, mostly from Romania or Bulgaria, but French law requires them to have a work permit and prove they have the means to support themselves if they intend to stay for more than three months.

The controversial plan was put in place after clashes last month between police and travellers in the southern city of Grenoble and the central town of Saint-Aignan.

The Roma were not involved in all of the trouble, but the government said travellers' camps were sources of "illegal trafficking" and "exploitation of children for begging, of prostitution and crime".

Some 51 camps have already been demolished by police and the residents have been moved into temporary shelters or accommodation.

Popularity booster?

The operation has been condemned by human rights groups, who say it is deliberately stigmatising a generally law-abiding section of society to win support among right-wing voters.

France's Roma

Roma families arriving at Bucharest airport, 19/08
  • Roughly 12,000 Roma migrated to France after Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the EU
  • Many have no work permits, so live in camps and resort to begging
  • Separately, at least 400,000 people are designated "travellers", mostly French nationals with Roma origins.
  • Last week, members of the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticized the tone of political discourse in France on race issues, saying racism and xenophobia were undergoing a "significant resurgence" there.

But France has insisted that the actions "fully conform with European rules and do not in any way affect the freedom of movement for EU citizens, as defined by treaties".

Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told AFP that an EU directive "expressly allows for restrictions on the right to move freely for reasons of public order, public security and public health".

The European Commission said it would ensure none of the bloc's rules were being broken.

France repatriated some 10,000 Roma last year and other European countries, including Germany, Italy, Denmark and Sweden pursued similar policies.

Mr Sarkozy's political opponents have accused him of using the Roma issue to shift public attention away from corruption and on to crime.

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Paris says that the president's poll rating is sagging and there are some who accuse him of using the recent unrest to boost his own popularity.

Some of the Roma living in France are part of long-established communities of travelling people who are French nationals.

In addition, there are an estimated 12,000 Roma who are recent immigrants from Central Europe.

"Some of these families have been in France for five, seven or 10 years and 300 euros is not enough to help them settle in Romania. They will return in the coming weeks," Malik Salemkour, the vice-president of the French Human Rights League, told the Reuters news agency

 More recently, European Union governments focused on rising trafficking of people and crime from Eastern Europe. In July, for example, French police broke up a criminal ring allegedly involved in sending handicapped Roma children to work or beg in major French towns. Also last month, French lawmakers adopted a new security law, which includes tougher measures to fight illegal immigration and itinerant travelers.

Roma return home and lament end of dreams of a better life in France

'We had little in France, but we have nothing in Romania', say Gypsy families forced from their adopted homeLizzy Davies in Barbulesti

Romica Raducanu glances at his children outside his house in the village of Barbulesti, Romania.
Romica Raducanu glances at his children outside his house in the village of Barbulesti, Romania/ Photograph: Andrei Pungovschi/AFP for the Guardian

On the approach to Barbulesti the highway dissolves into gravel and dust. For Romica Raducanu the village in which he was born and brought up feels like the end of the world. His hopes of a new life are for now a distant dream and he is stuck here. Only his T-shirt gives away the place he considers home: emblazoned over stripes red, white and blue is one word – France.

Until three weeks ago Raducanu was living on the outskirts of Montpellier in southern France, eking out a living for his wife and children by collecting scrap metal and selling it on for seven centimes (6p) a kilo. Then, after a summer of growing unease, the crackdown ordered by President Nicolas Sarkozy hit home. Friends were ordered to leave, and the pictures he was seeing in the newspapers became too much. Raducanu was scared.

Without taking the money available to him as part of the "voluntary repatriation" scheme – he didn't understand the papers, he says, so he didn't sign them – the 35-year-old and his wife packed their family into the car and set out, with other departing Roma, on the journey of more than 1,000 miles to Romania.

A day later he heard that the police had come to clear away his former home. Now, in the dilapidated surrounds of his new one, he is bitter and depressed.

"We had to leave so that we weren't sent away. Every day I was seeing in the papers and on the television that more and more people were being expelled," he says quietly, fiddling with the handle of a bedroom door missing half a pane of glass. Remembering the moment he realised what was going on, he adds: "We were desperate when we heard. Sarkozy hates the Roma. He's making the same moves as Hitler."

Vichy comparison

An extreme comment in the same vein provoked fury this week in the Elysée palace, where the French president fumed over the comparisons made by Viviane Reding, European commissioner for justice, between his summer clampdown and persecution of the Jews during the second world war.

But, incendiary as these remarks may be, the vehemence of Raducanu's anger is perhaps understandable. For, he says, while he had little in France, he has nothing in Barbulesti.

Since the end of July, when Sarkozy made a speech in Grenoble outlining his tough new approach on crime and immigration –the two themes, he implied, were inextricably linked – about 1,000 foreign Roma have left France, mostly for Romania and mostly under a scheme offering €300 (£250) for each adult and €100 for each child returning to their native country.

About 200 non-authorised Roma camps have been cleared, as well as hundreds of traveller sites occupied mostly by French citizens. However, a leaked circular, since amended to avoid singling out an ethnicity, stated that the Roma were the chief targets of the evacuations.

For many French people and other western Europeans who witness the poverty in which a large number of Roma live, in cities from Marseille to Milan to Madrid, their desire to stay is incomprehensible.

Yet most of the 7,500 Roma in Barbulesti, a predominantly Gypsy village 50 miles north-east of Bucharest, say that a life in the wealthy west offers chances unimaginable in their native Romania, where the vast majority are trapped in a cycle of discrimination, unemployment and poverty.

And, as long as this remains the case, they say, they have no intention of staying put. Ever a nomadic people, they will be on the move again soon.

Raducanu, an EU citizen entirely conscious of his right to free movement within the bloc, is already planning his return. "I can't wait to get back, to work. There is nothing to do here. Hunger. No work. I will go back," he says. Later, in a flourish of the language he had learned to love, he adds: "C'est très dur, la vie." Life is very hard.


At first sight, it is difficult to understand why Raducanu and his fellow villagers feel this way. With its large, villa-like houses in bright shades of reds, oranges and greens, Barbulesti looks from far off like a Disneyesque hamlet rising from the acres of flat, drab Romanian scrubland. Children wander, rucksacks on their backs, home from school; many roofs have satellite dishes and expensive cars are parked in driveways.

Compared with some of the Roma squats in France, these homes appear salubrious.

Appearances, however, can be deceptive. In one house in the center of the village carved lion heads sit proudly atop wrought-iron gates and the back garden is shaded from the sun by trellises threaded with vines.

But, inside, the reality of living standards becomes clear. The villa is clean and tidy- but its four rooms are home to four families. "Seven people live in here," says Stylian, a 34-year-old man who did not want his surname to be published. "And six in here."

Throughout the house, open wires run precariously over ceilings and walls, and the cheer of paint in electric pink and lime green cannot mask the fact that the mud walls and wattle-and-daub roofs are badly in need of repair. The kitchen, used to feed more than 20 people, is open to the stony ground, and the fridge is virtually bare.

A decades-old well brings up water, and the single toilet is a hole in the ground in an outhouse. "We wash it, we keep it clean," says Stylian. As he speaks, children play on the rusting hulk of a climbing frame next to a pig sty. The pigs are long gone.

A gruff but genial man, Stylian is another recent arrival in the village from France, where he had been living near the Belgian border on and off since 2002. He repeatedly dodges questions about how he managed to earn enough to support his wife and children; it is admitted that many residents end up begging or working in illegal activities.

But he insists his lack of success was not due to a lack of effort: he tried everything in his power to work legally, he says, but to no avail.

One opportunity as an apple-picker proved particularly elusive. "The paperwork remained in the prefecture, the apples remained in the tree, and we left," he jokes.

When asked about the trigger for his return a fortnight ago, however, Stylian's smile vanishes and his voice begins to boom around the driveway. "I don't agree with these [forced or voluntary] returns. It's racism," he says, describing how, frightened by the political climate and police threats of expulsion, he eventually left of his own accord.

Before Sarkozy, he says, there was less prejudice against the Roma in France than in Romania. "But now they're both the same." Were it not for the fact that, at home, "you can work all day and not make enough to eat", he says, there would be no reason to go anywhere else. "Nobody would leave then. Who wants to leave their home?"

In a statement earlier this year, the human rights group Amnesty International issued an urgent appeal, warning that the authorities must stop their "forced evictions" of Roma people and "immediately relocate" those living in "hazardous conditions" on the margins of society.

After a summer in which the plight of France's estimated foreign Roma, estimated to number between 15,000 and 20,000, came under the spotlight as never before, those words are all-too familiar.

However, the plea was not directed at Paris, but at Bucharest, and the living conditions described were not those of foreigners in a strange land but of Romanian citizens in Romania.

"Across the country Roma families are being evicted from their homes against their will. When this happens, they don't just lose their homes. They lose their possessions, their social contacts, their access to work and state services," said Halya Gowan, Amnesty's Europe and central Asia programme director, in the January appeal.

With unofficial estimates pinning the number of Roma in Romania at 2.2 million, the minority makes up about 10% of the country's total population. Yet, say human rights groups, the Roma are routinely ignored and pushed out of the mainstream, their needs not met and their voice not heard.

According to Amnesty, endemic prejudice leads to discrimination from the authorities as well as society at large, while the statistics speak for themselves: 75% of Roma live in poverty, compared with 24% of Romanians and 20% of ethnic Hungarians. Unemployment is far higher than the norm, and life expectancy is significantly lower.

For all these reasons – not to mention the economic ties that have deepened since EU accession in 2007 – the Romanian government has been careful in its reaction to the Sarkozy crackdown. As the French have repeatedly pointed out, Bucharest is in no position to judge: if it weren't for its failure to integrate the Roma, they argue, the "problem" would not be so acute elsewhere in Europe.

Mild rebuke

But, behind the relatively mild diplomatic rebuke issued by President Traian Basescu, who, though telling France he "understands" its position, insists Romanians have the right "to travel without restrictions within the European Union", there is considerable anger.

"It's obviously a discriminatory position. It is not normal to expel people collectively," says Ilie Dinca, head of the National Agency for the Roma (ANR), a government body set up to try to secure funding for Roma-related projects. He is impressed, he says, with the "belated but good" line taken by Reding this week. The commissioner has since apologised for the delay.

And, in a reflection of the confusion expressed by many people in Barbulesti, he adds that he has "a big question mark over the paperwork" returning Roma had been asked to sign in France relating to the "voluntary repatriation" schemes. "Because they weren't given a copy of what they signed," Dinca says.

The ANR is at the forefront of government efforts to solve the Roma problem. In the past decade a number of projects designed to facilitate integration and boost living standards have emerged, from the appointment of special health and education "mediators" designed to communicate on behalf of the Roma, to positive discrimination measures in Romanian high schools.

On top of the €22m received from the state, Dinca says, €90m comes from Brussels to go towards various NGOs and Roma-related institutions.

And yet no one – in Bucharest, Brussels, or least of all Barbulesti – believes it is making a lot of difference.

For Viorel-Vivari Banescu, a teacher at a mainstream Romanian school near Barbulesti, the one thing that could change things is education. The most important thing the state can do, he says, is provide retraining opportunities for adult Roma and classes for their children. "They have a tendency to self-victimise, to say 'I don't have a job because I'm a Gypsy,'" he says. "But that's not true. He doesn't have a job because he doesn't have any training."

Pacing the ground in the town, Banescu tries to recruit 14-year-old Posirca Marian, who has been skipping class, a common problem in the local school, which has the county's biggest number of pupils on paper but in practice sees high absenteeism.

Parents receive €10 from the state for every child they have in school, but often say they still can't afford the kit required for attendance. "I want to make him my champion and get him through the 7th and 8th grade," says the teacher.

Over in the Raducanu family's backyard, lines of tiny socks and vests hang out to dry in the sun, and indoors Romica's wife, Simona-Mariana, struggles with the couple's restless brood of toddlers. They are a family of nine living in a two-room house with no proper kitchen.

As he strides up to the paint-chipped door, the village's vice-mayor, Lita Vasile, snatches a pear out of the mouth of five-year-old Jacob. It is half-rotten. "This is what we're eating," he exclaims, brandishing the fruit in his hand. "Sarkozy should think about the basic rights. His [Raducanu's] kids have nothing to eat today."

Unlike many of his more bombastic, heavyset friends, Raducanu is a slight young man who speaks quietly, in both French and Romanian, of the "great" people of Montpellier, of the "respectful" French police, and his life there, where, in the embodiment of Sarkozy's work ethic, he "got up early and even worked Sundays".

He can provide more for his family there than here, he says, as squeals come through the bedroom window. What are his hopes for the future? "That I will get back to France, to give them something."

The deportation of Romanians from Italy in the wake of a murder committed by an ethnic Rroma has caused a stir in Romania


Unhappy return: fear and loathing await fugitives from Belfast racism

Haystacks dot the fields around the village of Tileagd, roses climb up walls, and traffic thunders past its outskirts. The centre of the village is quiet, except for the clip-clop of a horse and cart, and the squeals of children in a playground. Set among lush cornfields and gentle green hills in one of the more prosperous parts of Romania, it seems like a nice, if sleepy place to live.

Or a place to return to. After suffering a week of racist intimidation in south Belfast, 100 Roma have opted to go home. Of the first group of 25 to return, the majority were reported to be heading for Bihor county. In Tileagd, which has two major Roma settlements, there were conflicting claims about their whereabouts.

"Ah yes," says a policeman, as he gets out of his car. "A bus full of them came in from Budapest yesterday, and were met by a great group of friends and relatives." Once at the communal desk at police HQ, surrounded by colleagues, this suddenly seems not to have been the case. "It's not unusual," says his boss (all refuse to be named). "EU citizens have free movement. We can't control it." And anyway, "no one from this village came back last night." What does he think of what happened in Belfast?

"Perhaps the Gypsies did something wrong, in which case the reaction was justified, but I don't know the facts of the case. I can't comment." What are relations like between the townspeople and the Roma who live on its fringes? "They're normal. Like everywhere. It's not correct to lump them all in the same category. They are not from Somalia. They are people like us."

The mayor is not in his office , but Teusalea Rodica, who often works with the Roma to help fill in forms, or any kind of social work, is happy to talk. "Twenty or 30 of them came back last night, maybe more.

"They were expected by the community – they arrived, and they're here now, the people who were in Ireland." How do they get on with the townspeople? "People are not very friendly because they steal. But there are some Gypsies who are good guys."

She hopes that the local non-governmental organisation, the Smiles Foundation, will reintegrate them, but she hasn't seen very many signs of change: "They don't want to work. They'd rather go stealing than working. When they do have jobs they leave after a few days. Most leave school at 11. I know of only one who finished high school. He left for Britain. That's what the parents say, anyway – he might be in jail."

In the wake of the Belfast attacks, a number of Romanians wrote to newspapers dissociating themselves from the Roma. Does she consider them to be Romanians? "No. " A vociferous shake of the head, and a certain disbelief that I'm asking the question at all. "They don't have the Romanian soul." The striking thing is the tone in which this is said. She seems a kind woman and yet, unquestioning of her assumptions.

Ciprian Necula, a Roma who works for Sper, a campaign to reduce discrimination against the Roma, says this is common, and that it's usually ignorance rather than active racism: "Romania is full of proverbs about Gypsies, and children grow up being told that if you don't behave I'll send you to the Gypsies."

He contrasts it with the behaviour of far-right groups in Hungary, where two weeks ago, he says, Molotov cocktails were thrown into Roma houses, "and when people ran away they shot them. A month ago a father and son were killed. The son was only three years old." The Roma are caught in a "vicious circle: if you have no education or no job, of course you'll steal to survive – and of course people talk about the criminality of the Roma. It doesn't allow the Roma to get out of their problems by themselves."

Lack of education or work is not all their fault. Although since 2002 it has been officially frowned upon to write "no Gypsies" on job adverts, opportunities still mysteriously become unavailable when a Roma applies for them. They may go to school, one Roma woman tells me, "but in vain because the teachers don't pay attention to them".

They are not allowed into bars, discos, or clubs ‑ two weeks ago Necula went out on the town, in Craiova, with a group of Roma friends. Of 10 clubs, only three allowed entry. Amnesty has found that townspeople unite against Roma settlements, many of which have no running water or roads.

We cross the railroad, bouncing past the Smiles school, shut for the summer, then some ruined, abandoned homes. We stop outside the stableyard at the entrance to the Roma settlement. Immediately, as happens all the rest of the day, a crowd gathers, close and voluble. And initially, here, we're welcome. Ramona Mariana, 20, baby suckling at her breast, says: "Yes, they did come here last night. But they left. They're afraid to go back now, because they were beaten."

Does anyone know anyone who's been to Belfast? No, no, and no.

They're happy to talk about Dublin though, especially a man wearing an Ireland rugby shirt, who was there for two months. "It was beautiful! I was very well treated. The Irish were very good. They didn't have problems with Romanians." What did he do there? "I had to beg. No one's going to hire a man with no English and one leg."

But even doing that he was able to earn more in a day than the €50 in benefits he gets from the Romanian government each month. "There were many Gypsies who had no home here, but after begging there they came home and made houses for themselves."

He refuses to give his name. Bancu Racovina, 39, says she's been to Dublin too. She lasted two weeks – she was beaten up and abused by "local Gypsies". At this point the Bulibasa [headman]'s wife emerges, shouting. "Go away! I thought you'd help us but you're not. You just come and make money off us as journalists. Go away! No one from the community has been to Ireland. Go to the other communities!" Suddenly there's a definite threat in the air, so we leave.

Before he changed his mind about what he'd seen, the policeman mentioned a settlement at Vadul Crisului village, and so we go there next. Radu Rostas, who grew up here and was elected Bulibasa 25 years ago, is a kindly man who, although he looks guarded the minute Belfast is mentioned, and immediately says he knows no one who came from there, shows us around his community, offers sour cherries and drinks, and answers most of our questions. He supports, he says, his family of 11 on about €100 a month (50 for him and 10 for each child child). No one on the encampment works – there was more work in communist times, when there was mass farming, he says, and he also worked in construction, and on the railroad – but there isn't work now.

We pick our way through mud, through rivulets and scraps of litter, around dogs and pigs. Children squat playing in the mud. Apart from the occasional satellite dish, and somewhat larger houses, the poverty here is not appreciably different from that I've seen in the developing world. The houses are neat and clean: a bedroom covered in plastic flowers, pictures on the walls, neatly-folded sleeping arrangements for the nine people who live in three small rooms. "What do they eat? Potatoes, bread. Not beans – they're too expensive. Cheap rice and spaghetti. Once a year they sacrifice a pig. And there's a party then? "Oh yes."

We try other communities. Has anyone been to Belfast? No, just Dublin, Dublin, Dublin. Where did the Belfast group return to, then? The answers shift. We're convinced they know more than they're saying. Tara Bedard, programme coordinator of the European Roma Rights Centre, based in Budapest, says this is not unusual. Concerned about the increasing numbers of Roma being deported from countries all over Europe, she has been trying to track groups forced to return to Romania. She has never been able to find out where they've gone. She met a plane from Belfast at Budapest airport;they left immediately, in hired buses.

Why would they be so keen to disappear? "When you have been attacked all your life, and throughout history, you don't trust anybody," says Necula. "It's natural. It's a feature of their life." They never trust that someone might actually want to help them out, or argue for their rights. If you're a foreigner, you're either going to give them something [concrete] or take them away. They don't trust you. They don't trust anybody."

"What's going on in Ireland now?" asked a young man, intently, when we were at Vadul Crisului. "Can we go back to Ireland?" He has tickets to fly to Dublin next month. "Is it safe?" Are you going to Belfast? "No, no, no, not Belfast." It's a veritable chorus from the people surrounding him. What do they know about the attacks? Only what they saw on television. And what did they think of that? "We're afraid to go to Ireland." They've had problems in Italy and Spain, they say, but nothing as bad as Belfast. Why Belfast, do they think?

"Maybe it's the spirit there. Maybe people are more violent. I don't know I'm guessing. But surely they could find a way to solve it peacefully, not like this." He won't give his name either, but he says he has to go to build a house for himself, his wife, and his new baby.

He's 25, young and fit, and intends to hook up with other Roma who work in construction (though the headman sounds a note of caution even about this — Roma exploit other Roma, he says. You can work for days and then never get paid.) And if you don't get work? "I'll come back." For a moment we watch him digging the foundations of the house he hopes to build. He's doing it by hand, with a pickaxe. The square he has chosen is well-placed — it looks over a fertile valley, full of fields, punctuated by a church spire — but tiny, perhaps five metres squared. It seems a modest enough ambition.

 Romii din Milano, plătiţi cu 15.000 de euro ca să revină în România
ieri, 12:57 7/03/2011
Autorităţile din Milano au iniţiat un plan care prevede acordarea sumei de 15.000 de euro fiecărei familii de romi care acceptă repatrierea în România, în cadrul măsurilor pentru închiderea taberei de romi Triboniano, scrie ziarul La Repubblica în ediţia electronică.

Potrivit autorităţilor milaneze, 40 de familii de romi - între 150 şi 200 de persoane - au acceptat deja să participe la proiectul gestionat de organizaţia neguvernamentală AVSI.

publicitate  Proiectul este finanţat din fondul în valoare de 13 milioane de euro oferit de Ministerul italian de Interne pentru gestionarea problemei romilor din Italia.

"Cu 10.000 - 15.000 de euro de familie, le oferim o alternativă validă acestor persoane", explică Alberto Piatti, secretarul general al organizaţiei AVSI.

"Familiile care acceptă participarea la acest proiect vor primi 1.500 de euro pentru drumul spre România, o indemnizaţie de 200 de euro pe lună pentru un an sau doi, o subvenţie pentru inserţia profesională în România şi un fond pentru construirea sau restaurarea locuinţei în România", precizează Piatti.

Mihai Draghici, Mediafax


Harta FAMILIILOR MAFIOTE din România care au speriat Franţa. Ministrul francez de Interne: Îi trimitem înapoi chiar şi cu forţa

de Andrei Luca POPESCU Postat la: 13.09.2011 16:00Ultima actualizare: 13.09.2011 19:32

De astăzi, pe celebrul bulevard parizian Champs-Élysées va fi interzisă prin lege cerşetoria. Cei mai mulţi dintre delincvenţii parizieni provin din România

Clanurile mafiote din România care şi-au extins în Franţa activităţile infracţionale minore, de genul furturilor sau cerşetoriei, provin în special din partea de sud a ţării, conform unei hărţi realizate de Le Figaro, care se bazează pe principalele dosare penale instrumentate în Franţa şi în România, împotriva acestor clanuri.

CLICK pentru a MĂRI

Craiova exportă la Paris hoţii de carduri bancare. Escrocii din Bucureşti s-au specializat în oraşul de pe Sena în înşelăciuni care se bazează pe mila trecătorilor. Ţăndărei, Feteşti, Bucureşti, Baia Mare, Piatra Neamţ, Iaşi şi Craiova trimit în Franţa hoţii de buzunare. Din oraşe precum Buzău, Brăila, Feteşti, Constanţa, Ţăndărei, Bucureşti, Piatra Neamţ şi Iaşi provin cei mai mulţi hoţi de telefoane mobile.

Ministrul de Interne al Franţei, Claude Guéant, a anunţat ieri, la Paris, planul său împotriva delincvenţei, propunând un experiment poliţienesc care, dacă va funcţiona, va fi extins şi în alte zone. Astfel, de astăzi, pe celebrul bulevard parizian Champs-Élysées va fi interzisă prin lege cerşetoria şi "formele ei asimilate", adică hărţuirea trecătorilor cu poveştile false pe care cerşetorii le spun, pentru a obţine bani.

Ministrul a mai spus că 10% din persoanele care ajung în faţa tribunalelor din Paris provin din România, iar jumătate dintre inculpaţi sunt minori. Astfel, românii ar reprezenta 2% din delincvenţii Franţei.

