ROMA IN ROMANIA
Report by Valeriu Nicolae
© Valeriu Nicolae, 2002, all rights reserved
Published in The Romani Diaspora in Canada: History, Culture & Equity Issues, Editor, Ronald Lee et al., 2003, Canadian Scholars Institute Press, Toronto, Canada. Required Course Reading for Spring Seminar, NEW 343H1, University of Toronto.
How long before we kick the whole lot out? ran the headline of a 2000 article in the UK paper The Sun, on the topic of Romanian Gypsy beggars in London. Romania is the country with the largest Gypsy population in Europe. An unbelievable 84% of Romanians declare adversity towards Gypsies in polls conducted by the European Union.
A few days ago an EU politician asked me what more could Europe do to solve the “Gypsy problem”. I answered with the following joke, to point out that so far Europe has done almost nothing to solve the problem:
A very religious man wanted to win the lottery. Every Sunday he would go to the church and pray: “God, I have been such a pious man all of my life. Would it be so bad if I won the lottery?” Years passed and he didn’t win. Week after week, month after month, he would go to the church and pray to the Lord for deliverance but he didn’t win the lottery. Finally one Sunday he couldn’t take it any more. He wailed to the heavens: “God, I have been such a religious man all my life, what do I have to do to win the lottery?” And suddenly the heavens parted and the voice of God boomed out, “Give me a chance. Buy a ticket.”