A protest action is taking place mainly in Europe urging at least temporary placement of the now homeless Albanian Roma families that were put on the street August 7, 2013. This is when thirty-seven Roma families were forced out of their homes, onto the street, by the Albanian authorities.
Now, nobody takes responsibility to place them, to house them! There is no response despite repeated public requests by Roma and Egyptian youth.
The protesters are saying urgent temporary placement of the homeless Roma families is needed, immediately, and that, ‘the Roma living in Albania are Albanian citizens and have the right to housing!
Using social media the message has gone out saying – “let’s support our Roma fellows in Albania on Friday, 13 September from 10-12 a clock. Let’s show solidarity and unity! Let’s meet in front of the Albanian embassies SAME TIME AND SAME DATE in the countries we live in and ask the same: “Urgent temporary placement of the homeless Roma families, and, ‘the Roma living in Albania are Albanian citizens and have the right to housing!”
While this reveals yet again a long standing problem and is seen to stem from the Roma’s preferred nomadic way of life, that lifestyle is not universal today. When Pressenza ran a story* from a New York based Roma who opted out of the traditional way of living of her fellows another way of looking at this situation came to light.
As Cristiana Grigore told it: “The emerging global world is becoming less about borders and more about freedom and mobility. Life in the global world is less about being rooted in a particular territory and more about being in between cultures. But Gypsies have always been a ‘people without borders’, lacking their own territory or nation. As a professor of mine said, ‘History has caught up with Gypsies’. And now it is our turn to catch up to modernity by redefining ourselves and transforming our social condition.”
New York, and more broadly the multicultural United States of America, has helped her redefine her own identity and see here cultural heritage with new eyes – breaking off from the struggles of the past, looking beyond what is now and has been and imagining what the Roma identity could become.
“I can finally resolve my confusion and say that, for me…being Roma/Gypsy means being global. In a similar way, the Roma/Gypsy culture has a remarkable, historic opportunity to redefine its identity and core values in a more welcoming global context.”
This position does not preclude justice in the moment where Roma are considerably disadvantaged and discriminated against. They are caught in a plight where the only way forward is supportive action from society while leaving the choices up to themselves. Heed needs to be given to their strong traditions which have helped them survive over generations.
In our modern society there is a general loss of essential values as the darker side of globalisation robs people of their heritages that are their very substance. The big cities are run with people who have lost their identities and fill their lives with ‘devices’ that are momentarily useful but act as provisional meanings that consume their days and nights with the ‘lesser good’, disallowing engagement in a real life.
These are days fraught with terrible prospects and also, bright with wonderful possibilities. The minimum societies can do is seek to better the conditions of those who are floundering in the flux of the known changes and to offer all the facilities needed for a decent human life. We need to have faith that one way or another; we can pull ourselves through.
It’s not about you, me or ‘them’ – its about us.