Şeful Poliţiei pariziene, Michel Gaudin, a calificat măsura drept "excepţională, dar proporţională" şi a anunţat că va fi menţinută în vigoare aproape 6 luni, până pe 6 februarie. Această interdicţie vizează în special grupurile de români, adesea minori, care fac parte din reţele mafiote şi care şi-au împărţi capitala Franţei, inclusiv mijloacele de transport, pe sectoare.

Ministrul francez de interne: "Trebuie să trecem într-o viteză superioară"

În primele şapte luni ale anului 2011, poliţia din Paris a pus sub acuzare 4.800 de români, faţă de doar 2.500 în perioada similară a anului trecut. Este vorba de o creştere cu peste 90%, iar intensificarea infracţiunilor comise de români a fost înregistrată de poliţia franceză şi la Marsilia sau Lyon.

"Nu stigmatizez nimic şi pe nimeni. Este o realitate judiciară. A existat o creştere importantă a acestei delincvenţe. Trebuie să trecem într-o viteză superioară în ceea ce priveşte returnarea presupuşilor delincvenţi români în ţara lor de origine, fie voluntar, fie cu forţa", a spus ministrul de Interne al Franţei.

Cu toate acestea, ministrul a spus că se vor intensifica controalele la frontieră asupra românilor care sosesc în Franţa.

Ministrul a mai anunţat că la Paris va sosi un judecător din România, pentru a urmări dosarele penale şi pentru a ajuta serviciile sociale să-i trimită pe minorii români înapoi la familiile lor.
Tot ieri, preşedintele francez Nicolas Sarkozy a anunţat că guvernul adopta, în această toamnă, propunerea unui deputat de a-i trimite în Armată pe minorii delincvenţi.

"Guvernul va adopta această propunere care va permite ca autorii de delicte să poată executa, pentru câteva luni, un serviciu cetăţenesc în cadrul unei instituţii de apărare", a declarat Sarkozy


Rroma Population in the European Countries

Europe's Roma

Hard travelling

Scapegoated abroad and the victims of prejudice at home, eastern Europe’s Roma are the problem no politician wants to solve


SLOVAKIA is in shock; France in uproar. The cause of both nations’ turmoil is the Roma (gypsies), or, rather, what is being done to them. This week a gunman in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, killed seven people and injured 14, before shooting himself dead. Six of the victims were a Roma family, killed inside their apartment; they appear to have been deliberately targeted.


In France the expulsion of hundreds of Roma immigrants, whom Nicolas Sarkozy’s government says were in the country illegally, has galvanized opposition from the pope, French churches, a UN committee and even several ministers in Mr Sarkozy’s own government. Yet further tough legislation is promised.

Between them the Slovakian shootings and the expulsions from France highlight the difficulties faced by Europe’s largest stateless minority. An ingrained underclass, Roma are the victims of prejudice, often violent, at home in eastern Europe. Thousands have migrated westward to seek a better life, particularly as the expansion of the European Union has allowed them to take advantage of freedom-of-movement rules. Yet although conditions may be better in the west, the reception has rarely been friendly and politicians like President Sarkozy have ruthlessly exploited hostility towards the newcomers.

But the demagogic instincts of western leaders pale in comparison to the negligence of their eastern counterparts. Roma don’t vote much. No government in eastern Europe with a substantial Roma minority has done much to deal with the discrimination they face or the hopeless poverty that keeps them excluded from the mainstream, says Rob Kushen of the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre.

One of the biggest problems is schooling: Roma children are routinely placed in institutions for the mentally handicapped. A new survey by Amnesty International says that in Slovakia, Roma make up less than 10% of the school-age population but 60% of pupils in special schools. Unsurprisingly, many leave school early, without the skills they need to compete in the job market. Instead they drift into collecting scrap metal, begging or petty crime.

Straightforward prejudice plays its part. This week an MEP from Jobbik, a far-right Hungarian party, called for the mass internment of Roma. Last year Hungarian police sought help from the FBI after a series of attacks on Roma settlements in which six people were killed, including a five-year-old boy, Robika Csorba, and his father, Robert. Gunmen firebombed their house and lay in wait as they fled, before opening fire. A few weeks later, six Roma teenagers arrested in the Slovak town of Kosice for allegedly stealing a purse were forced to strip naked, kiss and hit each other, as police filmed their humiliation. In western Europe Roma migrants have faced firebomb attacks in Italy, pogroms in Belfast and forcible evictions in Greece.

This year marks the halfway point of Europe’s “Decade of Roma Inclusion”, launched in 2005 at a riverside hotel in Budapest. Five years on, say activists, most Roma are still worse off than under communism, which, for all its faults, at least guaranteed work, housing and welfare, and stamped down on hate crimes. Today conditions in Roma settlements on the edges of town and villages rival Africa or India for their deprivation.

Inside Europe, outside society

Yet the Roma also suffer from problems of their own making. Ambitious youngsters are often held back by their intensely patriarchal and conservative societies. Girls are married off in their teens and boys put to work at an early age rather than study. Weary of the hostility they face from the outside world, Roma communities are prone to cut themselves off from society and its laws. Four years ago in Olaszliszka, northern Hungary, a driver who clipped a Romany girl with his car (she was unhurt) was dragged from the vehicle by a mob, many of them related to the girl, and beaten to death in front of his daughters.

In recent years, under the EU’s rules on freedom of movement, a torrent of cheap workers from the east have found work in the west. But most Roma leave their homelands in search not of work but of freedom from destitution and persecution. Little wonder that France, egged on by Italy and others, has been keen to “Europeanise” the issue, urging Brussels to go to greater efforts to get the eastern countries to integrate their Roma. Yet now that those countries are safely inside the EU it is far harder than in the pre-accession years for Eurocrats to tell their governments what to do.

Europeans would be swift to condemn the plight of the Roma were they in any other part of the world. However, eastern European governments are unlikely suddenly to tackle a problem that dates back centuries just because Brussels tells them to. Perhaps self-interest may prove a more powerful motivator. Roma families are far larger than those of the mainstream population: the pool of deprivation is only going to grow. In addition, a recent World Bank study estimates the annual cost of the failure to integrate Roma in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and the Czech Republic at €5.7 billion ($7.3 billion). As the report notes: “Bridging the education gap is the economically smart choice.” If humanitarian arguments fail to carry the day, perhaps economics and demographics might.



Romanian Gypsies After 1990 - Chronology

Chronology for Rroma in Romania

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Dec 22, 1989Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown by the National Salvation Front (NSF), a group of former Communists, dissidents, intellectuals, students and army generals who declare Romania a parliamentary democracy.
Jan 28, 1990Pro-government demonstrators call opposition demonstrators "provocateurs" and "Gypsies." Note The term Gypsy is often used as an insult in Romanian society. This continues throughout the period covered by this chronology and will not be further noted unless otherwise noteworthy.
Apr 18, 1990Hundreds of Gypsies attend a conference in Bucharest to pick parliamentary candidates for the upcoming May 20 elections. 8 Gypsy parties including the Democratic Union are running in the elections.
Apr 18, 1990The first Romanian Gypsy newspaper, Satra Libera (Free Camp), begins publication with a startling caricature of a Gypsy slave girl breaking out of her chains on the front page.
May 14, 1990Gypsy chief and Romani representative to the United Nations Ion Cloarba demands compensation from the Romanian government for the families of dozens of Gypsies beaten to death or shot by police during the Ceausescu regime as part of his campaign to appropriate their gold. A recent law decreed that the stolen ancestral gold jewelry can now be reclaimed from the national bank of Romania. Cloarba also claims hundreds of Gypsies were tortured and their houses burned down during the period of systematic persecution. He further states that prejudice against the Roma in Romania is the worst in Europe.
May 16, 1990More than 5,000 Romanians, 80% of them Gypsies, have migrated to East Berlin in the last few weeks in hopes of cashing in on East Germany's pending free-market unification with Germany and due to ethnic persecution.
May 18, 1990The president of the National Peasants' Party is attacked by a band of rock-throwing Gypsies.
May 20, 1990The NSF wins parliamentary elections with an overwhelming majority. None of the Gypsy parties wins any seat but a Gypsy is given one of the seats reserved for Romania's ethnic minorities.
Jun 13 - 18, 1990Anti-government protests take place in Bucharest. Many Gypsies participate. The government uses vigilante coal miners to violently suppress the crowd and the miners beat up Gypsy men and women and steal their ancestral gold jewelry as police stand by and watch. A mob of Gypsies later attacks a police station with clubs, knives and hatchets. Gypsy homes are singled out for racially motivated attacks in ethically mixed neighborhoods in what some call ethnic cleansing. Many Gypsies are arrested and held without charge. There are allegations of torture of the Gypsy prisoners by police. The coal miners receive little or no punishment for their actions.
Jul 1990Police crack down on black marketeers many of whom are Gypsies. Many of Romania's economic problems are blamed on the Gypsies by the Romanian media in this context. Note Romanians, including the media and several political parties including the ruling Salvation Front blame many of Romania's problems on the Gypsies. This continues throughout the period covered in this chronology and will not be further noted unless otherwise noteworthy.
Oct 1990More than 1,000 Romanian villagers burn a Gypsy village to the ground. Swift flight by the Gypsies prevents casualties. The villagers say they were provoked by unrestrained rampaging, stealing and looting by the Gypsies. The final provocation was when a Romanian tractor driver was stoned by Gypsy youths.
Nov 26, 1990Some 270,000 Romanians, about 90% of them Gypsies, have crossed the border into Poland in order to earn a living this year. Most are allowed to stay for only 90 days at a time. It is estimated that 39,000 to 70,000 are currently in Poland.
Jan 1991In a poll, 41% of respondents in Romania think that the Roma should be poorly treated.
Mar 29, 1991The Romanian Gypsy presence in Poland continues.
Apr 9, 1991After a Gypsy s arrested for the murder of a Romanian villager, about 3,000 villagers burn down the homes of members of his clans. The clan in question, known as "Bear Trainers," was said to be responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in the village, even compared to other Gypsies (who were not attacked). Note The purpose attacks such as this one are usually to drive the Gypsies out of town.
Apr 16, 1991A human rights organization reports that the Gypsy community of Romania was the target of 15 documented incidents of violence in 1990.
May 8, 1991Riot police rescue 34 Gypsies from a Romanian village after peasants threatened to lynch them. The incident occurs when a clan or Gypsies who had been expelled from the village a month ago for crimes try to return.
May 17 - 18, 1991Rural Romanians and Gypsies clash in the village of Ogreseni, northeast of Bucharest. The violence spreads to several surrounding villages the next day. Peasants clash with riot police who are trying to prevent them from burning Gypsy houses. By the end of the riots at least 40 Gypsy homes are destroyed.
Jun 13, 1991About 300 villagers in Romania's Translvania region burn down 26 Gypsy homes after a stabbing. Note Thus far, no one has been penalized by the government for the continuous and often violent efforts by villagers to run the Gypsies out of town. In part, official action is due to a powerlessness by the police to stop these efforts as well as the erosion of their authority when they try to do so.
Jul 1991A government report on racial tensions in the Romanian countryside says that "the majority of the population has often had to endure for long periods the aggressiveness of a minority group [the Gypsies] which does not respect the norms of social cohabitation.” The report also notes that Romanians are "exasperated by the wealth of many unemployed Gypsies.”
Jul 1991The Democratic Union of Romani calls for the government to educate Gypsies in their own language. Note This demand is made throughout the period covered by this chronology and will not be further noted unless otherwise noteworthy.
Sep 1991Several hundred Gypsies hold a conference in Hungary on the current situation of the Gypsies in Romania and Hungary.
Nov 24, 1991Helsinki Watch, a human rights organization, reports that Gypsies in Romania have been the target of increasingly violent attacks since the 1989 revolution. It claims that Gypsies have lost their property, their security and any hope for a better future after the overthrow of the Communist regime. They also face discrimination in housing, employment and education.
1992Several incidents of racially motivated violence against Gypsies are reported this year.
Feb 1992The US State Department's Report on Human Rights in Romania for 1991 states that there exists both direct and indirect discrimination against Gypsies in the workplace. Gypsies tend to be given the most menial and low paying jobs and are excluded from educational and work opportunities that can lead to higher paying jobs. However, the report notes that the government has begun job training programs and experimental classes in the Rromani language.
Sep 1992Germany plans to deport the large number of Romanians, about 60% of whom are Gypsies (reports of the actual number of Romanians in Germany range from 43,000 to 135,000). It later signs an accord with Romania to facilitate this deportation and actually begins deporting Romanians in November.
Mar 18, 1993Romania deploys riot police to the Argentinean embassy in Bucharest to prevent thousands of Gypsies from storming the embassy in hopes of gaining visa forms because of an immigration opportunity.
Mar 31, 1993Following an anti-Gypsy attack, Gypsy leaders threaten to establish their own army if the government is unable to protect them.
Apr 1993The Romanian government creates the Council for Ethnic Minorities to tackle the problems of the country's 14 minority groups.
Apr 28, 1993In response to the problems caused by Romanians, many of them Gypsies, using Poland as a transit rout for illegal immigration into Western European countries, Poland tightens entry rules for Romanians.
May 2, 1993Romanian Gypsy leaders call on the government to take a tougher stand against persecution against Gypsies and become more involved in supporting their economic and social integration. Note Demands similar to this one are made throughout the period covered by this chronology and will not be further noted unless they are otherwise noteworthy.
Jun 3, 1993After a World Cup soccer loss, angry Romanians riot in Bucharest targeting Gypsies and Arabs.
Jun 24, 1993An extremist group called "the Organization to Fight the Gypsies" is formed and plans a crackdown on Romania's Gypsy population.
Aug 9, 1993Ivlian Radulescu is crowned "emperor" of the Gypsies which puts him in contention with Ion Cioaba who claims to be "king" of the Gypsies.
Sep 20, 1993Two Gypsies who are accused of killing a Romanian are lynched and another Gypsy and a Romanian are killed when 500 angry Romanians and Hungarians riot against Gypsies in Transylvania and burn down 13 Gypsy houses.
Sep 28, 1993Romanian Gypsies blame authorities for encouraging anti-Gypsy hatred and demand legal action against the killers of three Gypsies in last week's ethnic clashes.
Sep 29, 1993Gypsies withdraw from the Council of National Minorities in protest to last week's killings.
Oct 15, 1993It is reported that an extremist group called the Gypsy Skinners is planning a campaign of violence against Romania's Gypsies. Romanian police say there is no evidence of the existence of such an organization.
Nov 12, 1993Amnesty International accuses Romania of preparing to expel Gypsies from the Transylvanian village where 3 Gypsies were killed last September. The Romanian government denies the charges.
Dec 30, 1993France prepares to deport about 200 Romanian Gypsies.
May 25, 1994The UN committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights accuses the Romanian government of allowing discrimination against the country's population.
May 29, 1994About 300 villagers burn down nine Gypsy houses in northwest Romania after 2 Gypsy youths are charged with the murder of a 69-year-old shepherd.
Jan 8, 1995About 200 angry farmers in a southwest Romanian village burn down the homes of two Roma after a village brawl in which both villagers and Roma are injured. A 20-member police force summoned from a nearby village is able to prevent attacks on four other homes.
Jan 16, 1995Dimitru Bidiia, a Roma leader, says that his community will start a "civil war" unless the government takes measures to prevent local conflicts between Roma and villagers.
Jan 19, 1995UPI reports that since the fall of Romania's Communist government in 1989, there have been 37 inter-ethnic clashes in which six Roma have been killed and dozens of Roma homes burned.
May 12, 1995Romania's Gypsy "Emperor" Iulian Radulescu begins a hunger strike in protest of the government's decision to label Roma in Romania as "Tigan," a term Roma consider racist. The government has done this in order to stop using "Romani" as the official term because it could be confused with "Romanian. "
May 22, 1995Amnesty International reports a nationwide pattern of police failure to protect Romania's Roma minority from racist violence.
May 23, 1995About 100 Roma demonstrate in Bucharest against the government use of the term "Tigan" to describe the Roma. They view the term as racist.
Jun 8, 1995Minority group leaders in Romania, including some Roma leaders, receive mail bombs.
Jul 13, 1995The European Parliament approves a resolution condemning discrimination against the Roma in Romania.
Jan 24, 1996More than 1,000 villagers in southern Romania have threatened to lynch a 200-member gypsy community following the stabbing death of a Romanian. As the angered mob headed for the house of the suspected murderer, police forces took position to defend the gypsy community on the outskirts of the village. The murder suspect and his family fled the town along with 40 other gypsy families. (Source United Press International, 1/24/96)
Feb 27, 1997Ion Cioaba, the self-proclaimed King of the Gipsies died at the age of 62. (Source The Daily Telegraph, 2/27/97)
Mar 6, 1997The self-proclaimed emperor of the world's Gypsies Iulian Radulesco announced on Thursday the creation of the first gypsy state in Tirgu-Jiu, in southwest Romania. Radulescu, who declared himself "Iulian I" four years ago, told a press conference he has signed a "decree" proclaiming a poor district of Tirgu-Jiu "Cem Romengo," or state of the Romanies. "This state has a symbolic value and does not affect the sovereignty and unity of Romania. It does not have armed forces and does not have borders," Radulescu added. He said he had asked Romanian authorities to recognise the Gypsies' "right of ownership" to this land. (Source Agence France Presse, 3/6/97)
Mar 27, 1997Over 50 Romanian Gypsies from the encampment near Szczecin [northwestern Poland] which was dismantled yesterday have been deported to Ukraine. The Romanian Gypsies travelled to Chernovtsy in Ukraine, whence they are to travel to Romania. They were escorted by the Border Guard and policemen throughout the whole of their journey within Poland. Seventy-two Romanians without any documents were left behind in Szczecin. Some children born in Poland are not entered in the documents of their parents. Consequently they could not have crossed the border. The Romanian embassy is, within three months, to clarify all the doubts associated with the identity of those who have been detained. (Source BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 3/27/97)
Aug 3, 1997Gypsies from across Europe gathered at the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp complex to condemn nationalism and mourn the mass murder of Gypsies by the Nazis during World War II. The annual ceremony recalls the August 2, 1944, gassing of about 3,000 Gypsy prisoners, mainly women and children, who had been held in a special compound of the extermination complex in southern Poland. The ceremony also commemorates many hundreds of thousands of Gypsies killed elsewhere by the Nazis in what has been called a "forgotten Holocaust. " (Source The Washington Post, 8/3/97)
Aug 7, 1997European Union officials and Gypsy leaders urged Romania to clamp down on discrimination and violence against Gypsies, cited by the EU as a hurdle to the country's membership bid. The European Commission's recent report on EU enlargement highlighted concerns over treatment of Gypsies in east European countries seeking admission. Romania, home to one of the largest Gypsy communities in eastern Europe, was passed over for early entry, because of its poor record in dealing with its Roma population. (Source ANP English News Bulletin, 8/7/97)
Apr 22, 1998An Amnesty International report that showed that between March 1997 and January 1998 police were responsible for the fatal shootings of 25 people. Victims included thieves fleeing the scene of crime, violent deaths in prison, and fatalities brought about by police torture or beatings. Amnesty also said police failed to protect the Gypsy community from racial attacks, and were often tardy and biased in investigations of such violence.
Jul 1998Forty-seven Roma seeking asylum, all from the Arad region of eastern Romania, were smuggled into Ireland in freight containers. They spent 48 hours in the container before being discovered by gardai at Rosslare. In the last year Ireland has been bombarded by a constant flow of Roma seeking asylum. (Source The Irish Times, 10/23/98)
Aug 26, 1998The Roms’ Party (PR) which represents the Romanian gypsy community in parliament are planning legal action against the country's outspoken ultra-nationalist leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor, after he said Gypsies should integrate or be interned. (Source Agence France Presse, 8/26/98)
Oct 23, 1998A Romanian gypsy woman who applied for asylum in Ireland was rejected by the Department of Justice even though she had never been granted an interview. (Source The Irish Times, 10/23/98)
Nov 10, 1998A delegation of Romanian Gypsies is to travel to the United States in February to seek a proportion of the Holocaust compensation obtained by Jewish groups. The 1.25 billion dollars which is to be paid by two Swiss banks belongs to Jews. But they are going to give 10-12 percent of this sum to the Gypsies of Europe also persecuted in the Holocaust. Roma delegates are seeking a compensatory payment of about $610 for each of the 3,000 Romanian Gypsies who survived being deported to Nazi concentration camps. The Romanian delegation si also seeking a return of 500 kilos of gold, half of the amount supposedly stolen from Romanian Gypsies during WWII, from the Romanian government. (Source Agence France Presse, 11/10/98)
Feb 28, 1999

In the Romanian town of Sibiu, the Romas symbolically put Adolf Hitler on trial. The dictator was found guilty and sentenced to death. His effigy was then hung from a beam. By charging Hitler, "the model of all ethnic cleansers" with persecution, deportation, mass murder and genocide, gypsy leaders hope their actions will call attention to their plight. Hitler is being tried by a traditional stabor, or tribal tribunal, in accordance with Roma tradition. Stabor law has a long tradition in the region, but it is not recognized by Romania's legal system. It has jurisdiction over all Roma, but now it is only used to settle disputes within the gypsy community. (Source The Sunday Herald, 2/28/99)



Origins of the Rroma

Latcho Drom, Rajasthani gypsies, Talab Khan Barna, "Kaman Garo Kanhaji"

Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Romanies originated from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating from India towards the northwest no earlier than the 11th century. The Romani are generally believed to have originated in central India, possibly in the modern Indian state of Rajasthan, migrating to northwest India (the Punjab region) around 250 BC. In the centuries spent here, there may have been close interaction with such established groups as the Rajputs and the Jats. Their subsequent westward migration, possibly in waves, is believed to have occurred between AD 500 and AD 1000. Contemporary populations sometimes suggested as sharing a close relationship to the Romani are the Dom people of Central Asia and the Banjara of India.[37] 


The emigration from India likely took place in the context of the raids by Mahmud of Ghazni[38] As these soldiers were defeated, they were moved west with their families into the Byzantine Empire. The 11th century terminus post quem is due to the Romani language showing unambiguous features of the Modern Indo-Aryan languages,[39] precluding an emigration during the Middle Indic period.

Genetic evidence supports the medieval migration from India. The Romanies have been described as "a conglomerate of genetically isolated founder populations",[40] while a number of common Mendelian disorders among Romanies from all over Europe indicates "a common origin and founder effect".[40][41] A study from 2001 by Gresham et al. suggests "a limited number of related founders, compatible with a small group of migrants splitting from a distinct caste or tribal group".[42] The same study found that "a single lineage ... found across Romani populations, accounts for almost one-third of Romani males."[42] A 2004 study by Morar et al. concluded that the Romani population "was founded approximately 32–40 generations ago, with secondary and tertiary founder events occurring approximately 16–25 generations ago".[43]

Arrival in Europe

File:Movimiento gitano.jpgThe migration of the Romanies through the Middle East and Northern Africa to Europe
First arrival of the Romanies outside Bern in the 15th century, described by the chronicler as getoufte heiden ("baptized heathens") and drawn with dark skin and wearing Saracen-style clothing and weapons (Spiezer Schilling, p. 749).
In 1322, a Franciscan monk named Symon Semeonis described people resembling these atsinganoi (meaning?) living in Crete and, in 1350, Ludolphus of Sudheim mentioned a similar people with a unique language whom he called Mandapolos, a word which some theorize was possibly derived from the Greek word mantes (meaning prophet or fortune teller).[47]

Around 1360, the Romani established an independent fiefdom (called the Feudum Acinganorum) in Corfu; it became "a settled community and an important and established part of the economy."[48]

By the 14th century, the Romanies had reached the Balkans; by 1424, Germany; and by the 16th century, Scotland and Sweden. Some Romanies migrated from Persia through North Africa, reaching the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century. The two currents met in France.

