I’m finally here. Prague seems amazing upon first glimpse and I’m sure that I will grow to love the city. However, this is not a travel blog, rather it is a forum for an open discussion of accurate information regarding Roma rights.
Romany people, or gypsies as most people probably know them, are the largest ethnic group in Europe without a country in which they claim citizenship. I’m sure many readers of this blog have heard prejudicial tales and myths about these travelers: they steal, they use magic, they don’t work, they steal children and above all the common refrain echoes “I’m not racist, but those people…”. And this is where the greatest obstacle for Romany rights emerges; when an entire ethnic group is stereotyped to the point that people can justify their marginalization of that group.
Before I left the U.S. I spent a good deal of time digging through on-line blogs and articles related to Romany issues. I found statistics on Roma deaths during the Holocaust and articles describing the 1998 rape and killing of a Romany woman at the hands of a group of neo-nazi skin heads right here in Prague (more on both of these topics at a later date). But more troubling than these past tragedies is the wave of anti-Romany policies that have begun to roll out.
In Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has lauchened an aggressive campaign to try and force Romany people out of the country under the guise of national security prompting some Roma to proclaim that they will not be Berlusconi’s scape goats
So my job is simple, but the way in which to enact it is very complicated. The American must try to show another culture why their descrimination against the Roma is unwarranted and not acceptable how ever they may justify it. So good luck to me, I’m going to need it.
Posted By Colby Pacheco
Posted Jun 24th, 2008