Stories in English

”The effects of the anti-discrimination campaigns will become visible in a hundred years”

2012. január 5. | CJI - Románia

Author: Livia Cimpoeru

Ciprian Necula

Ciprian Necula’s large office displays a controlled chaos of mugs, pens, a laptop, several pipes and a collection of old objects. „I am not allowed to smoke inside”, he smiles conspiratively, sitting down at his desk. He picks up a pipe and lights it. He is wearing a Gogol Bordello T-shirt, instead of a suit and tie. He is very laid back, and his ironically kind gaze invites you to a relaxed dialogue.

Ciprian Necula – a Roma from Bucharest – has nothing to do with the typical Roma the media sell. A graduate of the National Political Science and Administration School (SNSPA), he worked as a political analyst with OSCE. Today he is the owner of a company and preparing his PhD in anthropology. He is 32 and for the first 17 years of his life he refused to admit he was Roma. „I had no good reason to tell someone I was a Gypsy. I was sharing the others’ prejudices against the Roma” he confesses. When he was 18 he realized there was no reason to be ashamed of his ethnicity. Today, in partnership with a Palestinian, he runs K Consulting Management and Coordination (KCMC) a company which is developing a program aimed to bring the traditional skilled Roma worker back to the labour market.

On Ciprian's desk there are some handicrafts made by Roma artisans

On Ciprian desk there are some handicrafts made by Roma artisans

How do you want to help the Roma?

Roma’s House is a program that encourages Roma craftsmen to do what they know best. Horse shoes don’t sell any more and blacksmiths starve. Then you enroll them in a conversion program, so that you change only the end product, and not their trade. We are doing that for about 10 groups of Roma craftsmen, working in various fields and materials – wood, silver, copper. We have made a site for them – (http://www.mesteshukarbutiq.ro/) – and they have alredy started to sell their products online.

You have started a band of Roma players…

Romano ButiQ - a band created as part of the same project – aims to convert an old Roma profession. They play what you may call Balkanic rock, as well as funk, reggae or punk. There are 8 musicians in the band. Most of them played manele[1] before. They needed time to adjust to the new style, there are still inflexions of their old music, but they’ll get over that. Anyway, they have already created their own style and they are successful. Roma play manele, but this is not Roma music. Romano ButiQ is trying to revive the traditional Roma folk music, in new rhythms.

In September you organized a protest at Cotroceni Palace requesting decency in the public statements of President Traian Basescu and of the authorities. Your message was „Pigs are pigs, irrespective of ethnicity”. What did you mean by that?

President Basescu complained that Romania can’t become part of the Schengen agreement because of some Romanian citizens. He ignored the issues pertaining to security of the borders, justice or corruption and reduced everything to a populist approach, puting the blame on the Gypsies for the stupidity of the governance.

Our message was clear: enforce the law! Go to Țăndărei or Călărași, if you know about human trafficking, prostitution or beggars, but do not incrimate the ethnicity. Of course Băsescu knows all that and he knows the police don’t do their job. So many people are arrested for human trafficking and then released on procedural grounds. Of course, there are some tens of very visible people in Italy, France or Finland, they beg, steal, spit on the ground, whether they are Roma or Romanians. The bad luck is that Roma are more visible than the others.

Romano ButiQ plays traditional Roma music with funk and rock influences

After years of anti-discrimination campaings, can you notice any changes in the public discourse?

It took 500 years to build the mentalities towards the Roma: they have always been on an inferior position, either slaves, or deported, or – during the communist regime – forced to become something they were not. A 10-15- year campaign to change mentalities doesn’t mean anything. We’ll see the effects in 100 years. It’s a long process, which implies the change of generations, mutual understanding and interaction.

Do you believe the Roma community lacks an efficient approach?

Roma people are opportunists. Because poverty makes you an opportunist. Let me give you an example. In Dumbrăveni, Sibiu county, all Roma children, about 500, go to the school for children with special needs. That is because they only speak Romani. Their parents are happy because at school they receive a hot meal and the scholarship is a bit higher.

In the 8th grade children can neither write, nor read. They can only draw. There is no chance they can continue their education. Such schools should be closed down, because they perpetuate the wrong model from one generation to another.

Is there a need for integration and awareness raising strategies at a national level?

I think it’s wrong to talk about Roma in general, because they are divided into 18 very different sub-groups, with different values, traditions, social dynamics and degrees of assimilation. I only believe in local strategies for Roma integration, and not in national or European ones. Yet, the mayors have no interest, because Roma voters can be easily manipulated. A smart voter doesn’t cast his vote for a bottle of oil,

There are 2000 experts on Roma issues in Romania, hired by the local authorities if the local population includes over 20% Roma. Most of the experts are former garbage workers, working part time as experts now, because the local governemnt was not allowed to hire new staff. You can imagine the solutions of the former garbage worker for the gorvenment health or public policies strategie. This is a very shallow approach!

Do you see any major and irreconcilable difference between the Roma and the majority population?

Honestly? I think we have already reconciled. Romania is the country with the most numerous Roma population and I don’t think that is accidental. Except for the fact that only the Roma were slaves, both ethnicities have the same social structure. They have large families, your second cousin is your family and family relations are trustworthy.