Romanies began immigrating to North America in colonial times, with small groups recorded in Virginia and French Louisiana. Larger-scale immigration to the United States began in the 1860s, with groups of Romnaichal from Britain. The largest number immigrated in the early 1900s, mainly from the Vlax group of Kalderash. Many Romanies also settled in South America.

When the Romani people arrived in Europe, the initial curiosity of its residents soon changed to hostility against the newcomers. The Romani were enslaved for five centuries in Wallachia and Moldavia, until abolition in 1856.[49] Elsewhere in Europe, they were subject to ethnic cleansing, abduction of their children, and forced labor. In England, Romani were sometimes hung or expelled from small communities; in France, they were branded and their heads were shaved; in Moravia and Bohemia, the women were marked by their ears being severed. As a result, large groups of the Romani moved to the East, toward Poland, which was more tolerant, and Russia, where the Romani were treated more fairly as long as they paid the annual taxes.[50]


 Tracing the history of a non-literate culture

Linguists compare Gypsy languages to historical languages; they look at words borrowed from other languages and when and where those words originally existed. It is possible to trace Gypsies back to their origin: the Sind area of India (today south central Pakistan -- the mouth of the Indus). Three separate emigrations occurred over the course of about four hundred years, traceable today in three identifiable linguistic populations: the Eastern Gypsy (Domari) in Egypt and the Middle East, the Central Gypsy (Lomavren) in Armenia and eastern Turkey, and the Western Gypsy (Romani) (Romany refers to the people, Romani refers to the language, Rom refers to a man or the people as a whole. Confused yet?) in Europe. This last group is the population most widely dealt with in reference works and literature, and therefore most of the information here pertains to them.

The first exodus was spurred by a ruler of Afghanistan, Mahmud of Ghanzi, who invaded the Sind area in A.D. 1001-1027. The second exodus arose out of attacks upon northwest India by Mahmud of Gorh (A.D. 1191-1192), and then the empire expansion of Genghis Khan (A.D. 1215-1227). The third took place during the reign of the khan Tamerlane in the late 1300's and early 1400's, when he attempted to repeat Genghis Khan's exploits.

Origin of the Gypsy

The cultural group that would later become the Gypsies led a semi-nomadic life in India, and has been tentatively identified as the Dom, which has been recorded as far back as the sixth century. The Dom performed various specialized jobs such as basket-making, scavenging, metal-working and entertainment, traveling a circuit through several small villages each year. This is not a unique phenomenon; the Irish Travellers, although completely unrelated genetically to the Gypsies, fulfill the same functions.

Indian caste beliefs of the time may have been the original model for the strict purity and pollution ideology of the present Gypsies, modified over time through contact with other cultures. This semi-nomadic life allowed the Dom the opportunity to easily flee when battles threatened the area in which they lived, and apparently did so three times during the Middle Ages.

The European Gypsies are perhaps the original refugees from Mahmud of Ghanzi's wars, for all sixty Romani dialects contain Armenian words, suggesting that they passed through Armenia in the early 11th century on the way into the Byzantine Empire. The impetus to continue on and enter Byzantine Anatolia was most likely provided by the Seljuk Turks attacked Armenia during the 11th century and spurred the Gypsies onward

The earliest currently known reference to Gypsies is in a Life of St. George composed in the monastery of Iberon on Mt. Athos in Greece in 1068. It relates events in Constantinople in 1050, when wild animals plagued an imperial park. The Emperor Constantine Monomachus commissioned the help of "a Samaritan people, descendants of Simon the Magician, who were called Adsincani, and notorious for soothsaying and sorcery," who killed the beasts with charmed pieces of meat. (I wonder if the concept of "poison" never occurred to these people?) "Atzinganoi," the Byzantine term for Gypsies, is reflected in several other languages: the German "Zigeuner," the French "Tsiganes," the Italian "Zingari," and the Hungarian "Cziganyok."

During the next 200 years, the Gypsies slowly advanced southwest into Arabia, Egypt and North Africa, northwest into the Byzantine Empire and established themselves in the southern Balkan countries (Serbia, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Hungary and the surrounding area) before 1300. It seems likely to me that this movement was slow due to the westward pressure of the Mongolian Empire; all of Eastern Europe's population was in turmoil and Russian refugees were fleeing west at the time. Once Khubilai Khan died in 1294, the Mongolian Empire began its decline and the borders crept back east, easing pressure on Europe and allowing the Gypsies to expand more rapidly than the previous two centuries. They entered Dubrovnik (modern-day Yugoslavia) before 1362, and had blanketed the Balkans by 1400.

The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries came as close to a Gypsy Golden Age as there had ever been. Gypsies covered Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, Yugoslavia and Rumania long before the Ottoman Turks conquered those lands. There was a large population at the seaport of Modon in the 1300's, on the most popular route to the Holy Land, settled in the Gypsy Quarter, a tent-city just outside the city walls sometimes called Little Egypt. This exposure to pilgrims and the attitudes and privileges accorded to them may have led the Gypsies to adopt pilgrim personas once they spread into Western Europe.

The Gypsies seemed to prefer Venetian territories such as Crete and Corfu, perhaps because those lands were relatively safe from the constant Turkish incursions. The population, and therefore their annual dues, in Corfu increased enough to form an independent fief conferred in 1470 onto the baron Michael de Hugot, which lasted until the nineteenth century. In the town of Nauplion, in the eastern Peloponnese, the Gypsies apparently formed an organized group under a military leader, one Johannes Cinganus (John the Gypsy). The Venetians expected to be given military aid in the case of increasing Turkish raids, and may have hoped the Gypsies would cultivate depopulated land.

Gypsies a little farther north, in the Balkans, were not quite as lucky. They certainly had economic importance, valued as artisans practicing such trades as blacksmithing, locksmithing and tinsmithing, and also filled the niche between peasant and master, but to prevent escape the government declared them slaves of the boyars. They could be sold, exchanged or given away, and any Rumanian man or woman who married a Gypsy became a slave also. Liberty was not fully restored to them in Moldo-Wallachia until the nineteenth century.

During the fifteenth century, the nature of the Gypsies' hesitant travels into Western Europe changed. Before that time, they were quiet, unobtrusive and loosely organized, but afterwards they moved in a purposeful way, courting attention, claiming to be pilgrims and demanding subsidies and letters of dispensation. During the two decades after 1417, there are some interesting observations to make. The Gypsy bands seemed to have some unity of action and connection with each other, telling the same tales and displaying similar supporting documents (papal letters and such). A surprising fact is that well into the sixteenth century there is no mention made of Gypsies having their own language, and no apparent difficulty in communicating with the inhabitants of countries they were visiting for the first time. These groups were organized under leaders with noble names and titles, sometimes exchanged with other chiefs. This is unusual in that many of the countries of central and eastern Europe made sure that Gypsies did not rule Gypsies.

What was behind this curious behavior? It may have been the Turkish invasion of the Balkans in the early 1400's; Wallachia capitulated to Turkish rule in 1415, two years before the first Gypsy bands were recorded in Western Europe. The Gypsies themselves would probably not have been affected in the long run under Turkish rule (ignoring the immediate fires, sacking and battles), due to the Turkish habit of leaving civilian populations free as long as they paid taxes to their conquerors, not an unfamiliar state of affairs for Gypsies. Many people stayed and embraced Islam, but there are records of other refugees including nobles wandering west in groups and subsisting on charity. One traveler who visited Modon attributed the Gypsy migration to lords and counts who would not serve under the Turks. It seems that the self-interest of barons of Gypsy fiefs who stood to lose quite a bit under Turkish rule was the impulse behind the organized incursions into Western Europe, and at least during the first few years the men who claimed to be barons, counts and dukes were telling the truth.

Whatever the impetus, the Gypsies exploded into central Europe. The usual scam involved a group claiming to be from Egypt or Little Egypt (perhaps referring to Modon?) showing up in a city and informing city officials that they were Christians doomed to wander for a period of years to fulfill a penance imposed upon them for the sin of neglecting their religion. They would collect food, money and letters of protection from the city and then continue to the next town. By 1417, Gypsies were recorded in Germanic cities. In 1418, several thousand Gypsies under a leader called Count Michael showed up in Strassbourg. Gypsies were entering Brussels and Holland by 1420, Bologna in 1422, and showing up in Rome in July of that same year. They travelled into Spain by 1425 and Paris by 1427. By the middle of the century, rulers and town governments started banning Gypsies, usually citing theft, fortunetelling, begging and sometimes espionage as the reasons. Europeans also recognized as lies the Gypsies' claims to be pilgrims in exile from Egypt, but there are a few instances of alms being given into the sixteenth century, apparently by slow learners.

At this point their meteoric expansion westward stopped for almost a century. Groups traveled east from the Balkans into Russia, establishing themselves in Siberia by the early sixteenth century but they did not enter Great Britain until 1514, probably because a completely separate ethnic group, the Tinkers, already occupied Britain and performed the same roles Gypsies did in other countries: nomadic entertainers, knife-grinders, pot-menders, woodworkers, transient field employees and so forth. The impetus to enter the British Isles was probably given by late fifteenth century Spanish policies ruling against and banishing Gypsies. With nowhere else to go, they entered Britain, then finally Norway in 1544 and Finland in 1597.

Why stay nomadic for so long?

From an anthropological point of view, I would say that this transient, fully nomadic lifestyle developed in response to the constant fighting pushing them west. Originally refugees from India, they may have thought they would return to their homeland as soon as Mahmoud of Ghanzi's fighting stopped. Refugees quite often stay ready to return to their point of origin for many years once pushed out of their native lands. (A modern example: some Cuban refugees still keep bags packed in anticipation of returning at any time.)

When the Dom people left the Sind, they probably planned to live on the road for a few years and then return to their home territory. Normally, the second generation would have settled down in this "temporary" new area, but they were semi-nomadic to begin with, and then the Seljuk Turks invaded and pushed them farther west. After that the Mongolian expansion kept pushing them, and eventually the idea that there was a "back home" was lost. They retained their original semi-nomadic lifestyle in the midst of sedentary cultures, keeping their language and strict pollution ideology in order to maintain their unity as a people as well as clinging to something familiar in the midst of strange new cultures. They were mostly successful until the nations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries grew powerful enough to force the majority to settle. Their identity as a separate people is still strong enough for them to remain the brunt of prejudice and hatred, a fact hammered home by the killing of half a million Gypsies by the Nazis during World War II. Now, it may only be a few generations until any idea of nomadism is leached out of almost all Gypsies.

Gypsies — the dalits of European continent

The Y chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA of the gypsies studied show similarity to Asian patterns 

Philologists suggest the gypsies originated in the Gangetic plains, from a low caste called Doms
In general, about 50 per cent of the observed Y chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA of the gypsies studied, belong to South and Central Asian patterns
Indian/Pakistani chromosomes seem to be the best evidence yet of the subcontinental origin of gypsies

THE DICTIONARY defines a gypsy as a member of a nomadic, caucasoid people generally of a swarthy complexion, who migrated originally from India.

For a while, there was a belief that they were Egyptian in origin, apparently based on the boast of a gypsy chief called Michael, who arrived in Basel, Switzerland with a great horde of followers in 1422, that he was the Prince of Egypt.

Drs. A.L. Basham and S. A. A Rizri, in their `The Wonder that was India', Parts 1 and 2 respectively, quote historical legends to suggest that the 5th century Sasanian king Bahram Gur invited ten thousand Indian musicians to his realm and gave them cattle, corn and asses, with the hope they would settle down and teach his subjects music and dance. They, however, ate up all his gifts and wandered about as nomads.


Independent, insular

Their descendants are thought to be today's gypsies. Philologists, who study and analyse languages and their origins, have compared the language that the gypsies speak with Indian languages, and suggest from the similarities that the gypsies originated in the Gangetic plains, from a low caste called Doms and are thus called Roma. This is what the gypsies call themselves, hence the term Roma or Romani gypsies — no connection to Rome or Romania.

The gypsies are an independent insular people. They jealously guard their language, customs and social practices. They marry among themselves and thus belong to an endogamous gene pool. Basham describes how several of their customs of ritual purity, birth and death taboos, and animal slaughter are remarkably similar to Indian ones.

As their way of life is so alien to that of the local Europeans, they have been discriminated and persecuted for centuries. They are the first to be suspected and booked in any crime and indiscipline. The very word gypsy is used as an insult to indicate a cheat.

The phrase "I got gypped" owes its origin here. In the infamous ethnic cleansing operations, the most criminal being under Hitler, thousands and thousands of gypsies were exterminated en masse. In a word, the gypsies are the untouchables or Dalits of Europe.

There are about 8 million of them today, mostly in Southeastern and Central Europe, and a smaller number in Russia and North Africa. As people move, they carry their genetic makeup with them. This is in the form of the long molecule DNA, in which the information is written in a linear sequence of four genetic alphabets.

And as people produce children, they pass on their DNA down generations. Family trees are thus constructed by comparing the DNA sequences of the various branches and their members.

Tentative insights

Modern biologists have used the tools of molecular genetics to provide some tentative insights into the origins and lives of the gypsies. The Australian geneticists Luba Kalaydjieva, Bharti Morar, David Grehsam and associates have studied the telltale markers in the DNA sequences in the paternally derived Y-chromosome and maternally gifted mitochondrial DNA of 14 different gypsy populations.

In all these 14, the characteristic pattern called haplogroup H-M82, which is typical of the Asian Y-chromosome, and the haplogroup M in the mitochondrial DNA, also seen in Asian populations, were seen in 26 per cent of the female lineages in these fourteen gypsy groups.

A similar analysis by the Estonian scientist T. Kivisild and group showed that the M217 marker, which is seen in 1.6 per cent of male Roma, is also found in West Bengal.

In general, about 50 per cent of the observed Y chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA belong to male haplogroup H and female haplogroup M — both of which are widespread across South and Central Asia.

There has been considerable mixing of genes with Europeans as well — thanks to mating (more politely called horizontal gene transfer) with the local population.

Restricted gene pool

Among the gypsies then, some come from Central Asia, some owe their origin to South Asia and yet others from Anatolia — accounting for their subgroups?

Any highly inbred group tends to have its gene pool restricted. This would have the effect of distributing within itself the same sets of genes — many of which function normally and some that predispose the owner to certain traits — good and bad.

One might thus see familial or intra-community incidence of certain disorders or traits higher in proportion than in a community that admits genes from outside.

The gypsies, largely inbred, thus have certain traits that occur in a larger than random proportion.

The Australian researchers were able to show a particular mutation in the gene for the enzyme galactokinase to occur in a Roma gypsy family, leading to early childhood blindness (cataract) in the family.

Latest genetic analysis

Similarly, they showed a mutation associated with congenital myasthenia (born with weak muscles) in gypsies.

Their finding the same in some Indian/Pakistani chromosomes seem to be the best evidence yet of the subcontinental origin of gypsies. Sharing of mutations and displaying a high `carrier rate' support a strong founder effect.

The latest such genetic analysis comes from Dr. Subhabrata Chakrabarti of our own institute. He studies the genetic basis of childhood glaucoma.

In doing haplo-analysis of the Indian population in this connection, he finds that the haplotypes seen here are also found uniquely in the Roma gypsy patients — again a founder effect.

The work of these scientists, who study the language of the genes increasingly supports the contention of those who study the language of the spoken word that the gypsies migrated centuries ago from the Indian subcontinent.

D. Balasubramanian


History of Gypsies in Europe. Famous Gypsies

Adam Bartosz

The exhibition is dedicated to all Travellers, past, present and, I hope, future.


Society has always found the Romanies an ethnic puzzle and has tried ceaselessly to fit them, by force or fraud, piety or policy, coaxing or cruelty, into some framework of its own conception, but so far without success.

(Encyklopaedia Britannica)

A standing exhibition on Gypsy life and culture was brought together in Tarnow in 1979, long before the first exhibition in Poland on the subject was organized here. It was 11 years later, in April 1990, that the present exhibition was opened in Tarnow as the first of its kind in Poland. Its inauguration was celebrated on the occasion of the Fourth Romani (Gypsy) Congress which took place in Serock, near Warsaw. The Tarnow museum display is permanent and presents a detailed look into Gypsy history and culture in Poland within the framework of their European history.
The exhibition is located in an 18th century manor-house. There is also an outdoor exhibit of a typical Gypsy camp, which is composed of carts and tents around a fire. This part is accessible only in summer, however.

"Perhaps alone among the people of Europe the Gypsies have been able to resist the temptations and vanities of power and the presentations of patriotism and ideology. Gypsies are known to steal chickens and to cheat when selling cars, but they have never organized a war, never persecuted others, never manufactured bombs, never perpetuated industrial pollution".
W. Cohn, The Gypsies, 1972

It is still unknown exactly why the ancestors of the Gypsies, who inhabited Northwest India, began to migrate westwards in the 9th and 10th centuries.
Basing analysis on the various influences in their language and culture, it has been possible to reconstruct the treks of Gypsy routes to Europe which led through Persia, Armenia, and the Greek-speaking territory of Byzantium. Historical documents confirm their presence on the Greek islands as early as 1322.
Half a century later large groups reached the Balkans. By the 15th century they were to be found almost everywhere in Europe.

The first who arrived in Europe were greeted with a good deal of curiosity because they pretended to be a nation which was doing penance for their sins against the Christian commandments. As penitents they were welcome everywhere; local populations were helping them and they would even be invited to the palaces of princes. They exci-ted the curiosity of other people by their different clothes and their strange way of life, by their fortune-telling, and by trained animal shows.
It was at this time that a process of major historical changes began in Europe, expressed among others things by a change in relations towards outsiders, wanderers, and to the very conception of work. As a result, conflicts arose very soon between the Gypsies on the one hand, and local people and authorities on the other. There were more and more grievances against them. Losing their respectied status of pilgrims, God's penitent wanderers, the
Gypsies began to be regarded as tramps, and were often accused of thefts and robberies. Legal instruments were used against them more and more often.
The Gypsies, however, leading their nomadic way of life, were dependent on local society. So, if they couldn't support themselves by fortune-telling, traditional crafts or begging, all that was left was thievery.

Since the beginning of the 17th century efforts to settle Gypsies have been frequent. Pressures to assimilate, including Forced settlement, intensified at the end of the next century. Such campaigns were undertaken among others in Austria, Russia, and Spain. Special edicts were published which prohibited nomadism and traditional activities, as well as the use of their own language. Children of the roaming Gypsies were taken away and given to peasants for a "proper" upbringing.
Even earlier, treating all Gypsies as criminals, authorities shipped them off - together with condemned prisoners - to settle the newly-found countries of
America, Africa, and later Australia.
The persecuted Gypsies looked incessantly for countries where they could find better conditions, where they could escape from pogroms, wars and hunger.

Through out the centuries, Gypsy groups living in various environments began to differentiate, especially in terms of dialects and customs. As time went on those differences grew to such an extent that today Gypsies from far-away countries (for instance Greece, Spain, and Finland) are not in a position to understand one another in their own language. Mutual understanding is, however, comparatively easy between most Gypsies of the Balkans and Eastern
Europe if they have not yet abandoned their mother tongue.
Gypsies living in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe have remained the closest to their own tradition, mostly as a result of a strong traditionalism among the non-Gypsy nations of these regions. The most progressive Gypsies are currently living in Scandinavian countries and Western Europe.
In the Romani language, the word Rom means Gypsy or man, a person. Most Gypsies in the world use this word in referring to themselves. The word's origin, however, is not clear. Some have traced it back to the name of an Indian caste: the Doms. There are a few groups which use other names in referring to themselves; Sinti and Manus are the most common of these. The surrounding populations, the so-called gadjo (i.e., "non-Gypsy") have most often called these people Czigans (Cigan, Cikan, Zigeuner, Tsigan, Zinkali) from the Greek word: "Athinganoi", which was given to them in Asia Minor. Since the Middle
Ages people have also begun to use terms which are connec-ted with Egypt. Their contemporary homologue is the English word "Gypsies" or the term
"Agupti" used in the Balkans. There are a lot of local terms as well, these being based upon anthropological characteristics of the Gypsies: their occupations, their way of living, or their supposed origin.

The Romani (Gypsy) language belongs to the Indo-Aryan language group, which means that it originates from Old Indic, the literary form of which was
Sanskrit (prob. Sarauseni Sanskrit) and which also gave birth to Hindi and Urdu, Nepali, Panzabi, Razastani, Guzrati, Bengali, and other languages. Its formation dates back to the 9-10th centuries. It is generally accepted that the Gypsies, in their former fatherland, used a common language, and that any differences have been formed outside India.
The Gypsy language has been strongly influenced by the languages surrounding this wandering people and it has adopted primarily contemporary vocabulary from them.
Some of the groups like the Bojasha in Romania or the Ashkali in Yugoslavian Kosovia have completely lost their mother tongue and use only the local one.
Other groups, like the Kale in Spain and small groups of the English Gypsies insert a scanty Gypsy vocabulary into the local language, which results in various secret languages. One must not forget, however, that such "mixed languages" arose as a result of repeated waves of persecution: the regular generation-to-generation home transmission of the language was relayed only by a kind of informal teaching of the young adults by their elders during occupational activities. In spite of these differences most of the Gypsies in the world still use the Romani language.
A translation of the "Lord's Prayer" in somedialects illustrates the differentiation of the Gypsy language. /see p. 14/

The first confirmation of the of Gypsies presence in Poland dates back to a document from Cracow in 1401. The next evidence is from the years 1405 and 1408 in Lwow. The Gypsies are mentioned again in Cracow in 1411. These historical notes seem to show that the Gypsies were rich at the time and that they probably were merchants. Some other references from the second quarter of the 15th century referred to peasants or noblemen who had the names: Cygan, Cyganski. These names were found also in the southern part of Poland. This early evidence seems to show that relations between local people and the Gypsies were relatively peaceful in those days. This is further confirmed by letters of recommendation which were given to Gypsies in the 16th century, many of which have survived until today.
Modernizing trends which took place in Western Europe reached Poland in the 16th century. Together with them came a wave of Gypsies who escaped from German lands to Poland. Documents from that time record the first complaints about Gypsies and the first conflicts between them and local populations. The new attitude towards the Gypsies can be found in the words which Marcin Bielski - author of the "Kronika..." used in a description of the Gypsies: "They are lazy, sly, mysterious, squalid, wild, black people. Without any religion, when they come, they imitate local beliefs in order to get things from others. Their contrived language is like their thievish customs and, hence they are deft thieves, especially their wives. Men keep themselves busy at swindling, bartering horses, and making false keys for thieves. They roam with their children from town to town among all the countries of the world" (1551).

This first migration of rather small groups of Gypsies came to Poland from the South, that is, from Hungary along the trade route to Cracow, and from Moldavia along the one from Wallachia and Transylvania to Lwow and Przemysl. This was at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. Larger groups started to come from the West during the 16th century - fleeing the German lands where they had been persecuted. Those Gypsies have stayed on Polish territory ever since, and they have lived a nomadic life until quite recently, calling themselves Polish Roma (Polska Roma).
Starting probably at the end of the 18th century, some Gypsies began to settle in the mountain villages of Southern Poland. These groups had been travelling along the Carpathians or were coming from the Hungarian plains. These Romanies are still living today in small villages near the Tatra and the Beskidy Mountains.

In the second half of the 19th century the Gypsies who had been liberated in Transylvania and Wallachia came to Poland. They belonged to two different groups: Lovari (horse hawkers) and Kalderari (boilermakers).
During the First World War a part of the Gypsies emigrated to Russia, reaching even Central Asia and Siberia. Some of them came back after the October Revolution or later, after the end of the Second World War. Part of them went away later to Western Europe. In this western direction large groups of the Gypsies have emigrated in 1980 and 1985. At the end of 1990 a new migration of Gypsies began from Romania. They also went West, stopping on Polish territory. Some families consider this country only a stage of an even longer trip.

