MINELRES: Newspaper "Flux" on the situation of the Roma minority in Moldova

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Dec 10 10:21:41 2004

Original sender: Ionas Aurelian Rus <aurelianrus463@yahoo.com>

This is my translation into English of the following article that has
previously appeared in the newspaper "Flux", which is published in
Chisinau, the Republic of Moldova.

Ionas Aurelian Rus

No. 50, April 14 2004

Stigmatized and Persecuted for Centuries
The Roma deserve extra attention from the current government

In the middle of last week, International Roma Day was celebrated at the
Minorities Department of the Republic of Moldova. This event was
attended by a majority of non-governmental Roma organizations in the
republic. In addition, among the invited there were Communist
dignitaries [translator’s note – The Party of Communists of the Republic
of Moldova is the ruling party of the country], including President
Vladimir Voronin, Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev, the Vice-President of
Parliament Vadim Misin, and also the mayor of the capital, Serafim
Urecheanu [translator’s note - the mayor of Chisinau, Serafim Urecheanu,
is the leader of the centrist electoral alliance "Moldova Democrata",
that is, "Democratic Moldova"], who, however, did not come to this
event. In addition, representatives of the diplomatic missions in the
Republic of Moldova were also invited.  

Adriana Iepure, for Flux

Asked by Flux, Oleg Cibotaru, media contact person for the organization
"Tarna rrom", declared that for many centuries, Roma were stigmatized
and persecuted, kept as slaves, forced to deny their [Roma] identity,
while some of them, forced by circumstances, continued to practice their
traditional occupations. "It is a little known past, but which we must
take into account. The Roma, and especially those from Central and
Eastern Europe, are today affected by a process of major changes which,
we hope, will lead to their more harmonious integration in the societ!
ies of which they are part. Whether we like it or not, this is a process
which concerns all of us, members of the ethnic majority and members of
the ethnic minorities. It is a long and by no means easy road. This is
the reason why the role of state institutions in this process is
becoming a crucial one, designed to double and sustain the activities of
the Roma non-governmental organizations", noted the above-mentioned

In addition, he noted that the representatives of this ethnie have had
to deal, more than any other minority, with a reflection that is
stereotypical and full of prejudices in the mass media. For this reason,
the Roma from many countries will benefit from a change in how they are
portrayed and from an unbiased presentation by the journalists.

It should be noted that Oleg Cibotaru is the producer of the program
"Living Together", broadcast by the national television channel "M1".
The program is broadcast on the 30th day of each month. 

In addition, the vice-president of the organization "Roma Tradition",
Mihai Lepadatu, declared that in the Republic of Moldova, there are
approximately 20 Roma non-governmental organizations, out of which nine
have their headquarters in the capital [of the country, Chisinau –
translator’s note]. The same source noted that, in the near future,
there will be a census of the Roma [translator’s note – this is probably
a reference to the general population census that is scheduled to take
place in the fall of 2004]. According to the data of the 1989 [Soviet]
census [the last population census in Moldova], in the Republic of
Moldova, there are over 250 thousand Roma. [Translator’s note – Perhaps
the author of the article added a zero that he should not have after the
25, or perhaps the article refers to an estimate, and probably an
exaggerated one at that, that there are 250,000 Roma in Moldova.]

In the Republic of Moldova, there is no school with Romany as its
teaching language

Vlad Cubreacov, the Christian Democratic deputy [and a vice-president of
the Christian Democratic People’s Party – translator’s note], who was
present at the event, declared for Flux that, during the last period,
the situation of the Roma minority in the Republic of Moldova is
deplorable, a situation for which the Communist government is
responsible. "In the Republic of Moldova, we do not have any school
where the teaching is done in the Romany language, while at the
Department of Minorities, we do not have any person of Roma ethnicity
which could deal with the problems of this important and old minority in
the Republic of Moldova. [Translator’s note – The Roma population in
Moldova, most of which was enslaved in the Middle Ages, was mentioned
much before ethnic groups such as the Russians, Gagauz and Bulgarians.]
In fact, this is the most tolerant and linguistically, culturally and
socially well-integrated [minority] in the social body of our country",
indicated Cubreacov. In his opinion, this community deserves extra
attention from the actual government, and the appointment of the
representatives of this minority in the state structures. "The Christian
Democratic People’s Party intends to translate its [party] program in
the Romany language until May 1, just like it has translated it in the
languages of other ethnic minorities, such as the Ukrainian, Russian,
Gagauz and Bulgarian languages. [Translator’s note – The other ethnic
groups are listed in the order of the numbers of their members as
recorded in the January 1989 Soviet census.] This is a proof of openness
toward the Roma minority in the Republic of Moldova, a sign of attention
and of the fact that it is appreciated [by the party], added the
Christian Democratic deputy.