Yesterday, I went into the capital with a friend of mine, and fellow volunteer, to see a flash mob in support of International Roma Day. My friend, Andrea, heard there would be a flash mob in front of the mayor’s office around 1 p.m. Well, we met up with a few other volunteers at about 12:45 p.m. and waited to see what happened. Truth be told, we weren’t sure what to expect. And the street in front of the mayor’s office was pretty empty. So we wandered up and down the street trying to identify anyone that might be involved in a flash mob. The hour of 1 p.m. came and went. Then we saw it. A lone, colorful, skirt. A woman with a jacket over a very colorful dress. Then two more. Opa, something’s happening here! We got excited.
What is Roma, you ask?
Roma refers to popluations throughout Europe that orginated in India and immigrated west. They might more commonly be known as “gypsies” among Americans, but the correct term is “Roma” or “Romani.” They were one of the racial groups targeted by the Nazis during World War II.
But this is a population that still faces discrimination in Europe today. Here in Moldova they are often referred to in derogatory terms, or commonly called “thieves” or “dirty.” Volunteers from Peace Corps Moldova have actually created a group called Rise to help volunteers conduct seminars on tolerance and address Roma issues specifically in their communities.
I cannot help but equate this to existing attitudes in the United States toward various minority groups, especially attitudes toward the Latino community in Arizona. Let us never that we do not choose what country we are born in, or what family we are born into. Let us never forget that, at the end of the day, we are all human beings, all children of God (I believe), we all have intrinsic value, and we are all just trying to survive in today’s chaotic, flawed world.
Check out pictures/video from the event below:
I am certainly no expert on Roma issues, but if you’d like to read more about it, I would encourage you to do so. I’ve included some interesting articles below:
- Roma in the Republic of Moldova
- Roma People in Europe: A Long History of Discrimination
- Roma People in Europe still face discrimination