The history of the Gypsies in Europe is a history of persecutions. The most fierce persecutions occurred in Western Europe, from which many of them escaped (particularly during the 16th century) to Poland. But here also several attempts to expel the Gypsies were set forth in edicts. These edicts even threatened noblemen with banishment if they were to protect the Gypsies on their estates. But, on the whole, the edicts against the Gypsies were very seldom enforced, and they were free to settle in the villages or roam the countryside, to the extent that they were even enlisted as soldiers.
A document published shortly after the Constitution of May 3, 1791 proclaimed: "this kind of people are not excluded from the Government's care and anyone can take a Gypsy as a servant in his village and the military board must not arrest the Gypsies as gadabouts."

The treatment of Gypsies in the nations surrounding Poland was even more harsh, particulary in Silesia and Prussia where the laws of the German Empire were in force. The following two examples show attitudes in the German Empire: "... they constantly roam, and because of it, not only do great damage to people by all their swindles, but also allow themselves to da- mage their flesh and life. We are determined to avert these problems and that is why we have decided to expel this useless scum and predatory rabble quickly from the country."
(from a Letter by Christian, Prince of Silesia, 1619)

"The apprehended Gypsies should be taken to the nearest fortress, and if it becomes evident they are really Gypsies, even if they have not

committed any theft or anything like that in the country, they ought to be imprisoned, both men and women, for their whole life."

(Instructions of Friedrich Wilhelm - King of Prussia, 1793)

Life was especially hard for the Gypsies in Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania. In these countries from the 16th through the first half of the 19th century, they were treated as slaves and could be bought and sold as individuals or whole families. This practice ended in 1856 with the abolition of slavery which set off a new wave of Gypsy wayfaring into Central Europe and beyond.
Wallachian penal code from 1811 clearly defined Gypsies as slaves:
    2. A Gypsy is born a slave.
    3. A person born of a slave woman is a slave, too.
    4. The owner has the right to give away or to sell his slaves.
    6. A Gypsy without an owner is the property of the Prince.

Gypsies were sold sometimes by auction which could be announced as follows: "For sale, Gypsy slaves; an auction will be held at St. Elias's monastery, May 8th, 1852. There will be 18 men, 10 boys, 7 women and 3 girls in good condition".

The Nazi Nurnberg law protecting "Aryan blood purity" destined the Gypsies as well as the Jews to extermination. Some years before the mass extermination campaigns, registers of Gypsies were already prepared. The first transports of Gypsies from Germany were brought to concentration camps in occupied Poland in the summer of 1940. In the years which followed, Gypsies from all the occupied countries in Western Europe, as well as from Hungary, Romania, and the Balkan countries were brought to Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Treblinka, Majdanek, and the other camps. Temporarily, the Gypsies were held in ghettos together with the Jews.
In some other countries where the authority was also in the hands of fascists, death camps were organized locally. The most famous of these was Jasenovac in Yugoslavia.

In the territories of Poland and the Ukraine, the Gypsies were mostly assassinated by executing every single person from Gypsy camps and settlements.
This kind of mass murder was preferred by the fascists to imprisonment because the local Gypsies often resisted and knew the local languages and people quite well which created possibilities of escape for them. The Ukrainian police in that country often collaborated with the Germans in those activities.
Since the Second World War the Gypsies, unlike other victims of the Nazi racist terror, have not had any possibilities to obtain war damages and compensations. The Gypsies lacked their own country, state, and government, and other suitable institutions for filing of civil complaints. It was also impossible to accurately estimate all the Gypsy casualties. In reality whole tribes died out, without a single survivor or witness. 300-500,000 Gypsies were liquidated - which was, in fact, half the Gypsy population in Europe.

Those who survived the German persecution began their seemingly endless journey again. As already mentioned, it is unknown how many Gypsies survived the war, but it is generally supposed there were about 20,000 on post-war Polish territory. Soon after the war the authorities decided to settle all the Gypsies down and to force them into regular employment - they wanted the Gypsies to be absorbed by the rest of the population. In 1952 the
Government Presidium released a resolution entitled "About aid to the Gypsy population in entering upon a settled way of life." The resolution imposed an obligation on all regional authorities to engage in solving the "problem." The effects of this action were scanty. In the repopulated Western part of Poland a few families settled down, however, most of these were "domesticated" Carpathian Gypsies. The others, would agree to settle down in autumn, but most often turn to the road again in spring.

In spite of great differences, most Gypsies are still observing the traditional Gypsy code and relations with the other members of the Gypsy society are quite clearly defined. There is a collection of rules called mageripena. If the rules are not observed by a member of a Gypsy community, he becomes a defiled man or magerdo by not upholding laws on the "purity" of food, by behaving inappropriately in relation to women, or by betraying another Gypsy, or breaking other traditional laws and standards.
A council of elders has the authority to legislate Gypsy law and to judge contestations arising from broken law. In the case of the Polish Roma group, the main judge is called Œero-Rom.

In the spring of 1964 the roaming of Gypsies was finally forbidden. They had to remain in one place of permanent residence. Barracks were built on the sites of the traditional Gypsy winter quarters, while some other Gypsies obtained temporary flats. But, for many years, immobilized Gypsy carriages were parked near their houses. For many people, especially the elderly, this compulsory settlement policy was a misfortune.

In spite of their illegality, Gypsy carts and little camps have managed to keep "mobile" for the past 12 years or so. Gypsies were tracked by militia who inflicted penalties on them for not sending their children to school, lacking proper papers, or making bonfires in the woods. Only the most resistant and obstinate avoided the round-ups.
It was at this time that the "sedentary" phase of Gypsy history began. The Gypsies, however, were trying to live in groups among their own, and to carry on their traditional occupational activities and customs.
In the 80s some of them returned timidly to the summer camps. By trains or cars, whole families started on journeys, pitching camps on river-banks near bigger cities. This was their way of spending summertime, still wandering between villages, fortune-telling, and peddling. Families where there were teenagers came together to arrange weddings. The Romano drom (Gypsy way) seems never to end.

Today there are four major groups of Gypsies in Poland. These are the Carpathian Gypsies – settled in the South of the country – and 3 other groups who were living nomadically until the final communist prohibition: Polska Roma, living currently in small towns in little groups, and Kalderari and Lovari, living usually in major urban centers. A further, small group, the Xaladitka Roma, or Russian Gypsies, live in small towns and villages, mostly in the East of Poland. Gypsies of various groups living in Warsaw are called Bareforitka Roma (the Gypsies of a Great City, the Capital Gypsies). In the West of the country live single families of Sasitka Roma (German Gypsies).
The poetry of Papusha (Bronislawa Wajs 1908-1987) – a Gypsy poet of the Polska Roma tribe, settled down in 50s - is by far the richest example of Gypsy poetry in Poland. Her works have been translated into Polish by Jerzy Ficowski. Papusha expressed her sorrow and yearning for their lost way of living – for roaming – in these "Today, Gypsy children grow up in their houses like mushrooms, they forget about forests".

Travelling Gypsy groups did not have common leaders. The camp was administerted by "the elder," called chibalo (or spokesman, from chib - language), but more important problems were judged by a council of elders.
In many European countries there were attempts to introduce an institution of Gypsy superiors, nominated by the authorities of the country or its leader. This form of controlling (or attempt to control) Gypsies was most deve-loped under the Polish State. The act of appointment was granted by the Royal Office. It granted superiority over the Gypsies in some part of Poland or in the whole country. The oldest document dates from the 17th century, while the last one, given by Stanislaw August Poniatowski, King of Poland, dates back to the end of the 18th century. At first a Gypsy leader was appointed, but later a new rule was introduced in order to nominate a Polish nobleman to this. Sometimes the appointment was a reward for war achievements.

Some names of the Gypsy leaders appointed by Polish kings are known. They had the privilege of judging Gypsies, collecting taxes from them, and were obliged to restrict camps to the rule of the local prince. The institution of the Gypsy king existed until the end of the 18th Century and vanished shortly after Poland lost its independence.
Sometimes similar privileges were granted by private owners. In Poland, the institution of Gypsy kings appointed by the Radziwills within their Nieswiez landed property was well-known. Usually, a Gypsy was appointed and he was obliged to rule over all the Gypsies living in his area, controlling their behavior, collecting a poll tax, and also supervising the groups which came from other lands, so that they did not transgress the local law. In exchange, the king and his subjects had the support of the princely administration and assurance of safety.

After the First World War the institution of Gypsy kings was renewed. Members of the Kwiek tribe, belonging to the Kalderari society, were successively proclaimed kings. They competed to reach that position, appointing themselves and considering themselves the only genuine kings ruling over all the Gypsy nation. It happened that two or three such kings were ruling simultaneously and each of them was convinced about his legal authority over all Gypsies.
The last public coronation took place in 1937 in Warsaw when Janusz Kwiek was crowned King of the Gypsies.

Gypsies have no state, nor until recently have they had official representatives in international organizations. In 1971, near London, the First World Congress of Gypsies took place. The first Gypsy flag and hymn were presented. The hymn was based on a traditional song and adapted by Jarko Jovanovic, a Jugoslavian composer. At this juncture the Gypsy World Council - Romani Union - was created as well, and it won the right of representation in the UN. In 1978 its second Congress took place in Geneva, and the third in 1981 in Gottingen. They addressed, to all member countries of the UN, a petition to recognize the Gypsies as a distinct nation and to treat them as a national minority possessing equal rights. They have also introduced the use of the word Romani as an identification name instead of the word Gypsy because the latter has very often had a pejorative meaning in various countries.
The Fourth Rom Congress was held in Warsaw in 1990, and one of the main subjects of debate was the standardization of a common Romani language. Rajko Djuriè a Gypsy from Yugoslavia was elected president at that Congress.
Since 1993, the Romani Union has had the role of observer at the UN.

Some occupations cultivated by the Gypsies have perhaps derived from the Indian period itself, for example divination, metalwork, training of animals, etc. Years ago they would also engage in the trading and healing of horses, as well as practising music. Poor Gypsies in the Carpathian Mountains worked at quarrying stone for road- building.
At present, Gypsy women still practice fortune-telling, while men often play instruments or dotrading. Increasingly often they try other more conventional jobs.

Gypsy women's magical powers are described in this extract from a lawsuit in 1688:
"Once a Gypsy woman was at my place and told me that some bones of a human corpse were buried here, that the cattle wouldn't thrive well. I told her to go away. I gave her some millet, a piece of roast, and a baby pillow".
Three centuries later, with the same effects, the Gypsy women can delude gadjo ("non-Gypsies"). They make up and use bengorre ("devils"), mulorre ("corpses"), kokale ("bones"), and other magical accessories which help them create a special atmosphere and cheat gullible people out of money when they believe the Gypsy is neutralizing injurious powers.

A special musical and dancing talent has induced some Gypsies to start amateur or semi-professional artistic groups. Their folklore is not homogeneous; it includes a lot of things which were taken over and adapted from other cultures in which they have been living and travelling. The contacts of different Gypsy groups have brought about the practice of mutual exchange. That is why their folklore as performed on stage becomes more and more standarized. Randia, Michaj Burano, Masio Kwiek, Edward Debicki and Don Wasyl are solo Gypsy artist particulary well-known in Poland.

Whilst the Gypsies have inspired a feeling of dread in others, they have also attracted attention. The character of the Gypsy in local folk cultures mirrors these tendencies. In Poland, as in most other countries the Gypsy has become the hero of many proverbs, stories, and yarns. During the Romantic Era Gypsy subjects inspired painters, poets, writers, and composers. In folk culture the Gypsy appeared as a character in a lot of customs, in carnival masquerades, and in groups of carol singers. A Gypsy with a bear in the traditional Christ-child's creche is still seen. The representation of the Gypsy subject has appeared in folk-painting and sculpture, as a figure reminiscent of bygone years.

The Gypsies have no religion of their own. They usually adapt to the religion of local people, thus they are mostly Catholics in Poland. However, in general, their attitude to this aspect of life is rather indifferent. Since the 1970s, priests have started to appear among Gypsies in Poland, and have ministered to the healing of souls. Father Edward Wesolek, S.J. the Polish Parson of the Roma, has started, as of the 18th December (the church holiday of the, Immaculate Virgin Mary) in 1981, a pilgrimage to Czestochowa. On that day many Gypsies from Poland meet in Jasna Gora.
In the South of the country Father Stanislaw Opocki has worked as Diocesan Parson of the Romanies in the Diocese of Tarnow. In 1986 he initiated pilgrimages to the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows in Limanowa. There are many publications brought out by missions working among Gypsies. The Bible and some prayers have been translated into Gypsy language.

As with every other language, the Romani language was created without writing. Efforts to write down Gypsy texts have led eventually to a large variety of spelling, depending mostly on the country and the alphabet in use there. For instance a simple phrase like "Gypsy language" may be encountered in different publications written in not less than 20 forms: romani czib, romani cib, romani tschib, romani tschiw, romani tsiw, romani tsiv, romani tscheeb, rromani chib, romani sib, xomani cip, romani chib, rhomani chib, romanyi sip, romaji sjib, kxomani tchib, etc., not to mention approximations in Greek or Cyrillic scripts.
The manuals written during recent years hope to succeed in standardizing spelling for all the Gypsies, and this is proving to be a realistic aim.
The Congress in Warsaw established a Romani alphabet common to all dialects. It doesn't take a pattern from any other language, but proceeds from the genuine phonological structure of the Gypsy language itself, as shared by the whole system of the Gypsy dialects.
In some countries in which Gypsies have created bigger agglomerations, the Gypsy language is taught in schools (eg., in Rumania and some places in Hungary; attempts are also being carried out in Southern Poland). There are also radio and TV programmes in Gypsy language in certain countries; newspapers, calendars, and books are published.

The Roma of Central and Eastern Europe - Photographic exhibition by Rolf Bauerdick

The Gypsies – a Romanian problem ?

Romanians kicked up a mighty fuss about being discriminated against by the Italians but it's the pot calling the kettle black, writes Mircea Cartarescu. The European Council's recent recommendation to use the term "Roma" in place of "Gypsy" has not been widely adopted in Romania. As Mircea Cartarescu by no means uses the latter term in a pejorative sense – on the contrary rehabilitating it, so to speak – it has been retained here.People make it easy for themselves by blaming the Gypsies for Romania's bad image in the world, eternally bewailing the fact that people abroad are unable to distinguish Romanians (all honourable, peaceful, diligent citizens, blessed with the virtues of their forefathers) from the gypsies, this "surrogate folk," as our stupid, racist jokes will have them. In fact the Gypsy problem in Romania results from Romania's policy towards the Gypsies, and not from the "inferiority of their race."
Perhaps one should recall from time to time the historical roots of the problem. The Romanians in Wallachia and Moldavia – alone in Europe – made the Gypsies their slaves, binding them to the soil. Torn from their nomadic way of life, the Gypsies were forced to put down roots on the land of their masters. Like the black slaves in America, free people were turned into workhorses – albeit rational ones.
For centuries they could be bought and sold. Families were torn apart, children separated from their mothers, women from their menfolk. Young women were regularly raped by their masters, and the so-called 'crow-scum' was the target of widespread contempt and discrimination. One voivode, or provincial governor, would have them climb trees then shoot them down with arrows. Hunting crows, he called it. Tied to localities and kept like animals, the Gypsies in the Romanian principalities multiplied faster than anywhere else in Europe. So we created the Gypsy problem ourselves.
This is our historical responsibility. Forced to become sedentary and till the soil, the Gypsies forgot their traditional occupations. They were now no longer boiler makers, goldsmiths, minstrels, bear trainers, silversmiths, etc. Like all slaves they became lazy, indolent farm labourers. How can someone who doesn't work for himself be industrious? Someone who – whether he works or not – is always dealt the same blows?
With time the gypsies became an amorphous, dissolute mass with no more than a vague notion of their former freedom. They became cowardly, garrulous, drunken and quarrelsome, filled with vice and infirmity. This is the eternal lot of all slaves throughout the world. The hot-blooded youths rebelled against this state of things, stealing horses, robbing, counterfeiting, raping and murdering. The young Romanian serfs acted no differently: they joined the Hajduci and became highwaymen.
Paradoxically, we gave these ancient inhabitants the coup de grace in granting them their freedom. In the wake of 1848, enthusiasm gripped the new, pro-Western Romanian elite. Not for the first time, philanthropy paved the way for horrendous catastrophe. Assembled before the estates of hundreds of enlightened boyars, the Gypsy slaves were told: "Brothers, you are free! Go where your feet take you."
This "slave liberation," without the slightest logistical or psychological preparation, wreaked unthinkable havoc. Hundreds of thousands of Gypsies were suddenly free to die of hunger. With no money, clothing or livelihood, without a belief or a culture – with nothing but their naked humanity, they soon populated the prisons en masse. No one knows how many perished at the time from so much freedom, or how many have died until today as a result.
We never stop bad-mouthing the Gypsies – but what would we do in their place? What is it like to be born a Gypsy, and to live as a Gypsy amidst a people filled with nothing but hatred and disdain? Let's assume you manage to get over the cultural handicap of being born into a wretched milieu, of your father emptying the toilets, your mother cleaning the stairs and your brothers sitting in jail, of lice being discovered in your hair and you being isolated from the other children who laugh at you because none of the pupils in the school primer is as dark-skinned as you. Let's assume as a mature person you become an honest worker like everyone else.
Will anyone ever address you as anything but "Hey you, Gypsy"? Will people not eternally say "Once a Gypsy, always a Gypsy" at the slightest provocation? Will anyone ever employ you on the same terms as a Romanian? Will anyone put the slightest trust in you? Through an inhuman effort you manage to avoid the quagmire and become an intellectual. Will anyone ever see you as anything other than a "stinking Gypsy"? You're an engineer, as singer, a doctor: will the foreign minister not exile you to the Egyptian desert? And then: how to avoid going crazy, how to break free of the vicious circle that holds us captive: I hate myself because I'm evil, and I'm evil because I hate myself?
We're appalled when other countries see us as a nation of criminals, but we see the Gypsies in exactly the same light. And in doing so we compel them to behave accordingly. With our racist attitude toward them, and the inaction of the state, the Church and the institutions in this matter which – and I would like to stress this point – is of concern to all Romanians and not just to Gypsies, we prolong the drama. We keep misery and delinquency on their side, hatred and disdain on ours, and remain trapped over the centuries in the same vicious circle. And our sluggishness has its price, as the unfortunate incident in Rome only goes to show.
Mircea Cartarescu, born in Bucharest in 1956, is the best-known contemporary Romanian author. Read our feature "Bucharest in a trance" on Cartarescu and his magnum opus "Die Wissenden" (the knowing).
The article originally appeared in German in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on November 29, 2007.

Language of the European Gypsies

 Gypsy -- The Language And Origin

Article by Renae Haug (489 pts )
Edited & published by Rebecca Scudder (21,105 pts ) on Jul 12, 2010

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Whatever image the term “Gypsy” brings to your mind, Gypsies are typically thought of as a mysterious people recognized for their care-free nomadic life-style, dance and making music. Many have a perception based wholly on media portrayal. There is much more to these people than this simplistic view

Where are these renowned travelers from? This subject has long been debated. It was at one time thought that they were from Egypt (the name "Gypsy" being derived from the word "Egyptian"), but this has proved not to be the case. What accounts for so many years of uncertainty? One factor was the lack of written documentation or records kept by them. Another is that they were afraid of persecution and would not register upon arriving in a new territory, if such registration was required.

Recently, with the aid of cultural and language scholars, as well as technology, the origin of the Gypsy race has been discovered. Based on linguistic and genetic evidence (DNA) it has been determined that their mother land is none other than Northern India.

While many theories exist on the reason and time of migration, there is no question that The Gypsies --or "travelers," as they prefer to be called-- are a race with a language of their own. They now live on all continents, but primarily in North Africa, Europe, and North America. Their language, called Gypsy or Romany, includes several dialects and is part of the Indo-European family. It is classified as Indo-Iranian, derived from Sanskrit.

The reason for their dispersion out of India is not known. But it is believed that they did not leave India earlier than 1000 CE. Prior to that year the Aryan Languages were spoken using three genders, masculine, feminine and neuter, referred to as Middle Indo-Aryan (MIA). By the second Millennium the languagenouns became masculine and a few became feminine. Parallels in grammatical gender development between Romany and other NIA languages suggest that there were changes in the Indian subcontinent--providing the departure timeline above. 

Sir William Jones, an English philologist, stated: "The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both to them a stronger affinity." His sentiments have been echoed by many philologists.

The Sanskrit language is not in vernacular use today. It is primarily used in literature and scholarship as well as in ceremonies of some Eastern religions.

Despite their nomadic history, Gypsies have been able to maintain their identity and prosper in foreign lands. This distinctive race of people has had a great influence on many cultures today. Their influence can be seen with many classical composers, such as Mozart, Rossini, and Beethoven. The popular Bohemian style of clothing is another reflection of the influence of Gypsies on the countries in which they have traveled.

This link has further detailed information on Sanskrit:

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Gypsy Music

 So What Is Gypsy Music?

Hungarian Gypsy Music.....Turkish Gypsy Music..... Flamenco... Gypsy Jazz...Because the Roma have lived and played in such diverse lands, a bewilderingly wide assortment of music can all be lumped into the generic category of "Gypsy Music." For the new listener, a bit of explanation will make the searching and buying process clearer.

Roma are perhaps best known for their musical contributions. There are numerous historical references to Rom musicians holding royalty in thrall with their virtuosic renditions of local music, and among the common people of Eastern Europe the Gypsy has been the player of choice for most traditional celebrations. When the Hungarian ensemble Muzsikás went to study the roots music of Hungary back in the 1960’s, they went to Transylvania where the Roma were still playing it much the way Bartòk heard it in his famous field trips at the turn of the century. Later, when they researched Jewish music in their landmark CD The Lost Jewish Music of Transylvania (HNCD 1373) it was Roma who helped them to piece together the fragments of this nearly obliterated tradition. In these instances, the Roma have acted as repositories of endangered music. But is this music "Gypsy Music?" Is it enough simply for a Gypsy to play it, to claim that distinction?

Some experts hold the position that true Rom music must be that which the Roma play for themselves, sung in Romanes (The Rom language). But there are also those who say that there is no such thing as pure Rom music, because it has all been some kind of adaptation to a host culture...and yet other experts say that on the contrary, there is a distinctive musical style which can always be associated with a Rom player. Let’s take a look at all three of these controversial positions. Each has validity, but each has its limitations in attempting to create a usable definition.

1. The only real Rom music is the music that the Roma play for themselves, sung in Romanes.

This would seem to be an easily held position. However, the varieties of music that come under this heading can be quite different from eachother. The recordings by the Romanian Ursari of Clejani that appear on Dumbala Dumba (Cramworld) certainly fits the definition of music "made by Roma for Roma, in Romanes." It is highly rhythmic, improvised a capella music accompanied by hand percussion. But compare this track to the Roma’s pentecostal choirs, or the pop music cassettes sold by Festival Records (mail order 213-737-3500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              213-737-3500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) a label which caters to a Rom demographic, and there is no particular resemblance. While the Ursari track has raw folk power, the pop music is .....pop music. But if one goes by the above definition, it is all genuine Rom music. It is up to the individual listener to decide if it pleases their own personal taste.

Other shortcomings of this definition: Roma of Spain and parts of France call themselves Caló, and do not in the main, speak Romanes. And there is a vast repertoire of non-Rom music that the Roma play for themselves. Are we to discard all this music for the sake of this definition?