[1] manea – a mixture of Oriental and Roma music, popular in Romania and other SEE countries in the last decade.

További cikkek a rovatból
The man who hasn’t forgotten where he came from
Faruq Hunter is an African-American, Muslim man. He lives in Atlanta. His great-grandparents were slaves. He believes in humanity and he is committed to protecting the legacy he received from his parents. In his civilian work, he strives to sure everyone is given equal opportunities on the information-based job market and finds the suitable opportunities. As a human rights activist, he stands up against all forms of racism. In our interview, he talks about how African-Americans got to where they are now. Our interview with him can also be found in English on our website.
I could totally identify Mari’s role
On the street people recognize her from her role, but Kata Toldi, the female star of the film, Just the Wind has no job- just like before. She lives in a beautiful little town near Budapest with her family, and she raises her daughter alone. People shout „actress" when she goes on the street, but they refuse her when it comes to giving her a job. The film of Bence Fliegeauf about the series of attacks against the Romas premiered in April 2012 in Hungary and won many international awards. Despite the gloomy atmosphere of the movie, the scene shootings were done in a good mood. They had to reduce the tension, caused by the upsetting subject of the film. Between 2008 and 2009, six people died in series of racially motivated attacks in Hungary. One of the victims of the murders included a six year old boy as well.
Rights like everyone else
Five children spent almost a whole month in a foster home after having been taken away without a justified decision or a prior warning from their family in Cinkota (near Budapest). Two officials of the guardianship accompanied by 21 policemen arrived at the house of the family late November and took five out of the 13 children. Three of them were collected from various parts of their house and two were taken away from school. One of the protesting mothers and the grandma were handcuffed by the police. The children could return home on 15 December. Authors: Ferenc Papinot & Gyorgyi Retfalvi, HUNGARY
Perceptions of Roma Rap in Hungary
Through the account of four Roma rappers from the District VIII of Budapest we wanted to demonstrate how Roma rap is perceived by them and by the majority. They represent three generations in Roma rap music. Báró started his career in the 90s in a popular music act of three Roma performing a mixture of r’n’b and rap. Gooré was the first Roma to publish an English language music video in Hungary, he is very active since a couple of years in all sorts of Roma rap acts. Luigi and G.W.M. have gained reputation in the District VIII by performing as the best at many freestyle rap competitions. In addition to their accounts István Zoltán Csider a journalist on cultural issues, specialized on Hungarian rap tells his experience and theory on the perception of Roma rap music in Hungary.
The Concert for Tolerance showed that multiculturalism is alive and well in Košice, STV to broadcast the program on 19 May The Concert for Tolerance showed that multiculturalism is alive and well in Košice, STV to broadcast the program on 19 May
Košice 18 April (RPA) – The Concert for Tolerance, which was organized by the Roma Media Center (MECEM) and held at Košice’s House of Art, was attended by 700 spectators.”Košice is a multicultural city and art really does have a great power to bring people together. I consider it as a universal language and at [...]
Unique Romani-Slovak and Slovak-Romani dictionary christened in Košice Unique Romani-Slovak and Slovak-Romani dictionary christened in Košice
Košice 16 May (RPA) –The christening of a Romani-Slovak/Slovak-Romani dictionary took place in Košice (14 May) along with a press conference. The christening took place at the Spots cultural exchange center on Brigádnicka Street.
Melodic stereotypes Melodic stereotypes
The music is in our blood – this stereotyped belief about the Roma was discussed in the latest thematic event of Roma Visual Laboratory at the DocuArt Film Centre. The evening focused on the music section of the Roma culture. Prior to the discussion, parts of Tony Gatlif movies Swing and Latcho Drom and fragments of video reports on Roma musicians by Sosinet.hu, website of the Center for Independent Journalism were shown.
The dawn of crafts The dawn of crafts
Mircea Craciun is among the last 50 silversmiths in Romania. Traditional Roma crafts are on the verge of disappearance with the younger generation more focused on attending university. Craciun’s children have failed to take on the craft. And in today’s world craftsmen seem to find it harder to fit in. What is to be done?
Adrian Gaspar, the pianist who merged jazz and manele Adrian Gaspar, the pianist who merged jazz and manele
Adrian Gaspar is a talent who, at only 24 years old, made already a name on the European jazz scene, proposing the exotic sound of Roma music, inherited from his family. When they discovered his talent, his parents decided to emigrate so their son would have the opportunity of a good education, which Romania could not provide. He studied to become a concert pianist, but his ancestors’ music got a hold of his destiny and turned him towards jazz – the genre of complete musical freedom. In October, Adrian came to Romania to hold a concert and talk to the Roma children from the school in Ştefăneştii de Jos about the importance of education.
The afternoon school The afternoon school
“The afternoon school” is a short movie about a club where dozens of Roma children come after classes, do their homework under the assistance of some staff that cares for them every day, socialize, learn to behave "in the world." The coordinator of the club tells about their daily life, about the difficulties they face and about how the project idea started.
Blogok
Nótár Ilona blogja
És változunk Idősíkok között
Bogdán Péter blogja
Megmaradunk egymásnak örökre! Egy kisvárdi jány

Támogassa a Sosinet.hu-t!
Ajánló
1/3
Kövess minket
Partnereink
Támogatóink