Yuri Yunakov
courtesy Traditional Crossroads



cd cover
Taraf de Haidouks
photo: C.Funald

2. There is no such thing as pure Rom music, it is all an adaptation of a host culture’s music.

This view sees the Roma as musical bees, crosspollinating various forms across borders. As the Roma went from locality to locality, they learned the music of the people around them, in order to make a living. Thus the music that they absorbed in one country would then be blended with the music of the next country they occupied, giving it a unique and new feeling. There is no reason to disbelieve this, and the fact that music tends to cross borders anyway, regardless of the vehicle, re-enforces this idea. (There is even some evidence to suggest that the Roma who were deported from Portugal to Brazil played a part in the development of Samba!) In recent times, this kind of musical grafting is obvious in Bulgarian Wedding music. The music of Ivo Papasov, Yuri Yunakov, (and in Macedonia, Ferus Mustafov Globestyle CDORBD 089 ) is a wild blending of Turkish, Rom, Rock, Jazz and local elements. On a more acoustic, rootsy level, the Taraf de Haidouks (Cramworld) combine elements from the same sources with traditional Romanian forms. And in Serbia, Boban Markovic’s brass band has a saxophone in the lineup (Ellipsis Arts CD3570 or 3574), a typical Rom innovation.

Everywhere the Roma have played music, they have incorporated the local repertoire into their own. So if we listen to the "Gypsy music" of Hungary and compare it to the "Gypsy music" of Spain, one will seem to be Hungarian sounding, while the other will sound Spanish. But would they sound "more" Hungarian or "more" Spanish if played by non-Roma? This question leads us to:

3. There is a distinctive musical style which can always be associated with a Rom player.

Here is a tantalizing statement, that invites us to listen to the breadth of Rom music and try to find common stylistic elements. For example, Roma have been credited with bringing the clarinet into the music of Greece, and there are many great players both Gypsy and non-Gypsy. It is possible, however, to tell the two apart. One has to listen for the exceptionally chromatic and fluid approach of the Rom player in the solos. A microtonal effect is achieved with the use of a very soft reed, and the phrasing is markedly free. There is a similar chromatic approach in the playing of Romanian Roma. This melismatic and free style could be a reference to the heritage of middle eastern or Indian music, with its microtones and lengthy improvisations, (improvisation plays an important role in Gypsy music) but there is no way to prove this. Other striking aspects of Rom music have to do with phrasing and vocal timbre. Roma tend to play behind the beat, creating a swinging "fat" feel, and to use chest voice rather than head tones. These elements certainly exist in other cultures, so again, there is no way to confidantly designate these as solely Gypsy attributes. One could just as easily describe these last two elements as "bluesey." And of course, we must mention the emotive aspect of "Gypsy music." Not all people respond to the abstract elements of music. They must have it "acted out" and to this end, the Roma have always obliged with plenty of drama and flash. It’s a living, after all.

After examining all three of these positions one may conclude that there is no conclusion. Perhaps there isn’t. It is always dangerous to try to formulate or categorize art. But the issues that these various viewpoints ask us to consider are fascinating, and serve to enrich our listening experience.


Artists and Music of Note

Perhaps the most important and influential of all Roma musicians in this century was Django Reinhardt, a Sinto. (In France these are also known as "Manouche.") It is not an exaggeration to say that Reinhardt transformed the guitar’s role in jazz. His collaborations with violinist Stephane Grapelli in the Hot Club of France produced some of the most elegant and enduring jazz of the time, and created an entire genre of music which is still played by the Roma of France, "Gypsy Jazz." Although we have no way of knowing what elements of Sinti music Reinhardt incorporated into his special style of jazz, its influence is acknowledged. It is possible that some of the harmonic concepts which were new and startling in his day were borrowings from his Sinti heritage. Django passed away in 1953, and there are still festivals and competitions held currently amongst Roma, in which guitarists of every age exhibit the same steel wristed swing and awesome velocity that were Reinhardt’s trademark. Indeed, any Rom music from France is likely to be "Gypsy Jazz." On the world stage, the best known player is Birelli Lagrene.

Flamenco music is probably Europe’s most famous folk music, and though many Spaniards may tell you that flamenco is NOT solely a Gypsy invention, their contribution is so formidable, that they have become synonymous with it. The Caló (or Gitanos) have produced some of the finest flamenco artists, notably Camaròn de la Isla. But there are many others, and if you have a jones for flamenco, there is a world of good stuff for you to explore. A taste for the classic masters can be whetted on Early Cante Flamenco (Arhoolie CD326), and for the feeling of a live "juerga" (jam session) check out Cante Gitano, on Nimbus Records. Of course, Spanish lables have a plethora of authentic flamenco in their catalogues. Here in the US, a very good overview of flamenco is provided in Angel Romero’s thoughtful compilation Duende on the Ellipsis Arts label.


cd cover
Gipsy Kings

The popularity of the Gipsy Kings gives them the distinction of being the most famous Roma in the world today. The band is made up of the sons and nephews of Jose Reyes, the great singer who collaborated for many years with Manitas de Plata. They have taken the impassioned vocals and driving guitars of flamenco, thrown in a healthy dash of rumba, and created a highly accessable and sellable product in the pop flamenco tradition. Ketama is another band that has pioneered the pop nuevo flamenco sound. Recently a band from Perpignan, Tekameli has been gaining popularity, and their CD on Sony Globetrotter is well worth checking out. The CD contains commercial recordings of music from the Evangelical church which has swept a multitude of Roma converts into its fold. In addition the guest shot by Khaled on one of the tracks is a chance to compare the Flamenco singing style with a north African style. For those who are particularly fascinated with the North African/Flamenco connection, Encuentros with Juan Pena Lebrijano on Globe Style Records is a chance to hear these interelationships at full tilt.

Although female children are encouraged to sing and dance, once they are of marrying age most Rom women are expected to be mothers and wives exclusively. A few have managed to carve out careers for themselves. Of these, the great diva of Gypsy music and the one who has gained the most widespread fame is the Macedonian Esma Redzepova. Her career started in the sixties, and she almost immediately became the darling of Europe through the efforts of her husband, Stevo Teodoievski, also from Macedonian, but of course, also because of her sweet, throaty voice and dramatic presentation. Esma continues to perform today and although her voice now has the rasp of age and use, she can still muster up plenty of power. Her delivery is hyperbolic, but at this point in time she is an institution. You can find her older recordings on Monitor records, which was recently bought out by Smithsonian. For more recent work, check out the fine compilation on Network Median, Gypsy Queens which also includes the singing of many other first-rate divas, including Dzansever in a rare appearence for a non-Turkish label.

Kalman Balogh
courtesy Rounder Records


The stereotypical musical image of the Gypsy is the Hungarian cafe violinist. The golden age of the Gypsy Orchestras of Budapest is long past, but it is important to note that never at any time did these ensembles play anything but Hungarian music. That is not to say that this music isn’t pleasant, good listening. The orchestras usually had a full compliment of violins and a cymbalom (another instrument that some have claimed the Roma disseminated), creating a beautiful lush sound. The repertoire drew from Hungarian folk and popular music, and was enjoyed by Rom and Gadjé alike. Some of these kinds of folk songs can be heard on Rom cymbalist Kálmán Balogh’s CD on Rounder.

The music that Hungarian Roma played while busking on the street, or in the country is quite different, entirely a capella, with the exception of hand clapping and milk-can percussion. A significant feature of the music in the rural areas is "oral-basing" in which the male voices sing highly rhythmic and syncopated bass lines. Hungaroton has re-issued a two CD set of field recordings, Gypsy Folksongs from Hungary which are the real deal.

Romanian Gypsies still play in tarafs (a word of Turkish origin meaning "bands") and the gypsies who make a living from music are known as lautari. (from the Romanian for "lute.") Right now though there are many excellent Gypsy tarafs in Romania, the most well known is the Taraf de Haidouks (Cramworld). The old state label Electrecorde also has an archive of great Gypsy music, and though they are at present a mail order business outside of Romania, one hopes that they will get international distribution soon. Meanwhile, even though a taraf can be either Rom or non-Rom, most CDs these days with the word "taraf" on it, are probably of Gypsy bands.

Fanfare Ciocarlia
courtesy Piranha Records, Germany


One of the most striking musical sounds one encounters in the areas of the former Yugoslavia is the brass band. The brass instruments were brought into the area during the Ottoman occupation, by the Janissaries, or military bands. After World War One, an entire repertoire sprang up to be played at celebrations. It is joyous and raucous stuff, though some bands have a smoother sound than others. The repertoire is mostly dance music, particularly the kolo, a circle dance of extraordary popularity. Bands nowadays can be both Rom or non-Rom, and often compete side by side in the annual brass band festival in Guca. Recordings of these bands exist, but very few are available outside the former Yugoslavia. However, Globestyle has a very fine recording of Jova Stojilkovic’s band (CDORBD 038) and the Macedonian brass band Kocani has several energetic recordings out (Cramworld), and the sound is quite similar. The brass band sound has also found its way into Romania (also considered a Balkan nation, although not a Slavic one) and Fanfare Ciocarlia on Piranha Records has become a real touring favorite in Europe.

For a more sinuous and hypnotically gorgeous Balkan music, check out Laver Bariu, Songs from the City of Roses which contains instrumental and vocal magic from Albania.


Yuri Yunakov
Bulgaria’s hottest Rom export is "Wedding Music." It is a distinctive super eclectic hybrid that arose as a populist response to State musical control. Try playing this stuff for a jazz musician and watch the fun when they try to figure out where "one" is! The music goes by at a dizzying pace, racing through irregular meters, and the playing is invariably fleet-fingered. The best known player here in the West is Ivo Papasov, whose recordings on Hannibal led to tours worldwide as well as appearances on network television. Recently, his saxophonist, Yuri Yunakov has moved to the US and has two CDs out on Traditional Crossroads. The most distinctive Rom contribution to the dance repertoire of the Balkans is the cocek, so if you see this dance named on the tracks of a CD you are in doubt about, it’s worth the gamble.

The highest concentration of Roma in Greece is in Epirus. However, finding Greek Rom music is a touchy business. The status of the Gypsies is so low that even though there are well known Rom players in Greece, (and the US) it is very rare to find one that will officially admit being one. (Roma are often referred to as "blacks" all over Europe, calling to mind many interesting parallels between the history of the Roma in Europe and the Africans in America.) Recordings are available, but don’t expect the liner notes to state that the player is a Gypsy. This prejudice runs extremely deep, so even if you ask the proprietor in a Greek music store, you may not get a straight answer. The clarinettist Yiorgos Mangas has several releases out, and seems to be one of the only Rom musicians willing to declare himself.

Barbaros Erkose
courtesy Golden Horn


This stigma seems to lessen in Turkey, and you should have no trouble identifying recordings of Roma, particularly cifteteli, or belly dance music, should you have a savvy world music buyer in your local import store. If you are going to a large chain store, bands like Istanbul Oriental Ensemble or the Erkose brothers are Roma, and their CDs are widely available. The German import The Incredible Istanbul Gipsy Band, is another impressive entry from Feuer und Eis, Germany.

Recently there has been a lot of interest in "proto-gypsies" with several fascinating releases of music from Rajasthan in India and the Sind in Pakistan. This is the music of peoples who have many of the same traits as the Roma, but to which there is no conclusive connection. It is just an educated guess that the music they play is related to what the Roma in pre-diaspora times might have played. In that genre, Musafir, the ensemble that thrilled the audiences at the Gypsy Caravan concerts, has just released a CD on Sounds True Records. For a less calculated sound, try The Baluchi Ensemble of Karachi on Shanachie Records, or Sufi music of the Sindh on Wergo.

Other Sources:

Tangentially, Unblocked (CD3570) a compilation of Eastern European music on the Ellipsis Arts label has six tracks of Rom music, several not available anywhere outside of their homeland, including a track of possibly the greatest cymbalist ever, Toni Iordache, a man who never played a note he didn’t mean.

Rromano Centar
courtesy of Opre, Switzerland


Opre Records, in Switzerland, is a label that is entirely dedicated to Rom music. Their stated goal is to "preserve the authenticity and diversity of Roma music, as well as to further its development." Opre’s two current releases, one of Russian Rom music (The Kolpakov Trio) and Tamburitza music from Vojvodina, the farmland that stretches between Hungary and the former Yugoslavia (Rromano Centar, Pera Petrovic) are available internationally.

Zingari, is a compilation of European Rom music on New Earth Records, made up of the recordings of Deben Battacharya, a pioneer of fieldwork since the 50's. While they may not have the fidelity we are used to these days, the music is as real as it gets.


  • Latcho Drom
  • "The Time of the Gypsies" with music arranged by Goran Brecovic contains some very striking tracks, in particular "Ederlezi" which along with "Djelem Djelem" has become an anthem of sorts for Roma.
  • "Gypsy Summer: Tales of Surviving"
    Soundtrack, featuring Karandila Brass Orchestra
    Well worth checking out, with a good sampling of styles both instrumental and vocal.
Other resources: RootsWorld resources:



Manele - Romanian Gypsy Music


Manea (plural: manele) is a music style from Romania, generally associated with the Romani (Gypsy) minority, though not exclusively.

Similar music styles are also present in other Balkan areas, like Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Greece and Turkey and with expatriates and emigrants originally from these regions. Related genres are Bulgarian chalga (manele brought by Romanian visitors to Bulgaria is referred to as "Romanian chalga"), Greek modern laïko and, to a lesser extent, Serbian turbo-folk, all being a mixture of local folk, Turkish and Romani influences over a pop tune.


Early references to the terms manea and manele appear in Romanian texts from the late 18th and early 19th century, during the period of Turkish suzerainty over the Romanian principalities, as a genre of dance music brought by Phanariotes from Istanbul.[1] This dance had no text. Some of these classical manele have been adapted during the ages.[citation needed]

In the 60's a type of lăutarească manea appeared, by adding texts to the geampara, a type of lăutaresc genre of Turkish origin.

The modern manele originated in the 1980s and early 1990s as underground translations and imitations of Turkish and Arabic songs. A well known Romanian manele singer, Adrian Copilul Minune traces it to a genre known as "turceasca" (Turkish), .[2]

The genre has been rocked by accusations of plagiarism a number of times, with manele singers adapting popular songs from Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, without giving due credit. The accusations increased especially after the hit "De ce mă minţi" ("Why are you lying to me?") proved to be a mere cover of Despina Vandi's song "M'agapas"/"Ah kardoula mou". Further plagiarism accusations surrounded a well known manele singer's "Supărat"("Upset") song which was proven by third parties to be plagiarized from a Croatian song (Umoran by Jasmin Stavros).[1] Although this song was not technically a manea, it furthered the controversy surrounding this music genre and Romania's image.


Manele is a mixture of "oriental" (Turkish/Middle Eastern) influences and Balkan music, with a very strong influence from Romani music. The bulk of manele singers are in fact, ethnic Romani.

Subject matter

Manele are criticized for their lyrical content, which often consists of boasts about the singer's supposed sex appeal, intellect, wealth, social status, and superiority over so-called "enemies". Many singers use bad grammar, repetitive and simplistic rhymes suitable for chanting and are sometimes vulgar and/or misogynistic.

Manele composers and players also use the term "oriental music" for their creation, and consider their music a sub-genre of traditional, folk Roma music. However, it is widely known that Manele are only cheap rip-offs off Turkish folklore.

Traditional Roma music is usually played on classical instruments by a live band (taraf) of lăutari and has classical lyrics, while manele is usually sung by only one performer using modern instruments (generally synthesizers) as backup. Most manele are recorded in small recording studios, owned by the singer himself or by a group of singers, since major recording labels refuse to contract them. However, there are some exceptions: for example, Stana Izbaşa and Nicu Paleru sing live, often with traditional instruments.

Manele fashion

Manelists have created a distinct image on the Romanian music scene, by showing their own fashion style. Many of the manelists use luxurious and casual, even underground styles combined altogether to form the specific manele fashion. Typical manele apparel includes flashy jewelry and affordable luxury clothing brands (such as Versace, Armani or Dolce & Gabbana) or certain sport brands (especially Nike). Such brands are an important part of manele culture, and they are even featured sometimes in lyrics. .

Public opinion

Manele are a strongly disputed genre in Romania, with many representatives of Romanian upper-middle and intellectual class opposing this musical movement (and its popularization) mostly because of its usage of faulty grammar, overly simplistic or childish lyrics and subject matter and/or encouragement of demeaning behaviours towards other people, as well as an antisocial overall message. The fact that manele lyrics are considered by many to be rude and of poor taste, coupled with widespread racist feelings against Roma ethnics (Tigani/Gypsies),[3] who account for the bulk of manele performers, has led to increasing hostility between fans and opponents. This has generated frequent conflicts between the two, usually in the form of internet flame wars, with those that do not listen to manele always winning.

In the media, manele have been repeatedly called by journalists and academics (such as the late literary critic George Pruteanu) "pseudo-music",[1] "pure stupidity, inculture and blah-blah" or even "society's bed-wetter".[4] C. Tepercea, a National Audio-visual Board member who did a study on the genre for the board considered it "the genre for the mentally challenged" in an interview.[5] Even proposals to ban this type of music have been voiced.[1]

Romani-Romanian classical musician and politician Mădălin Voicu distinguishes between the original genre and today's interpreters, calling their work "kitsch and bad taste", "bad merchandise, easy to sing, and only sold to fools at a high price", but considers them to be "harmful", "simple music and brain damaging", "a representation of the lack of musical culture in society" and "a fad that is poised to never vanish in the future".[6]

Romanian-American professor Cezar Giosan further compares the genre in an article in Dilema Veche with the early stages of rock-and-roll (and Elvis), early rap and reggaeton, music starting out from the outcast classes of society, being shunned by the higher classes for the simple reason of its origin, only to explode into mainstream later on.[7] The same professor considers the genre as being a form of ripping off coming from below, with the singers having an astonishing bad (albeit rough and uneducated) talent in music, with the lyrics being just a reflection of basic, simple human needs.[7] In a similar vein, Sorin Adam Matei, an Associate Professor of Communication at Purdue University, USA affirmed in an opinion piece for Evenimentul Zilei that manele are a creole genre, a simple, but lively music, spawned by the meeting of many cultures, that has a chance to never succeed as a cultural style if it is polished and "cleaned up".[8] Both consider that manele is not a valuable representation of Romanian popular culture, and would like it discouraged. Famous Romani-Romanian violin player Florin Niculescu said that manele singers are full of talent, but lack a musical concept.[9]

On Romanian television stations, manele performers and music are particularly seen on specialized manele television stations, such as Taraf TV or Mynele TV. While mainstream radio stations do not air manele, a lot of smaller stations do[citation needed], especially in Romania's capital, Bucharest. On New Year's Eve 2006, several Romanian television stations featured programs that included manele singers of both sexes.

Notable performers

Pre 1984: Manele lăutăreşti

1984–1991: First modern manele (adding electronic sound)

  • Azur (vocalist: Nelu Vlad) - the first band to use electronic beats
  • Albatros (vocalist: Iolanda Cristea a.k.a. Naste din Berceni)
  • Generic (vocalist: Dan Ciotoi)
  • Miracol C (vocalist: Cezar Duţu a.k.a. Cezarică)
  • Odeon (vocalist: Costel Geambaşu)

1992–2004: Post-revolution period

2004–present: Contemporary manele


  1. ^ a b c d M. Manega, Cui ii e frica de manele? ("Who's afraid of manele") Jurnalul Naţional
  2. ^ D. Cobuz with A. Simionescu, Meşterul Manele ("The Manele Master"), Jurnalul Naţional; in the same interview, Adrian Minune also claimed having featured in "hundreds of albums" and having composed "many, thousands..." of songs
  3. ^ Gypsies feel the lash of everyone's hatred - Racist attacks and discrimination increase across Europe
  4. ^ D. Andronie, Este pişoarca societăţii ("It's society's bed-wetter"), Jurnalul Naţional
  5. ^ D. Andronie with C. Tepercea, Fariseism şi manelism ("Phariseeism and manelism"), Jurnalul Naţional
  6. ^ C. Iancu, Marfă ieftină, dar scumpă ("Cheap, but pricey commodity"), Jurnalul Naţional.
  7. ^ a b C. Giosan, Maneaua, Dilema Veche
  8. ^ Sorin Adam Matei, România din Caraibe, Evenimentul Zilei.
  9. ^ Florin Niculescu interview


See also

External links

VXer targets Romanian gypsy music

Manele-hating malware

Free whitepaper – The Register Guide to Enterprise Virtualization

A mass-mailing virus designed to wipe Romanian gypsy music off PCs is spreading rapidly across the east European country. The virus, dubbed Antiman-A, uses a recent story about the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists - abducted by a little-known terrorist Iraqi group approximately a month ago - to trap curious punters.

The subject line of the infected message is in Romanian and varies from: "Voteaza azi!" ("Vote today"), "Antivirus", "Antimanele" ("Against Gypsy music"), to "Cum a murit Papa?" ("How did the Pope die?"). The message body is also in Romanian, and typically tries to trick users into opening an infected attachment by encouraging them to tackle part in a "virtual poll" concerning the withdrawal of Romanian troops from Iraq or by posing as an anti-virus utility. Once executed, the malicious code erases all files which contain the names of well-known gypsy music singers.

The electronic version of traditional gypsy music - dubbed manele - is increasingly popular in Romania but the genre also has its detractors who have praised the virus as a 'utilitarian' blessing.

Apart from an apparent abhorrence of Gipsy music, the Auntiman-A author's musical tastes remain sadly unknown. Perhaps something like Marilyn Manson might ring the bell of your average VXer, but perhaps unpleasant Canadian pomp rock is closer to the mark. After all, everybody in the IT industry loves Rush - at least according to a recent poll.

Back in Romania, meanwhile, anti-virus firm BitDefender CTO, Bogdan Dumitru, said: "The author of this piece of malware is most certainly a Romanian citizen, who has designed it in order to show his deep discontent with the ever increasing popularity of Gypsy music in Romania. Despite the fact that technically it is a very simple code, the virus is spreading at an amazing speed throughout Romania, due to the skilful social engineering tricks employed by its author."

Vali The Blizzard, a popular Manele singer, told Ananova: "I don't believe this is a threat for us. On the contrary they are doing us a favour. This way our fans will have to buy the CDs and not take the music from the internet for free

President Basescu at Bruxelles. Rroma European Integration

Băsescu: În România sunt peste un milion de romi integraţi; sunt şi romi nomazi neintegraţi

Preşedintele Traian Băsescu a declarat, la Bruxelles, că a insistat, joi, în Consiliul European, pentru o strategie europeană de integrare a romilor nomazi, categorie neintegrată, el precizând cu această ocazie că în România sunt peste un milion de romi din alte categorii care sunt integraţi.

Preşedintele Băsescu a precizat, într-o conferinţă de presă, că, în intervenţia sa în Consiliu, dincolo de a-şi manifesta susţinerea pentru orice cetăţean român, a revenit la propunerea pe care a făcut-o şi în 2008 şi care a fost inclusă în concluziile Comisiei, aceea a necesităţii elaborării unei strategii pentru integrarea romilor de către Comisia Europeană.

"Lucrul asupra căruia am insistat şi a fost concluzionat de preşedintele Rompuy a fost că este în sarcina Comisiei să realizeze o strategie pentru integrarea romilor la nivel european", a spus Traian Băsescu.

El a insistat asupra faptului că strategia pentru integrare este necesară în cazul romilor nomazi.

"Ceea ce trebuie să se înţeleagă este că una dintre caracteristicile aparte din această minoritate este nomadismul. Deci, parte din romi sunt romi nomazi, aşa cum unii sunt romi căldărari, alţii romi cu pălării, alţii romi cu ştiu eu ce definiţie. Trebuie să găsim soluţia inteligentă ca, respectând dreptul la liberă circulaţie, atât timp cât nu sunt infractori, să le dăm două lucruri vitale: posibilitatea de a câştiga bani prin muncă şi posibilitatea de a-şi educa copiii", a spus şeful statului.

Băsescu a spus că în intervenţia sa în cadrul Consiliului a subliniat aceste aspecte, cel mai important apreciind că este şansa care trebuie dată copiilor nomazi să înveţe. În caz contrar, a avertizat Băsescu, "şansa acestei minorităţi de a se integra este nulă şi multe generaţii de acum încolo se va discuta de eşecul nostru de a integra romii nomazi".

"Vă rog să notaţi că nu vorbesc de toţi romii. Vorbesc de romii nomazi. În România sunt circa un milion de romi care sunt integraţi în societate. Sunt sate de romi (...) unii sunt doctori, alţii sunt profesori, alţii sunt ingineri, alţii sunt politicieni. Deci sunt peste un milion de romi integraţi", a spus şeful statului, adăugând că există de asemenea şi o parte dintre romi, cei nomazi, care nu au fost integraţi.

"Va trebui să găsim soluţii mai inteligente decât simpla expulzare sau simpla trimitere voluntară acasă şi acesta a fost apelul meu - de a găsi soluţii inteligente de integrare, în care să aibă şansa de a câştiga bani muncind şi de a-şi educa copiii", a adăugat Băsescu.

"Aici fac o menţiune. Pe de-o parte trebuie să le dăm şansa să muncească, pe de altă parte ei trebuie să vrea să muncească. Atâta timp cât vom sta în ipocrizie, discutând despre integrarea romilor, integrarea nu se va produce. Va trebui să luăm şi ce au bun şi ce au rău romii nomazi în obiceiuri. Şi trebuie să recunoaştem că nu au chiar cel mai mare obicei când este vorba de muncă şi nu au cea mai mare grijă de copii când este vorba de trimis copiii la şcoală", a mai spus preşedintele.


Europarlamentarul Sebastian Bodu vrea inlocuirea termenului rom cu tigan

Sebastian Bodu
acum 2 zile 13 ore

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El a depus la Parlamentul European o motiune de rezolutie prin care explica faptul ca se face o confuzie din cauza termenului "rom". Bodu sustine ca acest cuvant face trimitere atat la poporul roman, cat si la locuitorii orasului Roma.

"Consider ca este important ca toata aceasta confuzie intre roman, rom si roman sa inceteze, pentru ca nimeni nu are niciun avantaj de pe urma ei. La urma urmei, sunt asociatii ale celor care acum se numesc romi, care solicita revenirea la numele de tigan. Asadar, sper ca Uniunea Europeana va inlocui termenul de rom cu cel de tigan in toate actele oficiale", afirma Sebastian Bodu.

Europarlamentarul PDL mai sustine ca a avut in plan inaintarea acestei propuneri de rezolutie inca dinainte de izbucnirea scandalului legat de repatrierile din Franta.

Acum, el este si mai convins ca impunerea termenului de "rom" a fost de la bun inceput o greseala, care ... trebuie reparata.


Gypsies and Vampires

In the opening chapters of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula Jonathan Harker discovered that he was a prisoner in Castle Dracula but he was given hope by the appearance of a band of Gypsies:A band of Szgany have come to the castle, and are encamped in the courtyard. These Szgany are gypsies; I have notes of them in my book. They are peculiar to this part of the world, though allied to the ordinary gypsies all the world over. There are thousands of them in Hungary and Transylvania who are almost outside all law. They attach themselves as a rule to some great noble or boyar, and call themselves by his name. They are fearless and without religion, save superstition, and they talk only their own varieties of the many tongues.

He soon discovered that the Gypsies were allied to the Count. The letters he attempted to have the Gypsies mail for him were returned to Dracula. The Gypsies were overseeing the preparation of the boxes of native soil that Dracula took to England. The Gypsies then reappeared at the end of the novel, accompanying the fleeing Dracula on his return to his castle. In the end, they stepped aside and allowed their vampire master to be killed by Abraham Van Helsing and his cohorts.

The Emergence of the Gypsies: Since the fourteenth century, the Gypsies have formed a distinct ethnic minority group in the Balkan countries. Within the next two centuries, they were found across all of Europe. While they received their name from an early hypothesis that placed their origin in Egypt, it is now known that they originated in India and were related to similar nomadic tribes that survive to this day in northern India. At some point, around 1000 A.D., some of these tribes wandered westward. A large group settled for a period in Turkey and incorporated many words from that country into their distinctive Romany language. Crossing the Bosporous, the Gypsies found their way to Serbia and traveled as far north as Bohemia through the fourteenth century. They were noted as being in Crete as early as 1322. In the next century, a short time before the emergence of Vlad Dracul and Vlad the Impaler as rulers in Wallachia, they moved into what are now Romania and Hungary. The Gypsies fanned out across Europe throughout the next century. They were in Russia and Poland eventually making their way to France and Great Britain.

In Romania and Hungary, Gypsies were often enslaved and persecuted. Their nomadic, nonliterary culture left them vulnerable to accusations of wrongdoing, and they became known not only as traveling entertainers but as thieves, con artists, and stealers of infants; this latter charge often was made about despised minority groups in Europe. During World War II, simultaneously with their attack upon the Jews, the Nazis attempted an extermination of the Gypsies as a "final solution" to what they had defined as the Gypsy problem.

Gypsies and the Supernatural: Gypsies developed a sophisticated and complicated supernatural religious world view, made more difficult to describe by the diversity of the different bands in various countries and the reluctance of Gypsies to talk to outsiders about their most sacred beliefs. Only the most diligent and persistent effort by a small band of scholars yielded a picture of the world view, which varied from country to country.

Gypsy theology affirmed the existence of o Del (literally, the God), who appeared one day on Earth (the Earth being the eternally present uncreated world). Beside o Del, the principle of Good, was o Bengh, or Evil. o Del and o Bengh competed in the creation of humanity. O Bengh formed two statuettes out of earth, and o Del breathed life into them. Again, with no written text, the account differed from tribe to tribe. The expanded world of the Gypsies was alive with the forces of Good and Evil contending with each other throughout nature. Wise Gypsies learned to read the signs and omens to make the forces work for them and to prevent evil forces from doing them harm.

Gypsies kept a living relationship with the dead (some have called it a cult of the dead), to whom they had a great loyalty. Gypsies regularly left offerings of food, especially milk, with the goal of having the dead serve a protective function for living family members. E. B. Trigg, in Gypsy Demons & Divinities: The Magical and Supernatural Practices of the Gypsies, described this practice as a form of worship vampire gods, which he compared to the activity of Indian worshippers toward the vampire figures of Indian mythology.

What happened to the dead? Among the Gypsies of the Balkans, there was a belief that the soul entered a world very much like this one, except there was no death. Bosnian Gypsies, influenced by Islam, believed in a literal paradise, a land of milk and honey. Others, however, believed that the soul hovered around the grave and resided in the corpse. As such, the soul might grow restless and the corpse might develop a desire to return to this world. To keep the dead content, funeral rites were elaborate and families made annual visits to the grave sites. Within this larger world there was ample room for the living dead, or vampires. This belief was found among Gypsies across Europe, but was especially pronounced, as might be expected, in Hungary, Romania, and the Slavic lands.

Questions have been posed as to the origins of Gypsy vampire beliefs. In India, the Gypsies' land of origin, there were a variety of acknowledged vampire creatures. For example, the bhuta, found in western India, was believed to be the soul of a man who died in an untimely fashion (such as an accident or suicide). The bhuta wandered around at night, and among its attributes was the ability to animate dead bodies, which in turn attacked the living in ghoulish fashion. In northern India, from whence the Gypsies probably started their journey to the West, the brahmaparusha was a vampirelike creature who was pictured with a head encircled by intestines and a skull filled with blood from which it drank. Gypsies also had a belief in Sara, the Black Virgin, a figure derived from the bloodthirsty goddess Kali Thus, Gypsies may have brought a belief in vampires, or at least a disposition to believe in them, to the Balkan Peninsula. Once in the area, however, they obviously interacted with the native populations and developed the belief of what became a variety of the Slavic vampire.

The Gypsy vampire was called a mulo (or mullo; plural, mulé), and means literally "one who is dead." Gypsies viewed death essentially as unnatural, hence any death was an affront and viewed as being caused by evil forces attacking the individual. Thus, any individual-but especially anyone who died an untimely death (by suicide or an accident)-might become a vampire and search out the person or persons who caused the death. Given the clannish nature of Gypsy life, these people were most likely those close to the deceased. Prime candidates would be relatives who did not destroy the belongings of the deceased (according to Gypsy custom) but kept them for themselves. The vampire also might have a grudge against any who did not properly observe the elaborate burial and funeral rites.

The vampire usually appeared quite normal, but often could be detected by some sign in its physical body. For example, the creature might have a finger missing, or have animal-like appendages. Easier to detect was the vampire that took on a horrific appearance. This involved certain individuals who could only be viewed under special conditions. Vampires might be seen at any time of day or night, though some believed them to be strictly nocturnal creatures. Others thought that vampires could appear precisely at noon when they would cast no shadow. Slavic and German Gypsies believed that vampires had no bones in their bodies, a belief based upon the observation that a vampire's bones are often left behind in the grave.

Upon their return from the dead, Gypsies believed that vampires engaged in various forms of malicious activity. They attacked relatives and attempted to suck their blood. They destroyed property and became a general nuisance by throwing things around and making noises in the night. Male vampires were known to have a strong sexual appetite and returned from the dead to have sexual relations with a wife, girlfriend, or other women. Female vampires were thought to be able to return from the dead and assume a normal life, even to the point of marrying-though her husband would become exhausted from satisfying her sexual demands.

Gypsies thought that animals and, on occasion, even plants became vampires. Dead snakes, horses, chickens, dogs, cats, and sheep were reported as returning as vampires, especially in Bosnia. In Slavic lands it was thought that if an animal such as a cat jumped over a corpse prior to burial, the corpse would become a vampire. Gypsies believed that the animal might become a vampire at the time of its death. Plants such as the pumpkin or watermelon could, if kept in the house too long, begin to stir, make noises, and show a trace of blood; they would then cause trouble, in a limited way, for both people and cattle. In the most extreme cases, family tools might become vampires. The wooden knot for a yoke or the wooden rods for binding sheaves of wheat became vampires if left undone for more than three years.

It was believed that action could be taken to prevent a dead person from returning as a vampire. As a first step, the victim of a vampire called upon a dhampir the son of a vampire. Gypsies believed that intercourse between a vampire and his widow might produce a male offspring. This child would develop unusual powers for detecting vampires, and a dhampir might actually hire out his services in the case of vampire attacks. There was some belief that the dhampir had a jellylike body (remembering that some thought that vampires had no bones) and hence would have a shorter life span.

Many Gypsies thought that iron had special powers to keep away evil. To ward off vampires, at the time of burial a steel needle was driven into the heart of the corpse, and bits of steel were placed in the mouth, over the ears and nose, and between the fingers. The heel of the shoe could be removed and hawthorn placed in the sock, or hawthorn stake could be driven through the leg. If a vampire was loose in a village, one might find protection in different charms, such as a necklace with an iron nail. A ring of thorn could be set around one's living quarters. Christian Gypsies used a crucifix. Slavic Gypsies prized the presence of a set of twins, one male and one female, who were born on a Saturday and who were willing to wear their underclothes inside out. From such the vampire would flee immediately.

The grave site might be the focus of a suspected vampire. Gypsies have been known to drive stakes of ash or hawthorn into a grave, or pour boiling water over it. In more problematic cases, coffins were opened and the corpse examined to see if it had shifted in the coffin or not properly decomposed. In the case of a body thought to be a vampire, Gypsies followed the practices of their neighbors by having the prayers for the dead said; staking it in either the stomach, heart, or head; decapitation; and/or in extreme cases, cremation.

The need to destroy the vampire was slight among some Gypsies who believed its life span was only 40 days. However, some granted it a longer life and sought specific means to kill it. An iron needle in the stomach often would be enough. In Eastern Orthodox countries, such as Romania, holy water would be thrown on the vampire. If these less intrusive means did not work, Gypsies might resort to more conventional weapons. If captured, a vampire might be nailed to a piece of wood. If one was available, a dhampir might be called upon to carry out the destruction. Black dogs and wolves were known to attack vampires, and some Romanian Gypsies believed that white wolves stayed around the grave sites to attack vampires and that without their work the world would be overrun with the dead.

Numerous reports on the mulo have been collected and show significant variance among geographically separated Gypsy groups. There has been some speculation that their vampire beliefs originated in India, from whence the Gypsies themselves seemed to have derived and which had a rich vampiric lore. The notions have become differentiated over the centuries as Gypsies dispersed around Europe and North America and interacted with various local cultures.

Conclusion: The belief in vampires has survived among Gypsies, but, like all supernatural beliefs, it has shown signs of disappearing. Secular schooling, modern burial practices, and governments hostile to actions (such as mutilating bodies) taken in response to vampires have affected the strength of this belief.

Clebert, Jean-Paul. The Gypsies. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, U.K.: Penguin Books, 1963. 282 pp.
Leland, G. G. Gypsy Sorcery. New York Tower Books, n.d. 267 pp.
Trigg, E. B. Gypsy Demons & Divinities: The Magical and Supernatural Practices of the Gypsies. London: Sheldon Press, 1973. 238 pp.
Vukanovic, T. P. "The Vampire." In Jan L. Perkowski, ed. Vampires of the Slavs. Cambridge, MA: Slavica Publishers, 1976, 201-34.


Gypsies and Magic

The name Gypsy, an abbreviation of "Egyptian," has been used for centuries by English-speaking people to denote a member of a group of wanderers who traveled Europe during the Middle Ages, and whose descendants are still found in most European countries.

Many other names, such as "Saracen" and "Zigeuner," or "Cigan," have been applied to these people, but "Egyptian" is the most widespread. It does not, however, relate to Egypt, but to the country of "Little Egypt" or "Lesser Egypt," whose identity has never been clearly established. Two Transylvanian references from the years 1417 and 1418 suggested that Palestine is the country in question, but there is some reason to believe that "Little Egypt" included other regions in the East. It is now almost unanimously agreed that the Gypsies came into Europe from India.

There are strong resemblances between Indian and gypsy language. Gypsies speak of themselves as "Romany" and of their language as Romani-tchib (tchib= tongue). Physically they are black-haired and brown-skinned, their appearance, like their language, suggesting affinities with Hindustan.

In recent centuries, if not in earlier times, many of their overlords were not of Gypsy blood, but belonged to the nobility and petite noblesse of Europe, and were formally appointed by the kings and governments of their respective countries to rule over all the Gypsies resident within those countries. The title of baron, count, or regent of the Gypsies was no proof that the official so designated was of Gypsy race.

The appointed rulers, were empowered by Christian princes, and under Papal approval, were necessarily Christian. Moreover, their vassals were at least Christian by profession. Although their behavior was often inconsistent with such a profession, it was in the character of Christian pilgrims that they asked and obtained hospitality from the cities and towns of Medieval Europe.

This twofold character is illustrated in connection with the services held in the crypt of the church of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, in the Ile de la Camargue, Bouches-du-Rhône. In this church many Gypsies annually celebrate the Festival of the Holy Marys on May 25. The crypt is specially reserved for them, because it contains the shrine of Saint Sara of Egypt, whom they regard as their patron saint. Throughout the night of the 24th-25th May they keep watch over her shrine, and on the 25th they leave. Among the Gypsy votive offerings presented in the crypt, some are believed to date back to about the year 1450.



All this would appear to indicate that the Gypsies were Christians. Another statement, however, tends to qualify such a conclusion. The assertion that the shrine of Saint Sara rests upon an ancient altar dedicated to Mithra, that the Gypsies of that neighborhood who are known as "Calagues," are descended from the Iberians formerly inhabiting the Camargue, and that their cult is really the Mithraic worship of fire and water, upon which the veneration of Saint Sara is superimposed.

Many believe that confirmation of this view is the worship of fire still existing among the Gypsies of Southern Hungary although this is also characteristic of India. There are special ceremonies observed at childbirth, in order to avert evil during the period between birth and baptism. Prior to the birth of the child, the Gypsies light a fire before the mother's tent, and this fire remains until the rite of baptism has been performed. The women who light and feed the fire recite the following chant:

"Burn ye, burn ye fast, O Fire!
And guard the babe from wrathful ire
Of earthy Gnome and Water-Sprite,
Whom with thy dark smoke banish quite!
Kindly Fairies, hither fare,
And let the babe good fortune share,
Let luck attend him ever here,
Throughout his life be luck aye near!
Twigs and branches now in store,
And still of branches many more,
Give we to thy flame, O Fire!
Burn ye, burn ye, fast and high,
Hear the little baby cry!"

It is noted that the spirits of the Earth and Water here are regarded as malevolent, and only to be overcome by the superior aid of fire. These women who are believed to have learned their occult lore from the unseen powers of Earth and Water are held to be the greatest magicians of the tribe.

Moreover, the water-being is not invariably regarded as inimical, but is sometimes directly propitiated. As when a mother, to charm away convulsive crying in her child, goes through the prescribed ceremonial details, including casting a red thread into the stream and repeating the following: "Take this thread, O Water-Spirit, and take with it the crying of my child! If it gets well, I will bring thee apples and eggs!"

The water-spirit appears again in a friendly character when a man, in order to recover a stolen horse, takes his infant to a stream, and, bending over the water, asks the invisible genius to indicate, by means of the baby's hand, the direction in which the horse has been taken. These two instances demonstrate the worship of water and the watery powers. Although these rites may be ascribed to Mithraism in its later stages, they may have an earlier origin.

Joseph Glanville 's observation of a young Gypsy inspired Matthew Arnold's poem, "The Scholar-Gypsy." In his Vanity of Dogmatising (1661), Glanville states, "There was lately a lad in the University of Oxford who was, by his poverty, forced to leave his studies there, and at last to join himself to a company of vagabond Gypsies…. After he had been a pretty while exercised in the trade," this scholar-gypsy chanced to meet two of his former fellow-students, to whom he stated, "that the people he went with were not such imposters as they were taken for, but that they had a traditional kind of learning among them, and could do wonders by the powers of imagination, their fancy binding that of others; that himself had learned much of their art, and when he had compassed the whole secret, he intended," he said, "to leave their company, and give the world an account of what he had learned."

It is believed that ancient Gypsies had knowledge and exercised hypnotism. Even among modern Gypsies this power is said to be exercised. Col. Eugene De Rochas stated that the Catalan Gypsies were mesmerists and clairvoyants, and the writer Lewis Spence supposedly experienced an attempt on the part of a South Hungarian Gypsy to exert this influence.

The same power, under the name of "glamour," was formerly an attribute of the Scottish Gypsies. Glamour was defined by Sir Walter Scott as "the power of imposing on the eyesight of the spectators, so that the appearance of an object shall be totally different from the reality."

Scott in explanation of a reference to "the Gypsies' glamour'd gang," in one of his ballads, he remarks: "Besides the prophetic powers ascribed to the Gypsies in most European countries, the Scottish peasants believe them possessed of the power of throwing upon bystanders a spell to fascinate their eyes and cause them to see the thing that is not. Thus in the old ballad of 'Johnnie Faa,' the elopement of the Countess of Cassillis with a Gypsy leader is imputed to fascination—

"Sae soon as they saw her weel-faur'd face,
They cast the glamour o'er her."

Scott also relates an incident of a Gypsy who "exercised his glamour over a number of people at Haddington, to whom he exhibited a common dunghill cock, trailing, what appeared to the spectators, a massy oaken trunk. An old man passed with a cart of clover, he stopped and picked out a four-leaved blade; the eyes of the spectators were opened, and the oaken trunk appeared to be a bulrush." Supposedly the quatrefoil, owing to its cruciform shape, acted as an antidote to witchcraft. Moreover, in the face of this sign of the cross, the Gypsy had to stop exercising the unlawful art. As to the possibility of hypnotizing a crowd, or making them "to see the thing that is not," that feat has often been ascribed to African witch doctors. What is required is a dominant will on the one hand and a sufficiently plastic imagination on the other.

Scott introduces these statements among his notes on the ballad of "Christie's Will," in relation to the verse:

"He thought the warlocks o' the rosy cross,
—Had fang'd him in their nets sae fast;
Or that the Gypsies' glamour'd gang
—Had lair'd his learning at the last."

This association of the Rosicrucians with Gypsies is not inapt, for hypnotism appears to have been considered a Rosicrucian art. Scott has other suggestive references including: "Saxo Grammaticus mentions a particular sect of Mathematicians, as he is pleased to call them, who, 'per summam ludificandorum oculorum peritiam, proprios alienosque vultus, varus rerum imaginibus, adumbraie callebant; illicibusque formis veros obscurare conspectus.' Merlin, the son of Ambrose, was particularly skilled in this art, and displays it often in the old metrical romance of Arthour and Merlin. The jongleurs were also great professors of this mystery, which has in some degree descended, with their name, on the modern jugglers."

Various societies are credited with possession, of the art of hypnotism, during the Middle Ages. Presumably, it was inherited from one common source. How much the Gypsies were associated with this power may be inferred from a Scottish Act of Parliament of the year 1579, which was directed against "the idle people calling themselves Egyptians, or any other that fancy themselves to have knowledge of prophecy, charming, or other abused sciences." For the term "charming," like "glamour" and other kindred words (e.g., "enchantment," "bewitched," "spellbound") bore reference to the mesomeric influence.

The statement made by Glanvill's scholar-gypsy would lead one to believe that the Gypsies inhabiting England in the seventeenth century possessed other branches of learning. They have always been famed for their alleged prophetic power, exercised through the medium of astrology and chiromancy or palmistry, and also by the interpretation of dreams, this last named phase being distinctly specified in Scotland in 1611. It does not appear that any modern Gypsies profess a traditional knowledge of astrology. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that the scholar Francis H. Groome was shown by a Welsh Gypsyman the form of the written charm employed by his mother in her fortune-telling, and that form was unquestionably a survival of the horoscope. Both mother and son were obviously unaware of that fact, and made no profession of astrology, but they had inherited the scheme of the horoscope from ancestors who were astrologers.

The practice of palmistry is still identified with the Gypsies, as it has been for ages. A curious belief was current in medieval times to the effect that the Three Kings or Magi who came to Bethlehem were Gypsies, and in more than one religious play they were represented as telling the fortunes of the Holy Family by means of palmistry. This circumstance evoked the following suggestive remarks from Charles Godfrey Leland.

"As for the connection of the Three Kings with Gypsies, it is plain enough. Gypsies were from the East; Rome and the world abounded in wandering Chaldean magi-priests, and the researches which I am making have led me to a firm conclusion that the Gypsy lore of Hungary and South Slavonia has a very original character as being, firstly, though derived from India, not Aryan, but Shamanic, that is, of an Altaic, or Tartar, or 'Turanian' stock…. Secondly, this was the old Chaldean-Accadian 'wisdom' or sorcery. Thirdly—and this deserves serious examination—it was also the old Etruscan religion whose magic formulas were transmitted to the Romans….

"The Venetian witchcraft, as set forth by Bernoni, is evidently of Slavic-Greek origin. That of the Romagna is Etruscan, agreeing very strangely and closely with the Chaldean magic of Lenormant, and marvelously like the Gypsies'. It does not, when carefully sifted, seem to be like that of the Aryans…. nor is it Semitic. To what degree some idea of all this, and of Gypsy connection with it, penetrated among the people and filtered down, even into the Middle Ages, no one can say. But it is very probable that through the centuries there came together some report of the common origin of Gypsy and 'Eastern' or Chaldean lore, for since it was the same, there is no reason why a knowledge of the truth should not have been disseminated in a time of a traditions and earnest study in occultism."

These surmises on the part of a keen and accomplished student of every phase of magic, written and unwritten, are deserving of the fullest consideration. By following the line indicated by Leland it may be possible to reach an identification of the "traditional kind of learning" possessed by the Gypsies in the seventeenth century.

Leland also identified the gypsy language Shelta (as distinct from Romany) surviving in Ireland.

Gypsies have also been noted for their folk music, especially for the Flamenco style surviving in Andalucia (Spain).


Bercovici, Konrad. The Story of the Gypsies. Cosmopolitan Book Corp., 1928. Reprint, Detroit: Gale Research, 1974.

Black, George F. A Gypsy Bibliography. London: Gypsy Lore Society, 1914. Reprint, Ann Arbor, Mich.: Gryphon Books, 1971.

Borrow, George. Lavengro; the Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest. 3 vols. London, 1851.

——. The Romany Rye. London, 1957.

Clébert, Jean-Paul. The Gypsies. London: Vista Books, 1963. Reprint, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, U.K.: Penguin Books, 1967.

Leland, Charles G. The English Gipsies and Their Language. London, 1893.

——. Gypsy Sorcery. New York: Tower, n.d.

Starkie, Walter. Raggle Taggle; Adventures With a Fiddle in Hungary and Roumania. London, 1933.

Trigg, E. B. Gypsy Demons and Divinities: The Magical and Supernatural Practices of the Gypsies. Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1973. Reprint, London: Sheldon Press, 1975.

Gypsies in the United States of America

Gypsies is the general term as well as a self-designation for a number of distinct ethnic groups that differ from one another socially, politically, and economically. Each group maintains social distance from each other and from non-Gypsies. A source of fascination and suspicion, itinerant Gypsies were subject to expulsion by authorities. Between 1859 and 1931, twelve states passed laws, subsequently repealed, to tax or regulate "roving bands of nomads, commonly known as gypsies."

The Romnichels emigrated from England as families primarily from 1850 to 1910. Some purchased land and created settlements or "Gypsy corners"; land ownership provided an assured camping place, loan collateral, or supplementary income. Romnichel immigrants were cutlers, basket makers, and rat catchers, but with the increased use of horses in agriculture and urban transportation, this group's primary occupation became horse trading. They traded horses while traveling and shipped animals by rail to urban sales stables. When the horse trade declined following World War I, they resorted to previously secondary occupations, such as manufacturing rustic furniture, basketry, fortune-telling, driveway paving, and septic tank cleaning.

Although their religious preferences were conventionally Protestant, many formed fundamentalist Christian congregations. Kindreds, identified by surnames, are associated with distinctive cultural and psychological traits that are important in social evaluations based on an ideology distinguishing ritually clean from unclean behavior.

Rom families emigrated from Serbia and the Russian empire during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in groups as large as two hundred persons. Although Rom occupations included horse trading, fortune-telling, and repairing industrial equipment, coppersmithing, the wipe tinning of copper kettles, was a specialty. When new technologies replaced copper vessels and horses, Roma developed urban fortune-telling businesses, using vacant stores for both houses and businesses and contracting with amusement parks and carnivals. Local ordinances and Rom territoriality based on the fortune-telling business dictated population density. Driveway sealing and paving, trade in scrap metal or used vehicles, and auto body repair also became common occupations. During the Great Depression, spurred by the Rom leader Steve Kaslov and Eleanor Roosevelt, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and social service agencies in New York City established short-lived adult education classes and a coppersmith workshop for this group.

Rom kinship is strongly patrilineal, and household organization is patrilocal. Conflicts are resolved by juridical systems that impose fines or the threat of banishment. Their ideology separates pure from impure, good luck from bad, male from female, and Gypsy from non-Gypsy. Marriages are arranged by families and include a bride price, or couples elope. Roma generally are Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, and their communal rituals echo Serbian Orthodox practices. However, some Roma founded Pentecostal Christian churches that preached against earlier practices.

Rudars immigrated to the United States between 1880 and 1910 from Bosnia and speak a Romanian dialect. Animal exhibitors, they arrived with trained bears and monkeys. Initially, they worked in horse trading and industrial wage labor. The Great Depression forced some to take WPA-sponsored road construction work, while the WPA circus employed a Rudar showman and his performing bear. Subsequent occupations included carnival concessions, manufacturing outdoor furniture, driveway paving, and seasonal agricultural work.

From 1908 to 1939, Ludars established permanent camps on leased land, particularly in the Bronx and Queens, New York; Stickney Township near Chicago; and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, from which they made seasonal journeys or commuted to tell fortunes from house to house. Ludar religion is traditionally Eastern Orthodox, and marriages, arranged by parents with a bride price, are performed by a justice of the peace or in Orthodox or Catholic churches.

Slovak Gypsies, historically sedentary, immigrated to the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries primarily from Saros County in eastern Slovakia. Speaking a dialect of Romani, the men arrived singly or in small groups, and their wives and children followed later. Defined by musical performances, some settled in New York City, where they played in saloons, hotels, and theaters. Others, including the WPA Gypsy orchestras, established settlements in western Pennsylvania; Youngstown and Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit; and Chicago, where they played for ethnic and general audiences and performed industrial labor. Most remained Roman Catholics.


Gropper, Rena C. Gypsies in the City: Culture Patterns and Survival. Princeton, N.J: Darwin Press, 1975.

Lockwood, William G., and Sheila Salo. Gypsies and Travelers in North America: An Annotated Bibliography. Cheverly, Md.: Gypsy Lore Society, 1994.

Salo, Matt T. "Gypsy Ethnicity: Implications of Native Categories and Interaction for Ethnic Classification." Ethnicity 6, no. 1 (1979): 73–96.

Salo, Matt T., and Sheila Salo. "Gypsy Immigration to the United States." In Papers from the Sixth and Seventh Annual Meetings, Gypsy Lore Society, North American Chapter. Edited by Joanne Grumet. New York: Gypsy Lore Society, 1986.

———. "Romnichel Economic and Social Organization in Urban New England, 1850–1930." Urban Anthropology 11, no. 3–4 (1982): 273–313.

Sutherland, Anne. Gypsies: The Hidden Americans. Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press, 1986.

Gypsy's Gold -Transportable Wealth


 American Gypsy Jewelry

 A A A E-Mail Print   

Posted: 6.3.2002

Table of gold jewelry

Appraiser Barry Weber introduces ROADSHOW host Dan Elias to Gypsy jewelry.

gold coin necklace

These gold coins are not real currency.

gypsy queen

Is this woman a Gypsy queen?

gypsy flower

Gypsy jewelry makers often used the flower motif.


This belt contains about a pound of gold.

European Origins
Barry Weber, of Edith Weber and Associates in New York City, is an expert in American gypsy jewelry. At the New York City ANTIQUES ROADSHOW he brought in a shimmering collection of these hard-to-find baubles to share. "Gypsy jewelry is a captivating and alluring form of rare jewelry that carries the romance of the Gypsies within each piece," Barry intones.

Alluring and rare, these ornaments are often worth more than their weight in gold

Gypsies brought their jewelry-making skills to the United States as many immigrated here in the early 20th century. Most of the surviving American Gypsy jewelry dates from 1900 to 1930.

The jewelry also carries solid 14-karat yellow gold in almost every piece. Gypsies added stones to their earrings, bracelets, necklaces and belts—some of the most popular Gypsy jewelry. Gypsies almost always used synthetic stones, because of difficulties in verifying a gemstone's authenticity. The gold, however, is always real because Gypsies "knew the gold couldn't be faked easily," Barry explains.

Transportable Wealth
Gypsy jewelry was meant for more than adornment. "Nomadic people carry their assets with them," Barry notes. "This type of jewelry was a decorative method of transporting their wealth." The jewelry served as a portable bank account and Gypsies often used solid gold coins in their jewelry. "Nobody likes to sell their jewelry," Barry explains. "But if you were in trouble and somebody was sick and needed to go to a doctor or had to go to the hospital, you visited the pawn shop."

The tradition of using real gold coins in jewelry was not carried over the Atlantic, because United States laws forbade the defacing of government property, including money. American Gypsies made coin necklaces with solid gold medallions, instead of any real currency, in order to steer clear of the law.

Gypsy Motifs
While the use of coins didn't make it across the Atlantic, the Gypsies' favorite jewelry motifs did. "Great examples still surface in odd places, but can often go unrecognized unless you are familiar with them," Barry says. "You have to know how to recognize the motifs that make the jewelry so special." The profiled face of a beautiful lady, similar to profiles seen on cameos, adorns many pieces. "I've been told she was the Gypsy queen," Barry says.

Gypsy jewelry often incorporates twisted wirework, known as filigree, dangling hearts, stars and raised flowers. Gypsies were also fond of the horseshoe shape, commonly used in the popular cuff bracelets. "I was told that the horseshoe was to be worn with the tips pointing up so the luck didn't run out the ends," Barry says.

Scarce Today
It's difficult for buyers to find American gypsy jewelry today because so much of it was melted down in the Great Depression, and even more melted when gold values peaked in the 1980s. Superstition also might have contributed to its scarcity. "Gypsy jewelry was reputed to be very good luck to have, but bad luck to sell," Barry says. "Who would want to sell off their good fortune? That can make it hard to acquire."

More Valuable than Gold
Its rarity and beauty has pushed up the prices of Gypsy jewelry, making it much more valuable than the gold contained in each piece. "These old earrings don't weigh much and the same is true for the star pendants and the hair comb," Barry says by way of example. "But they will cost at least $1,000—if you can find them." Gypsies made cuff bracelets for men, women and children. They were sold in pairs so the owner could wear one on each wrist; they now sell for thousands of dollars.

The gold in the Gypsy-made belt that Barry displayed weighs more than a pound in total. Today, that much gold would be worth about $5,000. But as a collectible, the belt would be worth "five times that," Barry asserts, putting it in the $25,000 range. "It's amazing this belt never met the melting pot."

As nomads, the Gypsies needed to have transportable wealth. To solve this problem, Gypsies created heavy gold pieces made from the wealth they had collected as they travelled. (Fine clothing was also used as a means of making their money mobile.) Gold coins were incorporated into the pieces of gold jewelry. One Gypsy gold belt was found to weigh five pounds.

Rendering their wealth into gold jewelry made it convenient to cash the jewelry in when necessary. Such as in case of an emergency, the Gypsy gold jewelry could be quickly sold off. The practice of using gold coins in Gypsy jewelry stopped when the Gypsies arrived in the States. This was because in America, it was unlawful to deface money. The American Gypsies began to make and use gold medallions in their jewelry.

Favorite motifs found on American Gypsy jewelry include a profile of a woman who is often called the Gypsy Queen, hearts, starts, flowers and the horseshoe. There is also filigree found in the Gypsy work. The Gypsy setting for stones is recessed with the stone placed in the metal. In many of these Gypsy settings, you can find an engraved star pattern around the stone. The Gypsy setting cab be found on many American Gypsy gold rings.

Most of the surviving specimens were made between 1900 and 1930. It is hard to find Gypsy jewelry now because during the Great Depression, much of it was melted at that time. Many American Gypsy gold pieces were melted again during the 1980s, when the value of gold soared. Another factor in the rareness of finding one of these items is the superstition that while the Gypsy jewelry was good luck to possess; it was bad luck to sell it.

Nowadays, the value of American Gypsy jewelry is high because it is very rare and boldly beautiful. The pieces have become more valuable than their weight in gold. For example, a pair of earrings could cost at least $1000 and an arm cuff could sell for several thousand dollars each. As collectibles, pieces of American Gypsy jewelry are fantastic if you can find them.




Romani people (not Romanian people)

Romani people
Rromane dźene

Romani flag proposed by the 1971 World Romani Congress


Grigoraş Dinicu, Drafi Deutscher, Charlie Chaplin, Isabel Pantoja,
Ricardo Quaresma, Ceija Stojka, Džej Ramadanovski, Irini Merkouri
Total population
Up to 5 million in the world[1]
6-11 million in the world[2]
See Romani people by country for the entire list of countries and other estimations.

The following list uses official data, the unofficial estmation might differ substantially.

Regions with significant populations
Spain 650,000
Romania 535,140
Turkey 500,000
France 500,000
Bulgaria 370,908
Hungary 205,720
Greece 200,000
Russia 182,766
Italy 130,000
Serbia 108,193
United Kingdom 90,000
Slovakia 89,920
Germany 70,000
Rep. of Macedonia 53,879

Romani, languages of native region


(Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism),

Related ethnic groups

Dom people, Lom people, other Indo-Aryans

The Romani (also Romany, Romanies, Romanis, Roma or Roms; exonym: Gypsies; Romani: Romane or Rromane, depending on the dialect) are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe, who trace their origins to medieval India.

The Romani are widely dispersed, with their largest concentrated populations in Europe, especially the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe and Anatolia, followed by the Iberian Kale in Southwestern Europe and Southern France. In more recent migrations, some people have gone to the Americas and, to a lesser extent, other parts of the world.

The Romani language is divided into several dialects, which add up to an estimated number of speakers larger than two million.[16] The total number of Romani people is at least twice as large (several times as large according to high estimates). Many Romani are native speakers of the language current in their country of residence, or of mixed languages combining the two.


Rom, Romani

Romani usage

In the Romani language, rom is a masculine noun, meaning "man, husband", with the plural roma. Romani is the feminine adjective, while romano is the masculine adjective. Some Romanies use Rom / Roma as an ethnic name, while others (such as the Sinti, or the Romanichal) do not use this term as a self-ascription for the entire ethnic group.[17]

Sometimes, rom and romani are spelled with a double r, i.e., rrom and rromani. In this case rr is used to represent the phoneme /ʀ/ (also written as ř and rh), which in some Romani dialects has remained different from the one written with a single r. The rr spelling is common particularly in Romania, in order to distinguish from the endonym for Romanians (sg. român, pl. români).[18]

English usage

In the English language (according to OED), Rom is a noun (with the plural Roma or Roms) and an adjective, while Romani (Romany) is also a noun (with the plural Romanies or Romanis) and an adjective. Both Rom and Romani have been in use in English since the 19th century as an alternative for Gypsy. Romani was initially spelled Rommany, then Romany, while today the Romani spelling is the most popular spelling. Occasionally, the double r spelling (e.g., Rroma, Rromani) mentioned above is also encountered in English texts.



Distribution of the Romanies in Europe based on self-designation.

Although Roma is used as a designation for the branch of the Romani people with historic concentrations in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, it is increasingly encountered during recent decades[19][20] as a generic term for the Romani people as a whole.[21]

Because all Romanies use the word Romani as an adjective, the term began to be used as a noun for the entire ethnic group.[22]

Today, the term Romani is used by most organizations—including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the US Library of Congress.[18]

The standard assumption is that the demonyms of the Romani people, Lom and Dom share the same origin.[23][24]


The English term Gypsy (or Gipsy) originates from the Greek word for "Egyptian", Αιγύπτιοι (Aigyptioi, whence modern Greek γύφτοι gifti), in the belief that the Romanies, or some other Gypsy groups (such as the Balkan Egyptians), originated in Egypt, and in one narrative were exiled as punishment for allegedly harboring the infant Jesus.[25] This exonym is sometimes written with capital letter, to show that it designates an ethnic group.[26] The term ‘Gypsy’ appears when international research programmes,documents and policies on the community are referred to. However, as a term ‘Gypsy’ is considered derogatory by many members of the Roma community because of negative and stereotypical associations with the term.[27]

As described in Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the medieval French referred to the Romanies as egyptiens. The term has come to bear pejorative connotations. The word Gypsy in English has become so pervasive that many Romani organizations use it in their own organizational names.

In North America, the word Gypsy is commonly used as a reference to lifestyle[28] or fashion, and not to the Romani ethnicity. The Spanish term gitano and the French term gitan may have the same origin.[clarification needed][29]

Population and subgroups

Distribution of the Romani people in Europe (2007 Council of Europe "average estimates", totalling 9.8 million)[30]
* The size of the wheel symbols reflects absolute population size
* The gradient reflects the percent in the country's population: 0%                              10%.

Many Romanies for a variety of reasons choose not to register their ethnic identity in official censuses. There are an estimated four million Romani people in Europe (as of 2002),[31] although some high estimates by Romani organizations give numbers as high as 14 million.[32] Significant Romani populations are found in the Balkan peninsula, in some Central European states, in Spain, France, Russia, and Ukraine. Several more million Romanies may live out of Europe, in particular in the Middle East and in the Americas.

The Romani people recognize divisions among themselves based in part on territorial, cultural and dialectal differences and self-designation. The main branches are:[33][34][35][36]

  1. Roma, crystallized in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Italy, emigrated also (mostly from the 19th century onwards), in the rest of Europe, but also on the other continents;
  2. Iberian Kale, mostly in Spain (see Romani people in Spain), but also in Portugal (see Romani people in Portugal), Southern France and Latin America;
  3. Finnish Kale, in Finland, emigrated also in Sweden;
  4. Welsh Kale, in Wales;
  5. Romanichal, in the United Kingdom, emigrated also to the United States and Australia;
  6. Sinti, in German-speaking areas of Europe and some neighboring countries;
  7. Manush, in French-speaking areas of Western Europe;
  8. Romanisæl, in Sweden and Norway.

Among Romanies there are further internal differentiations, like Bashaldé; Churari; Luri; Ungaritza; Lovari (Lovara) from Hungary; Machvaya (Machavaya, Machwaya, or Macwaia) from Serbia; Romungro (Modyar or Modgar) from Hungary and neighbouring carpathian countries; Erlides (also Yerlii or Arli); Xoraxai (Horahane) from Greece/Turkey; Boyash (Lingurari, Ludar, Ludari, Rudari, or Zlătari) from Romanian words for various crafts: (Lingurari - spoon makers, Rudari - wood crafters; Zlătari - goldsmiths); Ursari from Romanian/Moldovan bear-trainers; Argintari from silversmiths; Aurari from goldsmiths; Florari from florists; and Lăutari from musicians.


Some groups which are commonly thought of as Romani, either by surrounding populations or by Romani groups, do not consider themselves to be Romani. This applies to the Balkan Egyptians and the Ashkali.[37]



Linguistic and genetic evidence indicates the Romanies originated from the Indian subcontinent, emigrating from India towards the northwest no earlier than the 11th century. The Romani are generally believed to have originated in central India, possibly in the modern Indian state of Rajasthan, migrating to northwest India (the Punjab region) around 250 BC. In the centuries spent here, there may have been close interaction with such established groups as the Rajputs and the Jats. Their subsequent westward migration, possibly in waves, is believed to have occurred between AD 500 and AD 1000. Contemporary populations sometimes suggested as sharing a close relationship to the Romani are the Dom people of Central Asia and the Banjara of India.[38]

The emigration from India likely took place in the context of the raids by Mahmud of Ghazni[39] As these soldiers were defeated, they were moved west with their families into the Byzantine Empire. The 11th century terminus post quem is due to the Romani language showing unambiguous features of the Modern Indo-Aryan languages,[40] precluding an emigration during the Middle Indic period.

Genetic evidence supports the medieval migration from India. The Romanies have been described as "a conglomerate of genetically isolated founder populations",[41] while a number of common Mendelian disorders among Romanies from all over Europe indicates "a common origin and founder effect".[41][42] A study from 2001 by Gresham et al. suggests "a limited number of related founders, compatible with a small group of migrants splitting from a distinct caste or tribal group".[43] The same study found that "a single lineage ... found across Romani populations, accounts for almost one-third of Romani males."[43] A 2004 study by Morar et al. concluded that the Romani population "was founded approximately 32–40 generations ago, with secondary and tertiary founder events occurring approximately 16–25 generations ago".[44]

Possible connection with the Jat people

While the South Asian origin of the Romani people has been long considered a certitude, the exact South Asian group from whom the Romanies have descended has been a matter of debate. The recent discovery of the "Jat mutation" that causes a type of glaucoma in Romani populations suggests that the Romani people are the descendants of the Jat people found in Northern India and Pakistan.[45] This connection was upheld by Michael Jan de Goeje in 1883.[46]

This contradicted an earlier study that compared the most common haplotypes found in Romani groups with those found in Jatt Sikhs and Jats from Haryana and found no matches.[47] The haplogroup H, which is the most common haplogroup in Romanis is far more prevalent in central India and south India than it is in northern India, where haplogroup R1a lineages make up at least half of male ancestries, and haplogroup H is rare.

Arrival in Europe

The migration of the Romanies through the Middle East and Northern Africa to Europe.
First arrival of the Romanies outside Bern in the 15th century, described by the chronicler as getoufte heiden ("baptized heathens") and drawn with dark skin and wearing Saracen-style clothing and weapons (Spiezer Schilling, p. 749).

In 1322, a Franciscan monk named Symon Semeonis described people resembling these atsinganoi (meaning?) living in Crete and, in 1350, Ludolphus of Sudheim mentioned a similar people with a unique language whom he called Mandapolos, a word which some theorize was possibly derived from the Greek word mantes (meaning prophet or fortune teller).[48]

Around 1360, the Romani established an independent fiefdom (called the Feudum Acinganorum) in Corfu; it became "a settled community and an important and established part of the economy."[49]

By the 14th century, the Romanies had reached the Balkans; by 1424, Germany; and by the 16th century, Scotland and Sweden. Some Romanies migrated from Persia through North Africa, reaching the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century. The two currents met in France.

Romanies began immigrating to North America in colonial times, with small groups recorded in Virginia and French Louisiana. Larger-scale immigration to the United States began in the 1860s, with groups of Romnaichal from Britain. The largest number immigrated in the early 1900s, mainly from the Vlax group of Kalderash. Many Romanies also settled in South America.

When the Romani people arrived in Europe, the initial curiosity of its residents soon changed to hostility against the newcomers. The Romani were enslaved for five centuries in Wallachia and Moldavia, until abolition in 1856.[50]

Elsewhere in Europe, they were subject to ethnic cleansing, abduction of their children, and forced labor. In England, Romani were sometimes hung or expelled from small communities; in France, they were branded and their heads were shaved; in Moravia and Bohemia, the women were marked by their ears being severed. As a result, large groups of the Romani moved to the East, toward Poland, which was more tolerant, and Russia, where the Romani were treated more fairly as long as they paid the annual taxes.[51]

World War II

During World War II, the Nazis embarked on a systematic attempt at genocide of the Romanies, a process known in Romani as the Porajmos.[52] Romanies were marked for extermination and sentenced to forced labor and imprisonment in concentration camps.

They were often killed on sight, especially by the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) on the Eastern Front. The total number of victims has been variously estimated at between 220,000 to 1,500,000; even the lowest number would make the Porajmos one of the largest mass murders in history.


In Communist Eastern Europe, Romanies experienced assimilation schemes and restrictions on cultural freedom.[citation needed] The Romani language and Romani music were banned from public performance in Bulgaria.[dubious ] In Czechoslovakia, they were labeled a "socially degraded stratum,"[citation needed] and Romani women were sterilized as part of a state policy to reduce their population. This policy was implemented with large financial incentives, threats of denying future welfare payments, with misinformation, or after administering drugs (Silverman 1995; Helsinki Watch 1991).

An official inquiry from the Czech Republic, resulting in a report (December 2005), concluded that the Communist authorities had practiced an assimilation policy towards Romanies, which "included efforts by social services to control the birth rate in the Romani community" and that "the problem of sexual sterilization carried out in the Czech Republic, either with improper motivation or illegally, exists"[53] with new revealed cases up until 2004, in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.[54]

Society and culture

A Gipsy Family - Facsimile of a woodcut in the "Cosmographie Universelle" of Munster: in folio, Basle, 1552.

The traditional Romanies place a high value on the extended family. Virginity is essential in unmarried women. Both men and women often marry young; there has been controversy in several countries over the Romani practice of child marriage. Romani law establishes that the man's family must pay a bride price to the bride's parents, but only traditional families still follow this rule.

Once married, the woman joins the husband's family, where her main job is to tend to her husband's and her children's needs, as well as to take care of her in-laws. The power structure in the traditional Romani household has at its top the oldest man or grandfather, and men in general have more authority than women. Women gain respect and authority as they get older. Young wives begin gaining authority once they have children.

Romani social behavior is strictly regulated by Hindu purity laws ("marime" or "marhime"), still respected by most Roma (and by most older generations of Sinti). This regulation affects many aspects of life, and is applied to actions, people and things: parts of the human body are considered impure: the genital organs (because they produce emissions), as well as the rest of the lower body. Fingernails and toenails must be filed with an emery board, as cutting them with a clipper is a taboo. Clothes for the lower body, as well as the clothes of menstruating women, are washed separately. Items used for eating are also washed in a different place. Childbirth is considered impure, and must occur outside the dwelling place. The mother is considered impure for forty days after giving birth.

Death is considered impure, and affects the whole family of the dead, who remain impure for a period of time. In contrast to the practice of cremating the dead, Romani dead must be buried.[55] Cremation and burial are both known from the time of the Rigveda, and both are widely practiced in Hinduism today (although the tendency for higher caste groups is to burn, while lower caste groups in South India tend to bury their dead).[56] Some animals are also considered impure, for instance cats because they lick themselves.[57]

Belonging and exclusion

Romanipen (also romanypen, romanipe, romanype, romanimos, romaimos, romaniya) is a complicated term of Romani philosophy that means totality of the Romani spirit, Romani culture, Romani Law, being a Romani, a set of Romani strains.

An ethnic Romani is considered to be a Gadjo (non-Romani) in the Romani society if he has no Romanipen. Sometimes a non-Romani may be considered to be a Romani if he has Romanipen, (usually that is an adopted child). As a concept, Romanipen has been the subject of interest to numerous academic observers. It has been hypothesized that it owes more to a framework of culture rather than simply an adherence to historically received rules.[58]

Romani leadership

In Roma communities in the United States and some areas of Europe,[59] the rom baro is the tribal leader. A rom baro serves the same purpose as a big man in New Guinean tribal societies. He earns his position through merit and his decisions, although considered wise, do not have the automatic approval of the community.[60] Other factors in the selection of a rom baro include knowledge of the language of the areas of planned travel, and resourcefulness in emergency situations.[61]

Qualities expected of a rom baro include wealth, an aggressive wife, a large family, and a willingness to speak out and help.[62]


Muslim Romanies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (around 1900)

Migrant Romani populations have adopted the dominant religion of their country of residence, while often preserving aspects of older belief systems and forms of worship. Most Eastern European Romanies are Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, or Muslim.

Those in Western Europe and the United States are mostly Roman Catholic or Protestant (particularly in southern Spain many are Pentecostal). In Turkey, Egypt, and the Balkans, the Romanies are split into Christian and Muslim populations.


Young Hungarian Romani performing a traditional dance.

Romani music plays an important role in Eastern European countries such as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Hungary, and Romania, and the style and performance practices of Romani musicians have influenced European classical composers such as Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms. The lăutari who perform at traditional Romanian weddings are virtually all Romani.

Probably the most internationally prominent contemporary performers in the lăutari tradition are Taraful Haiducilor. Bulgaria's popular "wedding music", too, is almost exclusively performed by Romani musicians such as Ivo Papasov, a virtuoso clarinetist closely associated with this genre and Bulgarian pop-folk singer Azis.

Many famous classical musicians, such as the Hungarian pianist Georges Cziffra, are Romani, as are many prominent performers of manele. Zdob şi Zdub, one of the most prominent rock bands in Moldova, although not Romanies themselves, draw heavily on Romani music, as do Spitalul de Urgenţă in Romania, Goran Bregović in Serbia, Darko Rundek in Croatia, Beirut and Gogol Bordello in the United States.

Another tradition of Romani music is the genre of the Romani brass band, with such notable practitioners as Boban Marković of Serbia, and the brass lăutari groups Fanfare Ciocărlia and Fanfare din Cozmesti of Romania.

The distinctive sound of Romani music has also strongly influenced bolero, jazz, and flamenco (especially cante jondo) in Europe. European-style Gypsy jazz ("jazz Manouche" or "Sinti jazz") is still widely practiced among the original creators (the Romanie People); one who acknowledged this artistic debt was guitarist Django Reinhardt. Contemporary artists in this tradition known internationally include Stochelo Rosenberg, Biréli Lagrène, Jimmy Rosenberg, and Tchavolo Schmitt.

The Romanies of Turkey have achieved musical acclaim from national and local audiences. Local performers usually perform for special holidays. Their music is usually performed on instruments such as the darbuka and gırnata. A number of nationwide best seller performers are said to be of Romani origin.[citation needed]


Most Romanies speak one of several dialects of Romani,[63][not in citation given] an Indo-Aryan language. They also will often speak the languages of the countries they live in. Typically, they also incorporate loanwords and calques into Romani from the languages of those countries, especially words for terms that the Romani language does not have. Most of the Ciganos of Portugal, the Gitanos of Spain, the Romanichal of the UK, and Scandinavian Travellers have lost their knowledge of pure Romani, and respectively speak the mixed languages Caló,[64] Angloromany, and Scandoromani.

There are independent groups currently working toward standardizing the language, including groups in Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, the USA, and Sweden. Romani is not currently spoken in India.[citation needed]


Historical persecution

The first and one of the most enduring persecutions against the Romani people was the enslaving of the Romanies who arrived on the territory of the historical Romanian states of Wallachia and Moldavia, which lasted from the 14th century until the second half of the 19th century. Legislation decreed that all the Romanies living in these states, as well as any others who would immigrate there, were slaves.[65]

The arrival of some branches of the Romani people in Western Europe in the 15th century was precipitated by the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans. Although the Romanies themselves were refugees from the conflicts in southeastern Europe, they were mistaken by the local population in the West, because of their foreign appearance, as part of the Ottoman invasion (the German Reichstags at Landau and Freiburg in 1496-1498 declared the Romanies as spies of the Turks). In Western Europe, this resulted in a violent history of persecution and attempts of ethnic cleansing until the modern era. As time passed, other accusations were added against local Romanies (accusations specific to this area, against non-assimilated minorities), like that of bringing the plague, usually sharing their burden together with the local Jews.[66]

One example of official persecution of the Romani is exemplified by The Great Roundup of Spanish Romanies (Gitanos) in 1749. The Spanish monarchy ordered a nationwide raid that led to separation of families and placement of all able-bodied men into forced labor camps.

Later in the 19th century, Romani immigration was forbidden on a racial basis in areas outside Europe, mostly in the English speaking world (in 1885 the United States outlawed the entry of the Roma) and also in some South American countries (in 1880 Argentina adopted a similar policy).[66]


Romani arrivals at the Belzec death camp await instructions.

The persecution of the Romanies reached a peak during World War II in the Porajmos, the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In 1935, the Nuremberg laws stripped the Romani people living in Nazi Germany of their citizenship, after which they were subjected to violence, imprisonment in concentration camps and later genocide in extermination camps. The policy was extended in areas occupied by the Nazis during the war, and it was also applied by their allies, notably the Independent State of Croatia, Romania and Hungary.

Because no accurate pre-war census figures exist for the Romanis, it is impossible to accurately assess the actual number of victims. Ian Hancock, director of the Program of Romani Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, proposes a figure of up to a million and a half, while an estimate of between 220,000 and 500,000 was made by Sybil Milton, formerly senior historian of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.[67] In Central Europe, the extermination in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was so thorough that the Bohemian Romani language became extinct.[citation needed]

Forced assimilation

In the Habsburg Monarchy under Maria Theresia (1740–1780), a series of decrees tried to force the Romanies to sedentarize, removed rights to horse and wagon ownership (1754), renamed them as "New Citizens" and forced Romani boys into military service if they had no trade (1761), forced them to register with the local authorities (1767), and prohibited marriage between Romanies (1773). Her successor Josef II prohibited the wearing of traditional Romani clothing and the use of the Romani language, punishable by flogging.[68]

In Spain, attempts to assimilate the Gitanos were under way as early as 1619, when Gitanos were forcibly sedentarized, the use of the Romani language was prohibited, Gitano men and women were sent to separate workhouses and their children sent to orphanages. Similar prohibitions took place in 1783 under King Charles III, who prohibited the nomadic lifestyle, the use of the Calo language, Romani clothing, their trade in horses and other itinerant trades. The use of the word gitano was also forbidden to further assimilation. Ultimately these measures failed, as the rest of the population rejected the integration of the Gitanos.[68][69]

Other examples of forced assimilation include Norway, where a law was passed in 1896 permitting the state to remove children from their parents and place them in state institutions.[70] This resulted in some 1,500 Romani children being taken from their parents in the 20th century.[71]

Contemporary issues

Amnesty International reports continued instances of Antizigan discrimination during the 2000s, particularly in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Romania, Serbia[72] Slovakia,[73] Hungary,[74] Slovenia,[75] and Kosovo.[76]

Czechoslovakia carried out a policy of sterilization of Romani women, starting in 1973.[77] The dissidents of the Charter 77 denounced it in 1977-78 as a "genocide", but the practice continued through the Velvet Revolution of 1989.[78] A 2005 report by the Czech government's independent ombudsman, Otakar Motejl, identified dozens of cases of coercive sterilization between 1979 and 2001, and called for criminal investigations and possible prosecution against several health care workers and administrators.[79]

In 2008, following the brutal murder of a woman in Rome at the hands of a young man from a local Romani encampment,[80] the Italian government declared that Italy's Romani population represented a national security risk and that swift action was required to address the emergenza nomadi (nomad emergency).[81] Specifically, officials in the Italian government accused the Romanies of being responsible for rising crime rates in urban areas.

Forced repatriation

In the summer of 2010 French authorities demolished at least 51 illegal Roma camps and began the process of repatriating their residents to their countries of origin.[82] This followed tensions between the French state and Roma communities, which had been heightened after French police killed a traveller who didn't stop at a checkpoint; in retaliation, a group of armed Roma attacked the police station of Saint-Aignan.[83] [84] The French government has been accused of perpetrating these actions to pursue its political agenda.[85] EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding stated that the European Commission should take legal action against France over the issue, calling the deportations "a disgrace". Purportedly, a leaked file dated 5 August, sent from the Interior Ministry to regional police chiefs included the instruction: "Three hundred camps or illegal settlements must be cleared within three months, Roma camps are a priority,"[86]

Fictional representations

  File:Vincent van Gogh- The Caravans - Gypsy Camp near Arles.JPG
Vincent van Gogh: The Caravans - Gypsy Camp near Arles (1888, Oil on canvas)

Many fictional depictions of Romani people in literature and art present Romanticized narratives of their supposed mystical powers of fortune telling or their supposed irascible or passionate temper paired with an indomitable love of freedom and a habit of criminality. Particularly notable are classics like Carmen by Prosper Mérimée and adapted by Georges Bizet, Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Miguel de Cervantes' La Gitanilla.

The Romani were also heavily romanticized in the Soviet Union, a classic example being the 1975 Tabor ukhodit v Nebo. A more realistic depiction of contemporary Romani in the Balkans, featuring Romani lay actors speaking in their native dialects, although still playing with established clichés of a Romani penchant for both magic and crime, was presented by Emir Kusturica in his Time of the Gypsies (1988) and Black Cat, White Cat (1998).

In contemporary literature

The Romani ethnicity is often used for characters in contemporary fantasy literature. In such literature, the Romani are often portrayed as possessing archaic occult knowledge passed down through the ages. This frequent use of the ethnicity has given rise to Gypsy archetypes in popular contemporary literature.[citation needed] A UK example is the Freya Trilogy by Elizabeth Arnold.

See also






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  2. ^ "Online version". Retrieved 2010-09-15. "Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Ian Hancock's 1987 estimate for "all Gypsies in the world" was 6 to 11 million." 
  3. ^ "The Situation of Roma in Spain" (pdf). Open Society Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2010-09-15. "The Spanish government estimates the number of Gitanos at a maximum of 650,000." 
  4. ^ "Roma rights organizations work to ease prejudice in Turkey". EurasiaNet. 22 July 2005. Retrieved 2010-09-15. "There are officially about 500,000 Roma in Turkey." 
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External links

Non-governmental organisations

Museums and libraries


Cersetoarea Artificiala Romanca sic! Tiganca

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Filmul înfăţişează un manechin din cârpă care imită un cerşetor, pentru a atrage atenţia cetăţenilor cât de uşor dau bani unor astfel de oameni.

Filmul cu această demonstraţie - al cărui titlu este "Cerşetoarea artificială româncă (Sztuczna Rumuńska Pyta)" - a fost realizat de un grup de tineri de la site-ul El a fost postat pe Youtube la 23 februarie şi a strâns până în prezent peste 1,2 milioane de vizualizări.

  Mesajul care însoţeşte videoclipul este: " După ce am făcut câte ceva pentru societate, am decis să fac ceva pentru mine însumi: să demasc o conspiraţie care domină străzile oraşelor poloneze! Şi tu? Arunci bani în fiecare cutie pe care o găseşti?" .

Părinţii care te vor îngrozi: şi-au obligat toţi cei patru copii să cerşească şi se prostitueze!

Părinţii care te vor îngrozi: şi-au obligat toţi cei patru copii să cerşească şi se prostitueze!

07 Aprilie 2012, Ora 11:12

Caz şocant la Alba. Un cuplu (of rromi) şi-a obligat cei patru copii, dintre care trei minori, să cerşească şi să se prostitueze. Cei doi părinţi au fost arestaţi preventiv.
Cei doi soţi, Gheorghe Voina, în vârstă de 47 de ani, şi a Mariei Voina, de 49 de ani, din municipiul Blaj, sunt acuzaţi că obţineau zilnic sume de bani din exploatarea sexuală sau prin obligarea la practicarea cerşetoriei a celor patru copii ai familiei, dintre care trei minori, cu vârste cuprinse între 11 şi 15 ani, potrivit
"Minorii erau obligaţi să cerşească în municipiile Alba-Iulia şi Blaj, fiind supuşi unor suferinţe fizice în situaţia în care nu reuşeau să predea inculpaţilor sumele de bani pretinse", susţin procurorii DIICOT.
Ei îl acuză pe Gheorghe Voina că a întreţinut, "prin constrângere şi profitând de imposibilitatea victimei de a-şi exprima voinţa", raporturi sexuale cu fiicele sale, dintre care una minoră, în vârstă de 13 ani. Aceasta era obligată să se prostitueze şi să le predea celor doi sumele de bani obţinute.
Instanţa a dispus arestarea preventivă a celor doi soţi pentru o perioadă de 29 de zile, la propunerea procurorilor DIICOT.

Mai mult: Părinţii care te vor îngrozi: şi-au obligat toţi cei patru copii să cerşească şi se prostitueze! - Ştiri interne |

Femeile Rome discriminate nu se afirma politic din cauza "complexului Elena Ceausescu"

Femeile rome, discriminate, nu se afirmă politic din cauza "complexului Elena Ceauşescu"    

Femeile rome spun că resimt acut discriminarea, sunt excluse din domeniul educaţional, au probleme de sănătate, găsesc greu locuri de muncă, iar cele care au reuşit să îşi facă o carieră povestesc că au trecut prin obstacole, "complexul Elena Ceauşescu" fiind un impediment în afirmarea politică.

Femeile rome, discriminate, nu se afirmă politic din cauza "complexului Elena Ceauşescu" (Imagine: Arhiva Mediafax Foto)

Zeci de persoane de etnie romă participă, timp de două zile, la lansarea unui proiect european a cărui noutate "absolută" constă, potrivit organizatorilor, în abordarea strategică privind femeile rome, care reclamă frecvent discriminarea, în timp ce unii bărbaţi le acuză că nu-şi asumă identitatea.
Proiectul "Incluziunea socială a femeilor rome" este considerat de către Asociaţia Femeilor Rome din România o premieră în UE , întrucât ţara noastră iniţiază prima politică publică cu focus pe această categorie de minorităţi.
"Este cutremurător să vezi că femeile rome sunt complet excluse din domeniul educaţional, au probleme de sănătate, nu au locuri de muncă sau le găsesc foarte greu, în condiţiile în care ea este, de fapt, stâlpul familiei. Dacă ea suferă, atunci toată familia suferă ", a spus moderatorul evenimentului, Mihaela Zătreanu, directorul Centrului Naţional de Cultură a Romilor.



Ea consideră că pentru femeia romă este destul de greu să aibă o carieră de succes.

"Acum sunt director, dar am trecut prin foarte multe momente grele. A fost nevoie, la un moment dat, să îmi asum identitatea şi chiar să îmi scriu în frunte că sunt romă. S-a întâmplat atunci când am dat concurs de admitere la liceul pedagogic din Bucureşti. Am ales acel loc, deşi se intra foarte greu la liceul pedagogic, pentru că am vrut să mă formez ca educator pentru copiii romi. Pe lângă examenele destul de grele, trebuia să ştiu foarte bine limba romani. Am înfruntat toate problemele cu fruntea sus", a povestit Mihaela Zătreanu.

Ea crede că, de fapt, toate problemele pe care le-a întâmpinat au reuşit s-o întărească, pentru că avea un scop, să-şi ajute semenii, dar şi familia.

"Cred că am reuşit să mă întăresc, să ignor înţepăturile din stânga şi dreapta pentru a avea un trai mai bun personal şi să fiu utilă şi celorlaţi. Cred că a trebui să asum, să conturez foarte clar ce doresc pentru mine şi încerc să conturez cum aş putea să îi ajut pe ceilalţi. Nu am rămas la nivel de educatoare. A fost doar o etapă din viaţa mea", a mai povestit directorul Centrului Naţional de Cultură a Romilor.

Munca de educatoare a ajutat-o să înţeleagă care sunt nevoile copilului rom şi cum ar trebui el educat. Apoi, pentru că numărul cadrelor didactice de etnie romă a început să crească, şi-a mutat preocupările spre altă etapă.

"Pentru că numărul cadrelor didactice rome se mărea, am crezut că pot sprijini sistemul. Am scris manuale şcolare pentru predare limbii romani, am lucrat inspector în MECTS, la rândul meu fac formare pentru profesorii romi şi chiar neromi. Acum sunt director la Centrul Naţional de Cultura Romilor din subordinea Ministrului Culturii. Pe lângă programe culturale, facem cercetări pentru a identifica nevoile grupurilor de romi, încerc să îmbin educaţia cu cultura", a mai spus Zătreanu.

Există între 400 şi 600 de cadre didactice rome la nivel naţional, cele mai multe în învăţământul primar, potrivit unor statistici mai vechi ale MECTS. "Din păcate, sunt puţine educatoare rome, mai multe fiind cadre didactice care predau limba romani", a mai spus moderatoarea lansări proiectului european privind femeile rome.

Un singur bărbat a luat cuvântul în deschiderea evenimentului, şi acesta a reuşit să le supere pe participante spunând că "nu există nicio femeie romă care să-şi asume cu mândrie identitatea".

"Din păcate, nu avem femei rome în Parlament. Nu există nicio femeie romă care să-şi asume cu mândrie identitatea", a spus consilierul Vili Oaie, reprezentatul etniei rome pe lângă Prefectura Ilfov.

"Nu ştiu în Ilfov câte femei rome cu studii superioare sau cu studii medii sunt. Nu ştiu cum stăm", a mai spus Vili Oaie.

De cu totul altă părere au fost însă femeile prezente la lansarea proiectului. Ele au spus că nu au dorit să intervină în timpul lansării proiectului, dar că sunt împotriva afirmaţiei acestuia, subliniind că niciodată femeia romă nu şi-a ascuns identitatea.

"Nu, niciodată femeia romă nu şi-a ascuns identitatea. Mă refer la femeia care este promotoare de politici publice, care este coordonatoare de programe. Probabil femeia romă care este într-un partid politic care nu aparţine de mişcarea romilor, poate da. Nu pot să comentez cele spuse de domnul Oaie. Femeia romă are foarte mari probleme, începând cu discriminarea", a fost de părere preşedintele Asociaţiei Femeilor Rome din România, Ioana Viorica Dumitru.

Ea nu a putut preciza cât de profundă este discriminarea femeilor rome.

"Institutul pentru studierea minorităţilor naţionale va face un studiu şi vom vedea. Avem modele de femei care au izbândit în carieră . Una dintre ele este Letiţia Marc, de origine romă, cadru didactic univeristar, preşedinta Asociaţiei Ţigănci pentru Copiii Noştri, din Timişoara", a mai spus Ioana Viorica Dumitru.

La fel de supărată pe Vili Oaie, care le-a acuzat public pe femeile rome că nu-şi asumă cu mândrie identitatea, a fost şi Letiţia Marc.

"Femeia romă este curajoasă, frumoasă, pasională. Nu ascunde identitatea. Cele care o fac, probabil nu se simt rome. Sunt multe intelectuale care vorbesc în spaţiul public", a susţinut Letiţia Marc.

În opinia ei, cele mai grave probleme cu care se confruntă femeia romă în comparaţie cu femeile din celelalte minorităţi rezidă în faptul că ele nu există în spaţiul politic.

"Nu avem destule femei în spaţiul politic. De fapt, nu există femei rome în spaţiul politic. Ele sunt "service room". Am făcut mult această muncă de secretariat. Eu am avut oportunităţi, dar am trecut peste obstacole. Acum sunt alte perspective, dar este o competiţie. Nici femeia română nu şi-a făcut un loc pe competenţe şi pe reprezentare politică şi să vorbească în numele femeilor care au probleme. Nici ele nu au curajul decât în spaţii academice, prin cercetări, nu în spaţiul politic, din păcate", este de părere preşedinta Asociaţiei Ţigănci pentru Copiii Noştri.

Ea crede că reţinerea femeilor de a se afirma în spaţiul politic are drept cauză "complexul Elena Ceauşescu".

"Mai ales în România a fost complexul Elena Ceauşescu şi foarte multe persoane nu au mai vrut să repete istoria, să intre în politic. Apoi, mediul politic este poluat şi, dacă se promovează alte criterii, prea puţine femei rome ajung să le îndeplinească, să vrea să urmeze aceste criterii", a mai spus Letiţia Marc.

Pentru femeile rome prezente la lansarea proiectului, acest document dă speranţe.

Proiectul este finanţat din Fondul Social European, prin programul Operaţional Sectorial Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane 2007-2013, Axa prioritară 6 - "Promovarea incluziunii sociale", Domeniul major de intervenţie 6.3 - "Promovarea egalităţii de şanse pe piaţa muncii".

Obiectivul general vizează promovarea incluziunii sociale a femilor rome şi îmbunătăţirea situaţiei acestora prin dezvoltarea structurilor şi mecanismelor de promovare a egalităţii de şanse.

Ca obiectivele specifice, proiectul anunţă analizarea situaţiei femeilor rome din România în cele patru domenii prioritare incluse în Strategia Naţională de Îmbunătăţirea Situaţiei Romilor, cu focus pe educaţie şi muncă, dezvoltarea şi consolidarea de politici, structuri şi mecanisme pentru garantarea respectării aplicării principiului egalităţii de şanse pentru femeile rome la nivel naţional şi local, dar şi promovarea la nivel european şi naţional a unui model de bună practică privind incluziunea socială, egalitatea de şanse şi discriminarea multiplă, având ca model femeia romă.

Totodată, proiectul vizează asigurarea accesului egal la ocupare şi construirea unei cariere profesionale pentru femeile rome, precum şi la educaţie, în vederea creării unei pieţe de muncă incluzive, prin crearea de structuri şi instrumente ocupaţionale şi educaţionale specifice pentru femeile rome.

Proiectul a fost iniţiat de Asociaţia Femeilor Rome din România, în parteneriat cu Institutul pentru Studierea Problemelor Minorităţilor Naţionale, Agenţia Naţională pentru Romi şi European Roma Rights Center - Budapesta.

(Material de Elvira Gheorghita,